Review: Nav4All – Free GPS Navigation Software

Nav4allreview_mainReview: Nav4All Free GPS Navigation Software
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 8/10
Link:
www.nav4all.com
Cost: Free!!!

Wow !! Free GPS navigation software with voice? Almost sounds too good to be true…. but Nav4All makes the claim. All you need is a BlackBerry equipped with GPS and a sense of adventure.

Is it as good as TeleNav at ten dollars a month ? After testing I have to say it comes pretty darn close. Although the interface is a bit basic it actually has features TeleNav doesn’t have. Nav4All has all the features TeleNav has such as turn by turn voice directions as well as a compass. Points of interest, view route and search address are also in there. Nav4All is international and multi language. You can easily switch between kilometers and miles. The “Navigate to” menu gives you many options including navigating to a GPS position and coordinates.

Features such as “Where am I ?”, “Flag-it” and “Plan from A to B” are nice. I also like the “Remember my location” and “Remember my parking space” features. The adjustable voice volume is a plus.

There is an adjustable light setting for day and night, although the night view is a bit reminiscent of a dumb terminal session it is easily viewable in the dark.

There are nine different driving styles offered. I for one especially like the bicycle route style being a biker myself. The maps are also a bit basic but effective. All said and done it compares well with BlackBerry Maps and Google maps. Google maps do have the satellite views which Nav4All does not.

The turn by turn navigation screen again is a bit simple but decent. Only issue I have here is the time shows in military time and it does not display your ETA.

I do however like the list of quick buttons. Which give you easy access to features.

Nav4All also offers a very nice web service called “My World”. Also free, it allows you to create a profile and share all of your travel information with family and friends, such as routes, locations, pictures and maps. You can send or receive messages to friends and other members, even blog. Create your own maps and store locations. There are widgets you can use to link your profile, blog, pictures, maps and locations from other web pages. “My World” is a very nice freebie.

On the negative side the routes it provides are sometimes a bit dicey but generally pretty good. You can note navigation errors with the “Flag it” option or on your “My World” profile. The never ending scrolling on the menus can get a bit annoying as well. The menus at times can be a bit awkward and probably take some getting use too. Big negatives are it does not use street names nor does it supply traffic updates. I guess that is what you pay Telenav ten dollars a month for. If you were thinking of paying for Telenav you may want to check out Nav4All first. Nav4All also allows you to freely distribute the program even to corporate users. Not many companies do that….Overall I say it’s a bargain, but only until 2010, so take advantage.

33 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Excellent article – very well written – great write up! Thanks!

  2. Awesome! Especially for a free product. Thanks for the excellent review!

  3. Why can’t I get my nav4all to work? It says no gps coordinates.confused

  4. Nav4All also offers…

    * Unique power-saving: Nav4All turns off the screen during driving, and switches it back on when new instructions are received, whilst allowing you enough time.
    * Re-calc route – if you go off-course, Nav4All automatically calculates a new course.
    * Minimal data usage – Nav4All uses only a VERY small amount of data.
    * Support for both built-in and seperate (eg. bluetooth receivers.
    * Maps that are updated almost daily (according to the Web site).

    Furthermore, in the few months I’ve been using it, Nav4All has only given me incorrect directions twice, and one of the “test drives” I went on was in a recently-changed area…

    I have also found that Nav4All usually gets me to my destination quicker than the commercial application my service provider offers!

    They’ve gotta work on that menu though, “cause it is DEFINATELY not driver-friendly… Make sure you pull over when you want to fiddle with it.

    Corbin,

    Are you using a bluetooth or built-in GPS receiver.

    Make sure you switch your bluetooth GPS receiver on before starting the application up, and keep in mind it can take up to 2-3 minutes for the receiver to lock onto a signal… You also need to be able to see the sky.

    ~ Posted wirelessly from my BlackBerry 8800 ~

  5. After familiarizing myself with the interface, I gave this program a full test run yesterday. Long story short, I went back to Google Maps.

    This thing put me on the wrong side of town when I was trying to get to the Please Touch Museum in Philly (A place where you might not enjoy being on the wrong side of town).

    I’m deleting the program today, but it was a nice change from Google Maps with the turn by turn voiced navigation. Shame it can’t get me to my destination when I need it, something that you thing navigation software should do quite well.

  6. Hey VERIZON, this is the sort of thing we your customers want to be able to try out. We want alternatives to being locked into your feature-poor navigation app. PLEASE, free up our GPS chip so we can have options!

  7. i can not get the speaker to work on blackberry curve with nav4all. is there some function or setting i’m supposed to set?

  8. Found this program after getting my Blackberry 8800 with built-in GPS. I use it to find geocache sites (hidden containers located with a GPS). Have found more using clues than with the GPS coords. Have been sent to the wrong location several times. Wonder if there is a calibration method for the application. Google maps and BB maps show the location correctly but have no coords available. If this were accurate, this would be an ultimate program. Love the voice directions and the compass feature, just a little disappointed with the accuracy. Can’t really complain, this app was free.

