Software Review: Streeets and Trips 2006
Ok yesterday I decided to go head up to Cape Flattery just outside Neah Bay, WA. I live in the Seattle area, so it was about a 400 mile round trip. This is the first trip I've taken with the new Streets and trips (seeing as it JUST came out) I'm using Road Runner as my front end and a custom skin (NOT the one I've added as an attachment) based on the Brushed Metal skin.
- Night mode is cool. It really makes things easier to see and read (additional note in Cons section)
- Interface with Road Runner is a lot better. With the old streets and trips, you couldn't load a saved route because the Window Class was always different, and a saved document had a different window title than a new window. The new S&T keeps the window title the same no matter what. (Window class still changes though :-( )
- Guidance window is cool. It gives you directional arrows for your next turn, text telling you exactly what to do, a progress bar telling you have far along you are on that particular segment of road, and a mileage gage to tell you how far until the next turn. (There’s a minus about this window)
- Voice directions are nice if you have the right voice running on the system. Big plus, is there's a NICE BIG BUTTON to TURN IT OFF and another big button to have it repeat what it last said. :-) (Read why you might want to do this below)
- Routing got better. You can set up a route and the system knows where you are. In the old streets and trips, you just had a static route and you had to follow it on your own.
- Reroute in the middle of a route. Because it now knows where you are in a particular segment of a route, it now allows you to adjust your route mid-route. Meaning, if you are in-between waypoint 10 and 11 and get off course for some reason or another, you can hit the reroute button and it will just reroute you to your next waypoint.
- GPS settings are saved. With S&T 2005, you had to click a button to turn on GPS, then click another button to have it center you, and then click a third button to set it to rotate map as you drive. With 2006, however, all you have to do is turn on GPS and it remembers your other settings (Center map, rotate, Guidence mode)
- Night mode.... the side streets are a bit too dark. Main streets and your intended route is fine, but the small side streets are so dark they can be hard to see
- Guidance window. It takes up half the screen by default, and on an 800x600 screen, you can only shrink it to about a third of the screen.
- Nav Voice. The nav voice is nice, but the tolerance for being on route and off route is too sensitive. These GPS maps are nice, but often times, they a little wrong. Around the Seattle area I didn't have this problem, but out past Port Angeles in the rural areas, I would commonly tell me I was off route only to have it tell me I was back on rote a few seconds later.
- Nav voice is too detailed. It tells you every segment of the road. If I pass a fork in the road it will tell me about it, even if I'm coming from one of the forks (where is obvious what direction I have to go)
- Same road in a different direction. Because I went to Cape Flattery and back, I took many of the same roads, just in a different direction. The system as a whole handled this VERY well; however, I did notice that when I was on my way back on these roads, it would often give me the voice information for both directions. Guidance knew which way I was going, but the *sometimes* the voice didn't. Very strange.
- Nav voice uses wave output. I'm guessing that's just the way it has to be.... so I can't really knock it that hard, but I'm going to anyway. Probem is, you're driving along listening to music and the nav voice plays with the music... so you can't really here it. There is a repeat button... but... it would be nice if there was another cleaner option with this. Also, I really can't fault Streets and Trips for this because the the sound output isn't determined by S&T, but rather SAPI5... and on my computer, wave out is the only option. I'm still looking into options like a virtual Audio out channel for this, but as of yet, I haven't figured anything out.
- Guidence mode comes on by default. This is kind of annoying because when you turn GPS on in Guidence mode, you get one of those warning messages like you get in factory nav systems. it's got nice big buttons to click OK past it but then the guidence window opens by default. I don't have a custom button created in my skin to toggle this window yet, but it is on my list of things to do before I post this skin because the X button for this window in the program is TINY!!
All and all, for $40 (if you already have a GPS mouse) I think it's VERY worth it. The interface isn't the best, but it works for the most part. For those without wireless keyboards a little work needs to be done to get the OSK working... but other than that, I think we now have a great alternative to the more expensive nav programs. Sure, it's not as good as Map Monkey (at least from what I've seen as I've never used it) but it's only a fraction of the cost. IMHO, If Mappoint 2006 is released with all of these options, the only thing we will be missing is a 3D view.
Hmm.... click this link for the image. Not sure why it won't display like this