Saturday, July 19, 2008

#42 tried out Verizon Navigator

I've had a GPS as a hiking/backpacking navigational backup/curiosity for years, have a couple of friends who have street navigation GPS systems in their cars, and have myself rented a car once or twice that came with a GPS. They do seem useful when on unfamiliar turf...

I recently replaced my cell phone with a little better phone and saw that Verizon has a program that runs on a number of their phones called Verizon Navigator, available for a monthly charge if you use it a lot, and for a daily "just when you need it" charge if you're normally in familiar surroundings.

I had my doubts about this in a phone versus a larger dedicated GPS, but I have to say after trying it on several routes I've been kind of impressed. You put in the address of your destination and it then speaks out directions to you about approaching turns coming up and recomputes your route when you miss a turn -- this allows the driver to stay focused on the road.

It also has directory lookup functions for specifics names of businesses, or finding nearby restaurants, gas stations, or even local movie theatres and movie times.

In addition to the charge for using Navigator on a monthly or daily basis, it also eats a few of your airtime minutes: a minute or two when you initially set up your route, and then a minute anytime you miss a turn to recompute route directions.

  • easy to use
  • seemed accurate
  • gave suitable advance notice of approaching turns
  • when setup before driving and using a headset, much more convenient and safer than referring to maps or written instructions, especially for solo drivers
  • recalculated directions after missed turns reasonably fast
  • when travelling or renting a car, I'm already familiar the unit and ready to go
  • could be used conveniently walking in a city
  • small phone screen shows street name of next turn, distance to next turn, and direction of next turn (easy to glance at quickly if need be)
  • cost money, but well worth it when the conditions are right (meaning wrong?)
  • voice pronunciation of street names is approximate with some names, especially Spanish ones, mispronounced (but still understandable)
Overall, I can see using it from time to time when trying to find a difficult or unusual local destination, and definitely when travelling in unfamiliar cities. I'm lucky since I get a good deal on the feature due to a corporate discount program, but even if I didn't, I think I would use it from time to time on the day rate when travelling in strange cities.


  1. I hope they are using better mapping data bases than in the past. One time, I suggested to a travelling friend that she get her directions to my house (near downtown Prescott, BTW) from one of the on-line map sites. Later I took a look at the suggested routing, which went over two cliffs. Seems that some of the city maps don't make a distinction between roads and right-of-ways...

  2. granny j -- yep, I know what you mean... When I was trying this out to one local destination it inexplicably took me around a block an unusal way, adding about one mile to the route. The only possible explanation I could come up with was that it felt I should make a right turn into the shopping center rather than a left turn. But I got there.

    I've done worse as a passenger with a map on occasion... *smile*


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