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Nokia Drive review

Verdict

Simple, slick and free with offline maps, but guidance and routing is average

Review Date: 6 Jul 2012

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: 75GB, £4.95 per month; 250GB, £6.95 per month; unlimited, £9.95 per month (all prices inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

One of the (current) bonuses of choosing a Nokia Lumia handset is the inclusion of Nokia Drive. The question is, is it a big enough bonus to swing your next smartphone purchase?

If free satnav is all you’re after, things are looking good, because it has free offline maps. In fact, you can download Navteq mapping of the entire world, country by country, for absolutely nothing. And it's simplicity itself to do so. To download a map, visit the app’s Manage Maps menu option, tap the Plus button, and navigate to the country you want to add.

Nokia Drive on Lumia 800

Usefully, larger countries such as France (a 457MB download) are broken down into regions, so if you’re running short on space you can tailor the maps. If that sounds amazing, there is a problem: the default destination search is online; but if you don't have a connection you're forced to use offline search, which is patchy by comparison. We found several addresses not in the offline index that appeared when we searched online.

Aside from this, Nokia Drive’s interface is clean and simple. It doesn’t have all the options of most paid-for satnav apps, with no multipoint routing and no traffic, lane guidance or speed camera warnings.

In this case, however, that leads to an app that’s fantastically easy to use. To enter your destination, tap the address or POI into the single search field, select it from the list, and you’re ready to go.

By and large, we found the search competent, although it was stumped by Stapleford Airfield along our standard test route. With no facility to navigate to a point on the map, we were unable to get it to guide us on that particular section of our test route. And once out on the road, we discovered a series of other foibles.

Nokia Drive on Lumia 800

On the first leg, a strange route choice had us driving around a major roundabout to get back to a point we’d already driven past, and the turn icons representing roundabouts were often misleading. The exit arrow always points to the left for the first exit, even if the first exit of a roundabout happens to be straight on.

On the positive side, we found the voice instructions clear, and they were timed to perfection; they were never delivered too early, and it didn't leave us waiting on instructions either.

But this isn’t enough to overcome Nokia Drive’s weaknesses. As a free extra it’s worth having, but it isn’t as good as CoPilot, TomTom or Navigon.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

This is just wrong

"without an internet connection you can’t search for a destination in the first place, meaning planning can only take place when you're online."

I've just spent a week in the Netherlands and ND could search while offline the whole time. If you have no internet connection it will ask you if you want to search offline and it will just use your offline maps instead.

By Matthew94 on 6 Jul 2012

Also not as good as...

Nokia Maps on Symbian it would seem. This has all the above features but with the bonus of speed camera warnings, lane assist, excellent routing etc..

Why do companies insist on removing features from existing software, surely this isn't progress?

By Mister_B on 6 Jul 2012

Matthew94

You're quite right. This appears to have been fixed in an update since the review was written.

The offline search still isn't great, though. Patchy results.

I've updated the review to reflect this.

Jonathan Bray,
Reviews editor,
PC Pro.

By JonBray on 6 Jul 2012

Improving over time

Mister_B: Clearly, the symbian version has been developed over a much longer time than the WP7 one. Nokia will be developing this app going forward and already demo'ed Nokia Drive 3.0 at Nokia World last year which has many more features like the commute suggestions that Google just added in Jelly Bean.

By TheBigM72 on 6 Jul 2012

love it

i was a copilot user on android and although at the time i thought bells and whistles were great, the clear instructions and visuals of nokia drive are actually much more helpful in the car.

By sihaz2 on 7 Jul 2012

Nokia MAPS

I use Nokia Maps on an N8 my TomTom has stayed in the glove compt since getting this about 18 months ago. I have been thinking about upgrading to Lumia. Hoping version 3.0 will be released soon

By tezbedz on 12 Jul 2012

TheBrit

I have been using nokia maps on my symbian device for years and can report that it is excellent. I have relied on it when holidaying in France for the last 5 years without problems too.
I have used copilot but struggled to to get to grips with the interface. Given that copilot licences from Navteq in my opinion there is absolutely no difference in the offline search capabilities between copilot and nokia maps/drive. The offline search for both copilot and nokia is not perfect but way better than google maps offline search which even with the new update is useless. Some day google maps will be the best sat nav but not yet. Nokia maps is for the time being the best mobile sat nav out there

By Rollins on 13 Jul 2012

Pointless

I'm surprised by the article and some of the comments.

As a non driver, using satnav on a mobile, I would want to know how to WALK from A to B?

By Gz_jlatty085a0e2 on 14 Jul 2012

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