The app I tested, the Magellan RoadMate 2010 North America ($60), includes many features that Magellan provides on its personal navigation devices, such as the Maestro 4700. Although RoadMate 2010's screen layout is similar to that of dedicated GPS versions of the software, the display and button sizes are optimized for the iPhone. To store the location of your vehicle, you simply touch a car icon--great for finding it later in a big parking lot. And you can navigate to contacts in your iPhone or store up to 24 favorites in One Touch locations.
Unlike its competitors from ALK Technologies, Navigon, and TomTom, the Magellan iPhone app does not include Google local search. (You can search through the iPhone's browser, of course, but doing so requires you to leave the navigation app.) It doesn't provide live traffic information either, though this capability may come soon in an in-app upgrade, according to the company.
Check These, Too
Prices for iPhone navigation apps range from $25 to $80, but they don't require any monthly subscriptions; so far, all of the upgrades released for such apps have been free.
Navigon's My Region version ($25) is the cheapest on-board navigation application available for the iPhone, but it restricts you to choosing maps for approximately one-third of the United States (a full complement of maps costs $80).
TomTom 1.3 for the iPhone ($60 for the United States only, $70 for the United States and Canada; the mount accessory, included in the image at left, is $120) neatly integrates Google local search. The IQ Routes routing method considers historical traffic and speed data.
Best for: Owners of Android-based smartphones who have unlimited data plans, want a well-rounded navigation experience, and don't mind doing without niceties like advanced, GPS-friendly car mounts.
Hardware tested: Google Nexus One
Navigation app tested: ALK CoPilot Live 8Price: $30
Like an iPhone, an Android smartphone carrying navigation software can guide you, with certain limitations: An incoming call will interrupt navigation until you are done talking, and you'll have a tough time viewing the phone's directions unless you buy a mounting dock for it.