Telenav GPS Navigator for BlackBerry Review

CrackBerry Idol - Shankeith
By Kevin Michaluk on 29 Jun 2010 04:09 pm
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Telenav for BlackBerry Smartphones Takes to the Road and Gets Reviewed!

One integral part of blackberry smart phones that I use quite often is the GPS feature. However, finding the right navigation application has always been a challenge. The built in Blackberry Maps might suffice for some but for me that wasn't enough. Blackberry Maps doesn't have turn-by-turn, voice guided directions, which is actually missing on all those free GPS applications like Google maps. Then there are the many paid GPS navigation applications like Telmap Navigator and Garmin Mobile that do offer features similar to standalone GPS units. One of those is my now favorite TeleNav GPS Navigator. After using Garmin for so long, I have decided in the last week to try out TeleNav Navigator to see what all the hype was about. With features like full voice guided navigation, automatic rerouting and voice recognition search, it's easy to understand why it's Crackberry's choice as the best GPS navigation program for 2009. Let's take a look at some of the key features in-depth to see why.

TelenavTelenav
2D view and 3D view
Telenav
Main menu

Mobility

This is a pretty obvious advantage but Telenav has all the features of a regular GPS device without the big bulkiness of needing an extra device, meaning now you have everything all in one device. Also, the mobility feature of any blackberry allows you take it anywhere with you in pedestrian mode, if you ever get lost while you're out for a walk.

Telenav
A guided tour is available on startup or later on under options.

Easy to Understand

After installing the application, there isn't a problem with getting the hang of things or finding out all the features. An initial popup gives you the option to run through a brief tour of the features. This can be brought up at anytime in the options menu. Overall, the menus are not complicated and are very easy to understand. Navigation through the actual application is also pretty straight forward. You can use the trackball/trackpad to scroll up and down and push down on it to select the option OR you can just scroll left and right to go back and forth.

Telenav
Voice recognition system is used instead of typing addresses for
a hands free approach to navigating

Speak it

This is definitely the coolest and most convenient feature of TeleNav. All navigation programs have the ability to search for points of interest or certain addressees by typing them in on your keypad. However, with TeleNav, you can use the speak it feature to actually dictate street and business names. You can even set it up to recognize your voice through your Bluetooth headset. However, like most applications that use voice recognition, it's not always perfect but I was surprised that it did recognize some of the street names I said. The voice recognition is done by Nuance, who arguably has the best voice recognition system, so it does very well. If you would rather type it in, that feature is still selectable using the bb button and features autosuggestion/autocomplete.

TelenavTelenav
Search menu is straight forward but offers many options.

Search Results

Now let's talk about the results you get when you do a search. TeleNav allows you to sort the results, either by proximity, relevance, or my personal favorite, by star rating. The star rating system allows you to find the most popular restaurants and coffee houses near your location if you're feeling adventurous. You can also read reviews before making your decision or even map all the results to see what's more convenient along your route. Need to make a reservation or have any questions about the chosen restaurant? Straight from TeleNav, you can call up the location without leaving the application.

TelenavTelenav
TeleNav offers the most thorough and organized list of Points of Interest.

Points of Interest (POI)

The way the POIs are divided up here is very thorough. Through the use of categories, you can search for Banks and ATMs, movie theatres, hospitals, wifi hotspots and the list really does go on. There is even a feature available for some regions where you can search for nearby gas stations by price, where it will sort nearby gas stations with the lowest gas price to the highest. If you're on a long road trip and need to stop at a diner while you're on your way to your destination, you can search for one along your route without interrupting the flow of your trip. You can then continue your originally planned route.

The main application I use to find the local hotspots is Poynt. I was actually surprised at how well it integrated with TeleNav. You can setup Poynt to map directions of a result in TeleNav. It will then automatically open up TeleNav and automatically start giving you turn by turn directions towards the destination. This is a killer combo for sure; just because Poynt has a better review system through partners such as OpenTable.Com for restaurants than TeleNav has, since the ratings are only from TeleNav subscribers.

Telenav
Navigation was even available in a mall parking lot.

Navigation Mode

Now let's get down to the main part of this review, the Navigation mode. Just like any regular GPS Standalone unit, the interface is pretty much similar: you have your time that you're going to get there, the distance, and the directional arrows pointing you in the right direction. You can view it in 3d or 2d mode, or even 3d mode with 2d mode during turns.

