I’ve been using the AT&T Navigator app for iPhone for a couple of months now. This is a free app, but it requires a $10/month subscription from AT&T (or $70 for an annual subscription). I’m not going to belabor the GPS functions too much in this review: it’s almost the year 2010, and the global positioning system has been used to provide turn-by-turn directions for long enough now that any GPS device or application being reviewed should do that basic job. Instead, I’m going to examine how useful a GPS function is on your mobile phone, talk about some of what’s nice (and not-so-nice) about the AT&T Navigator, and look at the value proposition of a $10/month subscription in light of Google’s free turn-by-turn driving directions on the Verizon Droid.
The first thing to know about the Navigator application is that it suffers from the iPhone’s inability to support “background apps”. That is, if you want turn-by-turn directions, you need to leave the Navigator app running on your phone. You can’t pop over to check your email, or even take a call or reply to an SMS, without interrupting the navigation. When you’re on a long stretch of highway, that’s not a big deal; but it can be a little frustrating if you’re sitting in the passenger seat and trying to multitask on your fancy smartphone. (You should never multitask on your fancy smartphone if you’re driving the car!)
The good news, though, is that iPod functionality is well integrated into the app. With the press of an on-screen button, you can have access to your playlists, media navigation controls, and more. The music will be muted when the Navigator app needs to speak to you, which minimizes some of the concerns about the always-on nature of the app.
The second thing to know about the Navigator app is that it’s frequently just a little slow. This is a result of being just a little weak in terms of positioning accuracy. It consistently reports me as being anywhere from 50 to 500 feet away from where I actually am. Again, while driving down the highway this isn’t a big deal; but when navigating city streets it’s mighty frustrating to be instructed to turn left onto the street you just passed.
Also, it’s really slow to start up. This is frustrating when you wind up popping in and out of the app — whether because you’re making a call, or using another app. You need to wait patiently for the app to start before you can use it. If you’re en route, it usually remembers this, and asks you if you want to continue navigating to your destination. On a couple of occasions, though, exiting the app while en route resulted in a lost route. When I started the app again, I was presented with the home screen. It seems that there’s a minimum threshold for how long a route must be active before the app saves it. Put another way: don’t start navigating somewhere and then immediately close out of the app.
Finally, the app is really fond of U-turns. If I miss a turn, it will as often as not suggest that I make a U-turn. Maybe that’s okay in most parts of the world, but in Columbus, OH U-turns are illegal except at a few specifically designated intersections. If I don’t make a U-turn, I send the application into a fit as it tries to re-route me with every turn I make. I don’t mind being told to make a U-turn: I know I’m not supposed to do it, so I don’t. Instead, I make a couple of right or left turns to effectively get pointed back in the other direction. The Navigator app has no idea of my intentions, of course, and merrily recomputes a new route for me with every turn.
That sounds like a lot of negatives, and to be fair they’re legitimate concerns. But in all honesty, I’ve really enjoyed using this application. It’s been my experience that the routing is really good. I’ve never gotten lost using it, and it’s never given me a braindead route that causes problems. Indeed, on a Thanksgiving roadtrip to Cartersville, GA, it provided perfect directions to my sister-in-law’s house in a new development, while my mother-in-law got lost following the instructions from Google Maps.
Real-time traffic reports are included in the subscription fee. That, too, helped at Thanksgiving, so that I could know how far traffic would be bumper-to-bumper as we exited the city.
Probably the biggest selling point for the Navigator app, though, is the use of a server-based routing mechanism. Instead of loading all the map data onto your handset, the map data lives with Telenav. This means that updates can be made in real time, in reaction to important events. For example, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge was closed over the Labor Day weekend this year. If you were using a traditional GPS device, it likely would have been ignorant of this fact, and happily told you to take the bridge to get out of town, leaving you stuck in traffic. Telenav routed around the bridge, since they knew it would be closed, thereby saving their customers a lot of frustration and wasted time.
A recent update to Navigator added full landscape support, which is a nice feature to have. I didn’t have any problems using the application strictly in portrait mode, but landscape is certainly handy sometimes! Here’s a video in which you can see it, and the iPod controls, in action:
So, how does AT&T Navigator, at $10/month, stack up against Google’s mapping service on the Verizon Droid? Alas, I’m not able to answer that question, yet, since I don’t have a Droid. I did ask both AT&T and Telenav, though, how they think things compare.
