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Review: amAze GPS for BlackBerry Smartphones

By Ryan Blundell on 26 Jan 2010 07:30 am EST
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amAze

Getting lost – some call it an adventure, others call it an annoyance. There’s even some who call it something that, due to the presence of younger readers, I’m not allowed to repeat. Whatever the case may be, you eventually (and obviously) want to reach your destination, right? I can think of quite a few times where I’ve been ill-prepared before I venture out to a friend’s new place, an appointment or a social gathering and end up lost. Now there’s no need to slap my wrists folks. That was a long, long time ago, before I has a GPS enabled BlackBerry. Who am I kidding, I still forget from time to time!

I’m always on the lookout for GPS applications that I haven’t tried yet; I’m not completely attached or committed to one currently. If you’re also looking for something new, or are new to GPS yourself, check out the amAze GPS application. With amAze GPS, you’ll have more than just simple navigation; you have access to weather, local searches, multiple map views, just to name a few. amAze offers both free and subscription services, so you can decide what level you want to be at. Let’s see amAze GPS in action, shall we?

About amAze GPS

The amaze GPS application was first introduced in 2007 and has been in the hands of millions of users. Besides BlackBerry, the application is compatible with iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and Java, so you can see how they could get to millions of users. For a complete list of supported BlackBerry models, be sure to check out their website. An impressive set of features was introduced with version 5.0, which we will take a look at momentarily. The applications file size is 887.8 KB, plus the 45 sound files it installed.

The initial setup will ask you to choose the country you wish to view, language, audio language and unit of measurement. The main menu has four sections available to you: Search & Navigate, Map, Tools and Tips & Ads.
amAze
Main Menu

Search & Navigate

This section has a lot to offer in regards to search options. The Address Search option lets you look up, well, addresses of course. This option is limited, as only a small number of cities can be used in the search. For example, in British Columbia, Canada, I would only choose the city of Vancouver. I’m hoping their search options will expand in the future. If amaze GPS does successfully find an address, you can navigate to the location, view in on a map, view the weather forecast for the area, add to favourites, calculate a route (as either a destination or a starting point) . This section also lets you search by keyword. If you know the name of the place and the city, amAze can search and present you with the results. You can also perform a local search, view white pages and view driving directions.

amAze
the search menu

Tools

The Tools section includes the amAze shop, where you can purchase a license for the application. You can also edit your regional settings (the same settings you had to modify when you first opened the application), Route Settings (faster route, vehicle type, allow toll roads, etc), and General Settings. The GPS Detail feature offers easy to read information on your position, such as; speed, altitude, longitude and latitude. There’s also a help section available if you are confused about any part of amAze.

Map

This is the bread and butter of amAze. The magic, the beauty, the…well you get the idea. Depending if you have access to a GPS signal or not, the map will display either your current, or last recorded location. When using the map, amAze GPS offers four different map views/types to choose from; street view, hybrid view, topographic view, satellite view and the speed traps radar screen. The radar screen will display the distance from the speed traps or cameras. Again, the availability of these views are limited, as topographic views are only offered in the United States. To access the map views, you need to click on the green button found at the bottom of the screen. Besides the map view/types, the magic green button also allows you to change the maps mode. You can stick with north always facing up, or you can keep your eye on the prize with the Head Up or 3D modes. The map will mark out important points, such as; gas stations, landmarks, police stations and so on.

amAze
your destination awaits
amAze
Map Options

A selection of scaling options are also provided in order to make navigation easier. These range from a global scale (over 2000 km) to as close as 80m. The camera feature allows you to snitch on *ahem* report on red light cameras and speed traps. You have only two directions to choose from; your direction and the opposite direction. If there was a false alarm and the officer with a radar gun was really Colonel Sanders, you can delete the report. You will be notified by a voice alert of any nearby alerts. While navigating the map, you will notice the current weather conditions and wind direction have appeared in the top right corner. You can also view your coordinates on the map or even jump to a specific location by entering in its coordinates.

amAze
choose a map type

Once you select your starting point as, well, your starting point, it will be marked with a green flag. Your destination is marked with a checkered flag, just don’t speed. Your favourite locations are marked with a gold pin with a star on it. Your search results are also marked with pins, this time they are numbered. What I liked about amAze was that the user had the ability to send location details via SMS. During navigation, the voice commands were quite clear and gave me ample time to properly maneuver. Keep in mind that if you are looking to use amAze for its full functionality, it`s going to cost you. There is a free version available, but the functions are quite limited. Be sure to check out this link to see what version is right for you.

