I bet some of you owned a GPS device like Garmin or Papago before. Prior to smartphones that was equipped with a built-in GPS, we would depend on the actual standalone GPS devices to find our way through the city or when we’re out-of-town. But now is the era of a modern world. Even the cheapest Android phones can be used as a GPS device. We now have Google Maps, Waze, Sygic, On-The-Go and many other free and paid GPS apps for the smartphone. But the latest addition by Nokia called HERE Beta (which is still in beta) made its way to the Android platform.

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I had a Lumia smartphone before. And the GPS & map function on the Nokia is excellent. You can use the map free of charge and best of all, you can use the map offline without any internet connection…same goes with the new HERE Beta for Android.

Select destination - HERE BetaOnce you’ve downloaded the app from the Play Store, you can have the option to download the full map according to the country you’re in. Naturally, I installed it on my phone and downloaded the full map for Malaysia. To my surprise, it is very much updated. The GPS locks in quickly and accurately. I am able to locate myself in mere seconds. To look for destinations are simple. Key in your destination like “KLCC” if you’re looking for a specific building or “Jalan Telawi” if you’re looking for the road and it will list out the destination and also surrounding area of interest.

I did a test on the app and see how it works. I keyed in my destination as Wangsa Walk and list of other places also appeared on the list. One awesome function that HERE Beta has over other (free) map apps is the ability to search for destinations while being offline. This will be very useful if you’re out of data or while you’re in another country without a phone line or WiFi. Google Maps can also be saved offline but you won’t be able to search for places of interest while being offline. So to me, HERE Beta appeals to me heck of a lot more. But I do love Google Maps too. So I have both installed on my phone…oh…and Waze too.

Take a look at the screenshots from the thumbnails below. I have locked my destination as Wangsa Walk and as you can see, the app shows the route and some other details along the way. It’s quite similar to the other GPS devices, so nothing special here. But if you’re online, it can also show the traffic conditions.

 

Maps with 3D buildings - HERE BetaAnother awesome feature that I like from HERE Beta is the 3D surrounding buildings. This function also appears in the standalone GPS devices and also some of the other GPS apps on Android, but this is entirely free. That is the main reason I’m loving the HERE Beta. All because it is 100% FREE to use. And the functionality and ease of use made it my go to GPS (not that I need it though). Yeah, my friends calls me the “walking GPS” because I know my ways around. Then why do I use a GPS app? For the fun of it. LOL. Actually I can easily find out some short-cuts by referring to the app. I’m curious like that.

Would I recommend this app to my friends? Yes! Definitely. It’s so easy to use and the winning criteria it has over the standalone GPS thingimajig is being totally free. Go get a cheap Android smartphone and have HERE Beta installed to have a cheap alternative GPS device for your car. You can use it if you’re on foot as well. It will suggest the shortest route to your destination if you’re walking. But to walk from PJ to Wangsa Maju is ridiculous. I think HERE Beta will suggest you to take a bus instead.

Want to give HERE Beta a try? Go ahead and download it from the Play Store now.