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Smartphones as we know it isn’t always just about how fast your device performs, the stunning image quality of the camera, and how big is the screen. There are a lot of apps out there than can benefit our daily walks of life, regardless of which smartphone phone you got. One particular app is called the RTA Smart Drive, a well-made maps application that’s created by the Road and Transport Authority of Dubai.
Available on both the Apple Store and Google PlayStore, the RTA Smart Drive is meant to provide easier routing and GPS navigation for drivers who always find it hard to cope with Dubai’s puzzling roads and issues. The best part is that you do not need an internet connection to search and navigate to your desired place. The app already holds details of most of the important and popular areas of the region, and it will route the directions by using the smartphone’s built in GPS.
On the main page, you will be presented with options such as the route, navigate, volume control, time, and the “other options” hamburger menu.
The “route” basically allows you to search for places and navigate to the destination. You can even store your favorite places, and view them in the “My Places” option, along with a “recently searched” list. While the app is able to provide several popular area details and directions without the need for a data connection, there were instances in which the app couldn’t recognize some not-so-popular areas of interest.
Another interesting feature is the “Live Traffic” that alerts you about the traffic congestion of the route due to road works and accidents. This can seriously help drivers take alternate paths to avoid delays. However, you will need a data connection to know constant traffic updates.
In the hamburger menu, you will be provided with more options such as My Places, My Routes, Settings and Take Me Home which seems to be a very useful feature if you are lost.
Back to the main page, the GPS icon on the middle starts to navigate you in real time once clicked, along with 3D models of popular landmarks on the map. There is also a voice that sort-of resembles the Google Map’s narrator.
On the left side, you will find a clock like icon which shows the current and average speed of your vehicle. During a real-time navigation, the route option shows the amount of distance travelled, speed limit alerts, and the ETA to the point of interest.
As for the performance of the app, the RTA Smart Drive ran well on my Sony Xperia Z5 Compact smartphone without any glitches or lags. The animation and 3D Models of buildings/important landmarks rendered very smoothly. The map shows details such as metro stations, trams, unpaved road, and tolls. The only thing missing is the integration of Google Now into the app. However, you can log-in with Facebook to check “Nearest Places”. Also, there isn’t any sort of voice command option on the search page which would have been much more useful.
So is the RTA Smart Drive a perfect Google Maps alternative? Not really, because not all the places in Dubai are stored in the app. Still, the app performed well without any annoying UI glitches, and navigation is very much accurate. The developers should consider a possibility of Google Now/Google Maps integration with the RTA Smart Drive.