Before Nokia got into bed with Windows, its free navigation app, Nokia Maps, was the best reason to get a Nokia phone. Now Nokia Drive comes pre-installed on the company’s Windows Phone 7.5 smartphones, such as the Lumia 800.
Nokia Drive – downloadable maps
Unlike Google’s alternative, Nokia Drive allows you to pre-load your maps over Wi-Fi when you're at home or in the office, so you’re not reliant on a data connection to stream the map data on the road. That includes maps for over 100 countries worldwide, all available for free, so it’s a tempting option for foreign travellers.
Nokia Drive – simple searching
Finding a destination is just how it should be: just enter any term you like into the search box, whether that’s a partial address, company name or landmark, and you’re off. From here it’s either refreshingly minimalist or under-developed, depending on your outlook. We lean towards the former.
Nokia Drive – what's missing
There’s no traffic info, which is a bit of a blow, and if you’re overseas it still needs a brief data connection to look up a new destination even if you've pre-loaded your maps, but otherwise it’s a great little app. Voices are plentiful and all sound clear, and most importantly it knows a lot about the world and how to get around it.
Nokia Drive – easy to use
While it lacks the features that bolster many of the paid-for apps, such as motorway lane guidance, Nokia Drive is a great advert for Windows Phone 7.5, embracing the interface so that it feels like an integral part of your phone, rather than a new batch of custom menus and buttons to fathom. Even so it can leave you wondering which button to press at times, as the display can be a bit too minimal. We’d rather it was a bit bolder with more obvious on-screen controls.
Nokia Drive is a great companion for confident expressway explorists, but those looking for a more complete navigator will miss some of those big-boy features.