Unfortunately, I have to also tell you something else before I start this article in regard to my testing of this new Copilot RV GPS app. I have been testing the app since early April. My intention was to post this article for you to read two weeks after I started testing, but I was finding a very significant problem with the app, that never occurred in my two years of experience with the Copilot USA Premium car app. I even installed Copilot USA Premium to my new phone to see if it was the phone or the Copilot RV app. Copilot USA Premium worked on the new phone as it always has on my former phone with no problem. That and the testing of two other GPS apps in the new phone did not result in the same problem the Copilot RV app was having. WAZE and Google Maps Nav worked perfectly.
Here is the problem. If a destination is put into the Copilot RV GPS app and calculated by the app inside a structure - in this case inside my house (as opposed to outside including out of any structure and being in the RV or a car) - when the phone is taken outside to start driving a trip, the app does not re-establish the GPS signal that the app had when the destination was set into it inside my house or a building, and when we started driving, the app did not detect any movement - at all. The screen icon that shows the location of the RV which is a solid red circle when stopped and becomes a red arrow when the vehicle is moving - showed the red circle at the initial position as stopped as it showed when it routed and that screen never changed. We did tests in which we drove for ten minutes and the screen never changed - and the app was not navigating as we drove. For a GPS app this is very serious. It is its main purpose. And it happened intermittently. Same circumstances repeated would not always result in the same thing. Sometimes it worked and navigated, but most of the time it did not. I looked at many different variables, tried different settings - thought for a few days that I had found the correct settings to resolve this - but no, then it happened again, and again and again. NOW - if you are outside or in the RV or a car and you always turn on the app there for the first time for a routing, set in your destination, and start to go, the app works as it should - about 97% of the time. BUT - there have been many times with the Copilot car app that I have set in my destination in the house the night before or even that morning before we leave and the next day, turn on the app as we are heading out the door, and tell it to continue the route it established when I set it, and it always worked. This new app does not. With the Copilot car app, if the app has a route calculated in it, you could shut off the app for days - even shut off the phone -and when you got into the car or RV with the app and turned it on, it found the GPS signal and picked up the route exactly from where you are at that moment - instantly. I even downloaded a GPS satellite app that locates all of the GPS satellites overhead and shows how many GPS satellites the phone is connected to at that moment. Inside my house there were over 13 GPS satellite connections. Outside that only increased to 14 or 15 satellite connections. The phone's GPS was locked onto satellites with a "3D" GPS fix. The phone's GPS is functioning normally - and as I have already said, it works just fine with the CoPilot USA Premium car app in the new phone. At that point I decided that I wanted to be fair to this company and contacted the person at Copilot who first contacted me and was then put in contact with a tech. The tech, who is on the app's development team, took all of the details that I had of what was occurring including a screen photo, and was going to consult with other techs. A few days later I was told that they were going to obtain the same phone that I am using with the same Android 5.1.1 OS and see if they could duplicate the problems I was finding. I told the tech that if I was informed of no resolution to this problem and what to do to fix it - or if there was to be no app update to correct this in the next two weeks when this article was rescheduled to be released, I would release the article noting this serious problem. Here is the article with no resolution yet. As you read the article I will detail some other problems encountered.
There are other non-RV settings. There are several map styles - day and night to choose from. You need to select the voice that it will use to tell you turn by turn directions using street names. You first select your language and then that takes you to voice selection. Choose your phone's own voice for turn by turn with streets spoken directions. If you choose one of the other voices you will get only turn by turn directions with no street names. This is common to all GPS units - not all voices speak street names. Tweak the phone in your phone's own settings - you can also choose other voices there if your phone's manufacturer provides them or install a different voice engine to your phone for other voices. You can also set the distances you want to be alerted to turn. Go through the menu for various other settings.
"My Places" which is places you have saved, it puts them into one of two categories of your choosing - one is HOME and the other is WORK. You can have several in each of these categories. It really is not like a "favorites" list in structure but it functions as one.
