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Choosing the best navigation app for Android. Free GPS navigation apps

GPS navigation is among the most desirable features of a smartphone. While exploring a city, riding a car or bicycle, traveling and so on it's better to follow the most optimal route. Navigation apps can help you with optimizing auto and walking routes and getting to the desired location as fast as possible.

We've compared the most outstanding navigation apps by the following criteria: its ease of use and functionality. In fact, at the end of the review we will sum everything up: which navigation app can be considered as the best one?

Our review participants:

Google Maps is a standard Android navigation app

The advantages of Google Maps

When we were talking about Google Maps a year ago, we noted the following: at that time some features were not improved and optimized. By 2019 the situation has greatly changed for the better, especially from the perspective of a user.

1) It's decent voice search should be mentioned. This navigation app is perfectly integrated with Okey Google, which allows you to enter questions via a special search bar with a microphone.

2) Remember that Google Maps is a completely free app which works offline.

3) Another undeniable advantage is close integration with Google Maps online service. No need to bother with the installation of extra maps, its activation and etc. Most often, this mobile app is already installed in Android OS.

The disadvantages of Google navigation app for Android

However, we can't skip some of its “trouble spots”.

1) A user has been able to download offline maps only since recently. It allows you to plan a route and navigate with the help of a map without internet connection. Due to the fact that offline maps hasn't yet become a fully tested feature, it's operation can't be called smooth.

The main inconvenience is the inability to download maps for the large areas of the United States and Europe. Only selected offline maps of cities or small regions are available. After leaving the city, it's quite a challenge for a driver to do without online syncing.

2) The choice of locations and attractions in Google Maps is very poor: in order to get full information on hotels, restaurants, shops, schools and etc. which you can find nearby, you have to use third party applets (such as Foursquare or TripAdvisor).

3) It has no data on road traffic accidents and you can't add it yourself, even though such feature would be pretty useful for warning other drivers.

4) Absence of data on speed control and lack of alternative voice assistants.

Download Google Maps app

Navitel: a well-designed GPS navigation app for Android

Navitel Navigator is a GPS program from the leading developer in navigation and digital maps creation.

The advantages of Navitel Navigator

1) Map display options: you can switch between two- and three-dimensional modes, which might be especially useful in some cases.

2) User-friendly interface. You can use the lion's share of brand features from the quick access bar (top line). Also you can choose between night and day map display.

3) Voice control: mapping a route and giving commands to the app and it will take into account the pitch of your voice and its tone.

4) Switching between satellites: under any weather conditions the map with POI is always available.

Note. Not so long ago we published a detailed review on Navitel Navigator for Android, in which we've listed in details all the advantages and individual “features” of the app.

5) It's easy-to-use. While navigating the route, it's quite easy and handy to manage the map: there is a zoom and rotation of the map by movement features, you're able to switch between pre-installed profiles for any type of vehicle.

6) Informative value. The movement is conveniently accompanied by information on the speed, time remained until the destination point, distance of the nearest turn and so on. In general, the process of navigation is well-thought-out and easy-to-handle.

Download Navitel for a mobile phone

Waze is another reach in information and details GPS navigation app for Android

Waze (Free) is a free and open source  gps app for android phone.

The advantages of Waze

1) The social features which are integrated into Waze greatly improve the experience of driving. Its users can report any problem on the road: road repairs, traffic accidents, traffic jam, cameras and other “troubles”. Accordingly, other drivers are aware of all the changes. In addition to users' reviews, the app collects information from its own database on the server.

2) The map with routes is of great informative value. Waze uses OSM maps which have proven themselves to be highly detailed and accurate.

3) Waze automatically rebuilds a route if your phone or the app accidentally crashes or anything else that may interrupt the process of navigation occurs. Standard Google Maps doesn't do the same. In the same way Waze makes it easier to view a route or a map when needed and then it always returns to the car mode.

Download Waze for a mobile phone

OsmAnd: offline Android navigation

Let's list the advantages of OsmAnd navigation app.

