Developer: UpNext
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

iPhone/iPad Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

UpNext Maps is a mix between a navigation map service and city-searcher (for things like nightlife and restaurants). While it definitely packs some cool features, I was disappointed that my area didn’t have any 3D maps.

The 3D view that is shown with the screenshots of the app in the App Store isn’t very accurate. There are plenty of buildings in Youngstown (the largest city near me) that are large and high enough for a 3D view to look quite interesting. But, unfortunately, there are no 3D structures in my area. I went New York City on the map to get a better idea of how the app would work in both 3D mode and a place with more search results. Other cities that support 3D include San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and about 20 more. The closest to me was Cleveland.

It was interesting to flip through search results. Users can search for nightlife, restaurants, and more. The venue information is powered by Yelp. Users can see other users Yelp reviews as well as reviews from Citysearch. Users can also easily access directions, the phone number, and launch VZ Navigator (Verizon Wireless’ navigation service) from the venue information screen. The map moves the user from the location of one search result to another when checking out the search results. It’s a cool animation but makes flipping through all of the search results a bit tedious because of how long the animation takes.

The speech bubbles describing each search result point take up way too much space on the screen. It’s hard to tell where some of the results are because the screen becomes overrun with speech bubbles. The search result map would be much more effective if only one venue was shown at a time as a bubble and keep the rest as dots.

The only real problem I had with the app (other than it not working well for my area) is the crashing. I have an iPhone 4 which should have no problem handling the app. But the app crashed frequently enough for it to start getting on my nerves. I restarted my iPhone and redownloaded the app but nothing seemed to stop it from crashing semi-occasionally.

UpNext Maps is an interesting mix of navigation and venue-finding features. It’s going to be the most useful for someone living in highly populated urban areas but still useful in other areas. For a free app, it’s definitely worth giving a shot.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Travel

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