Telenav
Intersecting street names are shown during navigation.

What I like about this specifically compared to a lot of other GPS applications is that it actually shows the street names that intersect with your current path, so you don't make the wrong turns. It's a voice guided system as well, which you can repeat by pressing the space button and it actually says the street names out loud. Rerouting is quick and automatic so if you missed a turn, you don't have to worry. Also, you can go into the route overview and u can opt to skip certain streets or highways. You can even record your current location as one of your favorites for access later on, so you don't have to keep typing the address in every time.

Address Book Integration

Here you can find great integration of your blackberry address list so you don't have to re-add your contacts in to the application manually. It also filters only the contacts that have an address on file so you don't have to go through a list of useless contacts you don't have addresses for. Just select your contact and TeleNav automatically starts navigating.

Pricing

Pricing is set through your carrier, as it is a monthly subscription of 10$ (varies from carrier to carrier). Just to break down the cost, a mid range standalone GPS navigator retails for $350, while it would take 35 months or 1 month shy of 3 years to equal that amount if you opt for TeleNav's subscription. Plus you get automatic updates, the latest version, with the latest technology, and updated maps automatically. The subscription also follows you to move to any device when you switch devices, so no need to buy the app again. However, I can definitely see this would be subjective to who was actually buying this application and their navigational needs.

Ratings 

Pros

  • Pricing is a better value than standalone GPS with same features
  • 3d view with 2d turns are convenient
  • Voice recognition
  • Voice turn by turn instructions
  • Shows intersecting street names
  • Unofficial Poynt integration

Cons

  • Price is a subscription, no option to buy outright
  • Voice recognition not perfect
  • Rating system from TeleNav subscribers only, but this can be fixed by using Poynt first

Verdict

TeleNav is definitely the must have, best GPS navigational application out for the blackberry devices currently. With voice guided turn-by-turn directions and voice recognition for searching points of interest and addresses, this application will definitely get you to your destination in no time at all.

You can learn more about Telenav from Telenav.com or in BlackBerry App World.

** This review was written as part of the CrackBerry Idol 2010 competition. Click for details. **

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3286 (forum posts)
42 comments

Kevin Michaluk

Kevin (aka Ryan Seacrest): Nice review there Shankeith. LOVE that driving music in the video..hahahaha. You definitely showed your knowledge of the application. Let's see what the judges have to say about it...

CrackBerry Idol Judges

Dieter: What's up dawg? Solid review. I like what you did with it. Sure the video was a bit long, but the hardcore CrackBerry readers who are really seriously considering going with Telenav as their solution will appreciate the length. The written review covered the key points well - my only complaint here is that the sections you broke the article down in to are not what an individual may normally expect. That makes it the type of review you have to read from start to finish - you can't quickly glance and find the details you are looking for. It was also a little short on links.

Georgia: Really appreciated that you took a drive, using the application. This gave us a good idea of how the application will be used. I did find it a bit disconcerting seeing the phone bounce around... I got dizzy after a min or two. The video was a bit long (8 minutes), try being more concise. I found myself being distracted after about 5 minutes of video, could have used more pizzazz. I enjoyed how you gave your own feelings on the application. The completeness of the review showed that you really got to know the application before reviewing it. Well done.

Craig: I kind of liked where I thought you were going, but you didn't quite pull it off as I was hoping. Your video went too long for covering a single app. Maybe for a device review you can justify 8+ minutes, but unless you included some dancing ladies in this one to keep the entertainment value there for the CrackBerry audience I think half the length would have been about right (this one had me feeling like I might get car sick). I liked your audition video and this first review from you definitely follows it up and proves you have the stuff to be in the running here. The written review was good, but all I really want to know is what it does, does it do it well and should I buy it. I got a tad bored towards the end. That said, I do realize this is a competition so every contestantant is going to max out their reviews. Good effort for sure.

shankeith

thanks guys for the constructive criticism, just basically the take away from this is that my review has to be shorter and concise. i guess short and sweet, i'll keep that in mind for the next review.

Dave Peckens

ShanKeith, I like your passion and knowledge about the device(s) and apps, but I found the video waaaaayy too long, just like your audition video felt too long.

