We gave the Wayfinder Navigator navigation software a try with two well-known devices: the Apple iPhone 3G and the Nokia N82.

The latter is a Symbian S60 handset and our experience of using the Wayfinder Navigator on the N82 should be matched on the Nokia N95 and other S60 handsets (see system requirements for details).

Note that you need to be on a 3G or GPRS/Edge connection - you can't simply use a WAP service to get online and start using the Wayfinder Navigator service. This is important, as otherwise you'll be unable to configure the satellite navigation service. It's worth looking into handset compatibility at MyWayfinder.com before you fork out for the Bluetooth dongle needed to add GPS navigation to your phone.

Assuming you can negotiate the compatibility and connectivity hoops and have charged up the BT Bluetooth dongle, you're all set to start GPS navigation. We found we had to delve into the Applications folder on our N82, where a green heart icon indicated the Wayfinder Navigator program was installed.

This same motif is used to indicate the current location, while we were pleased to find that the Wayfinder Navigator's satellite strength indicator is a fairly prominent cartoon-style icon displayed at the top left.

Route calculation can be from A to B, from where you are now to a specific location, extracted from a saved list of favourite routes, from the results of a search you've performed - useful if you don't know an address and basically want to find a shop, a specific service or a hotel and then to drive straight there. With Wayfinder Navigator such searches can either be highly specific or ‘in or close to' a location. In practice, our tests of this particular function didn't prove that fruitful - at least in congested central London where the GPS signal strength wasn't that strong.

In common with most satnav devices, the Wayfinder Navigator uses TeleAtlas maps. Rather than being static information, the mapping information is stored on a server, updated regularly and pushed to users' handsets. As such, road blockages and new road layouts can be accommodated without the user having to manually update the maps by visiting the satnav company's portal or paying for a new quarter's map updates.

Wayfinder has been sensible in its choice of the handsets Wayfinder Navigator supports - the Nokias, BlackBerry and iPhones of this world all have bright, colourful and relatively large screens. When the idea of satnav on phones was first mooted, it was often on handsets with very small screens. For all intents and purposes, you had to be content with using such maps to point the way, rather than for turn by turn navigation as you cycle or drive.

NEXT PAGE: the interface, down sides and our expert verdict

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We gave the Wayfinder Navigator navigation software a try with two well-known devices: the Apple iPhone 3G and the Nokia N82.

We also like the interface on the Wayfinder Navigator. A jazzy graphic showing A to B navigation is joined by icons for Search (a magnifying glass), Favourites (a star), Maps, Settings and Services.

On the iPhone, this no nonsense interface works especially well: not only is the Wayfinder Navigator downloaded and ready to use almost as soon as you've grabbed it from the Wayfinder website, but the integration between search and entering directions is seamless.

It's not all as straightforward though. Regardless of the handset on which you use Wayfinder Navigator, it can only bellow out directions to you on a turn by turn basis for a linear route. You can't create stops along the way, which is a bit of a pain if you need to visit a friend and make a stop-off on route to pick up a housewarming gift or make another scheduled deviation from the route.

Nor is Wayfinder Navigator able to help you find ways round snarlups. Instead, you have to follow your nose and hope that you don't stray beyond the edge of the current block of streets the Wayfinder has downloaded before you completely lose your bearings.

This is fairly unlikely as Wayfinder Navigator is a live mapping service and fresh data should be downloaded as you move around; it's only if you experience a coverage dropout in a congested part of town that this may be a problem. This is an issue with any over the air service, however.

Should you want it, you can make use of the latest social-networking tools to report on where you are and where you've been, for the Wayfinder Navigator offers direct integration with Facebook and an exporting tool so you can show the trail you've blazed on Google Earth

If you prefer the try before you buy approach, you may be better off with a month by month subscription as a bolt-on to your mobile phone contract. Good options include Telmap (we tested it on Vodafone for Palm Treo and BlackBerry Curve) and Nokia Navigator software. However, we were also thoroughly impressed by how well the CoPilot Live 7 standalone satnav software worked when we installed it on the HTC Touch Diamond.

