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Best off-line GPS navigator for Android 2015
It's December 2014 and I need to go back for Christmas to Italy from France, so I need an “off-line” navigator for my Android smartphone, that is one where, contrary to the default Google maps, I can pre-save the map on the sd card and use it without internet.
And possibly, I want it free.
So I tested 7 of the most popular gps android applications that offer off-line turn-by-turn navigation.
I can with confidence affirm that today the “winners” are 2:
HERE maps by Nokia
HERE Maps (developed by Nokia) has by far the simplest interface, the faster map rendering and trip computation. Even a long international trip, it compute it offline in a matter of seconds.
It is completely free, and I particularly like the fact that before starting the navigation you have a nice overview of the trip that allows to see and choose between different variants.
OsmAnd is the most complete, options rich and map detailed solution. However you pay this richness in a interface that it's way more complicated than HERE and in a general slowness. To compute a trip between Nancy to Turin (~700 km involving 3 countries) it took (remember we are using them in full offline mode) 5 minutes, against the few second of HERE.
Also, if you want to download more than 10 area maps, you pay a one-time fee of 8 US$ (very small compared with e.g. the ~40 USD per single area of Sygic).
As a plus, both the app and the maps (OpenStreetMap) are open source, and you can use the app to contribute back to the main database. Also, differently from HERE, you can choose to download a “complete” regional map or a much more compact “roads-only” map.
You want a simple solution that works well ? Go with HERE maps. You prefer to have more control, settings and prefer an open-sourse solution? Go for OsmAnd.
They both fully work in off-line mode: looking for an address, the computation of the optimal path and the turn-by-turn navigation all don't require an active connection.
The only think I miss from them is a small 1×1 android widget à la Google Navigation to point it to a destination (home, shopping mail, office..) so that you can set it to your wife (..or husband ) so that she (he) can just click the widget and the navigator starts the turn-by-turn indications toward the desired destination..