We’ve recently tested a free and extremely popular GPS navigation app for smartphone and tablet with over 10 million downloads in Google Play – the MapFactor GPS Navigation. The app is available for most platforms from Android to Windows CE.
It comes with the option of using Open Street Map which are free or maps provided by TomTom maps, however you must pay for them. Of course most of you will opt for the free maps, but those of you who need more accurate data, as well as maps which include truck restrictions should choose the paid maps.
MapFactor Gps Navigation for Android is an app which seems simple at first sight. The menu consists of a single page where we can choose a destination, route information, map view and a secondary menu where we can simulate a route or receive data about satellite connection.
At the bottom of the screen we can access the app’s settings and the section where we can download new maps or delete those we don’t need anymore. It is worth mentioning that MapFactor Gps Navigation can be installed both on the memory card and on the internal memory of the smartphone.
The map is displayed full- screen and uses basic colours which can be adjusted in the settings. However, you can’t preview these colours, so after choosing a certain colour scheme you will have to go back to the map screen to be able to view the result.
The route is easy to follow of a vivid green colour, and the font used to display street names or points of interest can be enlarged as well from the settings menu for those who need this info. We can also switch from 2D to 3D mode from the bottom right corner and on the left we have displayed the next 2 manoeuvres we need to do.
The bottom bar of the map is made up of 3 fields which can be modified as we like to display any information we choose to have there. For instance we can choose to see: our driving speed, the length of our route, altitude, or any other GPS data.
In order to zoom in or out on the map we have the pinch-and-zoom feature, but unfortunately we have noticed that the sensitivity isn’t properly adjusted and if we aren’t careful the map will zoom in and out chaotically. Fortunately, for this purpose we can also us the + and – buttons which appear on the left when tapping the screen.
Routing options, navigation mode and maps
As said above MapFactor Gps Navigation for Android uses Open Street Maps which are free, or TomTom maps which you have to pay for. For routing you can choose between various profiles of the vehicle: car, bus, bicycle and even truck. Pedestrian mode is also available on MapFactor.
Let’s talk a little about Truck mode which is a rare feature on free GPS apps for Android. We have to mention that truck mode routing works accurately, taking into account the restrictions it has only if we have the TomTom maps because in OSM there aren’t many restrictions included for such vehicles.
In truck mode we can set: maximum speed, gross weight, length, weight per axle, height as well as ADR or better said hazardous material.
Car and pedestrian mode
The Mapfactor's engine has chosen the best way to reach a destination, but there were some situations in which the calculated route wasn’t the best there could have been. Certainly as for any self-respected GPS software you can also choose waypoints to personalize the route. The route can be calculated in the 3 ways: fast, short or cheapest fuel-wise.
Unfortunately there aren’t any alternative routes and only the manual adjustments of the route can show us other available options.
Another interesting feature of this software is the possibility to customize the restrictions for different types of roads: you can limit the maximum allowed speed on the highway, local roads and much more. We can also set a distance for the alert when going over the maximum allowed speed or when to be warned about radars.
It’s safe to say that although at first sight it seems like a simple app, MapFactor Gps Navigator can be customized in a complex way, adjusting the routing mode to our chosen destination in great detail.
MapFactor Gps Navigation enters the top free apps for Android smartphones and tablets, but as is the case of any app it has both advantages and disadvantages which we will sum up below.
The free maps provided by OSM are quite good, and have a complete database for points of interest for the regular user. The screen of the map is uncluttered and the calculated routes can be minutely customized according to the type of road or vehicle chosen for routing.
Truck mode is welcomed and even sought by professional drivers who own a smartphone that has this navigation mode included.
Turn-by-Turn Voice Guidance is also included for free in the package as are radar cameras which can be downloaded free of charge .
Of course there are some drawbacks that stand out from MapFactor Gps Navigation. Truck routing mode is not useful unless you purchase TomTom maps, so you must reach for your wallet.
On route calculation we were not offered alternative routes along the main, in order to choose one to our liking.
Last but not least zooming in or out on the map by using pinch and zoom does not work properly enlarging the map too much if we don’t act slow enough. This is a highly noticeable issue especially if you try to view certain areas while the smartphone is in its dedicated car holder and the zoom starts behaving chaotically.
We conclude here by noting that its disadvantages, although present, do not greatly affect its utility which is revealed and by its very good ratings from users.