With turn-by-turn GPS built into almost every Android device on the market, you couldn't be blamed for asking yourself why you should pay $2 for a service that comes standard with your phone. But TrackyGPS is much more then a new skin for Google Maps; with features like Google Navigator integration, route planer and a detailed interface, TrackyGPS woos customers with added functionality.
But can Tracky GPS navigation +compass win over the directionally-challenged AndroidPIT staff? Or did its designers lose their way? Find out in today's review.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Test Device: Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
Android Version: 2.3.4
TrackyGPS comes in at a svelte 975 KB mean, which is both easy on your internal memory and data plan at the same time. As much as you'd expect with a professionally designed app, the install was painless and the app launched quickly and was generally very responsive.
While you could be quick to compare TrackyGPS with Android's standard Google Maps service, TrackyGPS' features an extensive pallet of functions including:
- Navigation integration
- Maps (Online and offline)
- Trip computer
- Record points of interest (POIs)
- Record tracks
- Search POIs/tracks
- Store POIs/tracks
- POIs/tracks (GPX)
- Live tracking (TrackMe)
Of course many of these features are available with other free Android resources so why on Earth would you spend $2 on something you can get for free? To put it simply: because Tracky does it better. TrackyGPS' programmers have packed every function in their navigation packed with as much information as a single person could have care to have. Take the compass for example. Not only does it show magnetic north, but also speed, altitude, heading, distance to target (in navigation mode) attitude and even G-force. And the grab bag of functionality doesn't stop there. The basic map is not only fitted with said compass but latitude/longitude, distance estimator, and personal orientation guides that, once you get over the learning curve, make it nigh on impossible to get lost with TrackGPS. Not only can you use the maps as a root planner and pedometer but you can quickly and easily switch from TrackyGPS to Android's integrated navigation function.
But with the good– and there is an awful lot of that– there is a bit of bad. First and foremost, TrackyGPS is a complicated app. With so much functionally and the constraints of a small-ish screen, Tracky's interface is a bit complicated and takes a while to get used to. Of course, a learning curve doesn't make Tracky a bad app ( and as much information as TrackyGPS presents, I don't know how they would have been able to make it any more efficient) but you do have to prepare yourself for an hour or two of work before you get a handle on all of the app's possibilities. But if the developers add a short orientation when you start up the app, it would probably help do away with the learning curve.
Another aspect that might seem like a nitpick but TrackyGPS is an app you also have to remember to close. If you don't quick the app when you close the window it keeps running in the background, which drains battery life faster then you might want. Of course, that makes sense for an app that is supposed to tell you where you are all the time, but a reminder to quit when you no longer need the app certainly wouldn't hurt.
The Brass Tax:
Tracky GPS navigation +compass was a hard sell at first as I didn't see the need for a new version of functionality I already had but the app was able to win me over with the combination of attention to detail and the sheer volume of information the app provides. While much of the information provided might not be needed for everyone the serious traveler would do well to take a look at TrackyGPS. From hikers to athletes, long distance drivers to backpackers, TrackyGPS is a great app for people who are always on the go.
Screen & Controls
As I said above, though I am generally impressed with the app, I did have some difficulty navigating though the various screen. Of course, once you get your head around the controls, the app was fairly straight forward and well organized. It's just Tracky GPS navigation +compass' initial learning curve that can be a bit intimidating.
Speed & Stability
Tracky GPS navigation +compass was generally very responsive to commands and any lag with load times was most likely due to my poor quality wifi connection. However the app did crash twice while I was using it so I can't give full points for stability.
Around $2.50 for the whole Tracky GPS navigation +compass package is a steal. While most might be satisfied with Google Maps free navigation software, anyone looking for something more would be hard pressed to find TrackyGPS-level quality for such a low price.