Here’s a quick comment from Todd Witkemper, from Telenav:
In general, here are a few differentiators that TeleNav products provide that Google Navigation does not have:
• Proven map data that is consistently updated (I’ve read multiple reviews of Google Navigation where the reviewer received incorrect routing)
• Online preplanning/account management
• A real person’s voice for majority of audio commands (vs. text to speech computerized voice)
• Proactive traffic alerts with one-click rerouting (you don’t have to change views to see traffic updates)
• Real-time gas prices, weather, WiFi hot spot listings, commute alerts and movie listings/ticket purchasing (movie info on AT&T Navigator 1.8)
• Route style options like avoiding HOV lanes and toll roads
TeleNav also supports more than 500 devices in multiple countries.
Seth Bloom at AT&T adds:
AT&T Navigator remains one of our most popular apps to date. We have a great, open and ongoing dialogue with our Navigator customers and feel confident in our track record of making enhancements based on real-time customer feedback.
More choice is always great for consumers, but we’re confident with this app and with our interactive dialogue with our customers that is helping ensure they get a premier voice and visual turn-by-turn GPS experience.
Bottom Line: if you don’t yet own a dedicated GPS, and you’re tired of the shortcomings of the iPhone’s Maps app, the Navigator app is a good option. Be sure to pay the yearly fee, rather than month-by-month.
- AT&T Navigator goes global
- AT&T Navigator: GPS Maps, Navigation & Traffic 18.104.22.168
- Publisher Description
- 2020 Lincoln Navigator
- Is the Lincoln Navigator a Good SUV?
- Should I Buy the Lincoln Navigator?
- Should I Buy a New or Used Lincoln Navigator?
- How Much Does the Lincoln Navigator Cost?
- Lincoln Navigator Versus the Competition
- Navigator Interior
- Navigator Performance
- Navigator Reliability
- Navigator Safety
- Lincoln Navigator Dimensions and Weight
- Where Is the 2020 Lincoln Navigator Built?
- Which Lincoln Navigator Model Is Right for Me?
- The Final Call
- AT&T Navigator: Maps, Traffic
- AT&T Navigator 1.5i (iPhone OS)
AT&T Navigator AT&T
Today, AT&T announced that it’s expanding its AT&T Navigator location-based service overseas, making it the first U.S. carrier to offer international navigation capabilities. Dubbed AT&T Navigator Global Edition, the service is available now and works in 20 countries, including North America, the U.S. Caribbean, and most countries in Western Europe. It will also work in six cities in China–Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenyang, Tianjin, and Qinhuangdao–all of which will host Beijing Summer Olympics events. (AT&T is an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team.)
Like the domestic version, AT&T Navigator Global Edition provides color maps, local search, and text- and voice-guided turn-by-turn driving directions. In addition, the audible prompts are available in English, Spanish, German, or Italian. AT&T Navigator Global Edition costs $19.98 per month, which includes domestic service, and works on a number of devices, including the AT&T Tilt, RIM BlackBerry 8800, RIM BlackBerry Curve 8310, RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8110, Samsung BlackJack II, and the Motorola Q9h. You can check out for more information.
One final note: Does anyone think this is another sign that GPS-equipped cell phones and smartphones will take over dedicated portable navigation devices?
Get real time traffic, maps, deals, offline maps, voice guided directions and more with AT&T Navigator. Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.
Beat traffic, find cheap gas price options easily, get deals on restaurants and businesses near you, share your travel details and discover local places all with AT&T Navigator.
Get traffic updates, GPS-enabled multi-route recommendations, one-touch traffic avoidance, downloadable maps for offline use and more.
+Local discounts for nearby restaurants, businesses, services and more with our Deals feature. Find coupons in your neighborhood or when you travel the US, and redeem straight from your device. (Participating merchants are responsible for all coupon redemptions thru this app.)
+Compare gas prices, find the cheap gas options, and get directions with the press of a button.
+ Find favorites using more than 142 million local reviews and ratings from Yelp and TripAdvisor . AT&T Navigator will be your trusted guide to let you explore with detailed maps and recommendations.
+ Contacts are integrated into the search bar. Simply type the contact name and select a contact from your address book to retrieve the address and route.
+ Voice navigation, compatible with blue tooth, available with paying service.
Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular, 12.9-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular, and 9.7-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular.
AT&T Navigator: GPS Maps, Navigation & Traffic is a free software application from the Recreation subcategory, part of the Home & Hobby category. The app is currently available in English and it was last updated on 2009-06-23. The program can be installed on iOS.
