It's that time of year again, you know the big day that has everyone rushing around like mad, cramming in the shopping and getting in all the long distance family visits in before Christmas. It's no surprise that the roads are just as busy, so with that in mind there's no better way to beat the motorway blues than to get yourself a GPS app and beat the traffic.
There are tonnes of free and paid apps on the marketplaces for iPhone and Android based phones many of them outweigh buying a pricey satnav too! Who remembers the days when we actually had to buy a satnav and download map updates for it every time a new road or one-way system came into place? Thankfully there's no need for any of that with these. They update via your wi-fi or 3G/4G with all the latest routes along with live traffic updates and alternative routes.
Here's our top 5 map-apps to make sure you spend more time socialising and less time navigating!
5. CoPilot Premium Europe HD – £34.99 – iOS, Android & Windows
We like this one - It gives you the ability to download maps offline, particularly good if you're heading out into the wilderness and you know your 3G signal will suffer. Also a great way to avoid excess charges if you're on a pay as you go plan. The traffic updates on this are an in-app purchase thought, and will set you back another £7.99, however this includes safety camera locations which is useful to know! The app calculates alternative routes based on traffic jams which should save you from long delays.
4. TomTom GO – Free (subscription required) – Android (iOS to come)
The original SatNav's from these guys were (and still are) a great bit of kit. Well, they've since developed this great nav-app which is now like having a full TomTom built into your phone! Again, they require a subscription of £16.99 per year upwards, but it's really easy to use and if you've had a TomTom in the past, you'll instinctively know how to use it.
3. Waze – Free – iOS, Android, Windows
What's amazing is this app is totally free. It makes use of user-submitted information and helps you calculate alternative routes, show danger areas where there's been an accident and displays alerts from other users around you. Not sure it's the safest way to navigate though, as we didn't really want to be tapping at our dashboard while driving. No option to download maps before you travel though, so a good data plan is essential. Without a doubt, the most real-time when it comes to traffic jam information and did a great job of diverting us around it.
2. Navigon British Isles – £59.99 – iOS, Android, Windows
Loads of features on this one such as lane guidance and speed limits and no wonder really, as it's owned by Satnav giants Garmin. A little on the expensive side though, especially when you can pick up standalone satnav for the same price. There are a few features that they offer as add-ons too such as 3D maps.
1. Google Maps – Free – iOS, Android, Windows
Probably the most popular since its first inclusion on the iPhones back when the iphone 3G was king of the smartphones. Location finding is really good on these, as it uses the google database to find locations for broad search terms like 'steak house stoke' where it'll give you a few options to choose from. Great when you're running out of fuel and need a petrol station closeby. Again, a great feature is the ability to download maps before you travel, so you can use your home wi-fi and broadband rather than eat into your data.