The gist: Just like regular Google Maps (think: easy-to-read routes and live, color-coded traffic conditions), except now it talks. And it does so in the most pleasant, crystal-clear voice of all the apps tested.
Nice surprise: Want to stop for lunch? Check Zagat restaurant reviews right on the app.
Biggest minus: It’s bare-bones basic; other apps on the market offer more exciting features, like clever accents and tips on speed traps.
For: Apple iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices.
Cost: $50 for the app; add-on features (such as speed cams and traffic updates) are $5 to $40 each.
Best for: The driver who wants to leave nothing to chance.
The gist: The basic app will get you from point A to point B, but the coolest stuff is to be found in the extras: one guides you on foot to nearby public transportation stops; another helps you avoid congested roads.
Nice surprise: The “reality scanner” uses your phone’s camera to provide a helpful look at your surroundings—noting, say, which nearby buildings contain ATMs.
Biggest minus: The costs add up, as does the memory usage on your smartphone if you load it with extras.
Cost: Basic app is free; premier package (which includes info on speed traps) is $5 a month or $25 a year.
Best for: The social butterfly.
The gist: Looking for a nearby theme park or sushi restaurant? Use this app, with easy one-touch buttons, to send real-time ETA updates to friends you plan to meet. Then find the right restaurant or bar for your rendezvous.
Nice surprise: A built-in local-events calendar, complete with a section for kids’ activities.
Biggest minus: Drab-looking maps with a faded palette.