AT&T Navigator: GPS Maps, Navigation & Traffic (version 22.214.171.124) has a file size of 57.36 MB and is available for download from our website. Just click the green Download button above to start. Until now the program was downloaded 29 times. We already checked that the download link to be safe, however for your own protection we recommend that you scan the downloaded software with your antivirus.
The Lincoln Navigator is an excellent luxury large SUV. It has a premium cabin with plenty of space for adults in all three rows. Cargo space is abundant too, especially in the long-wheelbase Navigator L. Although it lacks a V8 engine option, its twin-turbocharged V6 produces more than enough power for most driving needs. On top of that, the Navigator has a high towing capacity and decent fuel economy estimates for the class.
The Navigator should definitely be on your short list if you’re looking for a three-row luxury SUV. However, a few rivals are worth considering as well. Redesigned for 2020, the Mercedes-Benz GLS has a lavish cabin and two potent engine options, including a V8. You might also consider the Ford Expedition. As the nonluxury version of the Navigator, the Ford is fairly similar to the Lincoln, but it’s more affordable.
Compare the Navigator, GLS, and Expedition “
Lincoln redesigned the Navigator for the 2018 model year. No major changes were made to the 2019 model, but the 2020 Navigator gained several standard features, including wireless device charging, ventilated front seats, and the Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features, which includes forward collision warning, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane keep assist. However, all of those features were available in older models, so you may be able to find a similarly equipped 2018 Navigator that likely costs less.
To research used Navigator models, read our 2017, 2018, and 2019 Lincoln Navigator reviews. You can also check out our Used Car Deals page for savings and incentives on used vehicles.
Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Lincoln Navigator “
We Did the Research for You: 18 Reviews Analyzed
To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as cargo space dimensions, horsepower specs, and reliability ratings, as well as the opinions of the automotive press. This Lincoln Navigator review draws on 18 reviews and incorporates applicable research for all vehicles in this generation, which includes the 2018 through 2020 model years.
Why You Can Trust Us
U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.
As of this writing, Lincoln has not released official pricing information for the 2020 Navigator. Because of a trim realignment for 2020, we can only provide a rough estimate. The entry-level standard-wheelbase Navigator will likely retail for around $73,000, and the top-trim Black Label is expected to start at roughly $96,000.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.
The Ford Expedition is the nonluxury version of the Navigator. The two have a lot in common, and both offer long-wheelbase body types (Lincoln Navigator L and Ford Expedition Max). On the one hand, the Lincoln has more standard features, nicer cabin materials, and a gentler ride than the Ford, and it gets 50 to 75 more horsepower from its twin-turbo V6 engine. On the other hand, the Expedition has a higher towing capacity, better fuel economy estimates, and a lower price than the Navigator. Even in its top trim, the Ford is expected to cost only a few hundred dollars more than the base Lincoln. Both SUVs are great vehicles, so choosing between them is a matter of preference and budget.
The Infiniti QX80 is a decent luxury large SUV. It provides a good driving experience thanks to its robust engine, composed handling, and smooth ride. Fuel economy is poor, though. That said, the Infiniti’s main shortcoming is its interior. The QX80 lacks modern connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are standard in the Navigator, and most of the tech it has feels outdated. The Lincoln may cost about $8,000 more than the Infiniti, but it’s the better vehicle.
Compare the Navigator, Expedition, and QX80 “
You can seat seven or eight people in this Lincoln, depending on whether you get a model with second-row captain’s chairs or a bench seat. You’ll find leather upholstery and heated seats in both rows. The front seats also get ventilation and 10-way power adjustments. Upgrades include massaging front seats with 24- or 30-way power adjustments and a heated steering wheel.
While many vehicles with third-row seating leave just enough room in the back for kids, the Navigator provides ample space for adults in all three rows. The seats are comfortable and supportive.
Depending on configuration, this luxury large SUV has two or three sets of LATCH connectors for the second-row seats. The third-row outboard seats also get a full set of connectors.
The Lincoln Navigator has an opulent cabin awash in high-end materials and soft-touch surfaces.
The standard-wheelbase Navigator has 19.3 to 20.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row, depending on how the seats are positioned. Space behind the second row also varies according to seat position, falling between 57.5 and 63.6 cubic feet. Folding down the second and third rows opens up 103 cubic feet of space. That’s impressive compared to other large SUVs, eclipsing classmates such as the standard-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade.
The long-wheelbase Navigator L has even more room. It offers 34.3 to 36 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 73.3 to 79.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row, and a total of 120.2 cubic feet with the seats in both rows folded.
