So-so iPhone navigator

Gokivo seems to do it all: search for destinations, pair with Bluetooth, play iTunes songs and fade out and in when dictating directions, and deliver turn-by-turn navigation. In our road test, it just didn't perform all these functions uniformly well.

Gokivo seems to do it all: search for destinations, pair with Bluetooth, play iTunes songs and fade out and in when dictating directions, and deliver turn-by-turn navigation. In our road test, it just didn't perform all these functions uniformly well. The app possesses the navigation basics, plus those one or two surprises with iTunes and shaking the app to get alternative routes. You can switch between map, satellite, and hybrid view thanks to Google Maps, and can specify your route preference, like fastest, and variables to avoid, like carpool lanes. We like the address book tie-in to get directions to a contact's place.

Bluetooth pairing worked with both in-dash and auxiliary sets, and so did the embedded iPod control interface, which automatically paused the song to robotically deliver directions, and then resumed. However, while the songs blared, the voice prompts were barely audible, even when we jacked up the volume. At low speeds in dense urban environments, Gokivo occasionally lost track of our location at intersections, but quickly righted itself once we started moving.

For an additional $9.99 a month to use the navigation service, Gokivo does offer a lower entry cost than traditional navigation units--and one that seamlessly connects to your iPod library. However, keep in mind that subscriptions add up. Over the long term, a dedicated navigator could come out cheaper in the end, even with regular map updates. And if your Wi-Fi or data network goes down on the iPhone, the app could leave you stranded. However, Gokivo offers the convenience of a single device and access to your iPod. In total, we think this app needs more work to beat the emerging competition.

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