The best GPS app and navigation app options for Android

April 2, 2014
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best GPS app and navigation app options for Android
When we think navigation app, we typically think Google Maps. It’s the one most people recommend and it happens to be the navigation app that gets updated the most often. Google has been really on top of navigation especially over the last couple of years. However, if you’re not too keen on Google Maps or you want navigation done a different way, you have a remarkable number of options. In this list, we’ll check those out.


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidBackCountry Navigator GPS Pro

[Price: $9.99]
BackCountry Navigator is first on our list and if you’re a camper or hiker it’s one you should look at it. We looked at it briefly on our indie apps of the day segment and liked what we saw. It’s pretty expensive but what you get is a number of offline topographical maps that is perfect for those places where there is no data service to download them as you need them like you need to for apps like Google Maps. There are a few fun features like marking the map and maps from multiple countries. It’s expensive but there is a trial version you can try first.
Get it on Google Play


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidGPS Essentials

[Price: Free / $5.29]
GPS Essentials has an antiquated interface but it is still a pretty decent app. The app’s claim to fame is its dashboard that allows you to monitor all kinds of stats including your average speed, altitude, distance traveled, moon phase, ETA to destination, and a number of other stats you can look at it. Another unique feature is a HUD that will show you your way points and we liked that a lot. It also comes with some of the standard navigation features which means you don’t have to change to other apps for directions and whatnot. It appears to be designed for the outdoors rather than driving so if you’re one of those kind of people this is definitely worth checking out.
Get it on Google Play


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidGPS Navigation BE-ON-ROAD

[Price: Free]
Next up is an app called GPS Navigation. This is the first on the list that offers features like turn-by-turn directions. It works around having offline map data that you do have to pay for which has been met with mixed reactions for users. There are also a few bugs here and there that people have not been enjoying. If you can get passed that, it’s a fairly solid app that doesn’t look bad. It does work internationally so people outside of the US can use it as well. It’s free to try but you’ll have to purchase things like a license and maps later on.
Get it on Google Play
best GPS app and navigation app options for Android


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidMapFactor: GPS Navigation

[Price: Free]
MapFactor is one of your classic turn-by-turn navigation apps for those looking for a replacement to Google Maps. It downloads and installs the map files to your SD card so you can use it offline if you need to. It uses OffStreetMap data which has support for a lot of countries around the world. It’s not as polished as Google Maps but it has enough features to use it effectively and enjoyably. It’s also worth mentioning that map data and the app itself is totally free.
Get it on Google Play


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidMapQuest: Maps, GPS, and Traffic

[Price: Free]
MapQuest used to be one of the “go-to” direction websites on the internet many years ago. Unbelievably, the service still exists and it does have an Android app. It has the standard turn-by-turn features along with some unique ones like live traffic updates, automatic traffic re-routing, and a service to find cheaper gas stations on your route. It also has walking and driving directions. It’s a solid offering and it’s a name people are familiar with.
Get it on Google Play
best GPS app and navigation app options for Android


best GPS app and navigation app options for Android(Google) Maps

[Price: Free]
Most people are probably here to find alternatives to Google Maps but we cannot deny that feature-for-feature, Google Maps is better than pretty much everybody. There are consistent features and app updates, worldwide support, you can download maps for offline use if you need them (there is a 14-day time limit on downloaded maps), the venerable Street View, detailed information about 100 million places, and you’ll be using a service controlled by Google. There is simply no other way to put it. Google Maps is awesome.
Get it on Google Play
best GPS app and navigation app options for Android


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidNavigate 6

[Price: Free / Up to $125/yr depending on license]
Navigate 6 is another turn-by-turn alternative with some decent features which include offline maps support. Some of the more unique features are Wikipedia entries on the map (where applicable), weather on the map, and probably among the best 3D graphics we’ve seen in a GPS app. Do note, there are some people who have issues with the licensing and the licensing itself is pretty expensive. There is a 30-day free trial to see if this is the GPS app for you.
Get it on Google Play
best GPS app and navigation app options for Android


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidPolaris Navigation GPS

[Price: Free]
Polaris Navigation tries to be the all-in-one map sources and in most cases it succeeds. Its biggest feature is that it has access to Google Maps, OpenStreetMaps, MapQuest maps, and Cycle Route Maps. So whatever source you want is the one you get. It also features multiple coordinate formats, trail recording, a unique waypoint management system, and your standard stuff like turn-by-turn directions. It’s rated fairly well on the Play Store and appears to be pretty stable. Also, it’s free.
Get it on Google Play


