Waze is a new take on the traditional sat nav apps we’re all familiar with. There are two major differences; one, the maps are not stored on the device (although recently visited areas are cached on the device I believe) and two, the incidents on the maps (traffic, adverse weather etc) are populated by other Waze users.
I already use Copilot on the Iphone 4 and currently subscribe to their Live Traffic option which costs approximately £10 per annum. Could Waze save on this and provide a free alternative ?
The bottom line is ‘Not for me at the moment’. The app itself is easy to use, as you can see from the image above, the purple route is where I need to go and current speed, time and distance to destination, next junction and current road are clearly presented.
The symbol in the bottom LH corner gives you access to all the settings. The bottom RH corner’s ‘Exclamation Mark’ gives you access to the Reporting screen. This screen is where you can report traffic jams, accidents, speed cameras etc and even start mapping areas that aren’t currently displayed properly on the map you’re using. A really clever part of the app is that it’ll detect when your speed drops for more than approx 30 seconds and ask you if you’re in a traffic jam. If you confirm as such then it adds a ‘Slow traffic’ icon to that part of the map along with your current speed. Other Waze users can then see this information.
It’s also possible to collect points whilst travelling by aiming for the cupcakes dotted around the map. These never appeared on my direct route and on the way to work I don’t want to be late due to diverting to run over a cupcake !
After my first day of using Waze (my daily commute to and from work), I really enjoyed using the app. I added some traffic jams to the map and saw one other area of slow moving traffic appear on my map just off my direct route. This demonstrated that at least one other person in the area was using Waze. And therein lies my first issue. You’re relying on other users inputting the information. If my route says there are no traffic jams on my way to work, is this true or is it because nobody’s using Waze in the area ?
The other issue is the rerouting aspect of the app. There are several routes I can drive home and I know them all very well. Waze doesn’t seem to and will go out of its way to reroute me around towns and villages where going through a town, legally, at 40mph is the quickest and most direct route. The FAQ on the website stats that Waze will learn your routes and suggest the best one. I will continue to test this and update this review if the situation improves
For these reasons, I can’t see Waze replacing the Copilot app in the immediate future. However, if you’re in an area where Waze users are plentiful and use the traffic part of the app rather than the navigation aspect, then I can really recommend the app. It’s both useful and fun to use. I will continue to test the app as this review contains my initial impressions and update any content that changes.
NB I was initially concerned about data usage regarding the app having to download maps as I progressed. To give you a rough idea, a 45 minute, 30 mile journey used about 1.5MB of data.