  9. Verizon hasn’t blocked outside gps since last fall – update your bb os! Great rerview btw!

  10. @Tim:
    Apparently you know something the rest of the Verizon Blackberry world has yet to discover? Pray tell on what Blackberry device and using what OS (download link please) are you able to use GPS in any application other than Verizon’s own VZNavigator???

  11. http://vzw.smithmicro.com/blackberry/

    Get the newest software here. Install it, turn the Blackberry desktop software ion and plug in your unit. It will tell you that some apps are out of date and ask if you want to update them. If you load either the Blackberry maps app or Google maps it WILL pinpoint where you are. I’ve done i on both 8830 and Curve.

    8830 — BlackBerry Device Software v4.2 (updated 5/30/2008)
    8330 Curve — BlackBerry Device Software v4.3 (updated 5/7/2008)

    I don’t have access to the info on the units this second

  12. 5/30/2008 and 5/7/2008 for sure aren’t “last fall” Tim.
    There is also NOTHING in the release notes that would indicate GPS location becoming available (for free or at all) to any app other than VZNavigator.
    I will be upgrading my 8830 to the 4.2.2.196 (which Verizon calls Maintenance Release 3) just for general principles, but I have no confidence (or expectation) that it will liberate the GPS chip. I have seen rumors that by loading Bell Mobility device software (delete vendor.xml before running Desktop Manager), but when questioned the people who’ve posted making such claims never respond.

  13. When I open Google Maps on both my 8830 and my curve it immediately shows my position within 5000 feet. I am running the most current software on both units. Yes this is the third maintenance release for the 8830. My red 8830 came with the first maintenance release on it and then I updated to the second shortly after I got it. Then a couple days ago I did the third. I read somewhere online (sorry no I don’t have the link) that Verizon had quietly fixed the issue last fall because of all of the negative fallout from it. As I understand it change logs come directly from RIM so since this was something that Verizon did or made them do it might not make it into those. For the record Nav4All does not seem to work on my Curve, not sure why and haven’t tried it on the 8830. I’ve never loaded someone else’s OS on my unit and I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

  14. 5000 feet is almost a mile Tim. GPS would locate within 10-30 feet, not 5000. You are seeing cell tower triangulation, not GPS at best (Google Maps “My Location”).
    .

  15. That may be what it says but I can assure you it’s pointing right at my house so it’s much more accurate than that. I think that’s just their “guarantee”. I did it while at my church once and it was just as accurate. Make sure you have Settings > GPS > Location ON set. (default is 911 only)

  16. Tim, you are the ONLY person I can find throughout all the Blackberry sites like Crackberry, Rimarkable, etc. that is saying they have a Verizon Blackberry and GPS works in thrid party apps. Lucky you that yours works somehow, but it doesn’t work for anyone else that I can find. And for SURE hasn’t worked since “last fall” due to the bad publicity Verizon got about it. Verizon simply doesn’t CARE, the extra $10/month is apparently worth it to them versus the number of subscribers that complain and/or leave for another carrier. If there WAS another carrier that offered the phone and data service coverage I need, I would switch in a heartbeat, but there is none.

  17. >> If there WAS another carrier that offered the phone and data service coverage I need, I would switch in a heartbeat, but there is none. <<<

    Wow, that’s sad that you would abandon an otherwise excellent carrier over ONE little thing like that.

  18. I’m not so ridiculous to leave a carrier over GPS. That would be plain stupid. I have MANY complaints about Verizon, but I must have a cell phone and data service. Having tried every alternative, for the call quality and data speed/quality, Verizon (where I need them) is head and shoulders above the rest.

  19. Well, I have Verizon’s Blackberry Curve 8330 and this software does not use my internal GPS. In fact, it reports “No Reception” even though I’ve enabled it in the Blackberry’s settings.

  20. @Kevin:
    All bb’s VZW has sold for a couple years now have a GPS chip, but Verizon locks you out of using it for any app other than their extra monthly fee VZNavigator. Ridiculous. Complain to VZW customer service. They give some BS “cistomer privacy” excuse. Tell them its YOUR choice to make, not theirs!

  21. Just downloaded and love nav4all. That is when it doesn’t crash on me and make me reboot. It has done that 50% of the time

  22. Why not just buy a BT GPS reciever, and use it? I picked up a 51 channel GlobalTop? unit for 50 bucks, and it works great with Nav4All on my 8330,(within a meter). The only problem I have with the software, is that the voice turn-by-turn directions come out sounding broken and garbled, if at all. Anyone else ran into this and fixed it?

  23. Also, you can use the device’s internal GPS, it just takes almost 5 full minutes in clear sky to give you a location. It’s garbage when on the move. Go with BT reciever, definitely.

