“You have exceeded the speed limit by sixty six kilometres per hour“, a calm British voice proudly announced to my train carriage. As I scrambled for the volume, a concerning thought crossed my mind; what if the app was actually referring to the train’s speed? We were going pretty fast. What if the driver had snapped and planned to plough us into Dublin station in a blaze of twisted metal? What if he’d fallen unconscious on the accelerator? Was I (finally) going to have to become Denzel Washington in Unstoppable? As it turned out, no (or not yet). But one criticism you certainly cannot level at Sygic’s freshly updated GPS Navigational app for iOS is that it’s not safety conscious. So, an impressive start.
Sygic GPS is the world’s most installed offline navigation app, and is all the better for being free, which is quite surprising really considering the amount of content and value you get from it. The major selling point here is the word ‘offline’; because you can’t always rely on a secure internet connection, especially in a place where you might require GPS the most, the constant availability of these highly detailed maps is a huge bonus. But while it’s arguably the foundation of this classy little number, it’s merely the beginning of what this expansive app has to offer.
Let’s start with the maps. 111 different countries are included with the app, although you have to download each separately. This is actually a great system, as the maps are so comprehensive they take up a lot of memory space. So you can just download the maps applicable to you, deleting and mixing as required. Each map comes with a variety of POIs (places of interest), and this new version comes with a fully updated road index. A new Travelbook feature ensures that vital stats about your journeys are logged and assessed, allowing you to make the optimum decision regarding your frequent routes.
Circling back on the safety aspect, the new update features an interesting new feature called BlackBox, which has apparently been tested and approved by Skoda. BlackBox is a crash detection system which will automatically save videos of accidents. While not something you’d immediately wish for from your GPS system, it is undeniably inventive; I can think of a number of situations where it would be useful, and though I’m keen to put it the test, I fear a speeding train is not the place to instigate an assessment. Following on from that, Sygic also features an index of emergency services, and will provide you with the nearest one, a feature which presumably kicks in automatically after the crash detector. The main function of Sygic is of course GPS though, and in that area, it excels. For those looking for a detailed, comprehensive navigation system with reams of content and helpful features, they needn’t navigate themselves any further than Sygic.