I agree with Craig, adding a few dancing girls might have helped. ;)

Again, best wishes on advancing. Good stuff all around.

joeygoggles

Good, informative review. I now can see what this has to offer for a BB GPS solution. Unfortunately, until a free turn by turn app is released it's too hard to leave Tom Tom and their free maps for life.

sunrisepromo#CB

I just started using Telenav a few weeks ago and I like it better than the standard GPS units you can buy for your vehicle. It's so convenient to have it all on your BlackBerry and I've had no issues in getting to where I need to go with it.

BBThemes

like the review, what i really like is the comparison to its competition, plus the integration options.

yea the vid is slightly on the longer side, but this is sat nav, not a quick game or app that you can just sit there with, the drive really showed the app at its best.

diggin the colorware BB too :)

ahaz86

I agree with dave, i felt that the length of the video was justified as he was taking us on a drive and showed how well the application worked.

As a whole the review was extremely informative, and you could tell that he knew the product he was reviewing well.

Great review, hope there are more this good!

BlackBerrySpot.com

I had a chance to read over this review. I use TeleNav on a daily basis and this review couldn't have been more accurate. Shan did a fantastic job going over all of the great parts of the software and being a good reviewer means being unbiased; Shan also did a great job of telling the cons without making the program unappealing. I look forward to reading more of his fantastic reviews!

E_Brown

I think it was a good review. The video was a little long. When i saw 8 minutes i decided to just read the review (4 minutes of so would have been perfect as I have a short attention span). This review actually made me want to try it myself, and I must say I like it better then my Garmin system. All of the finalist so have have done good reviews so far. Keep up the good work guys...and girls.

Rockafella

Crackberry had (5) 1yr subscriptions to give away back in March and I was one of the winners. All I can say is that is has been the absolute perfect GPS application for me. I do have a stand alone GPS but the software is from 2008 (outdated). Garmin wants $75 to update it. I can almost get a brand new GPS unit for that price. As far as telenav, it has been great for me. I use it all the time. Just last week, I took a long road trip (California --->Virginia). Took me 2.5 days but along the way I wanted to stop at specific hotels and telenav would help me get there. I would also break it out every once in awhile so it could tell me how far away I was to a specific destination I wanted to make it to for the evening. I'm currently still in Virginia and it works good to find specific places I want to visit. Thank you again TeleNav for picking me as one of the winners. It has surely save me $$$.

Hamp

I understand the convenience of having an all-in-one device, I mean, that's one of the things we love about our BB! Telenav is a great app but as joeygoggles stated until a FREE turn by turn voice app is released, I can't see the point of paying $9.99/mo when my Garmin does the same thing w/o a monthly free. What you pay for in a year with Telenav could go towards a decent in-vehicle device if all you want is the voice feature.

Just my two cents.

mpenn4077

depends on your carrier. If you have sprint, telenav (rebranded as sprint navigation) is actually included in all data packs for blackberry for no extra charge

Kerri Neill

Sprint Nav is spotty at best. I find it much easier to use my TomTom rather then mess with Sprint Navigation. I tried using it in a rental car while in Texas a few months back & several times I had to turn around because the maps were wrong.

arist01

I had Telenav on my Storm2 and really liked the integration with the BB menu. However, I had to cancel after having an open ticket that could not be resolved.

The Speak In Search function does not work, or at least consistently, on Storm2. Its a known bug and they have a different Storm2 version that is supposed to resolve that problem. It didn't work.

That, coupled with the fact that Telenav defaults the keyboard in Portrait mode to multi-tap (my setting is SureType) makes it hard to input an address while driving. I use a cradle and need to either quickly type in an address or speak it.

Spent tons of time with tech support with no luck.

Hope they get it fixed soon. I prefer Telenav to Garmin for the UI and I actually like the pay per month set up vs buying an app that I can't port to a new device.

Also, for those who use their BB as an in-car MP3 player via the headset jack...you will be disappointed. The voice commands under navigation stop media play. You have to manually restart, and the music stops the next time a command is issued. Would be nice if it paused media play, played the command, and then re-started media play. Maybe that's asking too much from a phone app but it would be nice.

Rooster99

This is part comment, part question.

Comment 1 :
I had Telenav for just over a year and liked it. Then from Sep 2009 to Jan 2010 it was broken. In that time it had to be re-installed by Telus twice (OTA remotely of course), and when the final problem hit, Telus finally acknowledged it was broken for many Telenav clients and they had no idea when it would be fixed. I gave up and bought Garmin software and have been very happy.

