Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reviewing #Navmii on #iPhone

A couple of weeks ago I bought Navmii for the Netherlands for on the iPhone. I had heard and read about it and the reviews were pretty good. From Brodit I bought a proclip and holder for in the car which are really good and non destructive for your interior. My first trip was a very short drive within Utrecht to a friend. It was just a 10 minute drive. None of all the directions given bij Navmii were correct!! Ok, I live in Leidsche Rijn where they are building continuously, but the roads I used are in use for more than 3 years so you would expect them to be on the map. This is not just a problem of the AND maps used by Navmii. Also with TomTom, GoogleMaps and YahooMaps it's impossible to navigate here. All map makers should update their maps more often. Where AND got their information is a mystery for me. Their map seems to be a mix of old roads and roads in the far future, but at least in Leidsche Rijn it contains hardly any roads of the present.

The second time I used Navmii to drive to a new house of friend near Emmen. When I tried to lookup the address in Navmii, I could not find their street. It was on the map however and when I clicked on the street it did show the correct name. I had this same problem with several other addresses too. Could not find it by name, but it was on the map. So apparently the street search list does contain just a fraction of all the streets on the map. Very annoying.

The navigation part of Navmii is pretty ok. If you follow the direction you get where you want to go. You have to pay attention to the actual situation and signs, because sometimes Navmii will direct you in directions where you are not allowed or cannot go. If you don't follow the direction it quickly calculates an alternative. When you start driving Navmii seems to hesitate or is a bit shy because it starts giving directions after the first few turns.  Too bad there is just 1 dutch voice and no options to add or download other voices. While driving on the highway Navmii tells you to keep left for each parking area or gas station. Because this is said at least 3 times which stops the music playing it is very annoying. I don't know whether this has to do with the Points Of Interest setting, but even when disabling the POI parking area's it keep saying it. Every now and then the music is faded away, but no direction is given.

The 3D view is good and shows enough info on the little display of the iPhone. The day and night view options are nice. I'm missing a sunglasses mode however. With sunglasses on I can hardly see the map on the display, but maybe this is just a thing of the iPhone display.

I use a Belkin iPhone charger with FM transmitter to charge the iPhone in the car and to be able to listen to music. We had great pleasure using it when we drove from Darwin to Perth in a campervan. With Navmii it is possible to play music in the background. The player looks a lot like the iPod app, it will stop and continue the music when a direction is given. It is impossible however to play just 1 album, Navmii will always shuffle over all your songs which is hardly ever something I want. I tried to work around this by using the iPod app to start playing an album before I started Navmii. This seems to work, but now the music is not stopped and continued but just faded away when a direction is given and often the music is faded but it gives no direction. There is a music button on the main display, but I'm missing at least a 'next' and 'pause' button. It's not possible to go to the next song. If you want something else, Navmii opens the iPod lookalike view and you have to navigate to find a next song. Not something you really want to do while driving.

Conclusion:
Navmii is a nice navigation app for on the iPhone. Maybe I should not expect that much from a €3,99 app, but hé, we want it all for nothing, right? The music shuffling and all those parking area direction are just annoying, not being able to search for the correct street is just bad and the map ... well that's just AND's fault. Maybe this app is so cheap because AND sells Navmii some old out-of-date maps. But when disregarding these annoyances Navmii will get you where you want.
It would be nice if Navmii would open up it's navigation app by allowing free (or payed) plugins to be added. This would allow plugins to add on the net available information to the app like up-2-date traffic jam info and up-2-date speed control information and there is probably more info on the net available which would be nice to have while driving. Opening up the app allows the community to take the app to a higher level and I'm convinced that in no time this app would be the greatest navigation app around.