When you fold down the rear seats in models with the second-row captain’s chairs, the center console makes it impossible to create a flat cargo floor. As a result, you’ll have a hard time sliding in large items.
Lincoln’s standard SYNC 3 infotainment system features a 10-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, six USB ports, satellite radio, a 14-speaker stereo, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and wireless device charging.
Optional equipment includes a 20-speaker stereo, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a panoramic sunroof.
Critics praise the SYNC 3 infotainment system for its easy-to-read menus and responsive touch screen, but some wish its graphics were different from those found in other Ford products. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto lets you display your smartphone apps on the touch screen.
For more information, read What is Apple CarPlay? and What is Android Auto?
Read more about interior “
The sole engine available in this Lincoln is a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that makes 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The V6 engine makes enough power to haul this bulky SUV with ease. The turbo V6 is more than robust enough for easy highway passing and towing large loads. However, the 10-speed automatic transmission can make coarse downshifts at very low speeds.
The 2020 Navigator hasn’t been evaluated by the EPA as of this writing, but the mechanically similar 2019 Navigator earns good fuel economy estimates of up to 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
This full-size SUV may not be agile, but it takes turns and corners with poise. Perhaps more importantly, it provides a cushioned ride, and few road flaws are felt in the cabin. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while four-wheel drive is available.
When properly equipped, the 2020 Lincoln Navigator can tow up to 8,700 pounds.
Read more about performance ”
The 2020 Navigator has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.
Lincoln covers the Navigator with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Read more about reliability ”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Navigator an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Navigator earned five stars in the side and frontal crash tests. Four-wheel-drive Navigators received four stars in the rollover evaluation, while two-wheel-drive models got three stars.
At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 Navigator.
Several safety features come standard in this Lincoln, including a pre-collision warning and braking system with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and lane keep assist. It also comes with Ford’s MyKey, which lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers.
Available active driver aids include a parallel and perpendicular park assist system, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view parking camera system.
Read more about safety “
The Navigator is between 17.5 and 18.5 feet long, depending on which wheelbase you choose. Its curb weight ranges from 5,685 to 6,056 pounds.
Lincoln builds the 2020 Navigator in Kentucky.
Lincoln offers the Navigator in three trim levels: Base, Reserve, and Black Label. The Select trim was discontinued for 2020. In addition to the standard-wheelbase edition, Lincoln offers a long-wheelbase Navigator L. It comes in two trims: Reserve and Black Label.
There’s only one available powertrain for this Lincoln, so the main difference between the trims is features. Lincoln made several safety and comfort features standard for 2020, making the base model a great choice for many shoppers.
As of this writing, Lincoln has not provided official pricing information for the 2020 Navigator. Estimates below are based on 2019 pricing.
As you might expect from a full-size luxury vehicle, the entry-level Navigator (starting at roughly $73,200) comes well-equipped. Its roster includes the SYNC 3 infotainment system, a 10-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, a 14-speaker Revel stereo, six USB ports, and satellite radio.
Other standard features include heated and ventilated front seats, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, heated second-row seats, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, proximity keyless entry, a hands-free liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, MyKey, and a rearview camera.
Also standard is the Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features, which comes with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and automatic high-beam headlights.
You can swap the second-row captain’s chairs for a bench seat at no extra charge. Four-wheel drive is available for around $2,700.
The Navigator Reserve will likely have an MSRP of around $85,200. It adds 24-way power-adjustable front seats, a surround-view parking camera system, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, automatic park assist, larger alloy wheels, and a panoramic sunroof.
The Reserve is the first trim available with the long-wheelbase L body type, which costs roughly $3,200 more. You can also opt for the Luxury package, which adds a 20-speaker stereo and 30-way power-adjustable front seats. Four-wheel drive is available too.
The high-end Navigator Black Label is expected to start at around $96,400. It comes standard with just about everything you can get in this Lincoln, including four-wheel drive.
A rear-seat entertainment system with dual 10-inch touch screens is available for around $2,000. The long-wheelbase L style is a $3,200 upgrade.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.
See 2020 Lincoln Navigator specs and trims ”
The Final Call
The 2020 Lincoln Navigator is an excellent luxury large SUV that boasts an extravagant, spacious cabin and a massive cargo hold. Add in a muscular V6 engine and serene ride, and it’s easy see why this Lincoln stands out from the pack.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.
