Review: NDrive USA Navigation for iPhone

Ndrive Navigation for iPhone

(Ndrive Navigation for iPhone Forum Review by cjvitek. For more Forum Reviews, see the TiPb iPhone App Store Forum Review Index!)

NDrive USA [$32.99 - iTunes link] is a new GPS app which features turn by turn direction, entering the already crowded marketplace. NDrive prides itself on a simple interface, and when looking at the map, that is readily apparent. The map itself has little of the clutter that some of the other apps have – no different colors for different land types, no buildings popping in, no markers for POIs, etc. Just you, the map, and the route. Some people may prefer this approach, others may not. I will point out that in some locations, you do have 3D buildings appear – certainly not in Edinburg TX, however.

The primary menu of NDrive is also focused on simplicity – four buttons, one for mapping, one for settings, one to “find” something (address, POI, etc), and one for “My NDrive”. This is one of the best things about NDrive. The buttons are easy to hit, easy to use, a key feature in any GPS app.

My Ndrive lets you create and store itineraries, define your home location, and other user focused activities. Once you get into some of the detail menus, however, the simplicity seems to vanish. In the settings menu, you have a lot of options of the screen, requiring you to really focus on adjusting things (often with a small plus or minus button to adjust the settings). This detracts somewhat from the great menu buttons in the original screen.

Like many of the recent apps, NDrive loads the maps onto the phone so no data connection is required. The maps themselves are multitouch active, so the commands you have learned (such as pinch and zoom) still work. The keyboard when typing directions is their own, and it is not qwerty. This may not be a problem for some, but for people who are getting used to the iPhone keyboard, it may prove difficult to adjust.

While using the app, the routes it suggested in town were reasonable, and the ETA’s seemed pretty reasonable as well. It did recognize Terlingua, TX (my mystery small town) so the maps seems pretty accurate. It also had my home street, which (being new) some maps are missing. The turn by turn directions didn’t say the street names or anything, simply giving distance and the direction of the turn. While driving, there is a lot of information on the screen – ETA, miles till the turn, distance left, speed. I liked having my GPS app display this information, although I also like being able to adjust it on my own, something that is not possible in NDrive. The map did occasionally stutter a little bit, but this only happened a couple of times during use.

In my mind, however, the main benefit of NDrive is the price. Many of the major GPS apps (which are also downloadable maps, not pay per use/month) are around the $70 to $100 price range. At $32.99, this is by far one of the cheaper apps. Give the features that it does have for this price, it is almost a no brainer for people who have been holding off on some of the more expensive apps because of the price.

On a side note, I was very happy to see that included with the "calculate alternative" you can choose to avoid or block certain roads. This is a great feature, especially if you simply don't like driving on a certain stretch of road, and I wish more apps utilized this.

Conclusion

All in all, while NDrive seemed to lack a lot of the bells and whistles that some of the other maps have (such as lane assist) the simple interface, cheap price, and inclusion of some key features (like speed limit warnings) really make it shine. Some drawbacks include the second layer of menu options (especially in settings) which don’t make it easy to make changes quickly, but the main menu is a thing of beauty for GPS apps. At $32.99, the price is great compared to others, and that is one of the primary reasons for the four star rating. If you are looking for a lot of bells and whistle, you may want to look elsewhere, but if you want a reliable, usable GPS turn by turn app without breaking the bank, look at NDrive. Four out of five stars.

Pros:

  • Competitive price
  • Great menu
  • Simplicity in action

Cons:

  • Settings menu is difficult
  • Lacking some features found in more expensive apps

TiPb Review Rating

TiPb Forums Review: 4.0 Star App

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Reader comments

Review: NDrive USA Navigation for iPhone

16 Comments

I had used nDrive until it got me lost twice. Be careful when 'she' says "leave the highway now." Where? Which highway is next? I said forget it and bought TomTom USA before it went off sale in December. Love the turn by turn of TomTom and also the speaking of street names. Also like the fact that it picks up my addresses from my contact list on the iPhone. And one more thing...when you are exiting the highway or interstate it actually shows you which lane to be in! :) Ndrive is nice but TomTom is better.

I actually got lost once using TomTom because it just said "Exit now" and I took the wrong exit. I haven't used TomTom since they added text-to-speech, so presumably it's better now, but I've moved on to Navigon and couldn't be happier.

I've been using Navigon since November and I feel nothing can beat that Apps amazingness. Took me to New York & South Carolina & back from Chicago, without any problems

I'm sure google nav is great, but I prefer the reliability of maps stored on device rather than needing a network connection 100% of time.
I've been a Navigon user sine December '09 and couldn't be happier. I'm especially happy with the automatic traffic avoidance features and new google-assisted POI search. :-)

Navigon all the way for me. And to the above guy. I set mine on my windshield, if you cant clearly see the screen then that sucks. I see the screen fine with navigon. Besides, when I'm driving I dont stare at the maps to care about screen size. Im usually listening to the TTS and the road I am driving.

I use the Magellan app and havent had any problems. I think it uses the same maps as Navigon...I dont why ppl love Navigon...the app itself looks so bland... and didnt they just go out of business in the PND industry?

I tested NDrive USA for 3 weeks in Texas. I bought it for 5 or 6 dollars and would not pay more for it. One can manage to get to the desired destination but the travel time is way off. If it shows 5 hours, the real time may be only 3.5 to 4 hours. I also compared the driving times to Google Maps which was always very close to the actual travel time. The program is not very intuitive to use. That the iPhone's address book is not integrated is a big flaw. Why NDrive does not use the QWERY keyboard but decided to have it alphabetically arranged is an absolute mystery to me. Using the POI feature is just horrible. Why the heck does it take over 3 minutes to look up a point of interest if all data is saved in the app? Don't mess around with NDrive USA. I would suggest Navigon or TomTom.

Just got Ndrive South Africa for my Samsung Gallaxy. V happy. Nice price. Works just as well as my Garmin on my Samsung Omnia