Conclusion

I did enjoy using amAze for its range of options. I would highly recommend setting up your route before you are driving for two reasons:

1. It’s probably illegal to use a handheld where you live while driving.

2. It’s a little difficult to navigate the menu by yourself as you keep your eyes on the road.

So either do so ahead of time, or hire a co-pilot. I am hoping to see more Cities supported, in both searches and navigation. It should be noted that if you decide to go for the free version, you will be bugged again and again to upgrade. If you want to check out the premium version, it's available for an annual price of $33.99 (approx $2.83/month). For more information on amAze GPS, check out their website.

Pros

  • Great turn by turn navigation
  • View and report on speed traps and red light cameras
  • Maintain a favourites list

Cons

  • Not recommended for set up while driving

More Info

Reader comments

Review: amAze GPS for BlackBerry Smartphones

49 Comments

I've used this app in the past. It never can seem to locate my destination. Too much work in my opinion. BlackBerry Maps gps navigation is good enough but would much better if it had audible turn by turn.

I used this on an N73 for a few months a year back and it was really good. The address search function using a post/zip code (in the UK anyway) is limited to just 4 characters so it'll only take you to near the location. If you know the house number and street name then it is much better as it will guide you right to the door. Just don't expect Tom Tom like magic using only post codes.

Aside from this niggle it is pretty good, I will be downloadig it again to see how I get on with it using my BB.

I've used it in the past and it does a nice job on the directions but the interface sucks. It was clearly not written for the Blackberry but simply ported over. Why do I need to use the Q and P keys to bring up a menu or exit?!? Now that they've crippled the free version I've stopped using it at all. Why pay for it when better free (or paid) programs exist?

Absolute agree. The interface is at best clumsy, but incredibly annoying regardless. I have found that I don't use the application even though I still have it installed (although I really haven't found a great need for GPS directions either). Even with the lack of turn-by-turn directions, I find myself going back to Google Maps again and again.

I use it once in a while. I like the arrows mode rather than any of the other map modes.

I still prefer something like the Garmin app, but I'm not ready to drop $80 on that (work doesn't require it right now). And Amaze is free and you can't beat that.

While yes, it did do what I needed it to, the idea of having no place to stick the phone to see the screen (and I wasn't going to get a mount) kind of felt like I was trying to do too much with my phone, so GPS Navigation on my phone is a waste...Plus, at that price for the premium, I bought my used GPS in my car off ebay.

I used this all the time. always get me home. It's not free anymore. Loved it so much that i paid the $30/year subscription. Well worth it. VZ navigator is deleted off my storm. Great thing to have. I have a garmin which suck so bad that I don't carry it with me. So having this on the phone is a must....

Nav4All is not a free application as of the 1st of the yr either. This app is far more advanced than Nav4All. It is kinda BS that they disabled the old version to force people to upgrade. I use AT&T Navigator(Telenav) and it does an AMAZING job! No pun intended. ; ) For $2.99/mo it is perfect for me. I haven't been lost since.

This was the best free GPS program out there and probably the worst paid app.

Not very well integrated into BB.

You can do much, much better with cheaper alternatives

Disabling 4.5 to force people to upgrade to 5.0 wasn't cool either.

Its no longer free.

I used the older version (4.5)I believe and I was more than satisfied. However recently since version 5 came out I have been forced to look at NAV4ALL. Kept getting VERY VERY annoying Update-reminders! Choices that I had were; Update (Buy) or Close Application.

The following options ARE NOT / NO LONGER available in the Basic - Free version;

Routing calculation,
Navigation simulation mode,
Turn-by-turn voice guided navigation,
2D and 3D (bird view) mapping navigation modes,
Arrows navigation mode,
Navigation over satellite imagery including ‘bird view’ mode,
Optional routing for car, pedestrian, etc.,
Routing setup tools: fastest, shortest, etc.,
Day and Night automatic modes,
Textual routing mode.

