A proper GPS app is worth the money for anyone who travels a lot, or isn't well versed with the road network in the areas they frequent. Offline navigation means you don't need a 2G/3G connection active for the directions to come blurting out. The Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS for Android app's 3D maps look brilliant, and compared side by side with a MapmyIndia Lx340 navigator, the experience on the Android doesn't lack in any way. The only real drawback of using a navigation app for a long duration means the smartphone does heat up considerably.
Navigation apps are a fairly useful investment for anyone who travels a lot, or doesn’t like being bothered about remembering the road network that takes them there, and back. But then again, not everyone wants to buy a full-fledged GPS navigator, and there are times when one may not be able to use them anyway - while walking, for example.
Interface: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Despite many updates along the way, the basic interface of the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app does remain pretty much the same as from the outset. Open the app as you would for any other app, and the maps open up. Below the maps sits a black strip where the GPS signal quality, a search button and the access to the rest of the options menu sits. The bigger the screen of your phone, the better the user experience you will get, at least as far as how the maps look.
Tap on the quick search option of the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app, and you can directly enter the destination and get some nearby search results as well. Tap on any of the results, and that takes you to a screen asking if you wish to drive there, walk there or just show up the landmark/destination on the map, among other options. Additionally, the address search can be accessed from the settings menu, as well as nearby Points of Interest based on your current location and can take you home, to the location that you have set as home.
The settings menu of the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app is rather detailed as well. For someone who has a frequently visited list of hotspots, you could do well to add them to the Favorites list. There are also detailed settings on what should be shown on the map, behaviour and the look of the map on the screen and the voice navigation options.
All in all, the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app sports a rather workable interface, with sufficiently big fonts that are easily readable.
Setup: Getting set for navigation
From the Google Play store, you will download a rather small 11MB application. The main download of the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app will happen after this. Since this is the India-specific version of the Sygic app, you will only get the option of India in the list of countries. Select that, and that takes you to a list of cities / states and union territories, which are all available as separate map downloads as well. You can download the complete map, optionally, but we quite like this idea of allowing users to download the maps for specific areas. For example, anyone who needs the maps only for Delhi transportation can download the Delhi NCR maps.
These are fairly big downloads, and we would suggest you use a Wi-Fi connection for these.
It is rather incredible to note that the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app on the smartphone offers exactly the same navigation experience as the full-fledged MapmyIndia Lx340 GPS navigator. The smartphone version includes all the features - turn by turn navigation, lane guidance, speed limit display and warning, 3D landmarks and address search.
We tested the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app on exactly the same routes as the dedicated GPS navigators, and the navigation quality, experience and results were at par.
First up, maps look absolutely brilliant. In essence, they are the exact counterpart of their siblings on the navigators. While the maps in the app do not have the same AURA experience that MapmyIndia had introduced with the Zx 250 navigator’s maps sometime back, there are 3D landmarks and buildings galore. Visibility and ease of reading the maps on the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app is very much retained even on the smaller smartphone screen. However, a lot will also depend on the quality of the display of the particular phone you are using this app on. If your phone has most things in proper order, the maps will look brilliant on the screen.
Voice navigation options are fairly detailed in the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app, including options for changing to local Indian languages and even different accents in English. Clarity is quite good, and accents are very easily understandable. Even within the various English options, the U.S. English, for example, will sound very different from the Australian English. While the rest would say turn left and would leave it to the driver’s vision to identify how much of a turn it actually is, Australian English would specify “slightly left” in some cases!
Address search is completely integrated in the navigation feature set of the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app. It works very well, at least for the addresses we searched for in the Delhi NCR region. You get the address search option within the menu, but can alternatively also use the universal search for the same. What we really find useful is the City Guide feature, which lists establishments across various categories - shopping, eating & drinking etc. Essentially, you can now use this app to do what you do with a Zomato or a Burrp and simply tell it to start navigating.
However, despite all the positives going its way, using MapmyIndia GPS app on Android (or any other smartphone, for that matter) does heat up the phone considerably. Due to the constant connectivity with the GPS satellites, the phone heats up to levels that make it rather uncomfortable to hold. Additionally, battery drain is rather quick, and you will need the phone on charging if the one-side distance is anything more than 20-25km. In the long run, this could be detrimental to the hardware’s well-being.
A proper GPS app is worth the money for anyone who travels a lot, or isn’t well versed with the road network in the areas they frequent. Offline navigation means you don’t need a 2G/3G connection active for the directions to come blurting out. The 3D maps look brilliant, and compared side by side with a MapmyIndia Lx340 navigator, the experience on the Sygic & MapmyIndia GPS app doesn’t lack in any way. The only real drawback of using a navigation app for a long duration means the smartphone does heat up considerably.
Download from: Google Play
Application tested on: HTC Butterfly
If you are using this app, or any other navigation app on your smartphone, we would like to hear from you. You could connect with the writer on https://twitter.com/vishalmathur85 and share your views.