Verizon VZ Navigator Service
Getting around a new town just got that much easier thanks to the VZ Navigator Service from Verizon. No longer do you need to buy a standalone GPS unit or invest in a pricey high-end vehicle to get the navigation services you need. In order to access this service, you need to download two pieces of software -- VZ Navigator and Location Management -- both of which are available through "Get It Now" on your compatible Verizon handset. Refer to the list near the end of this article to see which phones work with the VZ Navigator Service.
GPS Navigation on a Cell Phone
Verizon's VZ Navigator Service is, simply put, GPS navigation on a cell phone. It isn't quite as powerful as what you'd find in a standalone device, say from Garmin, Magellan, or Mio, but it is easily adequate for most of your needs. The turn-by-turn directions are belted out of your cell phone's speakerphone, helping you find your way when you're not really sure where to go or how to get there. The display on your cell phone may be a little small, but that's why the directions are voiced.Essentially, at the beginning of your trip, you allow your handset to connect to the network so that it can determine your current location. After plugging in your destination information, VZ Navigator will determine an optimal route for you (based on your settings for either fastest, simplest, shortest, avoiding highways, etc.).
Other Included Services
In addition to the turn-by-turn navigation, three other services are bundled in with Verizon's VZ Navigator:
- Local Search: Local Search allows you to find points of interest (POI) in your area, so you will never have to go hunting for a restaurant, ATM, or gas station ever again. There are several categories for you to choose from, and you can even search for POI in a different starting area than your current location.
- My Places: Working in much the same way as Local Search, My Places -- as you can probably guess -- stores all of the locations you have instructed the phone to save, such as your home, office, grandma's house, or what-have-you. My Places also lists recent searches.
- Mapping: If you don't need directions and simply want a map of any given area, the Mapping tool found within VZ Navigator's main menu is for you. Think of it as MapQuest on a cell phone.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are two pricing options for Verizon's VZ Navigator Service.
- Daily: $2.99: Verizon's "day", in this instance, is based on a 24-hour period rather than on a calendar day. This is a good option if you only plan on using the service for one or two days a month.
- Monthly: $9.99: For slightly longer road trips, you may want to look into the monthly option, because it only costs $1 more than paying for a 72-hour period on a daily basis.
Any Hidden Charges?
There aren't exactly any "hidden" charges, per se, but you will likely be charged data access fees for the initial software download through Verizon's Get It Now service. Moreover, whenever the handset needs to connect to the network to determine your location (e.g., at the start of your trip, when finding a map, when looking for a point of interest, etc.), you will be charged airtime. If you go off route and the VZ Navigator needs to re-draw a route, you will also be charged airtime. Occasionally, the service will want to reconnect to the network to confirm your current location; this also results in charged airtime. In general, however, airtime is not charged while you are en route.
Is VZ Navigator Worth It?
Well, that's up to you. If you do a lot of travelling and intend on using GPS navigation quite extensively, you may want to look into a different option than the VZ Navigator, such as the many standalone devices on the market.
However, if you have no intention on using turn-by-turn directions in your home town, and only use it while on vacation in another city (VZ Navigator only works within Verizon Wireless' National Enhanced Services Coverage Area), the VZ Navigator may be a good solution for you.
Compatible Mobile Phones
Currently, there are six cell phones in Verizon Wireless' lineup that are compatible with their VZ Navigator service. Four of these are clamshells, with only one candybar and one slider among the bunch. The pricing varies quite widely on these handsets, and as such, you should look into the features they bring in addition to giving you turn-by-turn directions over their speakerphones.
- LG Chocolate Phone: Already a hit in their native Korea, LG has brought their ubiquitous Chocolate Phone to our side of the Pacific. In addition to its attractive, glossy black exterior, this phone contains an integrated music player and a 1.3 megapixel camera.
- LG "The V": "The V" has plenty of functions, both music-oriented and business-minded. Its most unique feature is being able to flip open to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard, stereo speakers, and landscape color display.
- Motorola RAZR V3m: Perhaps Motorola's best known handset, the RAZR is the ever-popular slim flip phone, here in its music-centric CDMA V3m edition, available in either standard silver or a more personality-filled pink.
- Motorola V325: On the more basic end of things is the V325. A fairly entry-level cell phone, this clamshell comes with an integrated speakerphone, voice-activated dialling, and a VGA camera.
- Samsung SCH-a930: This flip phone has a rather unconventional looking exterior that screams with personality. Key features include Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera with flash, and compatibility with V CAST Music.
- Samsung SCH-a990: Probably one of Verizon's most powerful cell phones, the Samsung SCH-a990 sports an incredible 3.2 megapixel camera, microSD expansion, EV-DO, TV-out, a swivelling display, and PictBridge compatibility.