I thought I'd give maps on my WP, iOS and Android devices a bit of a twirl today. We were heading off to the south coast for a walk along the Seven Sisters (doesn’t need much in the way of complex map reading!). I took my Nokia 1520, iPhone 5s and HTC One m7. It wasn't a very scientific or in-depth comparison (I wanted to enjoy the walk). But it was enough for me to choose which device I'd prefer to use.
The map apps I was using today:
- iPhone 5s: I had Google maps, Apple maps & 'Many maps' (which gives side by side access to Google maps, Bing, Google, Nokia Here and OpenTouch maps). I also have 'OutDoors' (I forgot about the rather daft 100mb download limit when not on wifi that Apple has). To date I've been using the Google maps app on the iPhone rather than Apple's map.
- HTC One m7: I was using Google maps (I also have the 'OutDoors' app for OS maps).
- Nokia 1520 I had Nokia Here/Bing maps (which seem to use the same data but show different aspects) and online OS maps (the offline OS map app seems to have been removed- perhaps a licensing issue).
Part 1: Using phone directions to get out of the city to the to the Seven sisters coastal walk
- iPhone 5s (o2) - Apple maps great. Press to where want to go and rotates responsively and accurately with clear online directions. Small hand set size of iPhone ideal for using whilst walking and the screen is readable outdoors. Touchid makes it very quick to access.
- HTC One (Three payg) - google maps very good. Though layout not as clear as the iPhone's apple maps (which has larger text, very clear directions etc). However, bright sunlight made the HTC One nearly impossible to read and I had to stop using it eventually.
- Nokia 1520 (Three) quick map, clear route though no voice directions walking. Quite big to hold one handed and walk along but great screen for reading in sunlight and big- making it easier to see more of what was around.
Overall winner for me in the city: very surprisingly (to me) Apple maps on the iPhone was the winner -clearest directions and well suited for using one handed whilst walking.
Part 2: walking along the coast
- iPhone- very good at showing accurately where I was. But a bit small for seeing what was around. And satellite images rendered more slowly than on the HTC One or 1520.
- HTC One- let down by poor outdoor visibility- though when shaded it was fine with Google maps. Not quite as good as pinpointing my precise location accurately ( could be hardware of course).
- Nokia 1520- great screen for reading maps- large and easy to read in bright sunlight. Very, very quick to render satellite images (possibly because I'd already downloaded the free UK maps)- quicker than google maps (on the HTC and google maps on the 1520).
Overall winner for me going for a walk along the coast today: Nokia 1520. The large screen, very visible in bright sunlight gave this the edge. The satellite maps were rendered very, very fast using Bing maps.
(Non mapping aside: we travelled to the coast by train - the 1520 was great as an entertainment device for us due to its large screen eg for looking through the photos. Camerawise, I liked several of the photos on the 1520. Though some of the iPhone 5s photos actually looked better. As we headed home the iphone and HTC were at about 25% battery. The 1520 battery wasn't even at 70%. Today reinforced, to me, the benefit of having a large and a small device alongside each other (if you can). Though if I was to have only 1 device for today's journey I'd have probably plumped for the Samsung s5, LG G3, Sony Z2 or Nokia 930 (each for slightly different reasons- the upcoming 5.5" iPhone 6 will be very interesting).