Comment 2 :
One of the additional reasons I went Garmin is Telenav seemed limited to North America, and I also wanted European maps. I may have been incorrect on this point but it's something to look into.

Comment 3 :
Garmin sells software for the Berry that is about $90, making the actual Telenav/Garmin break even approx 9 months, not 35.

Question :
Is Telenav now more reliable on Telus?

Thanks - R.

shankeith

i really cant answer that question because im with rogers

that_maynard

It had a lot of detail which was great, but maybe a bit long, video and written review. I have Sprint, so GPS with voice is included with my data plan, but for others you did a great job describing the app. Kudos, you know your stuff! :) Not to sound mean, but I did fast forward to see what happened after the drive, I did like the music though.

LOZ Girl

I thought this review was DULL. It was too much information all crammed into one review. The video was way too long and only held my interest for the first minute or so. The only thing I liked about this review was the music during the drive but even that got old real quick.

Scream_At_Chaboi

I've been using Telenav since the Nextel days 2005-2006. Telenav runs great on the Blackberry. However, the biggest con is the monthly subscription. That sucks $120 a year.

dhack21

Shankeith definitely gets my vote. His review is well rounded, informative, and short. Not too much to read yet it informed me of the product. Also, not to mention that he has been part of the crackberry forums for a few years now and has experience building themes to boot!

Lumberman

Just to start I liked the review. Sure the video was on the long side but everything you need to know is also in writing.

My comment is regarding what everyone seems to be missing when making the statement that you can have everything on one device. I am not sure about the paid for apps but as far as Google Maps goes, if you don't have cell service you don't have navigation. Google Maps downloads the maps as it needs them, if this is not true of Telenav or Garmin or other paid apps then I apologize but it seems unlikely that software that has a monthly subscription would have all the maps stored on board the device, plus I think that would tie up a lot of precious memory.

So if you are in the mountains where there is no service, or somewhere where you don't get data...then you don't get maps, true?

droidnewbie2011

The video wasn't that long IMO, it was in depth from start to finish along with the written review. Top notch.

mkmilan

Wonder how they match up ....

mangcool

Very nice review. Very clear, informative, and I really enjoyed it!

SGDELAME8310

I have found if you look on Telenav's website and your equipment is not showing a carrier specific nav listed. Telenav sells a 48 month plan for $249.99 (upfront $5.19/month) for the AT&T Bold 9000. For VZW most of the current phones are eligible.

mikeinpa

Maybe I missed this in the review, but if your phone rings, does it take you out of the nav program? And if it does, does the program have to be manually restarted or does it restart automatically? I tend to get most of my business calls while I am driving, so it would interfere to much with my navigation.

shankeith

sorry, i should have mentioned this, but the popup is within telenav and then when your done the call you can hangup and it starts off where you left

cinghoa

The main screen on this app looks almost identical to the Sprint nav that came preloaded on my Curve.
I'm at work, so I can't watch the video, but many things seem similar. The Sprint version did have some hiccups finding some things in KC, but other than that, I was pretty happy with it. If you have Sprint, give it a try. If not, enjoy Telenav. Thanks for the review.

adam80460

Nice review bro.... I didnt find it boring at all.. actually it was very informative. The way you showed it in action by driving around, was the perfect way to show it off...Me Likey :)

jlb21

I liked the review. If I needed a GPS app I would heavily consider Telenav now.

But what I would really like to know, who was filming the Berry while you were driving????? :)

trjnberry

I have used VZ Navigator (Verizon's Navigator service) for so long that I could have bought 3 stand-alone GPS units with my subscription dues! Haha! But, I love the convenience of having a navigator on the phone. I share Georgia's perspective for this entry about the distracting video and motion sickness of the car scene. I think a close-up shot of the menus as you were going through them would have been more helpful for the viewer.

On your written review, I appreciated your screen shots to help me get a sense of what this app does. I wish you would have covered the pros and cons of using a navigator on your phone. For example, how do you handle calls when you're using your navigator? Does the call shut off the navigator or are you unable to answer a call when you got the navigator running?

