I’ve been doing a series of reviews of navigation software for the iPhone. The folks at ALK (the makers of CoPilot) have released CoPilot Live into the market for a very nice price of only $34.99 (for the North America version). At this price it will appeal to many people. Here I’m taking a first look at CoPilot Live (with a full review to follow) and give some initial impressions. So let’s get to it!
CoPilot Live looks a lot like CoPilot has looked for a long time. Much as with TomTom applications there is a consistent look and feel to their product line. That said, CoPilot has a large fan base due to it’s wide set of features. CoPilot Live for the iPhone continues this tradition by offering a lot of features for a very low price.
The application started and ran smoothly, although not as fluid as Navigon or iGo, it’s behavior is very respectable. Even screen rotation was reasonably snappy. Full and clear audio navigation instructions are given while navigating, but full TTS (text-to-speech, road names) isn’t available.
Route selection seems on par with other applications, an POI (point of interest) data was up-to-date and nicely detailed.
CoPilot Live has a lot of depth in terms of the “extra” features that are added into the main navigation package. CoPilot Live has a features that will show you the weather at your destination, an RV mode, live location sharing/messaging, and a whole lot of ways you can customize the display.
The overall appearance of CoPilot Live is bright, colorful, and friendly. Menus, alerts, and buttons are all large and easy to use. The multi-touch features of the iPhone, like pinch zooming, are supported.
CoPilot Live appears to be using TeleAtlas maps (or started from the same base) because they have the same map errors that all TeleAtlas-based navigation apps have in my local area. UPDATE: ALK has provided some clarification on this point and told me that they are using their own proprietary map data, not TeleAtlas maps. I have to assume then, that both TeleAtlas and ALK started from the same map base since they both contained the same errors. Most U.S. map sets started with what was called the TIGER data set (from the U.S. government and in the public domain) many years back. I’m guessing the error was introduced back then and no one caught it.
Initially, CoPilot didn’t do as nice a job remember what it was doing when forced to exit then reenter the application as it’s competition did, but improvements in this area are promised soon along with improved GPS performance and real time (live) traffic (for a premium fee).
Overall, my initial impressions are positive – especially for the price. Although CoPilot doesn’t quite have the high-resolution appearance of it’s competition, it is solid and friendly and easy to use and CoPilot should definitely be on your list when looking for navigation services for your iPhone, especially if you are working with a small budget. ALK promises a map update soon, as well, so it can potentially be a really good value.
Be on the look out for our full review of CoPilot coming soon. CoPilot is available from the AppStore for $34.99.