CoPilot Live Premium Europe app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad offers spoken turn-by-turn navigation, 3D map displays and pan-European maps that can be used offline. It is also compatible with iOS 3.0 onwards, while being available on the Android and Windows Mobile platforms. As such, it’s a competitor to TomTom’s app, but one that doesn’t offer a significant price-cut.
In our test, the app was a 27.3 MB download and though we immediately had to download relevant maps; it’s possible to choose only the countries you need. We downloaded only the UK maps, which measured about 190MB – that’s one-up on the 2GB+ TomTom app. This in turn provides a sat nav solution that’s not as demanding, in terms of space on a smartphone, as some.
Developer, ALK Technologies has just increased the price of its CoPilot apps, where the UK-only version saw a rise from £14.99 to £24.99. There are also two in-app purchases for both traffic (ActiveTraffic, £10.99) and fuel prices (PetrolPrices, £7.99), which pushes-up the price significantly.
Perhaps CoPilot is not quite as slick as other sat nav apps, the user interface is nevertheless intuitive to use and never confusing; searching is simple, route calculation quick, and switching from 2D to 3D is driver-friendly. It’s possible to navigate to points of interest, displayed on the map – pubs, restaurants, hotels and the like. This is coupled with the ability to receive instructions during phone calls, as well as add songs from your iTunes library for playback of music integrated into voice instructions. A Facebook Places option boots-up ‘Personal Connect’, which incorporates not only the Facebook integration of locations, but also has a Twitter dimension and a Bing search option.
After entering a postcode, confirming the street name and house number, the CoPilot app calculated a sensible route, inside of five seconds – presenting it as an option to inspect, in a turn-by-turn list and/or maps before setting-off. It immediately issued the rather confusing command, “In one mile take second exit at circle.” That’s a roundabout, surely? Then the application re-issues that command 500 yards, before the turn, then for the third time, just before the turn. The lazily employed US accents and terminology are not easy to get used to, and why should we?
Although tweaking the journey for stops, detours, traffic avoidance and re-routes is excellent – and it’s possible to manually drag your route to another area of the map, or instruct the app to recalculate only for the next mile/2/5/10 miles. We did find the lack of ‘get in lane’ advice the biggest let down, though that does exist for motorways, complete with junction diagrams. At one point the app advised us to “turn left in one mile”, when we were mere metres from a complex junction of five roads, amid traffic lights – when we actually needed to take a sharp left.
CoPilot’s maps obviously counted this as a continuation, because of an identical road number. Finally, the app stayed silent until we were already indicating to take the final turn, and announced the end of the journey, at least 100 yards short. Put simply, CoPilot didn’t live up to its name – we literally wouldn’t have been lost without it.
In our test, a 20-minute journey leached about 20 per cent of an iPhone 3GS’ battery, though we would recommend always keeping a smartphone hooked-up to a charger, while using it for sat nav. There is an option to switch to a low-power setting, once the phone drains below 30 per cent of battery power, which could be handy at the end of long journeys.
- Slick, quick, user interface; no need to download any map data not required.
- High price; map inaccuracies during test; North American accents
All navigational apps live or die by their attention to detail, and the CoPilot came up short in the big city we tested it within. That’s a shame, since the design and functions are user-friendly, with an ability to only download what you need, which makes CoPilot far less dominating on a phone than TomTom.