The pros of OsmAnd

1) Autonomy. First of all, OsmAnd is a decent offline navigation app. It's suitable for those who prefer to once download maps on their gadget and then never connect to network and stay in offline mode.

2)  Informative value. OsmAnd uses for navigation raster and vector maps called Open Street Maps which are compiled by the users of the service. They allow you to filter POI-objects (tourist attractions, museums, theaters, pharmacies and etc.) and choose a profile for the corresponding vehicle. Any route can be optimized taking into account the shortest distance and avoiding toll and dirt roads, ferries and highways.

3) Customizable maps. You can add objects, create or edit maps on your own. Due to the support of plugins OsmAnd functionality is greatly expanded. For example, you can activate the monitoring system OsMo which will track other gadgets using this service; also you can add yourself to groups; download sea and ski maps; calculate the optimal distance between the specified points via GPX; impose contour lines and layers of relief which is the feature tourists and athletes are certain to appreciate.

4) Additional features. All standard GPS navigation apps features are also present: voice control, assistant, the change of screen orientation and profile switch.

Download OsmAnd

Maps.me

Maps.me is a GPS app for Android which is popular in Russia, the USA and Germany. It's distinctive features are high accuracy and the autonomy of maps.

The advantages of Maps.me

1) The accuracy and high number of details of maps is nearly the most important aspect regardless of the vehicle type. This navigation app is likely to catch the eye of travelers and pedestrians, since its maps show even the smallest details like trails, benches and the names of objects.

2) Additional layers. Maps.me displays vector maps and via the layers it can also show traffic jam and a subway map.

3) Plenty of settings. In Maps.me settings you can change the unit of measurement and see the history of movement. There are navigation settings, in particular, you can configure auto zoom, voice instructions and enable the display of speed cameras.

4) Switching between navigation modes. You can choose from the following navifation modes: car, pedestrian, public transport, taxi and bicycle.

5) Autonomy. Offline maps downloaded onto your mobile device take up little space but they operate in full mode as if internet connection is toggled on. Obviously realtime features will be unavailable, but for a pedestrian or cyclist traffic information isn't as important as for drivers.

The disadvantages of Maps.me

1) Limited navigation for drivers. It's quite difficult to call Maps.me a perfect autonavigator. At least, the routes aren't always mapped correctly, not to mention the fact that this navigation app offers no alternative options.

2) There are errors. Since the maps are made by the community, the data isn't always relevant, especially for remote and unpopular places.

3) Pretty inconvenient maps display mode. Maps look quite boring and the feature of scaling might not work.

Which navigation app is the best one as of 2019

Each of the above mentioned Android navigation apps, in some aspects (its features or maps) is better than the others and is good in its own way. Which one is the most suitable for you depends on your preferences, needs and views. We hope we managed to help you to choose the best gps navigation for android which you'll use for a long time.

App

Developer

Cost

Offline maps support

Traffic jam

Voice assistant

Google Maps

Google Inc.

Free

+

+

+

Maps.me

MapsWithMe GmbH

Free

+

+

+

Navitel Navigator

Navitel

from 1000 RUB.

+

+

+

Waze

Waze navigation

Free

+

+

+

OsmAnd for Android

OsmAnd

from $6.75

+

+

+

A well-known company is responsible for the development of Navitel Navigator; the quality of its products and level of technical support are at their best both for Android OS and other mobile devices.

Waze navigation app is quite appealing due to its openness and free maps. However, like any other evolving product this one has flaws. We hope the growing community will improve the quality of the app.

As for OsmAnd, this navigation app for Android will perfectly serve you when it's impossible to connect your mobile device to any network.

Google Maps is a best Android navigation with voice control. The best thing is that it's preinstalled on devices running under Android. Not very sophisticated travelers and drivers across Europe and the USA are likely to enjoy it.

Maps.me will be duly appreciated by keen travelers and pedestrians. This navigation app will please their eyes with maps rich in details and adapted for hiking. However, we would recommend Google Maps and Waze to drivers.