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Ovi Maps with Navigation simply works

I’m starting off my comparision of the Symbian based Nokia 5800 XpressMusic with the Android based Samsung Spica on this post. Both phones are in the same price point and has the basic features of the new breed of smartphones – touchscreens and GPS.

Last Friday was a Philippine holiday, the Ilagan family has decided to spend the holiday weekend at the Matabungkay beach in Batangas. I have recently decided to spend more time using a mobile phone for other things beside voice communication and text messages. On the trip, I’ve decided to compare getting directions using the free Ovi Maps with Navigation and Google Maps with direction.

With GPS navigation being widely adopted as a standard feature for the new breed of connectedphone / smartphone reaching the market, navigation or getting directions from one point to another has become a very important software feature.

During my trip to Matabungkay, I compared the free Google Maps with directions that came with my Android based Samsung Spica to the free Ovi Maps with Navigation that came with my Nokia 5800 ExpressMusic mobile phone.

The Ovi Maps with Navigation actually comes with all the new Symbian v5 mobile phones from Nokia. These mobile phones include the Nokia 5800, N97, N97 mini.

I was curious as to how much value these GPS software really are that are being offered as freebies in the new mobile phones. Do not interpret this post as an exhaustive comparison of the features of the Ovi Maps and Google Maps feature.

As most navigation software will be very dependent on the availability of maps for each country / locality, you may have a different experience in your country. I tried this in the Philippines. Now on to my observations.

The basic thing I wanted was to be able to find the driving direction from one point (which was my location) to a destination. Setting up the two points was just a breeze on the Ovi Maps with Navigation. I just clicked on “Drive” from the menu and I was able to specify my starting point and destinations.

It was simple to choose my current location as the starting point on the Nokia Maps. I had such a hard time doing it on Google Maps using Directions since it just wouldn’t consistently put as an optional starting point my current location.

Setting up the destination on my Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone with Ovi Maps Navigation was also so simple, I just typed in some keywords like “Matabungkay Batangas” and it offered several points on the map. I chose one and it started calculating the route between the two points.

On the Google Maps running on my Android based Samsung Spica, it too offered online search by keying in some keywords. It was able to offer me with several locations on the map. But after choosing one (and several others), it just went on calculating and spurning out the message “No route found”. The Google Maps didn’t actually work on both occasions (going to and leaving Matabungkay).

On the other hand, the Ovi Maps with Navigation that comes free on all Nokia Symbian v5 mobile phones simply works flawlessly. I think they also come free on other GPS equipped Nokia phones but I haven’t tried it. It was even giving me regular voice directions on my way to my destinations. Helping us on a couple of occasions to verify how far we are from a point on the map.

I’d give Nokia the point on this one. The Ovi Maps with Navigation is worth it’s weight in Symbian Nokia 5800 mobile phone gold compared to an Android Samsung Spica phone. If you’re in the Philippines, I’d recommend buying the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic over the Samsung Spica if your primary point of interest is GPS Navigation and directions. I’ve also tried both of them in city driving and I had the same results – basically Nokia Maps with Navigation simply works.

Gerry Ilagan

Gerry Ilagan is into mobile apps and WordPress development at @speeqs. He loves to write about electronics, the Internet of Things, mobile phones, and #crazyideas.

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