Here Maps review:

Here gets you there, but it's not perfect

Searching for a restaurant shows you the location before you start your trip, and you can read reviews before deciding to go there, but it's not an ideal user experience. The app gives you a Lonely Planet review (when available) and user reviews powered by Trip Advisor, which is a great service, but the app directs you to the Web interface or to download the the app, taking you away from the Here Maps app. You can still read the opening sentences of a review and see star ratings from within the Here app, but it's a shame you have to leave the app to read more. As an added bonus, if you'd like to try something new, the app also has suggestions for other highly rated restaurants in your area.

If you sign up for an account with Nokia, you have the option to save your favorite searches into collections. This means you can make a collection of favorite restaurants or places you want to try, for example, so you can quickly find them again and get directions. Your collections are saved on the server, so once signed in on another device or computer, you'll be able to access your collections there as well. Having search collections is a neat idea for keeping similar searches together. In contrast, with Apple Maps you can create a bookmark for later viewing, but you can't put your bookmarks into categories.

The Nokia Here maps app is a pretty good option for getting directions and local search, but it has a few problems at this early stage. The search collections features are a great idea and are definitely useful for saving searches you can access from anywhere, but other tools in the app can be unreliable, and strange user-experience issues make you wonder why you're using this app instead of Apple Maps.

What particularly struck me in my testing was the overall feel of the app. Putting aside the app's usefulness, The Here app simply feels like using a Web-based service rather than an actual native app. It's like the difference between the old Google Maps app and the Web-based version iPhone users have to use now. It's functional, but it doesn't have the same feel. I recognize this is highly subjective, but I think if you download the app, you'll see what I mean.

Overall, the Nokia Here app is a pretty solid alternative if you're still hunting for a good maps app, but it's not the go-to maps app we've been waiting for. Most features work as advertised most of the time, but there are still a few problems that have yet to be ironed out before I'd recommend it over Google's Web-based maps or Apple Maps.

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