Like many of you, I use my phone for everything! One area I have had mixed results is in GPS turn by turn navigation. The apps tend to be on the pricey side, and they just usually do not have the same feature set found in a stand alone unit. I love my Garmin Nuvi and use it often, but there are times it is not with me and I need another option. I have tried several app options on my iPhone, but have not been satisfied with the lack of features and the terrible sounding voices. Dynavix promises to bring plenty of features and extras and even better voices to the iPhone with their new navigation experience. I recently spent some time with the app. Let’s see how it stacks up.
One of the first things I noticed with Dynavix, is that it is easy to use. There are tons of options for everything from appearance to routes, to sound and everything in between. Despite all of the possibilities, I had no problems adjusting what I wanted to and making the app work correctly. Below is a list of some of these features from the developer. Of course, I will not bore you with a review of all of the details, but I will highlight some of the features that made the application fun and useful for my uses.
- Exceptional user experience with simple
and intuitive user interface
- Turn-by-Turn navigation with precise voice
- Direct calling POIs or destination
- Direct access and navigation to the contacts saved
in the iPhone’s address book
- Lane assistant
- Alternate route and Block passage function
- Speed assistant with audio-visual warning
- Postcode navigation
- Google Local Search
- Connection via Bluetooth with other devices
(f.e. car audio system).
- Integrated iPod control
- Take Me Home function
- Intelligent address entry
- POI searching near your position, along
the route and near the target
- Background navigation instructions
- Assistance with direct help dialog
- Automatic resumption of navigation after
an incoming phone call
- 2D and 3D map displays (bird’s-eye view)
- Easy route planning (supporting multi-point-route)
- Tunnel mode for continuous navigation
through tunnels and underpasses
- Navigation to geographic coordinates
- 3D landmarks of significant buildings
- Comfortable map browning and exploration
in full detail
- Automatic route recalculation
- Location sharing via e-mail
- Speed camera warnings
- Selectable 3D car models
- Day and night mode (automatic adjustable)
- …and much more…
As the list shows, there is plenty of features to make this app as detailed as needed for each trip.
The photo above shows the simplicity of the main menu. Find a target or POI, map a route via waypoints and stops, check out the map or navigate home. Basically, almost all of the navigation features can be accessed and adjusted from this screen. Having four choices makes learning to use the GPS much quicker and easier for new users. The bottom of the menu screen accesses contacts if addresses are entered, the settings for appearances and voices etc…, and extras.
Again, four options are available in the settings menu. Map Mode sets the map as day, night or automatic. In automatic, the view will change according to the time of use. The sound menu changes volume and alert tones which can be set for individual points of interest. The design menu allows for customization of everything from backgrounds to map views and font sizes for street names. The developers truly allow each user to set up the app to their own unique specifications. Most of this does not affect the actual function of the navigation, but we all love to customize and tinker with design.
The Region option is used to set the languages and voices. I am impressed with the quality of the voices. All of the expressions sound natural and flowing. Each language includes a different voice complete with correct accents and annunciations. The default for American English is the male voice which sounds awesome, but I recommend you try the American English female voice. You will be reminded of George Costanza’s mother’s voice from Seinfeld and entertained with her wit and funny comments while navigating. This does lead me to believe that other optional voices might be available in the future. I never actually thought much about the GPS voices until I used the Dynavix application. The high quality, tone filled voices make a pleasant difference.
The Extra tab in the menu offers a couple of the most interesting features of the Dynavix app. First is an option to download 3D buildings. Of course, the country maps will include thousands of buildings, so there is an option to download just the state you prefer. I am a country boy, so there are no buildings in my immediate area. I had the application simulate a drive to the Alamo in San Antonio and I was impressed with the details and appearance of the buildings included. Many of the downtown San Antonio spots, including the Alamo Dome, Tower of Americas and The Alamo are found on the map. I will include a few images below. There is also a button for Assistance. The screen will show both your relative and absolute location and buttons for quick searches for many types of emergencies. Hopefully none of you would ever need these, but they could come in handy in a time of need.
With the pictures of the maps, we are brought to the burning question. How does Dynavix perform as a navigation tool? I tested the application while also using my Garmin standalone unit and found it to be accurate and extremely similar in choices of routes and POI availability. Most of the differences were found way out in the country while I was headed to the deer blind. In towns and cities, it seems to perform just as good as any other device or application I have used. The maps were up to date and tracking was accurate. In fact, with the extra features and ability to customize, I find myself using Dynavix often. That is not something I can say for many of the other IOS navigation applications. The voices are usable while using the iPod feature and also work in the background which is a great feature. The only negative issue I have is that the voice does not speak street names, but announces upcoming turns with distances. This is not a deal breaker, but I prefer to hear the name of the street so I do not have to take my eyes off of the road and make sure the turn is going to the correct street. When choosing a route, there are three methods of getting where you want to go. Clever Route, Fast Route and Short Route options will determine where the app takes you.
Dynavix for the iPhone and iPad is truly a breath of fresh air for on phone navigation. The application is intuitive and cleverly designed with the user in mind. Make this app your own with all of the options and features while still having an accurate and fast GPS navigation solution for IOS. Keep in mind that the maps are stored locally on the phone so keep plenty of available hard drive space. Also remember, this feature means the maps are fast, accurate and always work. You can find out more information plus learn more about the many features I could not include in this review at the Dynavix website. Maps for many countries are available with various pricing.
What I like: Intuitive controls and menus making the app simple to use. The voices are clear and clean. Tons of features make the app able to be what I want it to be.
What could be improved: Spoken street names!!!