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Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Review: NLife Europe
Review: NLife Europe

NDrive you might’ve heard and read about on our site in one of the GPS review articles we’ve published before. Recently I was getting annoyed with the latest update of Navigon, where it kept asking me to calibrate the compass. One a small trip it happened twice and I looked foolish as a head of the family doing the calibrate yoga session. Because my partner leaves on holidays earlier than me, I don’t want to bother her with that, so I decided to look for new GPS software in the App Store.

There I found NLife (version 1.4.14), it has been released a while ago now, and it’s a rewrite of NDrive which is no longer available at the moment. I decided to buy the Western Europe Maps which are from TomTom and paid around 40 Euros for a lifetime license. I threw in another 10 Euros for the traffic cameras which is a yearly fee. Not too bad if they’re updated actively. I didn’t install the traffic feature because I don’t drive daily.

Last weekend I tested it on some trips and I must say that I like it. The interface is much more modern than the NDrive look. NLife takes a little to get used to and find your way, they’ve managed to get a lot of details out of the way that you don’t use daily.


I like the distance to turn indicator in the top left, where you can visually see how close you are to turn in help of the audio commands. When you go faster than the maximum speed, it shows you the Speed Traffic Sign (like 90 KM/h), and it beeps gently. This was a welcome help on my way to Luxembourg while cruising the big national route where constantly new speed signs are popping up.

When you’re approaching a speed camera, it’s clearly indicated with a countdown distance meter in the bottom of the screen. It makes a “slot machine sound” when you pass it. It also warns when you arrive to speed control zones where you might run into a mobile speed camera.


NLife calculates alternative routes when you plan ahead. Its predecessor NDrive had three routing profiles; Fastest, Shortest and Adventure Mode. NLife has car or pedestrian mode and comes up with alternative routes if the distance is long enough. It supports the avoidance of Toll, Motorways and Ferries.


NLife uses mapping technology from TomTom for the West-European maps, which is the competitor of Navteq (Owned by Nokia & used by Navigon amongst other GPS apps). For other countries it might possibly use Navteq, according to their site. Tomtom’s daugther company Teleatlas, keeps its data up-to-date in part through a fleet of dozens of mapping vans equipped with “six cameras, two side-sweeping lasers and a GPS navigation device.” The vans capture about three photos per second while traveling at normal speeds, resulting in more than 100 million images per year from each van.

I must say that I found a roundabout which has been very recently constructed at;
Chaussée de Nivelles 52
1461 Ittre
50.660553, 4.299226

So the maps data looks very up-to-date.

Points of Interest

The interface starts with a big “quick search bar” on top, where you can type whatever you’re looking for. For instance hotel Amsterdam. When you select the hotel you want, there are buttons to call or email them. while you’re navigating you can see in the bottom interface a bar with much used POIs that you can switch on/off on the map, like gas-stations, hotels, parkings and restaurants. Note that you can scroll this to the right for the lesser used items.

I noticed that when I type “Restaurant” in the quick search, that I got poor results, which changed positively when I typed “Food”. Maybe a tip for the developers is to demonstrate some search examples on their web site.

Note that in the settings menu you can swipe the setting items (General, Accounts, ...), I didn’t see that first and believed that the app was very limited in settings because of this.

The Voices come in mainly every Language, from Dutch to Indonesian, Portuguese and Chinese to name just a few. It supports spoken street names. When you are playing music from the music app, it mutes the music when the voice and warning beeps come in.

Also I like to mention that the lane assistance is great and the 3D buildings can be handy as well, to get better surrounding awareness. When you arrive at your destination you get to see the P from Parkings, to discover potential parkings. You can save home, work or any location as a favourite. It has extensive social integration, like for example, navigate to Foursquare venues and Facebook places, or just your own contacts.

The developers mention that they keep adding features, I can imagine that some other routing options could be beneficial to users like itinerary planning. I must mention that I didn’t test it in the tunnels yet.

Somethings Navigon does still better, is the 3D Maps (in-App purchase). When I test the traffic feature I will update this article.


NLife is a welcome refreshment from the NDrive app. It’s a no nonsense Navigation app with offline maps that does one thing in particularly well, keep you from speeding and find the right roads with it’s up-to-date TomTom maps. It looks nicer than the TomTom application and competes nicely with Navigon which is overdoing it’s features at the moment. If you don’t have a GPS application yet and are planning a holiday trip for the summer, consider NLife.


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