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GPS device differences
Mary, here are the differences that I've found in GPS devices:
Text-to-speech: the ability of the device to announce street names. Surprisingly, many GPS devices still only have the ability to announce turns, e.g.: turn right, bear left, but not to speak the street name on which youll be turning. Some people view all voice announcements as just a marketing gimmick, but I find it very useful, especially since my state doesnt permit windshield mounts. CA & MN expressly forbid them, my state and many others have more generic laws, e.g.: my state only permits a rear-view mirror, EZ-Pass toll-collection device, and state inspection sticker to be placed on the windshield. Even those small oil-change stickers are technically illegal, and the much larger GPS suction cup mount is likely to get you a second ticket if youre stopped for anything else. Some devices go one step further in text-to-speech and offer additional cost voices, sometimes including celebrities.
3D view: I thought this was a marketing gimmick until I bought a GPS that had it. Having that birds-eye view really does make it easier to follow the route. Some devices go one step further and show rough models of actual buildings/landmarks in 3D mode.
Upgradeable maps/POI lists from the manufacturer: many lower-cost devices have a built-in map that cant be upgraded. If you live in an area where new sub-divisions are going in or where new ramps are being added to freeways, this could be a problem. And Points-of-Interest (POI) are always changing. This feature could also be important if you think you might like to take your GPS device on vacation to a foreign country. Does the manufacturer or mapping provider offer add-on maps for additional regions? If you cant update the maps in your device, are you willing to buy a new device in a few years?
Ability to modify maps and add POI on your own: Maybe you want to really organize your common travels (saving gas & cutting back on CO2 emissions) and so adding the schools your children go to, the supermarket, your dry cleaners, etc. to the POI would make mapping an optimized route a lot easier. Or maybe that street a few blocks away just changed to one-way and you dont want the device to continue to try to route you through it the wrong way. Having the ability to update the map data on your own can be helpful & can put off the time when you need to purchase a new device or go back to the manufacturer to buy a map update.
Headphone jack/FM output: the built-in speaker on most GPS devices is very small, and often leads to distortion of the voices. Does the device youre considering have a headphone jack (that you could feed into your car radio) or direct output to the radio via FM output?
Night mode: Does the device have a lower light output mode for evening driving? You dont want your view of the road or dashboard to be impaired by a light bright enough to read a newspaper.
Pedestrian mode: If you plan to use your GPS device outside of the car (e.g., walking on foot) does the device support that type of routing (e.g., people can walk either way on one-way streets and cut through parks, vehicles cant).
Scale: Paper maps always include a scale showing inches to miles (or cm to km), but many GPS devices only show a zoom level. Im shopping for a new home, so knowing how close the house Im looking at is to major highways, the supermarket, etc. is important. So having a little bar on the screen showing a fixed distance is very helpful. Otherwise, you have to guess if the width of the map being displayed on screen is 300 feet, or 5 miles. Keep in mind that this feature is only available on the 2D visualization mode (for those devices that have it at all).
Bluetooth integration: This feature allows the GPS device to be used as a speakerphone for your cell phone. I dont see the point of a speakerphone in a noisy driving environment, but some might. Some devices also can use your cell phone to connect to various online services, e.g.: the ability to reroute when accidents have been reported on your route, gas prices for stations along your route, even automatically updating POI lists, etc.
Ability to store destinations/routes: You dont want to constantly re-enter your home or work address as the start or end. If youre visiting Uncle John for a few days, you dont want to enter his address every time youve driven somewhere and realize that youre not sure what the quickest way back is.
Voice recognition: Some devices will allow you to add a voice tag for those custom destinations youve saved, e.g. go home. Some go one step further and allow you to enter arbitrary destinations and routing changes with voice commands, e.g., avoid Route 95, go to 12 Market Street, Reston, Virginia, etc.
Submitted by: Brad Hansen
You get what you pay for, to an extent....
I've owned several in-car portable GPS units over the years, and just purchased a new one over the Thanksgiving holiday myself. Right now, there are quite a few new "players" trying to enter the GPS market with lower prices than the name-brand units traditionally cost.
For example, the unit I just purchased is made by a company called Navigon. Apparently, they've been around for a while in Europe, but they're pretty new to the USA.
The most respected brands that have been out the longest also tend to have the highest price tags. That would include Magellan and Garmin.
TomTom really started pushing their navigation units in the USA about a year ago, and they've made several revisions to their "core" product offering since then. Of all the "newer" brands on the market, they're the ones who seem to be doing the most aggressive advertising right now.