So pray tell what´s the use of the Basic-Free version? Advertisement...?

They could´ve left ´Turn-by-Turn´ and or ´Arrows navigation Mode´?!?!?! WTH?

I am now using NAV4ALL.

NokJAA!

My 4.5 free version works including all the features you state don't work on yours. I have the version that required an Id and Pw back when it was beta and it's still working just fine. Good thing I wrote down the Id&Pw.

The free Sprint navigation was the only consolation I had for giving up my Bold 9000 when I switched from AT&T. I made the switch to be able to get the entire family on a data plan and pay less for doing so.

I never used the AT&T navigation service because it was another "nickel & dime" like charge. Having the Sprint one for free is handy.

I have to agree with Nokjaa. Back when this was a free app, it was well worth the price, even though navigating through the different options was something that took a lot of work.

When amAze first came out, they promoted the app as "Always Free GPS Navigation". Even their Twitter account still describes their software as "Free GPS Navigation", which it is not anymore. When they came out with version 5.0, they told current users they could still use version 4.5 for free - looks like they've disabled that now as well.

This GPS was not written for the BlackBerry OS. You can't use the menu and back keys like a normal BB application. Most of the navigation features are now subscription based, so you only get limited information for free (no maps, no directions, just basic location information easier to get with Google Maps or Poynt).

Seeing that the developer keeps changing their mind on what they are going to offer, and at what price, just make sure you know what you're getting into from the beginning: buyer beware.

I really enjoyed 4.5 and told all my BB using friends about it. I guess you get what you pay for, they built something and want to be paid, fine, but for cash, I want a feature set that makes sense.

I do not do all the social stuff, so locations to share for social sites is something I would never use and thus do not want to pay for. Weather on a mapping tool is like pickle flavored ice cream, it is answering a question I did not ask. I use BeWeather for weather, simple. Speed and red light cameras is also something that makes no sense to me. If I want to know about radar and such, I'll use a Valentine. I don't run red lights, so a red light camera notice is useless for me.

And at $34/year, I don't use a GPS enough to warrant the price. I'd rather but 3 more 12 packs of BEER each year!

Beside that, BBMaps and Google maps do what I need and more, as well as better perhaps, less the turn by turn voice directions. Oh well, I guess I free up some app storage space.

Google and BB Maps are great for general mapping, but for those who want turn-by-turn GPS navigation, I think MapQuest Navigator is the best value of the paid apps.

I agree with you about not needing the social networking and weather functionality, but many people need an app like Trapster. Radar detectors aren't legal everywhere (i.e., Eastern Canada, DC, Virginia, etc.). Also, just because you "don't run red lights" doesn't mean that you won't get a ticket from a red light camera. Many cities make tons of money by shortening the yellow lights so that it is impossible to stop in time. This abuse is so bad in Washington that the state legislature is even considering a law mandating a minimum duration for yellow lights.

Of the 5 or 6 mobile GPS apps I've tried, amAze is BY FAR the worst. It would never let me stay on the highway, no matter where my destination was or how I had my trip optimized (shortest distance vs. fastest route, etc.). It always wanted me to exit and take side streets. In several cases when my destination was straight ahead, it would have me turn left, right, right and left, taking me around 3 unnecessary sides of a block instead of just continuing straight. It took me on all kinds of crazy detours and since it doesn't say the street names, it was easy to get lost. The menus were totally convoluted and a pain to navigate. I'd rather pay to use Gokivo than use amAze for free, and now you can't use amaze for free anymore. Save your time and money.

Telmap is Alot better in my opinion, I had trouble with Amaze finding my house in the middle of an average size town.

Telmap, has all the same features and is Free!(beta testing)

Voice turn by turn, Point Of Intrest searches, you can also download the Telmap Planner on your PC. Allows you to preplan your route highlighting POI's gas stations, and more!

TELMAP!

The way this program is registered is bad, I had to wipe the phone and re-install everything. The program came up with another pin number, so it went back to demo mode. I emailed support and it was fixed after 2 days. Thats 2 days I could not use the program.

