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Google Maps vs Nokia’s HERE Maps: Android Maps & Navigation (Drive) Shootout

Google Maps has been the primary location and navigation app on Android devices, thanks in part to Google’s agreement with Android vendors, making it must have on their devices, but in part also because of lack of compelling alternatives. That’s going to change with HERE bringing its fully-featured Map and navigation app to Samsung Galaxy devices exclusively in October and to all Android devices by end of the year.

The HERE Beta for Android though leaked out days ago and we could take it for a spin and for a shootout with Google Maps for Android. The shootout includes comparison between GPS lock time, UI, features, Navigation quality and more between the two apps.

GPS Lock time and primary Maps UI:

Both apps were able to lock GPS in nearly similar time and were found to be really quick!! Coming to the maps UI, Google features my location on bottom right while HERE on bottom left. HERE has more UI elements on the mapping screen though and one can access “map display types” separately on HERE from bottom right. In case of Google you need to access full menu from left for changing map display. HERE also has collection on top right which Google again doesn’t have on Maps menu.

Two unique thing about HERE UI navigation menu which Google doesn’t have are shown below. Apart from easier reach to map display type selection, tapping on current location in case of HERE takes you to the screen where you can “Collect, Drive or share your location with Glympse“. Tapping on the current location in case of Google Maps does nothing.

Google vs HEREHERE UIOffline Maps and Navigation capability:

With Google you will be offered to download currently displayed or used maps for offline use, but with HERE you can download cities, countries and even continents and use them offline without incurring data charges. As you can see in the below screenshot, with HERE you have the option of both downloading the maps and as well as use the app offline.

HERE has a big advantage over Google Maps in offline department.

Google vs HERE offlineNavigation quality and Features:

From my current location to same destination on both Google and HERE drive, HERE provides a faster route with 16 min driving time. Google’s route will take 22 min in comparison.

Google vs HERE navigationComing to Navigation UI and features, both look quite different. Google has voice navigation and also writes directions like “Head East” too while navigating. HERE doesn’t display “directions” while navigating but announces them and even can announce street names if you download voice navigation guidance with street names. HERE Drive though has features like speed-limit warnings which can be a life-saver in case of traffic violations, I didn’t find this option on Google Drive.

Also, with HERE you can navigate offline from any point to another, provided you have downloaded maps of that region in advance, without worrying about data charges. Google Maps provides offline navigation only when you have downloaded both source and destination maps separately and that looks like a less than half-balked solution, because you still need to start navigation while being connected and can only go offline later.

Google vs HERE Drive Google vs HERE routeConclusion:

When it comes to comparisons, we know our readers trust us, as keep it free from biases. So, between Google and HERE Android apps, we see enough advantages with HERE to choose a clear winner here. HERE has richer Maps UI, unbeatable offline capability (Maps and Navigation) and when it comes to online navigation it offers better routes. This all when it is still in Beta. HERE team deserves  to be praised for perhaps the best Maps and navigation app on Android now.


Nayan has more than 10 years of experience of covering Technology and innovations. He is a big Nokia fan and Tech disruptions aficionado. He loves to review new cool gadgets and writing about Android, iOS, Gadgets and general Technology stuff. He has been associated with other well-known Tech sites WinCentral and GadgetOx since long.

He currently sports a Lumia 950 XL and Nexus 5X. Other interests include listening to Nu-Metal Hits and Kick-Boxing.
Write to him at Email: [email protected]
  • Amit Kulkarni

    I have been many a times guided by Google maps into wilderness while on road trips while Here Maps showed my the fastest route possible through a highway. Even while in city, I have found Here Maps stick to roads that would probably help you reach faster while Google maps makes me take routes which are already small for a 2 wheeler, let alone a 4 wheeler. And add to that the offline functionality which Google can’t compete with. Here Maps are hands down better. I always go with the herd mentality, trusting Google over Here maps and more often than not end up being lost or taking a longer route, only eventually bailed out by Here Maps

  • Guest

    I have used Sygic, Google Maps, Navmii…
    I can safely say that Here beats them all, hands down.

    When it comes to GPS, fast locking and accuracy are the most important things.

  • Libin

    Great! i clearly agree to both the review and the comment for suggestion.i was a nokia n8, Lumia 720 user love here maps, currently a owns Lenovo A6000 4G 😉

  • darkNiGHTS

    “HERE provides a faster route with 16 min driving time. Google’s route will take 22 min in comparison.” Did you drive the routes to find out? Probably Google is just better at accounting for traffic and what not. Silly to say the route is faster just because it’s faster.

  • Dhiman Jyoti Sarmah

    but whats the use when half of the places do not show up on HERE? Example I had to find BGS Health and Education City, and HERE simply says “we could not find a route”, whereas google can!

  • Maps on Morocco are 1 year old, Google maps is referencing even my fresh 2 months builded house !

  • Great review. I agree with everything you have written… I love HERE on Windows phone and you mentioned everything I love about this navigation app over Googles half baked navigation app.
    The only thing that I would like to see added to the HERE app is a buttons for always ask – eg always ask for fastest, balanced or shortest route, or always ask for toll roads on or off etc etc.
    I would also like for the HERE app to announce which side of the road your destination is when you arrive, or at least show clearly on the end flag which side of the road the destination is on, and lastly, for voice command to be added so you can speak your destination instead of having to type it … then this app would be perfect in my eyes.

    • Kamal

      Whoa!! In-depth comment, that. You can write a good review urself 🙂 Though I agree with improvements you suggested.