What to Consider When Buying a GPS Unit

Before the days of portable navigation and in car GPS, a map was how you traveled from A to B. Now that the gift of GPS navigation is accessible to anyone who refuses to refold one more map, this guide will route you to the right GPS unit (no refolding needed).

Three Types of Satellite Navigation Systems

Before you go shopping for a sat nav, think about what features will be most useful to you and what type of unit will most benefit your lifestyle: a portable sat nav, in car GPS, or smartphone using GPS software.

Portable Satellite Navigation

Portable sat navs are desirable if you drive or ride in multiple vehicles. The benefits of choosing a portable navigation unit are:

  • Portable GPS units are ready to use immediately, with no installation required.
  • Portable navigation units are transferable and can be used in any vehicle.
  • Portable navigation units are easily viewed via a mounting bracket that attaches to your windshield or dashboard, and you still have the benefit of spoken turn-by-turn directions.

In Car Navigation

If your mode of travel is solely in your personal vehicle, the benefits of in car navigations systems are:

  • In car GPS is a unit hardwired into your vehicle with a built-in screen or motorized pop-out screen.
  • In car sat nav units typically get better GPS reception, calculate routes faster and have larger memories.
  • In car sat nav also functions as a CD and MP3 player, depending on the model.
  • The screen on in car sat navs is much larger than a portable GPS, thus easier to read.

Smartphone GPS

This is an option if you own a GPS-enabled phone. The benefits are:

  • Install GPS software onto your smartphone, and voila! You have a portable GPS unit to use on foot or in the car.
  • With the GPS software, you can synch up with your address book, calculate a route and receive turn-by-turn directions.

Top-Rated Models

According to the latest GPS reviews, the top-rated portable GPS models are:

The top-rated in car satellite navigation systems are:

  • Panasonic Strada CN-NVD905U
  • Pioneer AVIC Z-1
  • Eclipse AVN5510

Finally, the top-rated smartphones with GPS software are:

  • Blackberry Storm
  • iPhone 3G
  • T-Mobile G1 with Google

With so many choices and price points now available, isn’t it time you simplified your life with a GPS system?


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