The debate about the legality of speed camera apps is not yet complete, but the fact is: they are still used by many motorists. Radar Beep will keep you informed about safety cameras and speed camera traps while driving. How the app performs in practice though, you can read in the following review.
- ✓Bluetooth startup configuration for external navigation devices
- ✓Reliable notifications
- ✓Intuitive user interface
- ✕No connection with Google Maps navigation is possible
- ✕No traffic report
|Tested on||Android Version||Root||Modifications||Tested version||Latest version|
|Google Nexus 5||4.4.2||No||1.0.3||18.104.22.168|
Features & Use
Radar Beep is an app that warns you of approaching speed cameras and radar traps. With the launch of the app you activate a background process that scans the environment for safety cameras. So the information is as current as possible, when you load the app at first you'll be prompted to download a file with corresponding radar control positions. You set your country as a defualt and there are packages for the United States as well as many different countries in Europe. You can check how much speed camera data is available for each country via the national table.
Your exact location is recorded by GPS. A map shows where you find yourself and speed cameras are marked with corresponding icons in the map. As you approach a warning point, a beep from the app will increase in intensity as you get closer and closer to the trap. A large display will keep you informed about the prescribed speed for the area you're currently in. In addition, you will be shown the type of speed trap coming up, your current speed and how far away the speed camera still is.
In the test, the app warned of upcoming speed cameras very well. If you do not have your phone connected via Bluetooth to a navigation device and have not selected a specific route the app will just show you alerts for speed cameras in the area. Since the app shows a lot of potential safety cameras though, the message density can be correspondingly high and not always apply to the road on which you find yourself or even plan to take. Getting alerts for a specific route only is possible only in conjunction with a navigation device. Unfortunately, this does not apply to Google Maps and its navigation system. Connection to an external device must be done via Bluetooth.
In most cases too, the app alerts you to possible speed traps. This means many of the speed cameras you're being warned about are no longer current or accurate, but simply possible. Freshly mapped speed traps on the other hand are only displayed if you have updated to the most current data package.
Note: About the legal use of speed camera apps: it is your responsibility to arm yourself with the relevant information regarding the legality of using an app such as this in your local area. Local law enforcement may fine you for using an app or device that displays speed camera locations and radar traps. Also, you should not use an app such as this as an excuse to disobey speed limits. Driving safely at all times is the best solution.
Screen & Controls
The user interface of radar beep is very clean and clear. The background map (Google Maps) can be zoomed in on as much as necessary and you can check up in advance where possible cameras could be lying in wait along your route. Your current speed is displayed over a large area at the top of the screen for easy visibility. Warnings are also nice and large and include all important information. In the settings you can decide exactly what you want to be alerted about in the app. In addition to fixed radars and possible mobile speed cameras there are some other warning categories, including, for example, a radar section, possible police checks and other 'danger' points.
The notifications for each category can be adapted individually. You can turn off notifications for all but a few special special warnings, or you assign a notification or an additional tone to them. Voice notifications can also be enabled. The app is configured quickly and easily and worked first time in the test. For quick access, there is also a widget.
Speed & Stability
In my tests, Radar Beep worked very well and accurately. Most of the possible radars were not currently present, but the app's warning of excessive speed was, in every, case, offered with plenty of time to safely slow down before any traps. A stable internet connection and a good GPS signal are absolutely necessary in order to take advantage of the app on the whole route though. Battery consumption and data usage on my mobile network were limited.
The app is available for free and includes a banner ad at the bottom of the screen. If you want to remove this, you can donate any amount above a dollar to the developer.
Radar Beep reliably delivers maps with all sorts of mobile radars, permanently installed cameras and other traffic control alerts. Even when a possible camera does not end up appearing, it is better to be safe than sorry and it doesn't hurt anyone to stick to the speed limit. One of the most impressive features of the app is the simple interface and quick setup. Compared to the competition, there are still some functions, such as congestion indicators and warnings of certain dangers, that would be a useful addition for Radar Beep. Google Maps navigation support would also be more desirable than the necessity for a Bluetooth connection to an external navigation device in order to receive notifications while using turn-by-turn navigation. All in all though, the app does what it does well and therefore scores a neat four stars out of five. There's room for improvement, but as far as the basics go, it's all good.
(originally by Christiane Scherch)