Free Scout car navigation app works well, updates coming
Telenav offers a compelling free navigation app, called Scout, that is elegant in its simplicity. And it is about to get better. Starting later this year, Android and Apple iOS users will be able to see realistic renderings of buildings and landmarks in major cities along their route to help follow directions more easily.
Traffic reporting and capabilities will also be enhanced, and a new social media aspect will enable drivers to report incidents, slowdowns, and road hazards to share with other Scout users. A simple menu will offer options to report the type of delay with a couple of screen taps. And Telenav says the update will include traffic coverage of five times the number of roads currently reported, including secondary roadways. (For other upcoming nav solutions, check out: “Innovative TomTom Go GPS reveals the future for car navigation devices.”)
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As traffic information is updated along their route, drivers will be offered alternatives if delays are detected ahead, and offered alternatives they can accept or reject. In addition, traffic status up to 15 miles ahead will be displayed in green, yellow, or red lines corresponding with volume. Right now, Scout indicates traffic in color, though the effect can be a bit subtle, especially on smaller screens.
We’ve tried the current no-cost version of Scout on both Android and iPhone devices. Scout proved easy to use, with simple menus and accurate directions. Bonus features include weather information and one-button guidance to a wide variety of services and points of interest along your route, including ATMs, gasoline, dining, and even Wi-Fi hot spots. We particularly enjoyed the one-touch route to home and work functions, each displaying an estimated time when the app is activated. A clever notification function can keep others abreast of your arrival time—handy for those running late for dinner. Best of all, Scout is a free download for Android devices in Google Play, and iPhone users can find it in iTunes.
A premium version costs $5 per month or $25 a year on either platform, and adds additional features including lane assist and speed warnings. Telenav says the basic version will still be offered at no cost when the updates roll out, but the new features will be supported by advertising.
As with other nav apps, we found battery drain to be significant when using it. For in-car navigation, a dedicated mount and charger cord are essential.
We look forward to trying the updated version when it becomes available.