Tuesday, July 05, 2011

CoPilot Live Standard & Premium

**Full Disclosure. I was provided a copy of CoPilot Live Standard & Premium for the iPhone to use in my review of the product.**

It's always fun to take a trip and to see how things turn out when you use varying services. For me I use a couple of different items just for the sake of seeing which one delivers the best result, offers the most distraction-less experience and delivers me to the destination the most times successfully.

Driving apps are becoming more and more of a requirement in the era of smart-phones. Each of them playing to a different niche, each of them offering features that the others don't and some simply refining or innovating the features of others. One that stands out in this crowd for me is CoPilot from ALK.com. I have tried a couple of different apps out there and things that are important to me are:

A. Speed of the app
B. Responsiveness to the environment (does it update according to traffic information and advise alternate routing)
C. Informational services - Gas pricing, weather, points of interest along the way
D. Support
E. Pricing
F. Maps...are they downloaded as needed or device resident
G. Informational display - how does the app show me what I need as a driver in such a way that I don't have to dig for it.

So when I received an email asking if I'd like to review the newest version of CoPilot Live for the iPhone, I jumped at the chance. I reviewed their original version so this was a treat I was looking forward to. Both of these versions are priced differently. I recommend the PREMIUM just for the amount of information and feedback the app provides. If you start out with Standard you can easily upgrade to it.

I must say out of the gate that I was completely impressed with the revisions to the app. They've taken what one would call a dashboard paradigm and moved it to a whole new level of clarity and precision. Bravo to the UI designers at ALK.com on this one. Nice job folks.

Lets get into the review now...

The app feels faster to me. In the launch phase as well as operationally, it just feels faster. I used the iPhone 4 the last time I reviewed this so it's not a difference in the hardware, but the speed increase is definitely a welcome perception if that's what it is. Something tells me they trimmed the overhead of this app in the area of memory usage as it just zips along.

Next you'll see two images. 

The one where you can additional information at the top of the screen is the new version, the other is the older version which basically blocked out the phone info 

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New CoPilot Live - darker theme Old CoPilot Live - lighter theme

The new interface is cleaner, easier to read and manages the screen better for the user. Text is bigger so that you don't have to strain your eyes to see things that's important using an app such as this one. I also like the colors they've used. Additionally what I love about this is the ability to get to other forms of display by simply tapping in the center of the "dashboard". So on the image where it says 5.1 mi and has a road with an arrow pointing right, if I were to tap that, the map would change to a view which had larger text and information about when my next turn would be. I love this information as I can choose to either use my glasses or not when looking at it, yes it's that large.

And whether or not you're using portrait view or landscape, you'll get the most information possible in the view to let you know where you're heading and how long it will take to get there:

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I would like to see some different voices for navigation though. Seriously the one woman's voice that's part of the program after a while 
begins to gnaw at my spine.

Want to know the weather in your area? Simply tap the weather and you can also get it for along the way, or at your destination:

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Looking for the best pricing on Gas? Tap for that too! and once again, along the way or at your destination

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And once you find a station you like, route to it and get your fuel.

If you park your car...you can tell it where you are by tapping, and then tell the app to find your car when done. This is handy to avoid those Seinfeld episodes where you lose your car

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and you can also use facebook places and Wikipedia for additional info by simply tapping from within this screen:

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These are some nice additions to an already involved program. Since the app downloads all maps to your device if you go off grid you're still able to route because information is resident on the device. The download of the app is right around 1.

One thing I really love about the app is that it shows you precisely where to be when freeways merge so that you get into the proper lane. I have found others that did not do this well. ALK did a great job and here's a sample of that in both portrait and landscape

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It was telling me in the first image that I needed to be in the far right lane to get off onto the 133 North. In the next image I could be in any of the 3 right lanes and still be ok to get onto the 101 North in Ventura.

Having guidance like this is important when driving so that you can be more aware of things and not do that swing from the far left lane into the right lane across 4 lanes because you almost missed the turn off. Knowing enough in advance is one of the things that helps keep the accident rate down vs. up. So thanks to ALK for putting that into this update. Love the way you've implemented it.

Operationally, this app gave me no problems whatsoever and was dead on with every route I took during my 3 day trip, so thanks for that. One other thing I like that I've not seen in other apps is the ability to tell ALK when you find something that they need to update. Right in the app you can do this and they fix things all the time and you'll then get a notice to update and they push the changes down to your app quickly. Very slick.

In summation, this update to CoPilot is definitely DocMurdock Approved & Recommended for all to purchase. Go to the App Store and get this app if you don't have it. It's also available on Android.

Thanks for the chance to review this product ALK. I love your software!!

DocMurdock

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits