APP OF THE DAY: CoPilot Live Premium review (Android)

Why, you might ask, would anyone pay for turn-by-turn directions on Android when Google Maps is so good. That's a pretty fair question, we have to say. Google has changed the world of satellite navigation with Google Maps. Now anyone with a phone has a perfectly serviceable sat-nav for free - as long as they have a data connection.

CoPilot Live Premium (Android)

Format
Android (iOS version also available)
Price
£20
Where
Google Play

So every company charging is going to have to work hard to offer something worth paying for. CoPilot has had a good think about this, and there are some nice features here. For one, you get 12 months of free traffic info. It's true to say that Google does have information about jams and such, but it's not very capable at rerouting you. CoPilot tries hard here, and the aim is to save you time.

Live Premium also alerts you about speed cameras, for free, and sites are kept up to date. This could save you an accident, or money, so it could very well pay for itself.

We also like CoPilot's ability to save your settings to the cloud. You have to do this manually, but it's well worth the effort, because you can build up a decent database of favourite destinations and such. Although, one might argue that "favourite" destinations should be places you know how to get to, but hey-ho.

Points-of-interest are also decent, giving you access to the usual data about shops and, quite helpfully, petrol stations. There are even phone numbers associated with these places - a trick that Google has perfected. Perhaps some of them aren't the most relevant we've ever seen, but there's scope for additions.

Voices are swappable too. There might not be TomTom levels of options here, but there are some reasonably small downloads that will provide different voices to guide you. If you want spoken road names, you have to use the Android Text to Speech Engine, which is a little bit, erm, cack-sounding.

Maps are supplied by Navteq, so there's a decent chance that they'll be up to date, and you won't go off a cliff. Plus, there's lots of detail. We also like the advanced lane guidance. This is really helpful if you're not sure about motorways splitting off, and which lane you need for your route. You can also ask for walking directions, which is very handy if you're looking for an alternative to Google Maps.

One feature we won't be using, is the "social" updates. Here, you can auto-post to Twitter when you reach your destination. People who do this are, in all meaningful ways, complete arseflutes. So please don't bother with this feature. If you do, we'll come round and fish-slap you, something that will be easy, as we'll have the precise location to find you...

So, after all the nice things we think about CoPilot Live, the question remains, is it worth buying over the free Google Maps? The answer, we think, is yes: if you do a lot of driving. Google is fine, but it lacks a lot of those extra features that would be nice in a sat nav. While CoPilot is a little more sluggish to use - our major complaint - it's still got good navigation skills and offline maps. Although you can now save Google Maps offline, it's not quite the same as having the whole of Europe stored on your device.

For £20, we think it's worth investing. Twelve months' free traffic make it more useful too, although we'd like to see this permanently free, to mop up the last of the Google brilliance. And if you're an Apple user, it's perhaps a no-brainer, as the CoPilot Live Premium app is also available on iTunes, although we have yet to test that version.