There are currently so many different units out there, it would be impossible to review and compare them all unless I was doing it as a full-time job. I can, however, give you some general advice:
1. No matter who makes the GPS, the road map information itself tends to come from only one of a few sources. The one consistently rated as most accurate and reliable is the mapping data put out by Navteq. (This is one downside to the TomTom units. They don't use Navteq maps.)
2. As a rule, the more expensive GPS units have faster processors in them. Most of the $250 and under units I've used have noticeable "lag" between the time you press something on the touch-screen and its response to your selection. They're also likely to speak in a less clear or more robotic-sounding voice.
3. The latest trend in some units is offering real-time traffic and accident information. In theory, this sounds really useful - but beware. In my city, I've found it to be only marginally useful. It tends to alert you to "heavy traffic" on highways and harasses you to "plot a new route" or "ignore this message" when it's just the normal heavier traffic you always experience at that time of day. Sometimes an accident happens up ahead and the system isn't even aware of it until 10 minutes AFTER you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic from it. I know Navigon's higher-end model GPS's are including lifetime traffic warning functionality for free.... but I'd be cautious about paying much in monthly or yearly fees for this.
4. You'll usually pay more for a larger screen. This can be VERY worthwhile. The smaller screens usually look crisp and bright in the store, but once you affix the unit to your windshield or dash, it's probably sitting a lot further from you than it was in the store! Small screens also make it harder to enter letters and numbers on the virtual keyboards they draw.
5. Some GPS units offer MP3 music player capabilities. If you're thinking about making use of this feature, remember that you ALSO need to be sure the GPS has a way to tie directly in to your car's stereo speakers. Some units do this with an FM transmitter, but this will never sound that good. Others, like the Lowrance iWay 500c, include a 1/8" audio output jack so you can plug them straight into an AUX Input jack, if your car stereo has one. This will sound MUCH better.
Submitted by twyrick
GPS - It's Prime Time!
The bottom line is that there are a few key features, and most are related to the age of the technology.
All of them do the same, basic, core function... They listen to a set of satellites, and based on the pattern of "beeps" heard, will tell you where you are, and using maps in memory, will route you to where you want to go. It's not a new technology, and the basic hardware is not very expensive to make.
The earliest GPS units would only hold part of the country in memory at any time (you load what you need), and would display the routes and turns as they come up.
The next round had verbal commands, and were limited to "Turn right in 100 feet" and generic things like that. The sizes started to get more reasonable, and the displays better. I'm not sure, but you might be able to find a few of these units still on the market.
A few years ago, things started to get pretty good, in that the GPS units started to come with the entire country loaded into memory right out of the box. The sizes got really small, and the displays were larger and had touch screen capabilities (made entering addresses simple). I believe that here might be your "sweet spot" for a GPS unit... They're VERY functional, and because they don't have the latest and greatest features, they're pretty affordable.
The newest features (which add the bucks) are nice, but you have to decide if they're important:
-Upgradeability... For when newer versions of the sotware become available. Updated maps are usually availiable, but the core software might not be.
-TTS, or "Text-to-Speech"... The GPS will vocalize street names, so intead of "Turn right in 100 feet" it will say, "Turn right in 100 feet onto Maple Street" -- That makes it easier to keep an eye on the road. My old GPS unit would say the highway numbers only. My new one pronounces the street names, and I wouldn't want to go back!
-Large screen size... Some are getting pretty large. It makes reading the streets much easier, but really sends the price into orbit.
-Traffic awareness... It will connect to a traffic service, and give you warnings about where the jams are, and how to avoid them. This usually requires a subscription (more money to spend).
There are also systems that will work with your blackberry (as long as it has a built-in GPS), and PDA's with built-in - or external GPS antennas (I use a PDA with a built-in GPS unit). Those aren't as user friendly, so they probably won't be your best choice.
One thing about names... Many of the GPS companies are from Europe; Their names might not sound as "American" as others. Tom-Tom is a good example of a well-established European name more recently introduced to the US.
I wouldn't expect to easily find a unit priced at "Black Friday" lowr-than-cost pricing again, but if you start to carefully check prices and features, you will quickly get a sense of what's a good value and what's overpriced.
There are a lot of decent GPS web sites out there, but one in particular I've been following is www.gpspassion.com. They have comprehensive reviews and a very helpful forum section. Those folks know their GPS!
Submitted by: ladderless
GPS choices--from a layperson's point of view
My quick answer from a novice and lay person's view point, is that GPS choices are a lot like cell phone choices. For a basic model that tells you where you are and helps you get to your destination, you can get a very satisfactory inexpensive unit, probably sticking with one of the big companies. (Magellan, Garmin, TomTom. Tom Tom is a Dutch company, and very well regarded, so do not be concerned about the unusual name.) Once you get past the basic functions there is a lot of variety.
Do you need or want an MP3 player built-in?
Do you want to pay extra for live traffic monitoring? I don't mind listening to the radio for my traffic information, but others may differ.
Do you want integrated Bluetooth capacity so that you can make phone calls from the GPS?
All the units will show you Points of Interest, such as schools, hospitals, airports, coffee shops, ATMs, supermarkets, restaurants. Some units have a million POIs; some have many millions. Some models incorporate AAA guidebook information and will facilitate getting roadside service for AAA members. Some models include restaurants highly rated in the Zagat guides.
Basically, all the portable GPS units plug into the car's lighter outlet, then use the Global Positioning Satellite receiver to indicate your location and guide you to your destination. You can usually choose the "bird's-eye view" of the road or the "direct-overhead" view.
Prices have come down a lot lately. Even if the loss leader big specials are sold out, if you look around, you will still find really good models for (not much)less than $200. I suggest reading a bit on line about the different features and companies. You'll see that people have had good and bad customer service with all the brands and you will see lots of opinions about the different screens and sounds and voices.
I highly recommend buying this item in person rather than sight unseen. How you relate to the screen is very important. Evaluate the different features that might entice you to want to spend more or be satisfied with the basics. The basic screen is about 3" diagonal, which is surprisingly adequate, easy to read, (I am middle aged, in the reading glasses age group and it works for me!) and can hold a lot of information. However, there are also many models with the 4.3" screen, which holds even more info. and you may have seen the built-in models that are even bigger, but remember that your smaller model will be closer to you, hence easier to see despite the smaller size. Check to see how you can adjust the screen brightness, for a sunny or a foggy day.
Other features to look for include an internal battery--this means you could take the unit out for a walk--and how long the unit will hold a charge. Some units have USB connections so that you can connect the unit to your computer and upload your own address book or favorite points of interest, or update/upgrade, sometimes for a fee. Make sure your chosen unit uses the latest Satellite, which is called SIRFIII, or Sirf3. Some units use memory chips, like those in digital cameras, to add maps of other areas, which could be useful if you were going on a driving trip in a different country, for example. Some basic units rely on print only. I find the spoken directions VERY helpful--this feature is usually called TTS--text to speech. Some units respond to YOUR voice; others just talk to you.
Some units run only on the power cord attached to the car; some can be charged indoors at home at an AC outlet. Some units have external volume controls; some have only a power button and other adjustments are made on screen. Another difference is announcing turns. Some systems tell you to "turn left in 300 feet." Others tell you to "turn left at Oak Street in 300 feet." Some tell you when to switch lanes. Some ping or chime when you are supposed to be at the turn. I am guessing you want an English speaking unit, but you will see that some units "speak" many languages and even the basic on sale models have at least Spanish and French in addition to English, in case you are looking for language versions. I am very happy with my sub-$200 Magellan brand purchase.
Some final advice: I would get a pouch to protect the device if it does not come with one, as the screens are sensitive, and you will want to remove it from plain view to avoid theft and potential theft related vandalism to your car. A stylus such as one uses on a PDA (like a Palm Pilot) makes it easier to tap in your destination, but is not absolutely necessary. The main issues should be, can you understand the interface, both written and spoken? I greatly enjoy my GPS unit and find it almost magical that it can tell me where I am and how to get somewhere else with uncanny precision. Good luck in your quest.
Submitted by rsberstein
Brands are good, but features are more important
Hi Mary Jane,
I was actually working at a Staples location the day after Thanksgiving when we were selling 2 models of GPSes at severe discounts, and they really did fly...we had a total of around 50 of them, and they were all gone within 90 minutes.
Having owned one GPS and toyed with many others, I would say that while it would be nice to go with a name brand, since it implies reliability, it is really more important to get the best mix of features. That's not to say that a Garmin wouldn't be better than a generic Walgreen-brand GPS, but in general they all work the same, using a network of satellites to track exactly where the unit is.