Sygic: GPS Navigation and Maps

[Price: Free]
Sygic is a monumentally popular navigation app that boasts over 10 million downloads to date. Like others on this list, it provides downloaded maps for offline use except this one uses TomTom maps. It has the usual features like turn-by-turn, voice guided directions (which include voice-spoken street names so you can concentrate on driving), alternate routes, and even a speed limit display. There are a number of in app purchases to unlock more features so keep an eye out for those. Otherwise, it’s a pretty solid app.
Get it on Google Play


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidTeleNav GPS Navigator

[Price: Free]
Many people are probably already familiar with TeleNav GPS because it comes as “bloatware” on certain devices. For TeleNav you actually have a few options. There are two apps specifically for T-Mobile and Sprint customers and a third one called Scout that should be available to most people. It’s designed for mainstream use so it has the stuff like traffic flows, turn-by-turn directions, and a dashboard to show you trip stats. It also has some social features baked in like real-time ETA sharing called OnMyWay. It’s not the most exciting navigation app but it’s a pretty solid option.
Get it on Google Play
best GPS app and navigation app options for Android


best GPS app and navigation app options for AndroidWaze Social GPS Maps & Traffic

[Price: Free]
Last up is Waze and this is an interest app because it’s actually now owned by Google. That means there are a few features of this app that are baked into Google Maps and we assume more will make their way to Google Mapps eventually. For now, Waze continues to be its own standalone app. It gets its traffic information in real-time from other people driving up and down the road. Like MapQuest, there is a function to find cheaper gas and liked TeleNav there is a real-time ETA sharing function. It’s one of the most unique options on this list and that’s probably why Google bought it.
Get it on Google Play


Wrap up

Navigation apps are a dying breed. These days there are a few companies that are really cleaning house when it comes to navigation while others are struggling either to make a splash or, in the case of MapQuest, not to fall too much further into obscurity. That means we may have missed a great navigation app. If we did and you know about it, let us know in the comments below. We do update these lists and our readers do help a lot with it!

Comments

  • Nathan Borup

    Why was this even posted?
    Edit: better yet, why did you even take the time?

    • sighhhhhh

      for your information AA is not just for stuck up troll like you……new people from all age and background, new reader, some iPeople who curious, those just switch to android or maybe bing accidently brought people here when they search for GPS bla bla bla……AND this is THE internet the WWW where people find infomation …if u have proplem dont click the link and post stupid question or worse edit the stupid question to make it worse….sighhh…..the end

      • Nathan Borup

        umm? I am not part of the “iPeople” crowd dude. Apparently you don’t get on here much and see my comments. I said Why was this even posted because google maps is the obvious best choice, and its a waste of time to review other navigation apps

        • http://www.facebook.com/grouchoanddusty Matt Ion

          • newtoandroid

            I’m new to android and searched specifically for android navigation apps that were able to work offline because I won’t have service where ever I travel. so why do you even troll?

          • Nathan Borup

            Google maps works offline too

        • Al M

          Google has a major flaw – doesn’t work offline.

          • http://www.facebook.com/grouchoanddusty Matt Ion

            Slide out the menu on GMaps.
            Tap “Tips and Tricks”
            The very first tip tells you how to use maps offline.

          • Gareth Robinson

            Not for me it doesn’t. the latest version available on Play is 7.7 (7.5.2014) which does not have offline map caching. Seriously, it’s not there. We are going to Italy in June, depending on data on the fly to download maps is not really an option. I don’t know when/if version 8.0 will be available as this is said to have the offline maps option. Why was it ever removed?

          • saeed201

            Although Google Maps supports offline maps, calculating the route still requires internet connection which is expensive when traveling abroad.

          • Gareth Robinson

            That’s right and although some deals will give you data at a reasonable price there is still the problem of needing a continuous connection. I have now downloaded version 8.0 and it only allows a 10×10 mile square to be saved for offline use :P

          • Pekka Ripatti

            Yes, the maps are available offline but navigation isn’t. This listing is useless still, it just doesn’t have enough information to be any good.

        • itsjustme (formerly me)

          If Google is so great then how come it always passes my destination and makes me do a couple of useless circles and then backtrack to my destination I already passed adding at least an extra 10 minutes to my trip? Another example, a few weeks ago I traveled to a major city in my state that I’ve never been too, it should have been a straight shot on a major Highway and only taking an hour but instead it took me on every backroad possible and it took me over two hours to get there. Thankfully I realized Google sucks and went the correct way home.