One convenience I like with phone navigators is the ability to use the program when outside the car, like in walking neighborhoods or riding in a friend's car or taxi. With a stand-alone unit, you have an extra device to charge, to carry, to worry about losing, breaking or getting it stolen. Spend any decent time on the Crackberry forums, and you'll get a strong impression that Blackberry users don't like to spend money on pricy apps. Might be an idea to compare to free apps. For example, I once tried the free LifeinPocket GPS app in an area that I was unfamilar with and I got lost. I jumped on my VzNavigator and found the place in short time. Paying $10 a month for the phone navigator is worth it to me. Include an example like this in your review and you may get those on the fence to bite and try it out. Anyhow, look forwarding to your next review. Good luck in contest.

dixon11

You pretty much passed right by my house!

RetroAndreas

I've been using TeleNav with my Tour for almost a year with Bell.

Here is a tip(didn't watch the video so if its there I apologize)

I went to TelNav's US site and logged in as "other" for my carrier.
Gave them my phone # and they gave me a pin number.
I then installed plugins for my browsers (both PC & Mac).
All I need to do is highlight the address and hit the plugin icon in my browser. Select the address from a list and the address goes into my phones fav section after i hit refresh button.

Works Great!

speedyV

I don't know if they are doing this just for me, but either way I feel all telenav users should know!

I emailed about canceling my subscription got to pricey. Had an email that said for a limited time we will only charge you $4.99 a month for the next 6 months for your subscription.

PIN me I can see if I can locate the email from them. This was only like last month. Not sure if I should just throw this email out in public or not.

3105C407

Thanks

And YES GREAT REVIEW!! I use this app almost on a daily basis. With a car stand thing I purchased from Best-Buy for I think 11.99

JMDBERRY

My Nav sys on my X5 is on the brinks,..as it will not read the DVD! I'm sure BMW will want a pretty penny to replace or repair the unit. I'm leaning to add T-by-T GPS navigation to my BB 9700 as a means to not have to rely on a car mfr's Nav system. Another reason is that I'll have the latest updates as I use the TeleNav system,...my X5 has the 2005 DVD,...I'm sure they have built more roads since then,...as well as possibly re-named a few streets here and there. All-the-same, I'm leaning towards a mobile Nav sys after reading and watching this review,...great work, and don't worry abt some saying that the review was too long,...especially since you decided use time to go a bit more indepth about the features of TeleNav! Your efforts have been greatly appreciated here...

JMDBerry
...Have Bold Will Travel~

Jerry5k

You can purchase Garmin/mobile for a one time charge of $99.00.(a little less sometimes) The App is good for the life of your cellphone. In most cases if you change phones in the first year Garmin will allow you to move the application to the new phone. (note- if you change phones after two years you would have only paid $50/yr for the Garmin vs $120/yr for the Telnav.

I had Telnav prior to purchasing Garmin/mobile. About the only difference between the two is Garmin will also show your speed that you are traveling. Both have up-to-date maps,no downloading of current maps required.

Would like to see an independent comparison between the two APPs so a potential buyer can make the choice on what would be best for them.

svanelet

Your review was very informative and concise, though you could mention that you can go on your computer and look up addresses online rather than from your phone. Then, you can sync those addresses to your phone. This can be done at:

http://my.telenav.com

The video was a bit long and the GPS was shaky, but otherwise good.

Xopher

I have to agree that the video seemed a little long. It may not have been for the amount of detail being shown throughout the app, but the mellow/monotone voice just made it seem longer. The only real complaint I have about the video is that the BlackBerry was too far away from the camera when you were holding it. I couldn't read anything on the screen, and there really isn't a need to show your keyboard (or hand moving across the trackpad). It would have been better if the screen took up more of the video space.

The write-up was very good. My nit-picking pet-peeve about software reviews: you didn't specify the file size for the download. Some BlackBerry users might be interested if it is a 500K download, but not if it is a 5MB download. Knowing how large the file size is can help people decide if it is worth downloading.

Iz

I have been using TeleNav since late 2008. I love the app. I use it daily. I am a Sprint customer and have used it for my users and self for a couple of years now. The only issue I have with TeleNav is customer support. I have had issue (not and again) when I swap devices, getting the TeleNav on the new device. Trying to get things resolved through TeleNav is often very time consuming and frustrating. That being said...even with this I choose to use this application on all of my personal devices and many of my BES devices. Easier than TomTom or Garmlin and I never have to plug in and update.

Great App!!

katiepea

this is a great app for blackberry users, it's shamefully worse than whats offered for free on android with google navigation being what it is, and free at that, but if you're on blackberry platform this is by far the best navigation option, and works well.