The features are what really separate the units. All will come pre-loaded with maps, the ability to program routes, and pre-loaded Points of Interest, such as restaurants and gas stations. An optional feature which many consumers will enjoy is the Text to Speech feature. Having Text to Speech simply means that if you've programmed a route and you need to turn onto Baker Street, the computerized voice will alert you "Take next right onto Baker Street." Without Text to Speech, the voice will simply alert you "Take next right." The screen will still display the name of the street, but sometimes it's nice to hear it out loud.
Many GPS units will also include traffic alerts. Some units charge for this, though the Navigon brand units are currently featuring free traffic alerts for as long as you own the unit. Navigon units also feature a display that tries to mimic the real world, so instead of just lines on a map you'll see a graphical road and signs alerting you to highway exits.
Some units also have built-in MP3 players, and this can prove to be quite a valuable feature. I used my GPS (a Lowrance model) to drive from Ohio to California, and I never had to change a single CD since my GPS had a 10GB MP3 player built-in. It even came with a cable to connect directly into an auxiliary port on the back of my CD player, so it played quite clearly through my car's speakers, with the voice pausing the song when it needed to alert me to an upcoming turn.
Where buying a name brand unit may be more important is in finding the accessories. Most units come with a suction cup for mounting a GPS to the windshield, many of my customers have come in looking for dashboard mounts, saying that the suction cup can be unreliable. In-store, we only carry a Garmin dash mount, though we carry other accessories (such as carrying cases) for Tom Tom units. Any reliable brand will allow you to order the accessories through their website, but sometimes it is convenient knowing you can just pop into a store should you need anything.
Features, along with physical size of the screen, should be the main aspects you focus on when you buy a GPS. Although Garmin and Magellan may hold a good share of the market, there are plenty of smaller brands (Lowrance, Navigon) that provide quality products with excellent features at lower prices.
Submitted by it7276
Dear Mary Jane,
I am quite suprised about the fact you've never heard of TomTom. In the UK the TomTom GPS system is well marketed and is the main GPS system, especially as you can also get TomTom Mobile so you can even use your mobile as a GPS. Maybe it's different in the US? Garmin were probably one of the first GPS manufacturers though, they started out making hand-held GPS systems and then moved into the in-car type.
As TomTom have got quite a bit of technology in them and are really easy to use and their price has come down quite a bit I'd probably go for a TomTom.
I don't have a SatNav but have lent my friends on two occassions to drive into London. What I found the best thing to do with SatNav is to have it on at a low volume in the background to give you general hints as your going along, and then to make your own decision from there on, as even if you take the wrong direction it will automatically re-direct you anyway. I found this out in London as SatNav took me straight through the center of London to get to the O2 arena which is on the east side (it took me 3 hours to get from the M4 to the arena, and wasted nearly half a tank of petrol stuck in traffic, coming out I checked a map, ignored SatNav and drove through Battersea up to Kew Gardens and out that way, it took me about 30 minutes to reach the M4 and the petrol needle barely moved). So sometimes you have to use general knowledge of the area instead of going with SatNavs directions.
Now lets go onto costs. There are a lot of different SatNavs out there, all with different functions on and this is where the prices change. For a basic one your probably looking at about 100 in the UK, but for a more expensive one with extra features on it you can spend about 400, and then you've also got the maps installed which all cost extra. Normally you get one country map already installed (like UK), but then if you want to take the SatNav abroad you have to pay extra. In addition to this here are some of the extra features you can get on SatNavs, some help you, and some are just extra junk that your paying for to complicate things!
Bluetooth - This will allow you to connect your SatNav to a mobile so SatNav can automatically find out where the traffic jams are and divert you round a shorter route. Beware of this though because if you pay for your data connection on the mobile this can work out very expensive, especially if you leave it switched on. One downside I found to the bluetooth was that my friends has bluetooth on and my car stereo has bluetooth hands-free built in and I wondered whether I could link the two and have SatNav mute my stereo by bluetooth and give me directions like that, unfortunatly it only connects to mobile phones which was a really big let down.
Point of Interest Database - This is in most SatNavs, different makes have different listings. This can be really useful if your going around somewhere you don't know and you want to find something quick, like the nearest supermarket, or petrol station. It saves driving round and round to try and find the nearest (which could really be vital in the case of petrol station). Different SatNavs also have different listings in, TomTom seems to have the most on and includes attractions like Theme Parks, Zoos, Shopping Centres, Parking, etc.
