Setting off on a car journey without a satnav? Why not use your Windows Phone handset instead? HERE Drive+ is a superb navigation aid available for Nokia handsets running Windows Phone 8.
Find Your Way With HERE Drive+
When you’re heading out in the car on your way to a new destination, it’s common these days to either plan ahead with an online maps system or rely on your smartphone or satnav unit at the last minute (having said that, I know a lot of people, me included, do both).
The killer app for mobile maps and navigation would seem to be Google Maps, but on Windows Phone this doesn’t have the option of a guided route planner.
Equipped with options or creating journeys, voice guidance and the ability to download maps for offline mode, HERE Drive+ is the top choice for Windows Phone 8 owners driving from A to B.
Windows Phone’s Fully Featured Navigation App
Almost everything you would expect from a voice navigation app is present in HERE Drive+. Creating a journey is simple, and the app comes with useful speed-watch options so that you don’t end up straying over your local limit. You should also find it simple to optimize routes that are faster or shorter, display traffic flow on the map and specify whether you want to include or avoid tolls, motorways, ferries and tunnels.
Of particular interest is the commute mode. Here a group of regular journeys – such as your route to and from work – can be saved, ready to be called upon every morning and evening. While it is easy to save other journeys and recall them quickly later, with commute mode the app monitors traffic and suggests alternative routes to help you make it to work on time.
Easy To Use Navigation
It can be tricky prodding at a dashboard-mounted phone over twelve inches away rather than intimately using an app with your thumbs. The designers of HERE Drive+ have recognized this and equipped the app with particularly useful big buttons.
Echoing the slickness of the Windows Phone 8 OS, the app is responsive, and offers a choice of 2D and 3D viewing options in addition to large, clear directions and numbers for distance and speed.
Having used Google Maps, Apple Maps and HERE Drive+ in the past six months, I can tell you that the three apps are very evenly matched. Windows Phone 8 users certainly shouldn’t be feeling left out when it comes to satnav apps.
Connectivity And Coverage
For the best results using HERE Drive+ you will need to ensure – on the first use at least – that you have your Windows Phone connected to the mobile Internet (maps can be downloaded via Settings > Map Options > Manage maps) and that GPS is enabled. It is also a good idea to keep your phone connected to the car battery on longer journeys, especially if you’re not using offline maps.
Be aware that successful usage of the app depends on where in the world you are. In some territories, the app will have a reduced set of features; in others it will work as intended.
For full details on coverage and device support, head to here.com/help/wp8/drive/coverage.
As a rule of thumb, as long as you have maps downloaded and don’t expect to be able to view traffic data or use the commute feature while driving through remote locations, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Don’t Use Apps While Driving!
HERE Drive+ is a superb Windows Phone 8 navigation app, but it isn’t autonomous. As such, you’ll need to use your fingers from time to time to interact with the app.
Of course, you won’t be able to do this while you’re driving.
Here at MakeUseOf, we’re big believers in staying safe behind the wheel. So, please do not use this or any other mobile app while you’re driving. If you have a travelling partner, leave the navigation to them; if you’re travelling alone, pull over to make any changes. It might add a minute or two to your journey, but safety on the road should be your priority, rather than your arrival time.