CoPilot Live Premium review

£25
Price when reviewed

CoPilot has been in the business of smartphone satnav apps longer than most of its rivals, so it’s unsurprising to find that its platform support is broader too. It’s the only app we know of to support full smartphone and tablet modes on both Android and iOS platforms.

On smaller devices, the main map view occupies the whole screen, while on larger tablet screens there’s a split-screen mode that displays the map on one panel, and a stacked list of upcoming turnings on the other. With beautifully clear maps and a big, bright, easily readable user interface, it’s the best choice for owners of 3G iPads and compact Android tablets.

In fact, in terms of visuals, we’d rate CoPilot’s Navteq-based mapping as the most attractive and clear around, which comes in handy when you need to look at the map to verify a voice instruction. And those maps are stored offline, too, so you won’t be entirely stuck if you lose your data connection.

CoPilot Live Premium on Android tablet

In testing we found the voice instructions very clear and generally well timed. Although the occasional instruction was issued a touch early, we found this was easy to get used to.

Elsewhere, CoPilot is absolutely crammed with options, tools and features. We particularly liked the ability to generate alternative routes at the planning stage and drag them around the map at will, but it’s also possible to create multipoint trips and tweak settings so that route calculation favours certain road types over others.

There’s also lane guidance, junction view for motorway driving, speed limit warnings, speed camera warnings, and a petrol price search features that costs £8 a year extra.

However, CoPilot has its weaknesses, and the first we encountered was search. Although there are plenty of options – Bing, Wikipedia and internal POIs – you can’t search through them all at once. It took us a few minutes of trial and error before we located Stapleford Airfield, out by the north-east reaches of the M25, and we needed a couple of stabs at locating Fairlop Waters Golf Club before hitting the right place.

CoPilot Live Premium on iPhone

We also found one or two spots in the underlying map to be out of date. It tried to direct us down one road that has been blocked to cars for more than 20 years.

Route choices in general weren’t up to TomTom’s standards, either, routing us down the busy Barkingside High Street instead of via the quicker, backstreet shortcut. We found, however, that by fiddling with the road priority settings we were able to improve this dramatically.

CoPilot also includes live traffic updates for free for the first year, and it’s only £11 per year thereafter. It isn’t as uncannily accurate as the TomTom equivalent, and often displays slow-moving traffic (in yellow) on congestion-free roads. It did spot all the serious jams we came across during testing, however, displaying them on a progress bar to the right of the screen, and offered to route us around them where a faster route was available.

It isn’t perfect, then – for the best routing, a tweak of the settings is required, and for congestion avoidance it can’t quite match TomTom’s HD Traffic, which is one of the reasons why TomTom is still best for iPhone users – but CoPilot’s broad selection of features, excellent mapping and reasonable price make it the best choice for Android, just ahead of other rivals.

Details

Software subcategory Other software

Operating system support

Other operating system support iOS, Android

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