- “The Navigator looks and feels like it’s worth the money, especially from the inside. Design has brought Lincoln a long way. The floating center console, touchscreen arrangement and wrapped dash elevate the Navigator’s appeal to new heights. And when compared to others in the segment, the Navigator stands out as a smart choice overall. Considering what you get for the money, the Navigator undercuts the competition. It has slightly better warranty coverage than luxury competitors too.” — Edmunds
- “The Navigator is a wonderfully powerful, comfortable and beautifully furnished full-size luxury SUV. Yes, the price has jumped. And yes, to have all the goodies found on our Black Label you’ll need to withdraw nearly six figures from the bank account. But this is easily the very best vehicle Lincoln makes. And more importantly, after spending some time behind the wheel, all the Navigator’s competitors now seem a bit dated.” — Autoweek (2018)
- “The all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator isn’t just the best Navigator ever, it may be the best vehicle Lincoln currently makes. Why? Because it’s completely distinct from its Ford counterpart, the Expedition.” — Kelley Blue Book (2018)
Beat traffic, find cheap gas price options easily, share your travel details, explore local places and more with AT&T Navigator.
No matter what the journey, navigate your way around traffic in real-time using AT&T Navigator, now powered by more than 100 million traffic sources; whether it’s your daily commute, shopping with friends or taking in local city attractions. Use AT&T Navigator to plan your trip with real-time traffic updates, GPS-enabled multi-route recommendations, one-touch traffic avoidance, commute times and more.
We’re making it easy to navigate when a GPS signal isn’t available with downloadable maps. When downloadable maps are active, this feature minimizes app data and battery usage. You can also easily share your journey from anywhere along your route with our Share ETA feature. Send your friends and family a temporary link displaying your ETA and a live map of your route so they get your travel details even before you arrive.
Powered with more than 142 million local reviews and ratings from Yelp and TripAdvisor, AT&T Navigator also lets you discover top local restaurants, best places for coffee and drinks, hotels and other recommendations. See what the Yelp and TripAdvisor communities have to say about shopping, restaurants, hotels, bars and nearby attractions. AT&T Navigator will be your trusted guide to help you explore your city with detailed maps and recommendations no matter if you want to eat, shop, drink or play.
SUBSCRIPTION CHARGES & OPTIONS
New to AT&T Navigator? Try AT&T Navigator for free* for the first 30 days and enjoy a robust set of navigation features. Unless cancelled, at the end of the 30-day period your account will automatically be billed $9.99 per month. You may cancel at any time. See Subscription Cancellation & Changes for additional information.
A free**, limited features version of AT&T Navigator called Basic Maps is available after you download the AT&T Navigator app.
**Data & messaging rates may apply for app download & usage.
You took the time to tell us what you love about AT&T Navigator, and what you want changed. We listened and made some updates. Let us know what you think. Send your comments to [email protected], Subject: AT&T Navigator for Android.
We want to keep hearing what you love about the app and what we can do to make it even better for you.
Previously, if you wanted the iPhone to tell you how to get somewhere—Sesame Street, for example—you had to rely on the phone’s built-in Google Maps support. Direction-wise, that’s a fine solution—and free—but it’s not always the most conducive method if, say, you’re driving. iPhone 3.0 unlocked the ability for third parties to develop turn-by-turn navigation apps that mimic the features you get from car-based navigation systems and GPS devices.
While GPS-maker Tom Tom showed off its own turn-by-turn app at Apple’s WWDC keynote earlier this month, AT&T has beaten it to the punch by releasing AT&T Navigator (iTunes link). The application, which provides voice-guided directions with automatic rerouting and real-time traffic updates, is a free download from the AT&T store and includes maps for the U.S. as well as regular updates. Naturally, it requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later, but it’s compatible with both the iPhone and iPod touch.
Sounds all well and good, but there is a catch. Though the application is a free download, the service costs $10 per month. On its own, this is isn’t really outrageous: most GPS devices require either a regular fee or a charge for additional maps. AT&T offers the Navigator service for its other handsets for $10 per month (in addition to data charges, which iPhone users presumably escape with their unlimited data plans).
However, it does fly in the face of one point made by Apple at both March’s iPhone 3.0 special event and at the WWDC keynote, that “free apps remain free.” In particular, the comment was aimed at the new In-App Purchase feature which allows developers to charge for subscriptions or additional features—pursuant to App Store rules, though, they can’t distribute free apps and then charge for additional content.
AT&T can technologically sidestep this problem because it adds the $10 monthly fee directly to your bill—and to be fair, it stipulates the charge in the app’s own name. That introduces another catch, too: you can delete the application from your phone, but until you call up AT&T and cancel the service, you’ll still get charged that monthly fee.
