CoPilot Live 8 for iPhone

CoPilot is one of many GPS apps for the iPhone, but at half the price of the rest of the pack is this app any less feature rich, or are they just looking to sell you a good deal? We get in the car and find out.

At £26 for the UK maps, £49.99 for the European maps or £20.99 for the US maps, the CoPilot offering is cheap. Not Google Maps Navigation cheap (it's free on Android 2 handsets in the US), but compared to TomTom which is £59.99, a considerable saving.

Power up the app and you are presented with a menu system that is straightforward but comprehensive. As you would expect you get Destination, My places (like favourites) the chance to change settings, and handily the mode you are travelling - i.e., on foot, by car, bike, RV, or motorbike - with the directions and view mode (2D or 3D) changing accordingly. 

Opting for Destination gives you the ability to punch in the address via an onscreen keyboard. There is support for 7-digit postcodes or you can grab it out of your contacts if there is an address to grab. The software also lets you pick a Point of Interest, either nearby, in a different city or on your route, and failing that you can just pick somewhere on a map or punch in the coordinates (Long/Latt or OS) if you are being particularly geeky (handy for geocaching). My Places, as you might expect, lets you store your most commonly used addresses in case you forget how to get to work or get home. It's also the area you can find your recent trips, as you'd expect. 

What you might not have expected to find here is live services such as traffic, weather and friends, that uses your data connection to update the maps on the fly. Obviously the weather is a bit pointless if you are just looking at your location (look out of the window), but it does let you see weather for where you are going as well so you know to pack a coat or a t-shirt.

Not content with just offering you traffic data, the software will also help you spot speed cameras, or safety alerts as it likes to call them, as well as warning you if you are breaking the speed limit for a certain bit of road (you can turn it off). We also like the Quick Stop feature that allows you to program in a detour to a petrol station or greasy spoon and then get you back on your route afterwards.

For those who want to use the iPhone's iPod functionality there is also the ability to load in tracks from your collection to be played at the same time. It's a work-around for the fact that the iPhone can't multitask, and it comes across as just that, but it's better than nothing. Voice directions are then played over the music rather than it cutting out - showing this is an after-thought rather than a fully integrated feature.

Get past the multitude of options and the maps are clearly laid out with little to offend. Points of Interest are shown by little icons, the app works in both landscape and portrait modes to take advantage of the iPhone's aspect ratio and the colour can be changed at night to best suit your preferences.

In use and the app is as good as the TomTom and Navigon offerings we've tried, with the software telling you when to turn, etc. Where it lacks against TomTom's solution is things like IQ routes (which is very handy), however at over half the price we think that most will be able to live without that feature.

 

Verdict

CoPilot 8 for iPhone, like the Android and Windows Mobile versions is incredibly feature-packed considering the price.

As with the other satnav solutions for the iPhone, we would recommend you look for a windscreen cradle and a charging option as the software will eat through your phone's battery fairly quickly.

The only real grumble we had was that the walking mode was a bit lacklustre, but then you've got Google Maps for that.

If you need a satnav, but only on occasion, then at £26 you can't really go wrong.