3G mobile data, GPS on the Interislander ferry
3G and GPS worked throughout our Interislander trip

After a month of using Nokia’s Lumia 920 as a business tool, it was time to give the phone a workout away from home. We took it on a summer road trip from Auckland to Nelson and Golden Bay via Wellington, Wanganui and the Wairarapa.

How did it fare?

Nokia Drive

Driving between New Zealand cities is not complicated – there aren’t that many options and most routes are both direct and obvious. So it looked like Nokia Drive wouldn’t help much. This was true for most of the trip.

We had overseas visitors and wanted to show off the countryside so took less travelled routes, from Auckland to Wellington going down State Highway 4 through Wanganui. Interestingly Nokia Drive identified this as an alternative route and clocked it at about 10 minutes longer than sticking with State Highway 1.

I didn’t need directions en route, so I turned the phone’s sound off.  I barely looked at it except when we stopped a few clicks out of Wanganui at a café – I needed to gauge the distance to the nearest petrol station.

Much to everyone’s amusement and to no-one’s surprise, Nokia Maps and the GPS did a fine job letting us know exactly where we were as we travelled on the Interislander ferry.

Useful directions

Our return journey took us across the Rimatukas and along State Highway 2 via Stonehenge Aotearoa and Mount Bruce Bird Sanctuary. We spend more time than planned at these attractions and at a coffee stop in Carterton which put us behind schedule.

It has been a long time since I last navigated around Palmerston North and Feilding, so I turned to Nokia Drive for instructions and was lead on what seemed like a merry dance around industrial estates and link roads – something that would have been a nightmare with conventional map reading.

Lumia 920 Battery life

Sightseeing meant long days on the road – 12 hours driving on at least two occasions. The Lumia 920 coped fine and there was plenty of juice left on arrival. I’d always assumed GPS and mapping was a drain on power but it didn’t seem to worry the phone at all.

We had a hire car on the South Island that had its own GPS – Nokia Drive was almost identical. We suspect the commands used the same voice, although one slightly posh female pommy announcer sounds much like another. What’s more impressive is Nokia Drive comes as standard with the phone, a standalone device would cost hundreds of dollars.

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