Safety Camera/Red Light Camera alerts - In the UK, I don't know about the US, this is a superb add on, the majority of SatNavs come with this built in (the Safety Cameras and Red Light cameras are set as points of interest and SatNav warns you when you are approaching one). In the UK the government introduced speed camera on most roads to ensure you aren't even doing 1mph over the speed limit, this is a bit of a nuisance as if you don't know where you are you can spend quite a lot of the time concentrating on the speedometer to ensure you don't get a speeding ticket just for letting the speed go slightly over, when really it would be far safer to be doing that bit over and keeping an eye out for some kid that's just walked into the road instead of looking at the speedo (some people say they give you 10% due to inaccuracies of the speedometer, but if they give you 10% due to that and your speedo is out by that much you just need to go that little bit faster and you've got a speeding ticket!). This add on warns you when you are approaching a speed camera and tells you what the speed limit of the road is ahead. It also tells you what type of speed camera it is (the majority in the UK are GATSO with some mobile cameras too - it says "Gatso Ahead, Speed Limit 30 miles per hour")
SD card slot - Some SatNavs have this to allow you to add additional maps at any time, they also allow you to update the software inside the SatNav to the latest model.
GPS Signal lost recovery - This can be quite useful if you take your car into built-up areas (especially somewhere like New York), as SatNav relies on line of sight (i.e. it needs to be able to "see" the at least 3 of the satellites up there to know where it is) when you take it in to a severly built up area, like some city centres, it loses the line of site so it no longer knows where it is. My friends SatNav has this built in and I found it quite useful when driving in London, as sometimes in the built-up areas it didn't know where it was, but it could keep directing me enough until it re-found the signal.
MP3 Player - Some SatNavs are becoming more of a car stereo than a SatNav, this will allow you to play music from a built in hard drive and then mute the music to tell you which direction you need to go. Having this feature really drives the price up and you have to ask yourself is it really worth it?
FM Transmitter - This mainly comes with the SatNavs that have built in MP3 player, it allows you to set a radio frequency and it will transmit the sound on that frequency to the car radio, so instead of listening to the instructions and the MP3s coming out of the small speaker in the SatNav you can send them to the car stereo.
Hands-Free kit - SatNavs with this you have a built in microphone and connect via bluetooth to your mobile, so you can answer calls on the move with hands-free. This is quite handy if you don't have a hands-free kit for your phone already, or if you want to integrate everything in one to save the amount of wires/confusion whilst driving.
Voice recognition - This is mainly found on the SatNavs that incorporate hands-free kits, this allows you to give SatNav new directions without having to take your hands off the wheel, or look away from the road. This adds extra safety to the sat nav
Processor power - This is one other thing that drives the price of SatNavs up, the processor power inside the SatNav. Different SatNavs have different processors in them, similar to computer processors. The faster the processor the faster SatNav can plan your route.
Screen Size - Different SatNavs also have different screen sizes, when I'm driving with a SatNav I tend to use it in audio mode so I can concentrate on driving but sometimes have a quick glance down if it starts giving confusing instructions (i.e. sometimes it will come up with "bear left, keep right" or "at the roundabout take the second exit" a quick glance at the SatNav and you notice it doesn't count the car park as an exit off the roundabout or the extra road they added so in actual fact it means the third exit.). When you have to glance down this is when the screen size really does matter.
So that's about all the different technology in the SatNav, if you only want a SatNav to take you from point a to point b I would strongly recommend a TomTom One as these are the most basic and easiest to use or if you want all the bells and whistles the TomTom GO 720 or 920.
Here is a website with all the different TomTom models on to help you decide
Submitted by darrenforster99
There ARE some noticeable differences in GPS devices...
I have a Mio c310x. Not the best, but most of the time, it does get me to where I want to go. Can be picked up for $140 to $300. MSRP is $400 to $500, so I was surprised to see some places sell it for $150 over that.
The thing is, before I got my Mio c310x, the only GPS manufacturers I've heard of were TomTom, Magellon, and Garmin. It turns out Mio was relatively new to the GPS scene, but it's reported that they've established themselves. Note that while c310x is not the most low end model, it is kinda down there which may explain why it's not the best. The fact that it's considerably cheaper than the $400 to $1000 GPS devices says it as well.
If I were to get another GPS device, I would NOT get the c310x. I would look for a better feature set, but keeping 'em to a limit to keep the device from getting too expesnive. Here are some key features u should pay attn to (definately NOT limited to this list)
>>text to voice
says street names out loud (e.g. "in 50 yards, turn left at west Johnna st", instead of just "in 50 yards, turn left").... tho there are some negative reviews about certain cases of this feature where the voice doesn't pronunciate street names correctly that it was essentially worthless. You had to look at the device anyways to find out what streeet was being referred to
I know someone who's disguisted with his Garmin device and wants to switch to Mio b/c while the Garmin was acurate and worked, it offered no options like to find a different route instead of the originally proposed 5 mile stretch of road. Others are flexible enough to allow you to plot specific parameters like avoid highways, dirt roads, toll roads, etc.
