Consumer Reports pitted Apple's new Maps against Google's Android Maps in a "showdown" to see which provides better navigation features.
The result: Jeff Bartlett wrote that while "both the free Apple and Google navigation apps provide clear routing directions," the group concluded that "Google provides a better overall package, but we feel that both provide a good solution for standard software."
Last week, the magazine expressed disappointment with Apple's new Maps service in iOS 6. Now, the group noted "having more thoroughly tested Apple Maps alongside a Samsung Galaxy S3 running Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with Google Maps, we have a more favorable opinion— certainly more favorable than comments and articles that we've been reading online."
Testing both apps in the New York area, the firm states "both Apple Maps and Google Maps route effectively, providing clear guidance and great points-of-interest integration."
The site says Apple's free Maps "lacks some of the features and integration found in dedicated portable navigators and other navigation apps from Garmin, Navigon, and TomTom, such as reality view, lane assistance, exit guide, and multi-destination routing," adding, "Frankly, we expected the app to match the state of the art, and perhaps even advance it. But, it didn't."
When compared against Google's free offering, the report stated, "overall, Apple impressed our staff with the graphic presentation for the interface, results, signage, and points of interest info. However, there is less customization throughout than Google— a mixed blessing when driving, where distractions can be dangerous. Google comes across as more business like and less fun."
It described Google at better at reporting traffic, albeit warning, "although in reality, it may often be a presentation choice rather than a data difference."
The report states that voice recognition "seemed compatible between the platforms" and that "for both, voiced instructions are clear and easily understood."
Consumer Reports stated that "much online grumbling about the iPhone app focused on weird 3D images," but added, "more often than not, we found rather intriguing 3D representations that bring a map to life. The reality is, this is a novelty feature, not a component of navigation."
Regarding complaints of "misplaced points of interest," the site said, "we programmed and traveled to numerous destinations. Almost all were found and successfully routed. Both platforms provided comparable information about restaurants and other attractions."
In 2010, Consumer Reports initially reported not seeing the "Antennagate" issues other blogs were reporting, then afterward announced that iPhone 4 was so crippled by antenna problems that it refused to list it as a recommended device, a standard it did not apply to other phones that also experienced similar issues.
Earlier this year, the group warned that Apple's new iPad could heat up to "116 degrees" if set to run video games for 45 minutes while charging the battery.
"When it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period," the group reported.
AppleInsider is preparing a comparison of various iOS mapping apps. Add your comments about features you like (or miss) for inclusion in our upcoming report.