  24. @John,
    Why should I as a consumer HAVE TO buy a GPS puck when my Blackberry has a FULL GPS receiver already built in? I mean, come on, that’s no different than a car manufacturer putting an AM/FM radio in your car but then the dealership from which you bought it requires that you pay them a monthly or per use fee in order to actually LISTEN to the radio.

    And your statement that you CAN use the internal GPS receiver given enough time and clear sky is just simply NOT TRUE. Yes, if you are paying extra for their VZNavigator service, IT can access the GPS chip. But no other application can, and Verizon does not dispute that fact. Applications like Google Maps and such (Nav4All?) CAN use cell tower and wifi hotspot triangulation to get an approximation of your location, but that is NOT GPS and will never be anywhere CLOSE to as accurate as a true GPS fix. AND will never be as universally useful for a broad range of applications as true GPS.

  25. Well, I didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers, but you, as a consumer, could either continue to piss and moan on every thread of every blog or review about your sub-standard provider and their shortcomings… or you drop the measly 50 bucks on an external reciever, use the free Nav4all software, and review it; which is what I thought this page was for… I don’t know, just a thought…

  26. That’s pretty disingenious John. By your logic, if the car dealer blocks me from using the manufacturer provided AM/FM radio to receive the free AM/FM signals, I should just “drop the measly 50 bucks” and buy a boombox? I would accept if Verizon wanted to charge a “measly 50 bucks” to remove their unwarranted and baseless restriction on the hardware they supply (I MIGHT even be willing to pay a monthly fee IF it was then unlocked to ANY application), they’ve made no indication they’re willing to do any such thing (and it wouldn’t be RIGHT anyway).

    If disaffected customers like me (and I am not alone by any means) don’t exercise our freedom of speech and “piss and moan on every thread of every blog or review”, just exactly what market force do you propose COULD change a corporate giant like Verizon’s position on such a matter?

  27. By my logic, what’s “disingenius” about the whole issue, is that this thread is supposed to be a review about the Nav4all software, and you have somehow managed to turn it into a discussion, (or whining session), about Verizon’s policies, and you’ve even resorted to using some skewed metaphor about car-stereo… (by the way, if you’re going to use the whole radio metaphor, at least make it XM or Sirius; that way, we are at least staying with satellite signals…)

  28. David, cars are sold every day with XM Satellite radios installed that you need to subscribe to in order to use. This is not always an add-on. Sometimes it is standard. It’s no different than Verizon marrying the GPS to VZNavitator.

  29. Brian, you’re being just as disingenuous as John. XM (and Sirius) are not free services (and are thus NOT a valid comparison John, despite being satellite services). AM/FM radio is a free service, as is GPS. Verizon marketed Blackberry smartphones as having “built-in GPS”, no caveat, no footnote, no mention anywhere that in order to USE what is supposed to be a free service (and ONLY use it with THEIR program) you would have to pay them extra every use/month. Despite your commentary on my metaphor John, it is not “skewed” in any way.

  30. I think a more accurate metaphor would be someone buying an automobile from a dealership, without comparing said dealership with all the other dealerships in the area, and then getting upset that the dealership that they decided to buy from, is going to charge them for a service thay all the other dealerships offer for free. If I were this person, I would stop whining; admit that I, as a consumer, maybe made too hasty of a purchasing decision, sell the damn car and buy from another dealership… Also, if you think that commenting on some obscure, free, third party’s software review page about all your woes with Verizon is somehow going to get their attention, and sway them to change their policies, then I think you are sadly mistaken. But, then again, you did type their name in all-caps on your first comment, so maybe someone there did hear you…

  31. David, GPS is two way communication so you have to pay for it. Other carriers allow you to access it for free with their BIS or other data plan and that’s their choice, but Verizon is more cautions about third party aps largely because allowing them access to the GPS chip gives your location away. Weather you or I agree with it or not that’s a legitimate concern for a business class smart phone.

    I agree that they should leave it up to you with all of the usual disclaimers like BB does when third party attempt to access a network connection for the first time, etc. I’m more interested in seeing the BB version of VZNavigator get updated to version 4.1 like they have done for their other phones. If they did their would be no need for third party aps.

    The class action lawsuit that you posted on one of these reviews a while ago apparently didn’t go anywhere, nor did it sound like tha exec you talked to was that concerned about it, so somehow I doubt you posting everywhere you can find online about your dissatisfaction. Since going to another carrier is not an option for you you can either take the GPS puck idea and use whatever app you want for free OR continue to complain and accomplish nothing. The choice is yours my friend.

  32. GPS is 2 way communication, the gps receiver receives signals from the GPS satelites and calculates its location using this info, no 2 way communication is required. Only form of communication required is normal internet traffic to and from the server containing maps, but this does not have anything to do with GPS. This is just normal internet traffic. For this reason use of the GPS module should be free, but internet traffic generated to receive maps etc, from the server must be billed under normal internet traffic.

  33. Oops, meant to say that GPS is not 2 way comunication.

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