Nakedmolerat’s Nokia Lumia 920: Nokia Apps (City Lens, Maps, Drive, Xpress)

, posted: 11-Jan-2013 14:32

Intro

One thing to note about Nokia Lumia 920, is that it also comes with Nokia apps. I have found them to be quite excellent. I would definitely miss the apps if I were to move to a different platform. Saying that, after 4 weeks of constant usage I do not see myself jumping ship. I will summarize my whole experience in the next post.



Nokia City Lens (augmented reality browser)

The first time I read about this, I thought it would be one of those 'novel' apps that are 'cool' but not useful at all. The way this app works is that it's like a scanner that shows you things that might be of interest around you. You can select to filter it to 'food', hotel etc.



This app uses your location/GPS to determine your location. Once the GPS is locked (not more than 15 secs), you hold your phone in front of you and move up/down/left/right to see whatever is ahead of you. If there are clusters of shops, touching (+) sign will zoom in. This app also tells you how far the location is from you. This is amazing! If you are in a town that you are not familiar with, this app will be really handy to have.

I met one of my old friends from university while in Hamilton. We decided to have Indian Food. My friend is new to Hamilton and I am also not familiar with that town. I fired up my internet explorer browser to search for a nearby Indian restaurant. It was then that I decided maybe I should give this app a try. Result?







 

Sorted! This app integrates really well with Nokia maps and gave us the direction to the caf?. Looking at the reviews on the internet, it also works really well overseas!

Nokia Maps (HERE)

Nokia Maps are nothing like Apple maps. The work was started way back in 2001. The maps had major improvements made after Nokia bought Navteq in 2007. I remember my first GPS capable phone which was the Nokia 6110 Navigator. At the time, I believe Nokia maps were way more advanced than Google maps. Hence, this is a great chance for me to see if Nokia maps have actually improved since 2007. The good thing about the maps is that they are offline and therefore there is no need for continuous data usage. I am aware that recent Google maps on android also offer users the option to cache the map for offline use.

Starting the app, you will be asked to download the maps that you would like to use. For New Zealand, the map size is around 60MB. Unfortunately, this map has to be downloaded via wifi. For some reason, it will not let you download over the regular 3G network. This is probably to avoid 'bill shock' due to excessive charges for data usage. Good on Nokia, although I would prefer to have the option to download anyway I like.

 

Nokia maps offer an extensive database of downloadable maps (95 countries on the list). One country of interest to me is Seychellessince we go there on holiday often. Unfortunately there is no map offering for Seychelles. I guess I have to use Google maps when I am there! (Please let me know in the comment section if you would like to know about map availability).



Starting up the map application, you have options to display map, satellite, public transport and traffic. I haven't tested this in Auckland but I think only the map and satellite will be of use to me. Searching place is easy and Nokia GPS works extremely well. Outside a building, it never takes more than 15 secs to acquire your position. The map itself is intuitive and not difficult to learn. Once you type the location, you have the option to start navigate. Again, this is straightforward.



Nokia Drive+ Beta

When navigating, you have the option to display the map in a landscape or portrait mode. The voice guidance is on par with a TomTom unit. It also informs you of the speed limit and warns you if you drive too fast. If you miss your turn, rerouting is instant and fantastic. As usual, the navigation offers options to prioritize distance, times or speed. There are options to save your favourite location, view in 2D/3D and the colour will change automatically at night and during day time.



Nokia Xpress

Unlike above, this app has got nothing to do with maps or navigation. This app was actually designed by Nokia to save data when browsing. It works similar to Opera mobile where the data will be compressed before being sent to your phone. Basically it is a browser that interacts with Nokia servers.

clip_image001

Starting the app, you will be greeted with Xpress Home. This is basically a shortcut of your common websites such as speed dial in Opera. You can search by typing word in the address field. One thing to note, you can always double tap on a word and search.

 

It will automatically show search results from Bing.



Swiping to the right will show search results on Wikipedia and Youtube.

 

One thing to note is the 'magazine' function. It basically downloads each topic/link and display the content of the website in a magazine style. Example is as per screenshot below. Geekzone was divided into a few different pages/headlines. You can see the rest of the story by clicking the link.

 

After a few days of usage, I saved 65% of my browsing data. That is huge! One thing I noted is that sometimes browsing using nokia xpress can be slightly slower than using a regular browser. I suspect this could be due to a number of factors. The data has to be compressed first and therefore it can take longer if the server itself is overloaded.



Summary:
  • Nokia City Lens is a wonderful idea. It turns out I used it more often than I thought I would. It is definitely a great app when you are in an unfamiliar town or when travelling overseas.
  • Nokia Maps did not suffer from teething issues and offline support is excellent. The coverage includes 95 countries and counting.
  • Nokia Drive+ is excellent. The ultimate question; do I see it replacing my trustworthy TomTom unit for navigation in NZ? The answer is YES! In fact, I will be removing the TomTom unit once I find a decent cradle for this phone.
  • Nokia Xpress is a great browser. It is really worthwhile to save the meagre mobile data allowance we have in New Zealand.
About the author

Hi, my name is Fergus. I am a big fan of the nakedmolerat character in Kim Possible - Rufus. I work in  the health sector. I am also a volunteer firefighter when I am not working. I started using computers when I was five years old. I am the 'guy' that family and friends approach when they have issues with their computers. I am also an Android fanboy (Yes! I believe Android will takeover the world soon). It was such a great opportunity when Telecom New Zealand and Geekzone offered me to be one of the Nokia Lumia 920 / Windows Phone reviewers. I hope my reviews are helpful to the readers.


Other related posts:
Nakedmolerat’s Nokia Lumia 920 wrap up
Two months on with the Nokia Lumia 920
Wade’s Nokia Lumia 920: the hardware






comments powered by Disqus

TelecomTech's profile

Telecom New Zealand
Auckland
New Zealand


Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

The team will post firsthand reports on using these smartphones on New Zealand's smartphonenetwork. Make sure to keep an eye on this blog. Who knows who might be our next "test drivers"?

   

Catch up on previous Telecom Tech reviews - read about the Nokia Lumia 1020Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 and HTC Sensation.





Most recent posts

Sony Xperia Z1: The Camera...
The Sony Xperia Z1: initial im...
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: A phone...
Sony Xperia Z1: first impressi...
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Gear...
Nokia Lumia 1020 Social Featur...
Lumia 1020 for Work...
Nokia Lumia 1020: some photos...
Nokia Lumia 1020: my usage...
Nokia Lumia 1020: the phone si...


Posts by category

Android...
HTC One...
HTC One X...
HTC Sensation...
Nokia Lumia 1020...
Nokia Lumia 710...
Nokia Lumia 800...
Nokia Lumia 920...
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Gear...
Samsung Galaxy Note II...
Sony Xperia Z1...