A while ago we presented the Be on Road iPhone app, and now I decided to put it at work on an Android smartphone. It’s a free download from Google Play and also quickly install. In a few minutes we have an offline navigation app with a voice guide.
Interface and map
The interface is ok, the map screen is focused on the route to follow, and there are no unnecessary elements. The colors chosen are sufficiently visible without disturbing, and don’t have unnecessarily disturbing tones. Pressing the settings icon on the right side, allows us to change the map zoom, the display angle and visual settings.
From the bottom right button, we enter the main menu, which has large buttons easy to use even when the smartphone is placed in the car holder.
The icons used to display the landmarks on the map are somehow too small, and hardly noticeable, and 3D shapes of buildings are too summarily defined to have any utility.
Menu and using the application
The menu is simple and accessible. Searching for a destination is done the classic way (city, street, house number), not having available an intelligent way as other navigation browsers.
A limitation of this application happens when searching for points of interest. If you try to look for a location in a particular city, you are required to enter a full address, completed with street, etc. Similarly, the points of interest categories are not organized very ok, it is quite complicated to find your favorite locations.
Be on Road has introduced an experimental search (still in beta stage) that allows a person searching a person from Contacts, and generating a route to the location where that person is.
Onscreen keyboard for entering addresses is more special, being somewhat hard to get used to the keys, different in shape in portrait mode, or the spacebar placed in the left corner.
If we pass these issues, we arrive at the route calculation which is very fast. Generated routes are correct, as a calculus algorithm and adding an intermediary point is as simple as it is in the iGO app for example.
A minus would be the lack of viewing a demo of the route before leaving towards your destination.
Maps are free ( using Open Street Map source), but not so accurate as premium maps ( Tomtom, Here).
On driver alerts, we only have available warnings for speeding, or if we want to be alerted when approaching the favorite locations.
The voice guide is ok for free software, but sometimes it happens that some words overlap generating an unclear indication.
Not many premium features on this Android app, so not much to spend. Just to mention one, namely the HUD, allowing projection on the windshield of navigational routes just like in the luxury cars.
The Be On Road app is quite popular among Android smartphone users, and we can say that is successful. It’s free, the maps and route generation algorithm are very ok, and it is a navigation application quite easy to use. But it has many cons mentioned above, and we already have better alternatives on the market.
Maybe an update, that brings an interface more ok when entering addresses, and a typical virtual keyboard might keep this app on the list of popular and free navigation applications for Android devices.