Navfree has a lot going for it. It really is free for Android, iPhone and iPad, and unlike Google Nav it will let you download maps at home for the UK and Ireland, plus some major European and worldwide countries as in-app purchases for £1.99 each. That neatly bypasses any roaming data charges on your global jaunts.
There's no traffic info but you can add speed camera warnings with another an in-app purchase. Still, you do get an app that looks like a proper sat-nav, with voice guidance and a Google search option as well as the standard address look-up. You’ll scarcely believe this is a free app the first time you use it. The display is stylish and clean and all seems tickety-boo.
A trip between two town centres connected by major roads presents no problem, but the lack of fine detail on the maps is revealed once you get into traffic-calmed suburbia. Here you might be directed down a blocked residential road or told to turn through a no-entry sign.
There’s a map feedback tool for reporting errors, so maybe in time this will improve. It certainly needs to. The app's voice guidance can be quite shy, going silent for long spells, and can also contradict the visual navigation at times, telling you to take a different exit on a roundabout to the one that's shown on screen.
Remember it's free
It was all sounding so promising wasn't it? If you'd paid for the app you'd feel ripped off, but as it's free you can take a different viewpoint. Look at it as a backup app to have on your phone and you'll find it very handy. And if you send your own feedback on any map errors you'll help improve it for yourself and everyone else.
It’s nowhere near perfect, but there’s a whole lot on offer here for absolutely no cash.
Navfree UK & RIO
A work in progress, but Navfree is well worth downloading as a backup option