Nokia Ovi Maps

PRICE: Free on selected Nokia handsets

Nokia Ovi Maps


Nokia was the first big player to give away satnav for free in Europe and the UK. But the initial excitement over the announcement of free navigation was tempered by the fact that fewer than 20 of Nokia’s phones are compatible. It’s a shame, since there’s much to like about Ovi Maps.

It has speed camera alerts built in, you can plan multipoint routes, its recorded voice instructions are far clearer than Google’s annoying text-to-speech, and they’re delivered in a timely fashion too. There’s also a series of alternative views – including a top-down 2D view for traditionalists – plus Nokia promises traffic information with automatic avoidance (although in our tests we didn’t encounter a single traffic warning).

Another advantage it holds over Google Maps is you can install maps on your phone. This can be a complex process – click here for our Nokia Maps installation guide. More impressive is the number of free maps on offer: you can start by downloading British roadmaps (160MB), but if you have space on your memory card why not take the whole of Europe (2.3GB)? The rest of the world is covered too.

There are problems, however. First, it doesn’t cope well with an unreliable GPS signal. Our test phone – an N97 – continuously lost sight of satellites in built-up areas, but instead of simply continuing on the planned route until connection was re-established, the location indicator would flit about all over the place. Second, it’s far fiddlier to use than Google Maps. Buttons and icons vary in size, and generally feel too small for a touchscreen.

Despite these faults, Ovi Maps should be downloaded by anyone with a suitable Nokia. It isn’t as slick and easy to use as Google Maps, but it boasts more features and offers greater flexibility.

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