PROS / Microsoft Streets and Trips is easy to use because most of the functions mimic those of other MS products.
CONS / Help and Support for Streets and Trips was not as easily accessed as other travel and map software.
VERDICT / Microsoft Streets and Trips is the best overall product that we reviewed, and we highly recommend it.
With all of the basic and advanced features, frustration-free Microsoft Streets & Trips travel and map software is remarkably easy to use - even for first-timers. Microsoft has tagged this mapping software product with a small price tag that is filled to the brim with great features.
We loved that this travel and map software's navigation window has drop-down menus and a toggle feature similar to other popular Microsoft applications. This made it a breeze to fly through the program and quickly utilize its directions and automatic route generators.
The only navigation software that even comes close to the awesome attributes that Microsoft Streets and Trips offers is Delorme's Street Atlas.
Microsoft Streets and Trips definitely earned our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award because it offers a power-packed, easy-to-use feature set at the right price. It also offers a few more useful features, such as voice navigation and the ability to import additional maps , which Delorme's Street Atlas and Fugawi Global Navigator. do not offer.
Ease of Use
One of the great attributes of Microsoft Streets & Trips travel and map software is that it offers a GPS navigation window that's simpler to use than any other we tried This is simply because the toolbars and drop-down menus are similar to what we were used to using for other Microsoft products.
If you are a person who doesn't like clutter, then you'll appreciate the Streets & Trips toggle feature. You can clear space by hiding the draw options toolbar, the legend or other toolbars, creating a clean feel to this travel and map software.
With its great components like voice navigation, topography maps and automatic rerouting, we found that Microsoft Streets & Trips travel and map software is one of the easiest programs to use.
Microsoft Streets & Trips mapping software doesn't follow industry standards in format and program navigation. For instance, to move around in the software you can select "undo," go back by clicking the back arrow, and go forward again using the forward arrow; these tools are similar to those you are accustomed to using while surfing the net, making navigation easy and rather intuitive.
Street & Trips mapping software includes a configuration wizard that allows you to configure a third party GPS unit, which means it is potentially compatible with the most popular GPS units around. Also, Microsoft offers an optional GPS locator with Streets & Trips. This can be very handy for the parent of the newly licensed driver. It may help to calm those fears of your teenager being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could also be helpful in locating your vehicle if it is ever stolen.
Another unique feature of Microsoft Streets & Trips travel and map software is when you pan or scan the map image, it appears like a rotating 3-D globe instead of a flat 2-D map. Also, Streets & Trips features turn-by-turn directions and the automatic route generation is a must-have in today's mapping software. Streets & Trips makes it easy for you to shift the order of your stops and add more waypoints to a previously generated route. However, one of the downfalls we found is that we were only able to create one route at a time.
Also, we were quite disappointed to learn that Streets & Trips does not offer any online tutorials that teach you how to use the software. You will have to rely on reading the owner's manual and searching through the FAQ section.
Points of Interest
Microsoft Streets & Trips travel and map software has a database of 1.7 million points of interest also referred to as POI; that's not the most impressive number, but they do offer additional POI by download through Microsoft Excel or Outlook.
On the upside, Streets & Trips includes a few POI categories that we hadn't seen before, such as auto services, rental car agencies, nightclubs and taverns. These additional categories could be very useful if your car breaks down on the side of the road or you just need a night out on the town.Streets & Trips allows you to search for POI from a selected point outward. You can also choose how far from the source the software starts the scan.
Streets and Trips travel and map software has a draw tool that can cut and select specific shapes, much like printing software does. With this tool you can attach pictures, text and illustrations to your maps then print your creations.
Have you ever been participating in a caravan across the country when you look around and don't see any familiar vehicles? Your heart begins to beat faster as you wonder if you missed a turn a few miles back. Or did you get the plans for lunch confused? Whatever the case may be, you find yourself estranged from your traveling pack. With Streets and Trips this kind of chaos could have been avoided because they have also added into the latest edition is the ability to share details of planned trips with other people such as family or friends that you may be traveling with.
Imagine you are driving through a hot desolate desert. You notice the fuel needle dropping close to the dreaded "E" at the last town, but up until now gas stations have been plentiful. Besides, you wanted to get to that hotel with the nice relaxing pool so you and the family could finally cool off. Suddenly the car lurches a few times and quits right there in the middle of nowhere. You've run the gas tank to the unfortunate place of being empty. Now what do you do? There aren't many other cars on the highway. There is no town within walking distance and cell phone service is sparse.
If you had used Streets & Trips travel and map software, you could have calculated gas consumption and expenses as well as download construction report updates that could have prevented you from being in this terrible predicament.
Streets & Trips also includes a compass, voice prompts, and general construction information.
Ease of Setup
We had no problems installing Microsoft Streets & Trips travel and map software. Additionally, Microsoft Streets & Trips' GPS wizard was easier to use than previously. Streets and Trips also comes with a GPS system that must be plugged into a USB port.
Help & Support
Streets & Trips travel and map software includes all the help and support options of phone support, a user manual, online FAQs, online user forums and an email address to contact the company. We emailed Microsoft with a question, however they didn't respond to our emails quickly. You'll have to rely on their FAQs section and the built–in user manual for instant help.
Basically Microsoft Streets & Trips travel and map software is a useful, easy-to-use program at a bargain price. It does not, however, include highly detailed topography maps, elevation profiles, or advanced draw tools that a back-country traveler would need. It is more applicable to a business traveler who needs to keep track of expenses and mileage and is already accustomed to the Microsoft format.