There's TeleAtlas which is what Mio uses and there's NavTeq which is what some of the other manufacturers use. From what I read all around, TeleAtlas was trailing, but they seem to be caught up now that they finally released map updates. Map updates are optionally, one time fee thing whenever updates become available, depending on model and device it's for
>>number of POIs (Points Of Interest)
These include everything from where your local eateries are (Burger King, AppleBees), to hotels, to transportation hubs (airports, metros, bus stops), to landmarks (e.g. Lincoln Memorial, World's largest <blank> in some western/mountain state). The Mio c310x has 3.5 million of them. Some of the more high tech GPS devices have 6.5mil POIs or perhaps even 10 million POIs. Granted, all the POIs aren't worth **** if the thing can't get u from point A to point B in a reasonable manner (which IS the whole point of a GPS device), but I would start with about 6mil POIs just b/c it's nice to know they're there. Some ppl don't touch 'em, but they may come in handy for others. If you're the type of person who wonders what's in a given area, familiar or unknown, then make this a larger number for your search criteria.
>>Side note, most if not all GPS devices should let u add your own POIs, (e.g. John's friend's house, school parking lot space, etc.) which is nice. Take note if a GPS device does NOT have this feature
touch screen seems natural, but some ppl could make due with soft buttons, scroll wheels, and other buttons. Others
Battery life can vary noticeably from model to model, and that's without all the external factors. However, most GPS devices used for vehicles oughtta come with a car charger, so if something is on the lower side of battery life, you should be fine charging it on the road as needed. FYI, GPS devices for vehicles may NOT come with an AC (home) charger, just the car one.
>>screen size + resolution
larger screens = more clarity, but also make for bigger, bulkier GPS devices.
More resolution = more detail, but also eats batteires faster, but the stated batt life oughtta take these into account. With my 320x240 screen at IIRC 4.5" to 5".... it's sufficient. I need to really zoom in sometimes to see the more minor street names, but since directiosn are being dictated by audio, it's not that big a deal for me.
If the screen is too small with too much resolution, things will appear too small. Surely manufacturers would've gotten preliminary feedback if such was the case.
If it's too big, you won't be too convenient for pedestrian use (if it's even intended for that use as well)
my GPS only comes with a American (aka American English) in male gender. More American voices, especially female ones would've been nice. Not a deal breaker, but still on my features list
>>lattitude + longitude coordinate system
Dunno what's the deal with his. Perhaps those in the military, or doing "atypical" and/or outdoor activities like hiking in some secluded mountain range may find this feature helpful. For naval navigation, it's useful, but AFAIK, naval GPS devices are a whole different market segment
relevant to GPS and your travels.... For example, IIRC, the Mio 610 has a subscription for just this service. It charts your route based on real time, current events. E.g. it routes you around DC since there's a riot going on in the NW sector that's bogging down traffic, or that since it's getting info since it's a minor holiday, a major highway is smooth sailing since most of the commuters are taking off work and not congesting traffic.
Other GPS devices may offer premium services like AAA support.
>>miscellanoues stuff features Not related to GPS travel....
it just tells u the weather, sports, stock quotes, and news.... maybe email.... something u could also do with cellphone, PDA, laptop + some internet access
My GPS doesn't do video or pics. Just music, and even then it's terrible at that. Doesn't matter as I ahve an ipod for music and the GPS still navigates me well enough. These features are nice to have, but by no means be your primary criteria, since seperate/standalone devices will do multimedia MUCH better
>>ease of use
this one takes hands on work, and even then, it's subjective. Ppl can get used to many tyupes of consumer electronics with time. Windows vs Linux vs Mac, Nokia vs Motorola vs Samsung, etc. Since most ppl can work with many types of interfaces, best bet is to see if retailers have demo models for you to try
>>time to get signal
Similar deal with cellphones. While some may be superior here, other times, too many factors makes this a skewed figure
>>other maps it comes with or are available
most US GPS devices come with US maps preinstalled. Others u gotta install 'em yourself. Others may also include other maps like of Canada or perhaps Mexico, to install yourself if needed or not to save space. If going to Europe, GPS manuf may have maps of thsoe regions for sale to get the most of your unit.
Submitted by ackmondual