          • Nathan Borup

            Well aren’t you late to the party? Seriously this is a month old. But to rebut your comment, if it is doing what you’re saying its doing, your phone seems to have some gps issues. And you probably should learn how to use the app before complaining about it

          • itsjustme (formerly me)

            Ha! Doubtful. I know how to use an app. And whats your point? Actually it’s 4 months not a month but people are still replying including you.

          • Alex Ohannes

            Great reply! One of my greatest internet pet peeves is when someone actually believes that a thread should be closed/inactive just because it is more than a month old. Nobody has ever been able to explain that logic, and no one ever will.

          • itsjustme (formerly me)

            Mine as well, especially when it’s something like technology or even a recipe, actually anything that still pertains to anyone. Just because you started using something a month ago doesn’t mean everybody else did. I guess there will always be Internet trolls making up their own rules.

        • Alex Ohannes

          What I hate more than an unreasonable Apple fanboy is an unreasonable Google fanboy (mostly because unreasonable Google fanboys are rarer). I consider myself a Google fanboy and an “Apple hater”, but I don’t love Google and hate Apple in an unreasonable way. For example, I truly do believe that the latest Mac Pro is innovative, really cool, and a great piece of hardware, even if it is a rip-off when it comes to price and practicality (there you go, Apple). Also, I am still heated to this day over the butchering that Google did to the web version of the Play Store (I call it “The Great Downgrade of 2013″, because that’s what it was. They tool away nearly half the functionality that it once had).

          So, although I consider myself a Google fanboy, when someone says that a Google product is the best just because it is a Google product, I stop taking them seriously.

          • Nathan Borup

            I never said it’s the obvious choice because it is google. It is the obvious choice because Google has been the leader as far as mapping and directions. Heck, I even get live traffic updates on my route, I get reports of accidents, congested areas, etc. THAT is why google maps is the obvious choice. If there were any other service that did that, they would win in my book

          • Alex Ohannes

            For many people (myself, for example) Google Maps is flat-out unusable.

            You sound like you’re smart, so I’m going let you figure out why for yourself. If you can’t figure it out, then just read all of the Google Maps-related comments on this webpage.

  • sandon

    There is also NavFree, CoPilot, and Osmand. I’ve tested a number of the ones in your list and I’ve personally liked Copilot and Osmand best.

    • NCBrian

      i’m looking at Osmand too. My family in Holland use it so i’ll try it out. i’m going to be in Italy later in the summer and i’ll be driving while i’m there for the first time – so i’d like a reliable offline gps app

  • Tarso Sousa

    Just forgot the best of its category. iGO

  • Thrasher

    How could you forget Locus Pro? Not really suitable for car navigation, but one of the best android mapping apps.

  • Jivester

    Backcountry is by far the best Land Navigation tool I’ve used ever (including dedicated Magellans and Garmins)! Great and varied mapp sources, great add-on layers like whitewater, camping, trails etc… I’ve been using it since WinMo days and since Android it has just rocked the world. Continues to get update and is FULLY featured!

  • Guest123

    On my LG OGP I went through just about every navigation program to find what worked best for me, also due to the fact that I try and minimize my gapps and I wanted a PURE gps navigation system for when I don’t have data.

    Here’s what I found.

    1. Sygic didn’t function properly on my device and the keyboard did all kinds of wacky things.

    2. CoPilot did pretty good.

    3. MapFactor was horrible.

    4. Nav 6 wasn’t all that great.

    5. Skobbler’s GPS Nav does great though the address input isn’t all that great: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skobbler.forevermapngtrial

    7. Navfree is actually pretty decent.

    8. MapQuest and Waze are good if you have data connection, Waze seems a little more acurate getting you to your location.

    All in all I ended up with MapQuest and Waze for when I have data and NavFree and Skobbler’s GPS Navigation for pure GPS navigation. Total of $1 spent :)

    However, the best overall was Scout, though it cost like $30/year.

  • Bone

    I love Locus Pro, superb tool for hiking etc.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=menion.android.locus.pro

    • Eric

      Locus pro is awesome! Has lots of add-ons and is frequently updated.

  • Darwin

    Joe you forgot one of the best map/navigation app, CoPilot. II’ve been using it for over a year now and it’s still better than other map/navigation I’ve used. The free version is like having a premium app. It’s an offline navigation, which is awesome! Highly recommend it to people who needs a navigation.

