Oct 25, 2012
Full disclosure: I am a fanatical advocate of device convergence. I want one device that does a lot of things very well. I want functionality in the palm of my hand. Since my phone is with me most of the time, it makes sense that it serves as the hub. Much has been made about the hastened obsolescence of secondary devices by smartphones, and Scout does make a strong case for the retirement of standalone GPS devices.
Scout seemingly shares the same engine with its older brother TeleNav GPS Navigator, but where the original is nice to look at, Scout goes for statuesque. The UI is sharp, with colors contrasting well, and it looked bright and inviting.
There is a clear effort to make the application more social. Billed as a way to discover places and get there, I thought Scout mostly succeeded in living up to its lofty self-imposed premise. I noticed that the app pulled in information about local weather on the Dashboard. The Places tab gave me GPS-generated locations categorized by type (like Lodging, Food, ATM and even wi-fi spots).
And, of course, there was the Drive functionality, which was really nice. I was able to set up my Home and Work addresses for easy retrieval later. Entering an address got the software going, and it quickly got me three color-coded optional routes, with estimated times and distance superimposed on a map which, allowed me to visually compare the routes.
The navigation “voice” sounded human. Fortunately, the dialogue wasn’t overdone, as can happen with some apps. The reminders were concise and timely, and the audio guidance could be set to directions, traffic, both or neither. The languages could be toggled between English and Spanish, and I had the options of picking metric units or imperial units. The voice input worked well for me, and I was able to switch back and forth between 3D and 2D. I also appreciated how, when set to auto, the device automatically gives a bright contrasting night-time mode at evening time.
As an additional feature, Scout syncs with TeleNav online, allowing me to trip plan from a desktop and backup addresses. The TeleNav website even has interactive mapping software, so it is the perfect cloud solution. The optional upgrades (speed limit, lane assist, red light camera and more) are available via in-app purchase.
Feature packed as it is, one gripe I had was a comparison I inadvertently made to an earlier iteration of Telenav Navigator: more voice choices would be nice. Also, any offline functionality, even partial, would be very welcome. Multiple transit (biking, walking, etc) modes could also be valuable.
With the industry giant (Google Maps) looming in the smartphone space, it takes a formidable offering to stay relevant. Fortunately for Android users, Scout casts a mean shadow of its own.
Scout by TeleNav Review Rundown
App available on the Google Play Store »