A few years ago sat-navs were a big thing. Go back another couple of years before those and you'd find physical maps in cars. Fast forward to the here and now however and you'll find apps on smartphones directing people around, more specifically in this case - navigation apps.
Yes, sat-navs still exist and some of the more recent ones are brilliant with excellent features including live traffic updates. They don't come cheap though and ultimately, navigation apps, most of which are free, deliver the same end result: getting you from A to B as quickly as possible.
They have their downsides, including draining your smartphone's battery and with some, we mean literally sucking all power and leaving you stranded if you haven't been smart enough to bring an in-car charger, but they deliver plenty of greatness too. Here are five navigation apps to get you around as quick as possible this Christmas.
Waze is owned by Google and it is said to be the largest community-based traffic and navigation app with users sharing real-time traffic and road information to save you time. It offers turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation and live automatic re-routing based on what the driving community is telling it, but there are several other features too.
Waze allows you to send your ETA and real-time drive to people you are meeting, as well as find the cheapest fuel on your route. You earn points as you contribute to road information and it will even alert you to speed cameras and hidden police.
Google Maps doesn't just provide driving directions with maps in 220 countries and territories, it will also offer walking and cycling directions. Plus, there are transit directions for over 15,000 cities and towns too so you'll be able to get yourself around no matter what mode of transport you choose.
Google Maps offers voice-guided navigation like Waze and you'll receive live traffic conditions, incident reports and automatic re-routing to the best route. There is detailed information on more than 100 million places and you'll also find Street View and indoor imagery for restaurants, museums and other places of potential interest.
Navmii was formerly known as Navfree and like Waze, it is a community-based navigation and traffic app that turns getting around into a bit of a game. Along with turn-by-turn voice-guided directions, Navmii also offers live traffic information, local search, points of interest and driver scores.
It features integrated Google Street View and you'll be alerted on traffic, speeding, hazard and safety camera alerts, like Waze. There are maps available in more than 85 countries and Navmii offers OSM maps that are stored on your device so you won't need a data connection to see where you are when abroad.
HERE Maps has maps in more than 100 countries and it allows you to plan a journey ahead of time and save a map of your destination so it doesn't matter if you are offline or lose signal along your way.
You'll get voice-guided turn-by-turn directions along with real-time traffic and incident information for more than 40 countries. Saved places are available across all your devices and there is also a route planner feature that allows you to see driving, public transport and walking options to compare which is best for you at any given time.
TomTom UK & Ireland
TomTom is of course well known for its physical sat-navs but it also offers an app. Those on iOS will need to pay for the app upfront, while Android users get the app for free but there are in-app purchases. For iOS, the app offers voice-guided turn-by-turn instructions, along with 2D and 3D views of the route ahead and advanced lane guidance for help at difficult junctions.
There are offline maps on both platforms so you don't need a data connection to use the app and in-app purchases will then provide additional features including mobile and fixed speed camera locations and traffic information, as well as unlimited driving for Android users. There is also a US version of this app for those on the other side of the pond.
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