Scout by Telenav review: Scout finds your traffic-free commute

The Likes list showed me places I had saved, and here it gets interesting. The app syncs with the Scout.me Web site. Logged into both the Web site and the app, I could look up and save destinations at my PC, then go to the app and sync those saved destinations.

Once I had a destination in the app, Scout showed me multiple routes in a tabbed format, making it easy to preview each one quickly. That interface works much better than with Google Maps, which only previews one, and begins navigating with any alternatives you select.

Trying out a few test destinations, Scout supplied identical routes to Google Maps for longer runs where freeways were involved. However, for a starting point and destination within the urban chaos of San Francisco, the routes differed. Neither offered the route that I, as a local, would take, but all seemed feasible. I had previously used Scout to navigate around Los Angeles, and was particularly impressed how it avoided traffic-congested freeways.

Scout by Telenav
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The Scout website and Scout app sync saved destinations. Screenshot by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

I noticed that, even for identical routes, Scout showed a slightly later ETA then Google maps, as it seemed to take a more conservative approach about driving times.

For turn-by-turn directions, Scout is as good as any navigation app I have used. Limited to the relatively small screen of a phone, it showed the map with turn guidance in a graphic at the top. I could also tap a button to show the list of turns for the route. Of course, more useful when I was driving was voice guidance, which had a pleasant voice telling me where and when I needed to turn.

Scout is primarily a car-focused navigation app, although it can be set to show pedestrian navigation. Missing is public transit or bicycle navigation.

If you commute by car, I highly recommend giving Scout a try, especially as it's free. Just the fact that it can give you proactive warnings about traffic may make the difference between extra wasted time sitting in your car, driving at 5 mph or a less stressful easy run home.

Compared to Apple Maps or Google Maps, I like that Scout gives more help on finding destinations than just a freeform search box. The history list is very useful, as is the website syncing. In this regard, Scout is much more capable than the preinstalled competition.

Scout comes as a free download for iOS, Android, or Windows Phone.

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