Wayfinder Navigator

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Wayfinder Navigator: Specs

  • Windows Mobile 5.0/6.0 Professional
  • 200MHz CPU. Compatible phones: Motorola A1000/A920/A925/E770/RAZR V3x/Nokia/3120 classic/3230/3250/3555/5300/5310 XpressMusic/5500/5610 XpressMusic/6110/6111/6120/6125/6131/6230/6230i/6233/6234/6260/6263/6267/6270/6280/6288/6290/6300/6300i/6301/6500/6500 slide/6555/6600/6620/6630/6670/6680//6681/6682/ 7500 Prism/ 7610/ 7900 Prism/ 8800 Arte/8800 Sirocco edition/9300/9300i/9500/ E50/ E51/ E60/ E61/ E62/E65/ E70/E90/N70/N71/N72/N73/N75/ N76/ N80/ N81/N82/N90/ N91/N92/ N93/N95 8GB/Panasonic X700/BlackBerry 7130/8110/8120/8310/8320/8700/8707/8800/8820/Bold/Curve 8300/Pearl 8100/Samsung SGH-i450/Sony Ericsson C702/C902/D750i/G700/G900/K320i/K510a/K510i/K530i/K550i/K600i/K608i/K610i/K660i/K750i/K770i/K790a/K790i/K800i/K810i/K850i/M600i/P1i/P800/P900/P910i/P990i/S500i/T650i/V600i/V630i/V640i/W300i/W550i/W580i/W600i/W610i/W660i/W700i/W710i/W760i/W800i/W810i/W850i/W880i/W890i/W900i/W910i/W950i/W960i/Z520a/Z520i/Z525a/Z530i/Z550i/Z610i/Z710i/Z710i/Z770i/Z780
  • Windows Mobile 5.0/6.0 Professional
  • 200MHz CPU. Compatible phones: Motorola A1000/A920/A925/E770/RAZR V3x/Nokia/3120 classic/3230/3250/3555/5300/5310 XpressMusic/5500/5610 XpressMusic/6110/6111/6120/6125/6131/6230/6230i/6233/6234/6260/6263/6267/6270/6280/6288/6290/6300/6300i/6301/6500/6500 slide/6555/6600/6620/6630/6670/6680//6681/6682/ 7500 Prism/ 7610/ 7900 Prism/ 8800 Arte/8800 Sirocco edition/9300/9300i/9500/ E50/ E51/ E60/ E61/ E62/E65/ E70/E90/N70/N71/N72/N73/N75/ N76/ N80/ N81/N82/N90/ N91/N92/ N93/N95 8GB/Panasonic X700/BlackBerry 7130/8110/8120/8310/8320/8700/8707/8800/8820/Bold/Curve 8300/Pearl 8100/Samsung SGH-i450/Sony Ericsson C702/C902/D750i/G700/G900/K320i/K510a/K510i/K530i/K550i/K600i/K608i/K610i/K660i/K750i/K770i/K790a/K790i/K800i/K810i/K850i/M600i/P1i/P800/P900/P910i/P990i/S500i/T650i/V600i/V630i/V640i/W300i/W550i/W580i/W600i/W610i/W660i/W700i/W710i/W760i/W800i/W810i/W850i/W880i/W890i/W900i/W910i/W950i/W960i/Z520a/Z520i/Z525a/Z530i/Z550i/Z610i/Z710i/Z710i/Z770i/Z780

OUR VERDICT

We've tried out a number of mobile phone-based mapping and navigation services in the past two years and Wayfinder Navigator is one of the most competitively priced. Assuming you'll be keeping the same handset for a couple of years, the £48 deal for paying up front is pretty compelling. For this you get all the live map updates, but you don't get the TMC (traffic management console) alerts or warnings about traffic cameras.

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