Palms-on with Nokia’s Right here Maps for Android

Hands-on with Nokia's Here Maps for Android

When Microsoft lastly accomplished its €three.seventy nine billion acquisition of Nokia earlier this yr, the corporate took management of its smartphone enterprise, however left behind quite a lot of Nokia’s different highly effective and worthwhile properties. One such property was the corporate’s mapping division, now referred to as Right here, which has turn into the de facto maps app for Home windows Telephone customers the world over. Nokia tried to duplicate the expertise on iOS, however after poor critiques and the admission that issues “went horribly flawed,” the corporate pulled its iPhone app and went again to the drafting board. As for Android, it seemed like Nokia would by no means ship an actual Google Maps various.

Fortunately, that is all about to vary. Because of some advertising muscle from Korea, Nokia will quickly give Samsung Galaxy smartphone house owners superior entry to its maps app. Whereas Nokia readies Right here Maps for Samsung’s Galaxy Apps retailer, which is predicted to drop within the coming weeks, the corporate gave us an early preview of its new app, and it is good.

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Nokia Right here Maps for Android

Whenever you first launch the app, you may be requested to enroll or log in. It is essential that you simply do, since you want an account to obtain maps and save collections for later. For ease of use, Nokia permits you to use Fb to sign up, however should you do not like the thought of sharing knowledge with Zuckerberg and co., you possibly can merely use Nokia’s personal signup type.

As soon as you’ve got cleared that hurdle, you will instantly discover how primary the app is — there are not any bells and whistles right here. That is no dangerous factor, as a result of the app masses immediately and transitions are very clean. Identical to Google Maps, Right here provides the default mapping knowledge (labeled Maps) and switch-by-flip navigation (labeled Drive).

Getting Round

Choosing Drive will instantly ask you to pick your vacation spot. You possibly can both enter a location immediately or pull up an inventory of journeys you’ve got lately made. As soon as you’ve got plugged that in, Right here Maps will record the period of the journey, the whole variety of miles, the primary routes it expects to take and also will, so long as you are not utilizing offline mode (extra on this later), record any potential visitors delays you may encounter in your journey. There are alternatives to incorporate or exclude main roads, toll roads, ferries or tunnels in case your mode of transport requires you to.

Hands-on with Nokia's Here Maps for Android

Within the wider settings, you’ll be able to select to allow a function that may gauge your velocity and warn you when you exceed a velocity restrict in a sure space. The app provides two sliders: one that allows you to select how briskly you might want to be going to set off an alert in an space the place the restrict is underneath 50MPH, and one other for once you’re beetling down a serious street (over 50MPH). There’s the standard choice to modify navigation voices, however in contrast to Waze, which gives steerage from none aside from Terry Crews, you are caught with common female and male voices in a minimum of 9 European languages (which I might nonetheless contemplate an enormous plus).

Throughout my brief check, Drive carried out nicely. It delivered early navigation prompts, which means you’ll be able to familiarize your self together with your environment earlier than you make the flip. Though I used to be navigating roads I am already conversant in, the app appeared to listing the simplest route (i.e., the one I might’ve all the time taken), however did present options simply in case.

If you do not have a automotive, Nokia additionally consists of practice journey and strolling choices. As soon as a vacation spot is entered, the app will detect your present location and supply strolling distances to your native station and a lot of upcoming trains. Like once you’re driving, it’s going to record the entire journey and estimated arrival occasions, what number of modifications it expects you will make and in addition offer you an in depth abstract of the journey forward of you.

Offline Maps

Hands-on with Nokia's Here Maps for Android

One among Nokia’s mapping strengths is its capacity to supply offline knowledge not only for particular nations, but in addition complete continents. Google presents a option to make chosen areas obtainable offline, however even you then’re solely getting a tiny fraction of what Nokia can supply. To allow offline mode, Nokia has included a small tickbox within the menu. As quickly as you allow it, you possibly can seek for particular places and allow flip-by-flip navigation, however you will not profit from visitors warnings or Nokia’s up to date place listings. Be warned, although, if you wish to use offline maps, you could be sure to have a piece of free area in your system. For reference, North American and European maps take up 6.8GB and 9GB, respectively, though you’ll be able to obtain particular nations too.

Offline maps are more likely to be an enormous assist if you wish to see the sights when you’re overseas, however do not need to waste cash on roaming charges. Earlier than you go, although, you’ll be able to add the locations you need to go to to a “Assortment,” which you’ll be able to then pull up whenever you arrive in a distant land. The purpose-of-curiosity database won’t be as complete as Google’s, nevertheless it’s definitely not missing. Nokia additionally allows you to share these places with different individuals utilizing its Glympse integration, letting others see the place you are visiting and probably be a part of you (in case you’re on-line, that’s).

The app supplies an honest mixture of options with out turning into bloated or troublesome to make use of. In the event you’re on the lookout for a professional various to Google Maps, Right here Maps matches its rival in lots of elements and betters it in others. The brand new iOS and Android apps might be out there later this yr, after Samsung has loved its interval of Android exclusivity.

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