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google maps
weather proof
purchasing a car
gps unit
google
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Review Of Auto GPS Units
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Review Of Auto GPS Units

How many times have you been lost while driving? Well, for me, too many that I can remember and now with the price of gas so high; I don’t like wasting precious gas driving around in circles. This brought me to the idea that I felt like I needed a GPS unit for my car. So, I started looking into which one to buy. I was amazed at all of the different options available. I didn’t even know where to start.

To begin with, there are two types of GPS units to be aware of when looking into what GPS unit will best serve your needs; one for outdoors, like trail hikes and the other for your automobile. Auto GPS’s have larger screens and are not weather proof nor are they made for outdoor ruggedness adventures (ie; getting kicked around or accidently dropped). Auto GPS units plug in to your cigarette lighter and display color maps. The units themselves mount to the dash or windshield and are removable. (Especially by thieves, so it’s good to remember not to leave one in your car overnight, if it is not parked in your garage.) The word on the street is that aftermarket GPS’s are the better bet, than purchasing a car with a factory-installed GPS; mostly because they cannot be updated and, of course, would not be transferable to another car. Say you were renting a car you would not have to pay extra for that optional feature.

Google actually does have a Google Maps Navigation App for your smart phone, which may be handy in a pinch, but I would feel less stress while driving by looking at the dash to a larger screen for directions.

One big feature and benefit you need to consider before purchasing a GPS unit for your car is the quantity and quality of the maps. This is critical! Don’t believe me? Just try going to a strange town that has a lot of newer areas and sub-divisions and use an inferior GPS that doesn’t have the updated streets. Unless you’re in New York or San Francisco that are well established cities and current streets have been there for many, many years, the street you’re looking for may not even be in your GPS! Then what? Back to pulling over to the nearest gas station and asking, only to get the common response, “I don’t know. I’m not from around here.” Look for wireless, automatic updates. Garmin and TomTom have these features.

Another nice feature is to have the names of the streets spoken out loud, so that you don’t have to keep glancing at the screen while you are driving. Also, look for a GPS that can give you live traffic reports. This could save you hours of frustration, especially if you’re navigating through a town at rush hour, uh, say Los Angeles?

Screen size is helpful to be larger than the original, less expensive 3.5-inch models. Keep the screen size at least 4.3 inches and you will be happier!

This whittles the list down to the following makes and models:

1. TomTom VIA 1505TM 5-Inch GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic & Maps

First I’d like to mention a tidbit that’s worth paying attention to. This little TomTom has POI’s (Point of Interests) that tell you where the red light cameras are. Nice! That feature alone can save some people lots of $$$! You can download free TomTom navigation voices, if you don’t like the lady that came with the original package and I did see where you have to purchase updated maps. So, there’s the rub. Since the unit itself sells for just over $100.00. They have to make money somewhere. In addition to upgraded models once you’re hooked, you always want something better with more features and find new ways to use these little gizmos to make your life easier. A big drawback people were not happy with was that the screen washed out in harsh, direct sun, other than that people seemed to like these, especially the value for the money.

2. Garmin nüvi 1350LMT 4.3-Inch Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Map & Traffic Updates Note the smaller screen (4.3inches), than the above TomTom model. This is a comparable priced Garmin model. Amazon alone had over 2,000 reviewer comment. The majority were favorable except for some isolated charging situations that as one user points out are explained in the manual as not being able to charge in temps over 113 degrees or in direct sunlight. Another important note about the Garmin is that you will need a USB cable for one end and a small USB for the other to hook up to your computer in the beginning to download the information and register the product. Unfortunately, this cable is not provided with the product.

In conclusion, as always; when comparing one product to the next, as to which one is best. The answer usually is, “It depends”. It depends on what features and benefits suit your own particular needs. Once you’ve determined that. The rest is easy, peasy especially because either one will afford you so much more time during the day not lost on the road you’ll have plenty of time to find the one that works for you.


Street Talk

nice article on GPS Renee.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I agree 100% that when you buy GPS your life becomes much easier. I've got one a year ago. Living in Kiev I need it I would say every 2 weeks at least, may be more often. It really helps also because there are many "one way streets" overhere, and if you don't know correct turn you get annoyed driving around :)

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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