Routing and Points of Interest -
I have had problems overall with searching for points of interest and with some of the routing that this RV GPS is doing. When you select Points of Interest this is the first screen that comes up -
I made several test drives with routes planned. On one, I started driving and it was sending me to Walmart which was the first actual stop I wanted to go to. I did not set this to a "waypoint" - and perhaps I should have. Once I got to the Walmart parking lot I turned where it told me to turn to get into the parking lot and it started directing me out the exit. It wanted me to go around and come back in again. I did not drive up to the door of the Walmart and it did not know I was there. I decided to follow what it wanted me to do - perhaps it was now directing me home. I followed its first two directions and as I past the Walmart entrance where it had told me to turn in to Walmart the first time, it now directed me to go in again. I gave up at that point and decided to proceed to the next stop which was my home. I passed that entrance to Walmart and figured that the route would now move on to the next and last stop - home. It kept telling me to turn around. I kept going toward home. At every street I passed it was telling me to head back to Walmart. I pulled over and shut it off and went home on my own. I repeated the planned trip again, this time setting Walmart to a waypoint - no need to stop - and when I got into the parking lot it started all over again telling me to go around, come back in, the whole bit it did the last time - but this time I drove through the parking lot - passed all of the parking spaces and drove up to the front door of the store. At that point it finally recognized that I was at Walmart and it started to route me to the next stop - home. I have never had a GPS with a planned route do this. They always recognized any place in the parking lot or the property as the destination. This is something that happens other than with planned trips. You destination is reached in a specific spot that it decides is the end of the trip. For most places, you know you are there, stop, get out, and clear the route, but with this, if you don't clear the route it wants to keep going to get you to that unknown exact spot. While a 50 stop trip planning and trip editing feature is good to have, this app needs some work in how to plan a trip and how it actually gets you to those stops.
When you have a route in, you can see your route by tapping on the lower left corner of the screen where you see six blue squares. With a route set, you will see a place, "My Route", to click to view the route on a map as shown in the photo above. You will then see the entire route on the map. With this there is a GO on the bottom that takes you back to the main screen and the road you are on. There is also a place on that same menu to see all of the directions along your route - all of the turns from start to finish. Click on any turn and you can tell the app to avoid that and it will send you around that. Here is a problem with going to the Directions screen - you can't go back to the main driving screen unless you click the blue boxes on the bottom again, go to that same menu that took you here and then click on "3D map" to get back to the driving screen. Too many steps when a simple MAP button on the top of this display could take you back to the driving map. This MAP button is on many other screens BUT not this one! Minor annoyance but it took me ten minutes to figure out how to get off that directions screen.
Map view can be turned off and you can have the list of directions with the next turn shown bold and large if you don't want the distraction of the moving map. You can also freeze map motion if it distracts you. There is also a choice of 2D maps or the usual GPS display of 3D maps.
While you are stopped you can do local searches through the app to Yelp, Wikipedia, or Google. While driving it is best if a passenger does this for you with the app. You can also access local weather reports. It will also find nearby parking, but not necessarily RV parking. These all do require that you have data service. How could they work otherwise?
Some of this app's routings are marginal. It will get you to about the correct place but then will tell you to turn left when the destination is on the right. I never encountered that with the Copilot USA Premium car app before - but while testing this RV app, I loaded that on the new phone and downloaded maps - and the POIs that were there before on the last map on the car app are not longer there on this one - just like the RV app - they would have to be the same maps and POI listings. Copilot gets its maps from a know GPS map source and they should be better than they suddenly are. In the past they have always kept up with road changes and new additions. A navigation GPS app is only as good as its maps and Copilot's have been excellent in the past. I do not recall any trip with Copilot USA Premium telling me our destination was somewhere other than where it actually is.
Routing is also a big issue, especially with an RV specific GPS app if it is sending you somewhere incorrectly or in the wrong direction. On two tests the app was sending the RV to a location that is reached on a large local road. Both times I was directed to "Turn right on "ramp" to X Avenue" (which is the road that the destination is on but not the road we needed to turn on to get there). It was sending me onto an entrance ramp for a local parkway - which happens to be a ramp that has two exits from it not onto the parkway, but still not to "X Avenue". And that parkway ramp is clearly marked NO Vehicles Over 7'10" and "X Avenue" is never mentioned on the sign. The road we should have been directed to turn on comes right before that ramp and runs parallel to the ramp. This is all happening with the app set to RV profile! I knew enough - because I live nearby - to not get on there with the RV - BUT I did repeat the routing in RV profile while driving the car and followed where it was saying to go and what it was saying was so confusing as nothing mentions "X Avenue" until you actually get onto the Parkway itself - and then it was too late since as soon as I got on had I been an 11 foot tall RV I would have ripped the roof off on the 11 foot overpass that was right after that entrance. Bang! I am sure that the app did not intend one to get on the parkway itself, but it never identified either of those two ways off that ramp correctly - and those two exits never intersect "X Avenue" but take you to the road that I would have turned on to begin with. With any GPS and especially an RV GPS one cannot always know the area that it is routing on or through. I know what to avoid here because I have been there before. You are not supposed to have to know every area and road you will get on that the app is sending you on. And if you need to check each turn it is taking as you drive with a map, just use a map and forget the app. I well understand when using any GPS be aware of the route before you start - but this takes that to too much of an extreme.
END OF PART 1
PART 2 IN TWO WEEKS...