Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Navitime train transit app includes the most free features

Some time ago, I said that I'd do an updated comparison of the free Japanese train apps. Here it is. I limited this comparison to what I consider to be fully-featured apps. This basically rules out anything that is just a browser frontend or English-only, leaving Ekitan, Jorudan, Navitime, and Google Maps.

Unfortunately, the premium apps are all subscription based and cost several bucks a month, and each app publisher works hard to try and get you to pay money. For example, Jorudan uses most of its pixels to display buttons for features that are disabled without a subscription, which is annoying.

Speaking of annoyances, none of these are perfect. Jorudan displays timetables from the top of the hour, rather than from the next departure. Ekitan forces you to mash the back button to return to the start screen after a search because it lacks a "home" button. Navitime search for Tokyo matches every station in Tokyo that has a duplicate name in some other part of the country (because "tokyo" is appended in parenthesis to the station name for resolving ambiguities). When pulling up a train schedule in Google maps, if you don't hit the back button twice to drop back to the main screen, next time you open the app, you'll be greeted by the same timetable.

(Click the image to the left to enlarge (or open it in a new tab) and behold navitime's search results for 東京.)

A few of the cool features each has: Jorudan has unlimited history. Navitime has an alarm for making transfers. Ekitan allows shake to clear fields.

I tried to think of a subjective way to rank these apps, so I scored them based on their inclusion of features. Excellent implementation (◎) get 3 points. functional implementation (◯) gets 2, half-arsed (△) 1. Zero points for non implementation. Navitime has the most features for free.

Score
Romaji input
Schedule
Sharing
Bookmarks
History
Prioritize
(price etc)
Select from
map
Set walking
speed
Transfer
alarm
Departure
alarm
Next/previous
departure
Navitime 3.2.3
23
Ekitan 2.2.5
20
Google Maps 7.3.0
12
Jorudan 1.6.5
9

9 comments:

  1. Any reason norikae nabi (乗換ナビ) was not included?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Because I've never heard of it. It doesn't appear in a search for me.

    https://play.google.com/store/search?q=%E4%B9%97%E6%8F%9B%E3%83%8A%E3%83%93

    ReplyDelete
  3. found it, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.ne.sakura.ccice.norikae

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm, why are you using Navitime 3.2.3? I just installed version 6.2.4 and it properly shows 東京 as the first hit.
    I was using Ekitan before, but the new navitime seems quite good, I think I'm gonna switch.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's the version of the stand-alone train app.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.navitime.local.nttransfer

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting... So presumably the main app is more up to date if it doesn't contain this bug.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ok looks like it may have been replaced by Navitime - sorry! Oddly my app still says Norikae Nabi

    ReplyDelete