Sat-nav apps: 2016 group test

Best sat-navs 2016 - header
18 May, 2016 12:15pm James Stanbury

Which of eight smartphone sat-nav apps leads the way against standalone navs?

There are so many reasons why smartphone-based sat-nav apps make sense. Your mobile is almost always with you and ready to go, and chances are that it’ll boast a bigger screen and higher-definition graphics than standalone navs, too.

Then there’s the simple fact that your mobile can be more than just a map. Even most of the free apps here mix offline data with constant live updates for accidents, speed cameras and other hazards.

Finally, onboard features often rival premium standalone devices, despite the apps costing a fraction of the price or, often, nothing. 

How we tested them

We tested our apps on iOS, Android and Windows devices, and as they all have so many advanced features, we initially focused on reliability – how accurate the maps, information, routing and reception were.

We also rated the overall guidance process, including voice instructions and graphics used.

Perhaps most importantly, we checked whether apps could run from offline data. Apps that primarily work online can be used without a signal with pre-planning and downloading of relevant maps. But they can also come unstuck in low signal areas and bump up your data bill.


CoPilot scoops our Best Buy with its Premium, which is advanced, reliable and easy to use, while TomTom’s GO is a close second. Waze just holds off competition from Scout and Google.

  1. 1. CoPilot Premium HD Europe
  2. 2. TomTom GO Mobile App
  3. 3. Waze