Dec 13, 2012
Even before Google had its name appropriated as a verb, MapQuest accomplished the same thing. MapQuest opened up the door to so many road adventures, and I still have stacks of printouts. In the days of preceding standalone GPS units and mobile software, TripTiks and printouts were what the cool kids did.
With decades of cartographic experience under the belt, MapQuest is almost made to make mapping products, and MapQuest for Android looks to explore that premise.
The user interface was clean, and looked functional without being cramped. The opening map showed my location with GPS on. Graphically, the mapping portion retained a business-like feel that i would have expected from MapQuest, with pinch-to-zoom working admirably. The navigation looked crisp, with focus seemingly given more to touch functionality than loud looks. The program switched to landscape effortlessly. Clean arrows and distance icons accompanied the mapped route.
Off the bat, there were fixed buttons to search for staples like food, accommodations, gas, hospitals and miscellaneous entertainment on the concealable and sliding bottom dock. I found this to be pretty convenient; especially since looking stuff up through the dock while navigation was quite easy. The search functionality did work well, and when available, I could access business location and “go” to the location. The Action tab was also a nice idea; it gave me access to a menu that allowed me to list written directions or edit the route on the fly. The voice used was faintly human, and it did an adequate job of communicating street names concisely. I especially liked the map touching functionality, whereby I was able to touch a point on the map and generate a route to it. I also found that the app re-routed pretty well as well.
Option-wise, the developer adds in toggles for satellite and nighttime views, giving the app a bit more versatility in different situations. It also boasts the ability to show real-time traffic, traffic cams and store map tiles locally.
I would have liked a more vibrant day view, and more options off the initial data entry or search. Giving multiple choices of navigation can be a positive, especially in places the driver is familiar with.
All in all, MapQuest is a great online option… good enough to pay for, in my opinion. The price makes it that more appealing, and it does compare favorably with the Android platform heavyweights.