iGo My Way [$79.99 - iTunes link] is the fourth turn-by-turn app I have reviewed. As with the other three, I have used the app around town as well as planning for a long trip (the same trip I have taken with the others). It generally suggested very reasonable routes, it had the vast majority of POI’s that I was looking for (in fact, I don’t recall a single instance where I couldn’t find something). So how did it compare in the long distance travel?
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a promo code for this app.
Let me start off by saying that I found the interface a little difficult at time. When you start, there is a screen with three main buttons and a map. Tapping the map at the top brings you to your current route and directions. The other three buttons are destination (to program a route), my route (for details on your current route), and settings. Maybe it is just me, but at times I found the layout a little less that intuitive. If I wanted to alter my route, for example, I kept going into “destination” instead of “my route”. While I am sure I would have eventually learned the different buttons, it didn’t strike me as the most obvious layout.
To program a route, you can go into desintation. From there you can select an address, a point of interest, a location on a map, of a list of favorites. In addition, you have your route history at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, there was no contact integration. I did find the interface for choosing a destination based on address to be very straightforward – you choose the state, city, street, etc. At any point you can go back and change any of the options. The POI database was very complete (as complete as any of the other apps I have seen), and choosing a point of interest was another straightforward process.
Once your route is calculated (based on preferences), you can make changes like selecting various route alternative. It includes shortest, economical, easiest, and fastest. One really nice feature is that it shows you the distance and the driving time for each of these, and you can select back and forth to see how they look on the map. I wish the display map had more details instead of just a red line showing your route – city names, highway names, or things like that would be appreciated. One nitpick – I had a default “shortest route” option selected. But when I compared with other routes, sometimes the fastest route was listed as many as 10 miles shorter than the shortest route (see the image below). Ummm…need to work on those routing programs!!
You can also choose to look at places around the destination, where it will give you a list of POI near your planned destination. Lastly, you can change any of your route settings (such as vehicle from car to taxi, bicycle, bus, etc). You can choose different preferences (avoid toll roads, avoid ferries) at this point as well. At any time, you can come back to the “my route” screen to get these options again.
Unfortunately, there were limited options to preview or browse your route. You couldn’t do anything aside from viewing a simple over view map – no listed directions, no detailed summary, nothing like that. There was an option to preview the trip, but it would simply plan an animation of your route – not something you had a lot of control over. You didn’t have any option of travelling “via” a specific road, highway, or city, so you couldn’t plan a multiple itinerary trip.
The settings button allows you to change default settings – sounds and warnings, regional settings, etc. Many of these are things that you only need to access once, but the settings also included the default routing options (route type, avoid/use highways, avoid tolls, etc).
When actually driving, I found the iGo app very good. The maps that are displayed are very detailed, to the point of telling you at times when you may need to switch lanes for an upcoming turn. The app (in general) avoids giving you specific distance estimates, instead telling you that you have “more than 50 miles to go” or “turn in more than 1 mile”. I found this to be beneficial sometimes (like when I am just starting a new leg) but at times I wish they gave me more detailed distance (like when I have five miles or less until a turn). Because there is no way to preview the direction in advance, you also can’t look ahead to see what you will do after the specific leg of the trip. You had limited option for data to display on the map – you could choose from distance left, time left, or ETA (or all three). There was supposed to be an option for an audible speeding warning, but I never heard anything so it was not very effective.
My biggest complaint with the app was starting it up. Multiple times, at least 70% of the time, the app seemed to “freeze” when starting. If I rebooted my iPhone and went right into iGo, I had no problems. But if I ran another app, ANY other app first (voice memo, iPod, anything), the app would freeze and not load about 70% of the time. I don’t know if this is a problem with my iPhone (it is jailbroken) or with the app itself. Right now I don’t seem to be having that issue – but it happened enough times, on multiple days to make it a major concern. I did get around this by installing backgrounder and having the app run in the background. Then, when I wanted to go back into the app, it was already running so I had no problems.
The app also seemed to lose the GPS signal more than any other GPS app I have. It usually found it again within a minute or so, but that didn’t happen to any other GPS app I have tested. The ETA’s seemed to be off for longer distances – at one point it said I had about 70 miles left, and the trip would take about 2.5 hours. Unlike some of the other apps, the screen blank was disabled, meaning the app stayed on even without me doing anything (which I think is good). And like some others, this app could be viewed in landscape mode (a big plus!).
All in all, while I felt the user interface was a little less polished than some others, the quality of the maps, the good POI database, and the options for trip planning were nice pluses for this app. However, the problems with the app starting up prevent me from giving it a high rating. This may be due to my iPhone, and thus may not be an issue everyone else is going to experience, so take that into consideration. But if I can’t even get into an app to run it, pluses (like good maps, nice options) and minuses (no contact integration, shortest route isn’t always the shortest) take a back seat. At $79.99, this is a pricey app, so caution should be used before purchasing (check others to see if they had the same startup issues). As it is, I give it three out of five stars – if I didn’t have the startup problems, I would probably give it three and a half or four stars out of five. (I welcome and will post any comments from the app programmers in response to this review)
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