Is this more egregious than making you shell out 99 cents for the application and then charging $10 per month for the actual functionality? Not necessarily, but it would be nice to maintain the consistency that Apple touted. Then again, when it comes to consistency, the App Store is hardly a shining exemplar of the concept.
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AT&T Navigator, the quasi-official GPS navigation app for the iPhone, has steadily gotten better since its release last summer. But its core business model and technology put it at a disadvantage compared to its half-dozen competitors. At $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year, it’s considerably more expensive than other GPS software, which is typically a one-time purchase. And since AT&T Navigator downloads maps in real-time instead of storing them locally, it doesn’t work well in areas with poor cellular signal. If you can deal with these limitations, AT&T Navigator 1.5i is a still solid navigation solution.
New Features, Bug Fixes, and User Interface
This review will focus mainly on what’s new since version 1.0 ($2.99-$9.99 direct, ), although I’ll also give my specific impressions of overall performance later on. I tested the app on an iPhone 3GS ($199, ), which made the UI feel snappy and responsive in day-to-day use.
AT&T Navigator 1.5i features automatic nighttime mode, a home address shortcut icon, and the ability to shake the iPhone in order to return to any custom destination. This latter option was fun during the review, as all I had to do to “go home” was shake the phone. AT&T Navigator 1.5i now shows speed limit signs for the current road (albeit not often enough), and warns with both visual and audio cues if you exceed the limit. In addition, TeleNav sprinkled in some routing enhancements, including the ability to avoid HOV and toll roads, and some minor pedestrian route updates.
During navigation, you can now control music playback, and set it so the iPhone lowers the music volume during spoken directions. It supports landscape mode—a natural for a GPS app. It can direct you to individual address book contacts, and always keeps track of the last trip origin so you can return easily.
On the pricing front, there’s one potentially mitigating feature: you can now cancel the subscription from within the app via Tools & Extras -> About -> Billing and Subscriptions. If you’re careful about this, and don’t mind risking the occasional billing snafu with AT&T, you can dip in and out of using the app in $10 increments for one month at a time. That’s not a typical use case for most people, but it could help in specific circumstances.
Main Interface, Overall Performance, and Conclusions
The main user interface is pretty much the same as before. You can navigate by browsing the app’s extensive POI database, by running a Google-like search, or tapping on a recent destination or saved favorite. The app found most of my test routes without a problem. Oddly, AT&T Navigator missed a local Panera Bread that’s been there a while (and that’s on Google Maps).
On the road, AT&T Navigator 1.5i was a reliable companion, with accurate routing performance overall. During navigation, the 3D map display shows distance to the next turn, the upcoming road name, and the estimated time of arrival—all of which are easy to read . But the app lacks readouts for current speed, current speed limit, time remaining, and estimated distance remaining. TomTom’s app displays all of these in addition to what AT&T Navigator shows.
Speed limit signs appeared on major interstates—a welcome enhancement—but not on any of the local routes I tried, unlike with TomTom’s app. AT&T Navigator still lacks 3D lane guidance for exiting complex interchanges on highways. The app checks routes for traffic and will notify you of a jam, and blessedly doesn’t automatically reroute you if it finds one (you don’t want this, since traffic reports on GPS devices aren’t accurate enough yet). But you still can’t trigger a manual detour if you need one; AT&T Navigator is stubborn about its choice of routes.
On the audio side, voice prompts weren’t particularly loud given the iPhone’s small speaker, but they sounded crisp and clear enough. There were a few too many of them; on some short trips involving local routes, it seemed the app was talking more than it wasn’t talking. During testing, AT&T Navigator also crashed several times. Each time, I had to re-launch the app and re-program the route (which meant exiting a highway in one case). A TeleNav spokesperson said the company has already found a fix and will soon implement it in a patch.
Over the past six months, four major competitors—AT&T Navigator, TomTom, Navigon, and Magellan—have added various new features to their iPhone GPS apps. The other three apps load their maps locally, avoiding problems with dead zones, and they all cost between $59.99 and $89.99 as a one-time fee, while AT&T charges $69.99 every year for AT&T Navigator. Google Maps Navigation (Free, N/R) and Nokia Ovi Maps (Free, ) are also tough to ignore, even if those two latter options are confined to specific Android and Symbian devices.
We’ll have reviews of the latest TomTom, Navigon, and Magellan iPhone apps up shortly. For now, AT&T Navigator 1.5i is still a solid option. But it’s in danger of losing ground to competing apps that act more like cut-rate standalone PNDs.
More iPhone App Reviews: