REVIEW: AT&T Navigator by Telenav GPS (and how it compares to Gokivo)

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Tunnelrunner, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. Tunnelrunner macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    I'm not going to go into great detail since I think this app is pretty much the equal of it's worthy competitor, Gokivo by Networks in Motion (NIM - the same company that powers the VZ Navigator) -- the *other* monthly streaming GPS app -- which I also did a recent review of:

    The basic features of both apps are essentially the same (although ATTN seems to have a more robust POI/database). What I said about Gokivo, basically also holds true for ATTN. Both require a $10 monthly fee. Both stream real-time maps/data/traffic OTA. Both apps feature *text to speech* ("text to speech" = the ability to speak the names of streets/highways, etc. -- TomTom will not have this least not initially). I haven't had any problems running either one in 3G or Edge. Neither can do landscape mode (personally, I think landscape is a *little* overrated so I don't care, but I know this might bother others). Let me preface this by saying: I think they're both awesome. Of course, I tend to favor the monthly mobile phone GPS subscription model and the two giants in this area have always been Telenav and NIM; sort of the "Garmin" and "TomTom" of the mobile phone GPS field. Telenav is the well-known GPS power-horse for the Sprint and AT&T Navigators and NIM is (I thought one of the posters here had mentioned) the most successful mobile GPS service in North America, powering the VZ Navigator, AAA's GPS service, etc.

    So I'll focus on the few differences I've seen between the 2 apps:

    -ATTN has a prettier layout; nicer-looking, cleaner graphics, though there's nothing wrong with Gokivo's appearance either (purely cosmetic point here).

    -The speaking voice for ATTN is definitely louder than Gokivo's but I find Gokivo's voice to be *clearer* and sharper. The ATTN voice does sound (especially at high volume settings) "muffled" and can make understanding 1-syllable streets a chore at times. :Sigh...I wish ATTN's voice was clearer and I wish Gokivo's voice was LOUDER.

    -Entering an address on ATTN is easy enough...but it's not integrated with the contacts app on the iphone. I'm rather surprised and a little disappointed that in all this time Telenav had to develop the app, they didn't think to integrate their app with the contacts in the iphone? Gokivo, of course, *does* feature contacts integration. This should be a requirement for any GPS app that appears on the iphone. (From my understanding, both Navigon and TomTom will feature contacts integration...I have no idea whether G-Map will or will not). Telenav has a constant update/data stream...they need to fix this ASAP.

    -Gokivo features ipod/music library integration and ATTN apparently does not (I haven't tested this yet...only going off of initial reports by other users).

    -ATTN seems to lock on and get a GPS signal a little bit faster than Gokivo.

    -When you go off-route, Gokivo seems to recalculate faster than ATTN. Gokivo: ~1-2 seconds, Telenav: ~8-10 seconds.

    -Both apps calculate smart, efficient routes. In fact, in all the test routes I ran, they basically gave me the same map summary. :)

    -Gokivo features a pay-as-you-go 30-day subscription with no obligation to renew/no-strings attached. In other words, it doesn't automatically renew your monthly subscription - it leaves it up to you to decide whether or not you want to continue paying. I rather like that model. By contrast, ATTN automatically renews your monthly subscription unless you either call them or go to their website and cancel - which is not difficult to do but it's still not as convenient as Gokivo/NIM's billing model.

    That's basically it. It's the age-old question of "Sprint Nav by Telenav or VZ Navigator?" Comparing ATTN to Gokivo is like comparing Coke to Pepsi. I give 'em both 4.5/5 stars (for what they do, all things considered). At this time, I have to call it a draw. As I spend more time with both apps, I might start to lean towards one side but for now, it's too close to call to say one is better than the other since the services are so similar and comparable.

    BOTTOM LINE: If you're okay with paying $10 a month and want constantly updated maps/data/traffic in real-time, BOTH Gokivo by NIM and AT&T Navigator by Telenav are excellent GPS options. You can't go wrong with either one. The great thing about competition is that it's going to spur both apps to try and top the other.
  2. DrFillster macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2008
  3. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    No prob. More of a mini-review really.

    BTW, I just tested the iPod integration for the ATTN--it works. You CAN play music while navigating and just like Gokivo, the music dims while the voice speaks.
  4. Rat-Boy macrumors 65816


    Jul 28, 2008
    My question is this:

    I am driving down the street, being told where to go by either of these apps.

    Then I get a phone call.

    Since the iPhone doesn't allow apps to stay running, what exactly happens?
  5. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    How do you use them without a windshield/dash mount? It seems a mount would be pretty much required to properly use as a turn by turn GPS while driving.
  6. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009

    If you're running the app on Edge, the incoming call gets redirected straight to VM if I understand correctly. Running on 3G, both apps stop running until you either decline the call or take it and hang-up -- at which point both apps automatically relaunch, which is nice. ATTN even relaunches the same route without prompting. Gokivo asks you if you want to resume the same route before relaunching.

    @Julien, matter what GPS app you choose (Navigon, Telenav, etc.), you should get some sort of secure window or dashmount (many different car accessories for iPhone are available). If you're gonna use your iPhone like a car GPS, you'll have to secure it like one. Before I forget: car chargers are a must if you use GPS apps since they drain the battery quickly--especially the ones where the maps are streamed live (Telenav, Gokivo) and not stored in the hard drive of the iPhone (G-Map, TomTom).
  7. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    I stand corrected; I was just running ATTN on Edge and got an incoming phone call which did indeed stop the app. I took the call and as soon as I finished talking and hung up, ATTN relaunched and continued my route without prompting.
  8. funnyboy88 macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2009
    I got a question regarding the price!

    According to the regular AT&T Navigator website, it costs, "$9.99/month for unlimited access (including a free 30 day free trial) or $2.99 for a day pass." Does the iPhone version come with a free trial? And is the day pass available for the iPhone version? I want to try the app without immediately being billed $9.99.
  9. Randman macrumors 65816


    Jul 28, 2008
    Jacksonville, Fla
    You can get the day pass option after 1 month of paid service.
  10. funnyboy88 macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2009
    Is there a free trial available?

    I don't need GPS everyday. Occassionally paying 3 bucks sounds pretty appealing against a permanent subscription or dropping 100 bucks or whatever Tomtom might be and then pay for updates.
  11. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    And the winner is...AT&T NAVIGATOR/TELENAV!

    I've had about a week and a half to play with Gokivo and just over a week's time to play with the AT&T Navigator by Telenav.

    After work today, I wanted to try Gokivo in the city (downtown Chicago, IL). I presently live in the suburbs of Chicago and up until now, Gokivo had worked flawlessly for me--in the 'burbs, that is. For that matter, so had ATTN. The main differences between the 2 GPS apps were that Gokivo boasted contacts integration and Gokivo had a much clearer speaking voice (vs. the poor, over-modulated muffled voice of ATTN). A clear 2-point advantage for Gokivo.

    So as I'm driving down to the city at rush hour time on the highway (290 East) using Gokivo, I notice that it changed a route option in mid-stream: it originally told me to get off on 90W, but then minutes later, changed it's mind and told me to turn right on Wacker Dr. and go through the Loop (the heart) of downtown Chicago. Fine, so I did. Mind you, I'm playing my ipod music at the same time (via aux through the car stereo) I'm using Gokivo. So as I'm in the Loop of downtown Chicago, Gokivo STOPS TALKING. The music continues to play but Gokivo stops giving me any voice directions or prompts. I'm not sure if it was the simultaneous playing of music that messed up the app or whether it was all the tall skyscrapers but whatever the reason, Gokivo was acting buggy to say the least. The map display even partially disappeared (the icon signifying my position remained present but the map was almost all blank white) for what felt like forever (in reality, it was probably like a minute but still, that's a long time in a major metropolitan area)!!! Minutes later, I had to manually stop then restart the app and Gokivo starts talking to me again. Finally, I'm able to pick up a friend and locate a little sushi joint in Lincoln Park (Toro Sushi on Clark St.). Whoo-boy...not a good first city-showing for my favorite GPS app.

    Anyhoo, after sushi, we part ways and I try using Gokivo to get back home to the suburbs. Not long after I get back on the city streets of Lincoln Park (Diversey Ave to be exact), Gokivo spontaneously recalculates and tells me to take a new route. A minute later, it RECALCULATES ANOTHER ROUTE AGAIN and then it stops talking to me (but the music keeps playing)! In frustration, I finally switch over to ATTN/Telenav. It has no problem locking on to a GPS signal and immediately pin-points my location and tells me to get on S. Halstead Street and get back to the highway. I don't like the muffled, distorted speaking voice, so I hook it to the aux and play it through the car stereo...I can now hear the voice prompts loud and clear. To make a long story short, ATTN proceeds to save my arse and take me home in style.

    Anyone who reads my posts/tweets knows that I'm a huge fan of Gokivo. Gokivo has worked great in the suburbs but it simply got schooled in the big city. By contrast, ATTN/Telenav was rock-solid and dependable. Keep in mind, this was not the first time I tried ATTN in the big city: on 6/25/09, I used ATTN to navigate through Humboldt Park, Bucktown, and Wicker Park -- ATTN did this flawlessly. Yes, ATTN's voice should be clearer -- yes, it should integrate with contacts -- yes, it sometimes will lag on quick turns -- yes, I wish it would recalculate as fast as Gokivo does but the bottom line is this: when it counted most, Telenav delivered where Gokivo could NOT. In my mind, this settles the issue for now: ATTN is the more solid and polished nav-program at the present time. It is overall, the superior GPS app for the iphone. I have no doubt that Gokivo will continue to improve as will Telenav -- so the debate isn't over yet: there will be plenty of updates coming from both sides. But for now, the winner is: AT&T Navigator by Telenav.
  12. sleeks macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2009
    Wonder why Gokivo kept recalculating for you?

    Can you test this for me with both?

    If you have the headphones connected or aux jack into the car, but are not listening to the aux input, does the voice also come out of the phone speaker? All the Navigation apps need to have this as an option, but I fear that they won't (except maybe Tom Tom with their mount).

    Many people may have the phone connected to a charger/aux input but not necessarily have the car input on aux input when using nav. For instance, I might want to listen to Sirius in my car, but use the Navigation app on my phone. I am not going to want to disconnect my phone from the aux jack since it works through the dock connector and is also my charger. So, if the voice doesn't come through the phone speakers, then this would inhibit the navigation app.

    When the phone rings and its connected, it will ring through the headphones and the phone speaker, so I would think the apps can be programmed to do this.

    And where are the other US navigation options. Come on Navigon, Tom Tom, Xroad (Gmap), lets get them released.
  13. germanguy macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2008
    The GPS lag with ATT Navigator is aweful. I don't know whether it is the crappy GPS in the iPhone or the program, but I am typically 4-5 seconds behind with the cursor than where I am actually at. Sometimes, the Cursor does not refresh at all for several seconds.
  14. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    What happens if you lose signal for a short time? Is there any pre-caching of maps to get you through a dead spot, or if you take a drive into the mountains where there are many signal "holes", are you pretty much screwed?
  15. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    I'm wondering this myself...
  16. vertigo235 macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2009
    I'm planning to use to the beach tomorrow, its pretty much given that I will lose signal somewhere, so I'll find out and update.
  17. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009

    -When you shake the iphone, Gokivo chooses a detour route. The roads in Chicago are never completely smooth so there was more than a few bumps so I'm wondering if the shakiness *possibly* caused the app to recalculate. It's a stretch -- it wasn't like it was THAT bumpy -- but who knows? Either way, that doesn't excuse the voice commands simply stopping in mid-navigation or for the map to disappear.

    -This goes for both apps (Gokivo and ATTN): if I just plug the regular Griffin car charger into the iphone, the sound (both the voice commands and the ipod music) comes out of the speaker -- *not* the car radio. So in that respect, I can navigate while listening to anything I want on my radio. If I plug in my earbuds, the sound comes only out of the earbuds.

    -If I plug the Griffin iTrip player/charger into the iphone, the sound only comes out of the car stereo (both voice and music) -- *not* the iphone speakers There is no option to change this that I'm aware of -- once you plug it in, the sound goes straight to the car stereo. If I plug the earbuds into the iphone the music only comes out of the earbuds, not the car stereo. BTW, I didn't see any settings in either app where you could change the sound input/output settings, but then again, I'm not tech-savvy enough to even understand that. ;) Hope that helped.

    -Just got an e-mail back from X-Road/G-Map yesterday: "Not yet. It depends on the Apple's review process. It should be within a week or so."


    From what I've observed, the lag happens only occassionally, especially with successive quick turns. But it usually recovers right away. Still, this is something that needs to be fixed so hopefully, they'll stomp that bug out in the next update.


    I'm not sure since I've never been completely without any data signal at all (3G, Edge, roaming). I know Gokivo couldn't locate me in the middle of downtown Chicago yesterday (the map was blank white, but the icon for my position was still present) but I still had a data connection (3G or Edge). So I really can't answer that question.
  18. sleeks macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2009
    There should be an option to turn this off. I've found Gokivo lacking in options.

    This is as expected.

    Bummer. Navigation apps really need an option to turn on speech even if the phone is plugged into a dock that is both a charger and serves to connect to the car for music. I'm not always listening to the music on my phone and would like to hear the directions even if I have something else on the radio. If the phone can ring through the headphones and the speakers, the navigation apps should be able to take advantage of this also. I'm really hoping the Tom Tom dock with the speaker solves this problem. Meaning the speaker would work even if the phone is charging on the dock and even if you have the aux output plugged in to the radio. (Basically the speaker on the dock should have the ability to be switched on or off).
    Currently Gmap handles sound the same way as the ATTN and Gokivo so I'm not holding my breath.

    Thanks for all your assistance testing this.
  19. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    AT&T Navigator bugs

    IMHO, the 4 biggest areas that ATTN needs to fix first are:

    1) lack of contacts integration
    2) the distorted, muffled speaking voice
    3) the occassional lag/delay that occurs when you make quick turns or successive turns
    4) the slow recalculation that occurs if you miss a turn (I've timed it to be as long as 12 seconds).

    Yes, there are other bugs, but these are the most immediate deficiencies.

    Anyhoo, today I had a chance to go over #1-4 in detail with Telenav's PR person Mary Beth Lowell. From what I gather, #1 is being taken care of as we speak. Hopefully #2-4 will be taken care of as well in the next Telenav update.

    I have to give props to Telenav AND Gokivo for being great about dealing with customer feedback/questions. I do know that both companies are presently working on bug fixes for their second roll-outs and are always ASKING for your input/feedback.

    If you're on Twitter:

    Gokivo can be reached at:


    or you can e-mail Mary Beth:
  20. mac-mania macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2005
    For reference, I saw a few people asking, and since I work for at&t I know

    No 30 day free trial is available for the iPhone

    Sucks for me because it's one of those nifty features we like to add and make you cancel and we get paid for if you forget :D
  21. javaGuru macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2007
    I am currently trying out this app and I must admit that it works extremely well. I have been very impressed with it. So far the GPS has been very accurate except for only one occasion where the directions lagged for about 4 seconds. Also, I have yet to get the map to actually show me the current traffic conditions. Overall I am pleased with this app but I'm not sure if I will continue paying $9.99/mo for the service. I will have to wait to see how much the tomtom app will cost etc first.
  22. sleeks macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2009
    I am trying out Gokivo, mainly because it is easy to cancel the monthly charge...just cancel it or delete the app.

    I like it, but in 3 hours of driving today, it thought I wanted to reroute about 10 times due to bumpy roads (and I was on the interstate) There should be an option to turn this off (shake to reroute/detour).

    Also, there was not an ability to pick waypoints. On the way to my sister-in-laws house today, we made 3 stops. I had to do a new route at each stop. Gmap lets you add waypoints so I could have done this as one route.
  23. lssmit02 macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2004
    App Locks up, not ready for prime time

    I just completed a 700 mile trip today, and I have to say I am extremely frustrated with the AT&T Navigator software. I'm using an iPhone 3GS, and the software locked up on me at least a half a dozen times. The last was as I was coming out of a toll booth, and was waiting for instructions on which direction to go. When this happens I have to hit the Home button to completely exit back out to the main screen, restart the software, and then restart the trip. The only common factor seems to be time - This would happen after 1 to 1.5 hours of driving.

    It also is hit or miss on whether it resumes a trip, it seems. I'm not sure exactly under what conditions the software knows to restart, but when I hit the Home button because I'm making a rest stop, it usually requires me to reenter my destination. Although, sometimes it doesn't.

    The text to speech function is nice, something I will miss when I switch to another program. Now I have to figure out which one to go to.
  24. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    Did you happen to experience any areas with no service and have anything odd happen with the navigation?
  25. rburly macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2009
    I've been using G-Maps US East for about a week now and I don't see anything that either of these apps do that G-Maps doesn't.

    Is it that people feel better paying a monthly fee? :confused:

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