The Bottom Line
- Low initial and monthly cost.
- Clean, innovative interface.
- Occasional turn prompt and route recalculation lag.
- True text-to-speech and traffic detection and avoidance not offered.
- Too-small (difficult to read at arm's length) main menu buttons.
- Price: App $2.99, including 30 free days of voice guidance. Voice guidance costs $24.99 per year, or $2.99 per month.
- Downloads maps on the fly (with caching to prevent lag). No map/POI database stored in iPhone memory.
- Covers the U.S. and Canada only.
- MotionX Find uses real-time data from the Internet.
- Built-in compass mode (iPhone 3GS only).
- Built-in iPod control screen. iPod runs simultaneously with navigation.
- Address book integration. Navigate to address.
- Phone integration. Place a call from search results.
Guide Review - MotionX GPS Drive: Economical Turn-by-Turn Navigator for the iPhone
While big GPS makers wrestle with what to offer, and how much functionality should be built into their smartphone apps, newer players in GPS navigation such as Fullpower Technologies, with its MotionX GPS Drive, have slipped in under the radar with proficient, much lower-cost, turn-by-turn apps for the iPhone.
I road tested GPS Drive under a range of conditions, and compared it with other iPhone apps, and dedicated GPS devices. GPS Drive offers accurate directions, clearly spoken voice prompts, and a clean, innovative interface. On the downside, the app can lag at times, providing directions when you're right on top of the turn. It also recalculates routes from missed turns a bit more slowly than some of the competition.
GPS Drive downloads maps on the fly (with caching to help prevent lag), rather than storing them in a large on-phone database, per TomTom's iPhone app. That involves pluses, such as always drawing from the latest map database, and minuses, such as not having access to maps in remote areas out of cell tower range. GPS Drive also accesses points-of-interest databases in real-time via your iPhone's data connectivity.
I like MotionX's fresh approach to the user interface, which includes a wheel menu with icons for points-of-interest search, a clean "go to" list, and a compass. You may also access iPod controls directly from the menu. The only drawback is a too-small (very difficult to read at arm's length) bottom menu bar for the main functions.
Other features you'll appreciate include integration with iPhone address book (navigate to address) and phone integration (place a call directly from search results).
If you want true text-to-speech, or traffic detection and avoidance, you'll still need to look elsewhere, but MotionX GPS Drive provides a lot of functionality at a very modest cost.