Presselite’s London Tube is a London Underground map, route planner and service status app for the iPhone. It’s very similar to Malcolm Barclay’s Tube Deluxe, both in features and price, but there are some important differences.
The program’s map shows the entire Tube network along with the DLR and the Overground, but not the wider National Rail network within London. Unlike Tube Deluxe’s map, this map displays the six main Travelcard zones. It often has to refresh itself if you’re scrolling from one end to the other, a limitation shared with Tube Deluxe. However, with Presselite’s London Tube you can also view maps for just a particular line.
Stations and lines are often prone to delays and closures caused by engineering works and the occasional strike. The Tube Status screen, which requires a network connection, displays any issues affecting each line as a long, unwieldy list, with the full text detailing the line’s status next to the its name.
Rival app London Tube Deluxe handles this more elegantly by showing a simple status icon next to each line’s name that you tap on to see more details. That app also has departure boards for each station.
Journeys can be planned using the route finder, which is more feature packed than Tube Deluxe’s planner. Tube stations can be found either by searching by name, tapping on the station’s name on the map or by having the app find your nearest station either by using GPS or by entering your post code (which has to be typed in rather than selecting an entry from your address book). Frequently used journeys can be saved as bookmarks.
Your journey can be displayed either on the map or as an itinerary. We found the itinerary easier to read when in a rush. By default, the app will calculate a route with the fewest changes, but this can produce some bizarrely indirect routes, such as travelling from London Bridge to Victoria via West Ham on the District Line. The ‘best route’ option produces far more sensible suggestions. There’s also an option for calculating routes involving the fewest number of stations but we can’t see any advantage in this.
London Tube’s journey planner falls behind Tube Deluxe’s when dealing with station and line closures. Neither can take closures into account when calculating routes – they can’t show alternative routes if the displayed route is affected by a closure – but Tube Deluxe is at least aware of the closure though and can display a warning. London Tube leaves you none the wiser.
London Tube still has room for improvement, but it’s still a useful app to have if you regularly travel the Tube. Choosing between it and Tube Deluxe is difficult since both have their advantages. If you can’t have both, Tube Deluxe remains our favourite Tube app by hair as it gives easier access to closure advice and departure boards.
London Tube info
|Ease of use:|
Platform: iPhone/iPod touch
Website/Demo: Presselite website