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Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

Melbourne
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54 posts
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Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

Hope you can help. I have tried searching the forum for the answer but I am even more confused. I am travelling from Australia to California in June and will be hiring a car for a total of 14 days (2 different hires). I will also be travelling from Flagstaff airport via Grand Canyon to Las Vegas (3 days). I hope to be using an offline app on my iPhone or iPad. I will be buying some data for my iPhone as I will be needing to use so I can use limited data. Is it worth paying the money for Sygic (it is currently on special) or is Google Maps likely to be sufficient? I use google maps in Australia and it gives me turn by turn instructions - do I need lane change features etc driving in the USA? Also does anyone know the difference between the US Sygic and North America apps? Does the North America include Canada? - I was unable to determine on the detail tab. I have driven in Canada and Hawaii and am fairly confident in driving on the opposite side of the road. Thanks for your time, Cynthia

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

Have a look at Navfree... no data plan needed.

Melbourne
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2. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

Thanks for this suggestion, I had looked at this for Australia and it had terrible reviews. The USA app reviews are a lot more favourable so I may give it a go.

Hampshire, United...
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for Eastleigh, Winchester
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3. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

NavFree has had a number of problem reports on its forums following the latest release so you may need to wait for those to be fixed if you have problems with it.

I did use it in the Melbourne area last month without problems so try it out locally first.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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4. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

I have used Google maps on my iPhone when in that part of the world (including Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon) and it worked flawlessly. No data connection required but you probably want a car charger (for the lighter) as the use of maps drains the battery a lot. So I don't see the point of spending money for something else or learning a new piece of software. You can also pre-enter some locations on your computer beforehand.

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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5. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

To save the potential data suck on your iPhone, think about purchasing a cheap GPS (Garmin, TomTom, etc.) on your arrival. Or, look at the add-on cost with the rental car company. In all likelihood, the $100 you spend on a cheap GPS will be less than what you might end up sucking in data.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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39,737 posts
815 reviews
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6. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

Once again, Google Maps works on GPS satellites. There is no data usage.

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
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4,865 posts
104 reviews
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7. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

Last time I checked with Google you could download maps for a region but not for entire state/country - so you would need to preplan which areas you needed to download.

While you don't need a data connection to follow a route you do need a data connection to calculate a route or to recalculate should you deviate from the planned route.

The data load for route calculation is not huge so provided you have downloaded the maps ahead of time use of Google shouldn't use too much data but it is not zero.

Navfree, Sygic et al can do route calculation off-line so there is no data usage at all unless you use Google to search for your destination. Navfree has quite a limited off-line POI database so I tend to search for likely destination and save them to Navfree favourites ahead of a trip.

My Acer B1 tablet doesn't have any 3G support and only connects via WiFi so I have to be sensitive to which apps require a data connection and which will work offline!

Sherbrooke, Canada
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39,737 posts
815 reviews
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8. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

I used Google maps for three weeks in the Southwest US and it worked fine. You download the route at the hotel via wifi before you go. If you go off course or change your mind along the way then you can always turn data back on for 5 seconds. Still cheaper than biying a new device.

I also have Navfree on my iPhone and iPad but it is not very stable so I keep it as back up only.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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9. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

Just to be clear, what I mean is that there are many free options with an iPhone (or Android phone) that one does not need to buy another device. There are many apps that work with the phones and they do not need data. Navfree is one of them, Google Maps also and several others. Each app has its plus and minus, up to you to choose. But no need to sped money.

Detroit, MI
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for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
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10. Re: Sygic v Google Maps for California Road trip

I love Google maps, but for a long road trip I greatly prefer a real automotive GPS.

Phones use Assisted GPS, meaning that they find their rough location using cell towers, then zero in with the more accurate satellite signals. With data off, it can take a LONG time to acquire your location. Turning data on for a few minutes to get a lock or update a map is a risk of forgetting to turn it back off and running up a big data charge.

Keeping the GPS radio along with the display, bluetooth, etc. running (if desired) can be a huge battery drain. You need to be sure you have a fast charger that can keep up - I have had some that will still drain the battery even when plugged in. I have also had the issue where my phone has accidentally come unplugged and the battery drained quickly. That is a potential risk if you don't realize your phone is dead until two minutes after you break down in Death Valley.

I would not buy any phone GPS apps - Google Maps works just fine. If you want to invest, I would find a cheap Garmin or Tom Tom unit. Even used would be fine. Check Ebay - the Australia site has Garmin Nuvi units as low as $50 AUD. After your trip, sell it again on Ebay.