Some quirks, but voice prompts are great and 4.5 is still working flawlessly for me ! I just registered it again and I use it every day for hours. NAV4All was a disaster for me... never worked properly and voice prompts scared the neighborhood animals...blarppppppppppppppp,,,smepppppppppppppp!! Ughh.

I had 4.5 on my Bold and when I went to use it, it popped up a notice telling my to upgrade and 4.5 was no longer supported. Mostly I am curious how to re-register and still use 4.5, as noted by others, 4.5 was to be free for a long time or so they said on the website 6 months ago.

Anyway, I just deleted the app and will not bother with it anymore. BBMaps and Google maps are fine for me.

Anyways, this thing works. yeah its not free anymore but beats paying $10/mo for VZ nav. The only thing i recommend as noted on the post is not to try to chnage options on the GPS/phone while driving. You shouldn't be doing it anyways. It's complicated to do. More complcated because its on a phone. Just enter your directions and GO>>>and follow the signal meter on the left side and your good.

The arrows work. Some people post using the GPS knowing exactly where they're going. Does that makes sense. I turn my GPS off soon as i know my direction. Its really annoying leaving your GPS on when you know your way. It's going to want you to take that left when you it's straight. It defeats the purpose of the GPS. BTW--NAV 4 ALL sucks big time. Always slow to react.

Free, easy turn-by-turn GPS and tons of other functionality. I use LifeInPocket in LA all the time and it's never failed me.

Amaze for Blackberry? Don't waste your time. It does not always find your destination. Sometimes it gets "close" (within a few hundred yards). The menus are difficult to use if you're in a hurry. Amaze frequently loses satellites and that gets annoying.

This app is trash. The free version doesn't let you nav to an address to even test it. The functionality on Storm 9550 is not good. Agree it doesn't integrate with BB OS as the menu button is not used.

$34/yr? No thanks.

I'm sure Garmin and TeleNav are better, not sure I want to drop that amount of $ yet. I'll hold out for a free turn by turn nav app and use Google Maps, or buy if I run out of patience.

And by the way, Nav4All is trash too.

I downloaded the 5.0 from their website, the non-BES version since I'm not sure what the BES version does different.

Checked again and didn't see a link to 4.5 on their site. Do you know how to access v4.5?

I use Sprint Navigation in the USA religiously and have never had any issues with it.

However, the last few months I've had to work in Poland. Sprint Nav doesn't cover Poland. Google & BB maps don't have audible directions. So I paid $3 for 1 month of amAze and it worked really well over there. And I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere (3 hours from Krakow).

I'll use it again over there but back in the US I still prefer Sprint Nav.

And as stated previously: the free trial version is totally pointless.

This app stunk when I tried it last year...i'll give it another shot. I just use VZNav with my Holux GPSlim Bluetooth puck and it's free!

Loaded it on the BB and went to try it and the one feature I would want to user it for they will not let you test. I guess i will stick with my small dash mount unit for now.

It wouldn't be a bad app, but your constantly reminded to upgrade. The constant nagging makes it impossible to try the demo!

I used the app when it was free. Version 4.something. Very disappointed when it finally version 5 and was no longer free. Nor even a trial. I was hoping many of the bugs from 4.0 had been worked out. Cause after using it to help in my trip to Mo last summer I was going to delete it. It told me twice to take exit ramps in Memphis only to find after doing so it was wrong. But my worst experience was on a state road between Missouri Arkansas. Not paying that much attention, I looked down and it was telling me to make a u-turn and go back almost 5 miles. Thinking I had missed a turn I did so. I drove back the five miles. When I crossed the state line, it said make a u turn. Turned around, crossed the state line again and guess what, make a u-turn.

ok so the free version is good for what again?? no navigation, no directions...oooh i can see where i'm going on the map but really what's the point of the free version really?

Come on Ryan. Limited cities and severely reduced functionality outside the US are big cons too.

When it was free it was great. Now it is crap. The free version is useless. Google maps app is much better

Why do i read this is a free app? The free part means that you can install it without paying for it. However nothing of any importance works while in "demo" mode. In order to do anything to properly evaluate the software you have to buy it. Which is fine, I have no problem with companies that want to sell products but please stop saying FREE. By no means is this a free app at all!