Hands-on with Nokia Maps 1.3 and Nokia Drive 2.0 for Windows Phone

Nokia recently updated its premiere navigation apps for the Nokia Lumia range, Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive. We’ve been getting to grips with the changes and additions, and thought we’d bring you our early impressions. Read on to find out what you’ll be getting.

Nokia Drive review

Both Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive were already wonderful apps that were a pleasure to use day to day. With these latest updates, though, they’ve become even better!

Nokia Maps 1.3

Nokia Maps 1.3 adds some of the features that we’ve been hankering for since we first booted up our Nokia Lumia 800. Chief among them has to be a favourites function. The good news is, it’s been integrated as seamlessly as we have come to expect from Nokia and the Windows Phone team. Simply open the Nokia Maps app up and you’ll notice straight away that there’s a third icon at the bottom of the screen – a little favourites star.

Go into this and, of course, it’ll be empty. You need to add some, silly! To do so just go into any location detail page (press on the little black speech bubbles that appear when you select a location) and hit the new add button at the bottom. You’ll be asked if you want to call it something different, then it’ll be added to your list. Now when you open up favourites you’ll see a list of saved locations, including the address and how far away they are from your present location. Touching one jumps you straight to the location detail page. It works well, and there’s always something great about seeing your steadily accumulating favourites appear as stars on the zoomed-out map view.

Another fine addition to Nokia Maps 1.3 is the Traffic view. Tap on the Map Options button and you’ll see there’s a fourth category for traffic. This view is much like the default Map view, but it includes live information on slow-moving traffic. You don’t get specific details, just an easy-to-follow colour-coded system – Green for good, Yellow for slow, red for major hold-ups. It’s perfect for a quick glance prior to setting off for somewhere.

You can also now share any routes you make in Nokia Maps with others. View a route and bring up the info pane and you’ll see a new Share option at the bottom. From here you can send a link of your chosen route within the Nokia Maps browser client via email or your social network of choice. This is accompanied by a cute “I should be there in X minutes” message. We like!

Oh, and just one more new feature that we tested out – public transport route planning. When you do this in Nokia Maps, a little speech bubble will now appear near every change-over point. Tap this and you’ll get more information on the name of the waypoint and what you need to do to progress with your journey. All very helpful.

Nokia Drive 2.0

Onto Nokia Drive now, and the improvements are less numerous but just as useful. It might be a little irksome that you have to re-download your maps again, but it’s well worth it. Why? Because now you can access them while completely offline!

Try searching for a place with no network connection and you’ll be told you can’t connect, but will then be offered the opportunity to ‘search offline’. If you’re travelling in low-signal areas, or want to switch to airplane mode while abroad to save on roaming costs, this is just perfect. It makes Nokia Drive even more dependable, and thus shuffles your sat nav even closer to the door (if you haven’t booted it out already).

You’ll also notice a new icon at the bottom of the map view that looks like a speed sign. Nokia Maps now monitors the speed limit for the road you’re on, and by default it will play an audio alert to inform you if you exceed it. This can be switched off altogether, or tweaked to only notify you if you exceed the limit by a certain amount, and can be done for limits that are both over and under 50mph. It’s a welcome feature, as it’s something that can be found in all top sat nav systems, and is a potential money and license (not to mention life) saver.

We’re extremely impressed with Nokia Maps 1.3 and Nokia Drive 2.0. It might sound like a bit of a cliche, but the best really did just get a whole a lot better. You should receive an update notice for each in your Marketplace app, so give those a tap and get downloading! Remember when re-downloading your maps in Nokia Drive that they’re pretty hefty files – Wi-Fi recommended!

What do you think of the new updates? What would you like from the next updates? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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