    • Faro

      CoPilot is nice, but has a major drawback for me: it consumes a lot of internal storage space. There’s no reliable way to migrate the data (maps) to the external sd card.

      • Alex Ohannes

        Not being able to do that is actually a blessing for some people. Not everyone wants or needs a MicroSD card in their smartphone. Yes, many newer devices have an emulated sdcard partition, but older devices don’t. I have 8 gigs of storage on my old Droid2 and I want to use it up with something. I can’t put music on it. I can’t put photos on it. I can’t put videos on it. That all takes a MicroSD card.

        Anyway, thanks. I will certainly be checking out CoPilot.

  • Android Developer

    Sadly the best I know of is Waze, but it lacks so many features, still has bugs and still have IOS-like UI, and doesn’t have any offline usage.
    I hoped that now that Google bought them, it will get better, but almost nothing has changed.

    I also use MapFactor, but it has a weird UI, and it cannot search for a specific street number for some reason. It also can’t search for places in other languages other than English (or just doesn’t support Hebrew), even though it has the correct names of the streets.

  • Frank

    What about MapsWIthMe ?

  • 2BitGary

    I’ve tried lots of GPS apps. The one i found the most useful is CoPilot. Its around 10, at least when i bought it, but offline maps are free and you can download just what you need. Ive used it on several trips and its helped us find hotels, restaurants, etc. Its super easy to plan a trip, add waypoints and alter the route as you want. Other GPS aps it was a nightmare to do simple things plus they would route you so far off the most direct route. Word of warning, copilot has license limits on number of installs, so if you change ROMS alot you won’t be able to use without paying again.

  • Tom Z

    You should have also listed Google Maps version 6.14.4, which I know many people are using because it is better for Navigation.

  • Xajel

    I’ve been using Sygic for over a year after trying multiple apps, but I settled on Sygic…

  • Grant

    you missed Locus Free/pro, hands down the best mapping app on any mobile platform
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=menion.android.locus

  • Sava

    What about Navigon ?

  • kft

    Yandex is the best!

  • John P Coates

    If you’re in the UK, there’s also the excellent M8. It’s free and has a nice user interface. Give it a try!

  • Botulf

    Navigon is s great app. Anything that requires online access is useless as long as the roming costs are as sick as they are now.

  • bobco

    GPS CoPilot

  • Allan Boye Menzel

    My favorite is Navigon…. A bit expensive but definitely worth the money.

  • http://www.asplint.com/ Jeffrey Deutsch

    Having tried both MapQuest and Google Maps for years — and having gotten bad directions and map locations from Google Maps more than a few times — I say MapQuest rules. It’s done a great job of keeping up with people’s needs, as Mr. Hindy himself points out. Also, MapQuest’s turn-by-turn voice directions have saved my bacon more than once.

    Guest123, thanks for the reviews! (I noticed you didn’t even mention Google Maps.)

  • Danny

    I like iGo.

  • Shields

    Co Pilot is great as Darin mentioned…i have tried many free apps and majority of them couldn’t even pick up my GPS location…so i thought i’d give “CoPilot” a go…it works like a dream. Perfect.

  • Guest
  • droid123maverick

    free android apps and games http://sh.st/eWlQL

  • David

    I´m a total Sygic fan! I´ve tried about 5 different apps, but Sygic is the best Android GPS navigation for me so far! http://www.sygic.com/en/best-android-gps-navigation I have it on my samsung and it works really well ;)

  • bike805

    Google Maps sucks so bad we’re all switching back to Garmin for Nav. Waze is a kick ass monitoring app if you live in an area where many people participate, let’s hope Google doesn’t Screwgle it up. Just visited LV from SoCal and I can tell you 5 people with smart phones couldn’t beat one Garmin.

  • Botulf

    Navigon has worked great for me, except in Germany where I do not know what speed I am expected to hold on autobahn to match the ETA. Adding about 40% now after the first four-five lessons of optimistic timetables and very helpful and understanding hotel managers. Next year I need to get a F1 since 130-200km/h is not enough.

  • Alex Ohannes

    Regarding MapFactor:
    “It’s also worth mentioning that map data and the app itself is totally free.”

    This is so misleading that it implies that Android Authority did a lousy job of testing these apps. There are the usual -good-but-not-great maps available for free, then there are the better, paid maps. The way you worded the description of the app made it seem like it was some magical FOSS app that offers premium/paid functionality for free.

    I may have just misinterpreted the description, but I think it’s worth doing an edit to prevent further misinterpretations.