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How to Choose a GPS Navigation System

Jun 8, 2008
Choosing a GPS navigation device can be a daunting process especially if you have never used a GPS device. GPS devices can get you from point A to point B with almost no thinking, just enter a starting address and a destination then let your GPS unit talk and visually guide you. It's that simple. Before you just run out and pick up any GPS Navigation System there are a few features or aspects you need think about.

1. Accurate Navigation is the most important part of your GPS device. All GPS devices will tell you they are extremely accurate, this isn't always true. Online User groups are great way to find out how accurate a GPS device is because most groups give unbiased advice.

2. Your GPS unit should be easy to use. Go to your local electronics store and test several devices. Make sure the interface is easy for you to operate. Lower priced GPS units have a bare bones interface that can sometimes be clunky and slow.

3. Long Battery Life. Trust me here, the longer the battery life the better. Getting a GPS unit with long battery life can really increase the price tag but it's worth it, especially if you are not near your car charger. Most GPS Units have an additional charging port on the side to plug in another device such as a cell phone. Bigger batteries also mean less clutter in the car because you won't need to pull out that charger. My last point on getting a better battery is that you can load your routes with having to be plugged into an external power source.

4. Named Streets. You're going to pay more for this, but it's worth it if you are in an unfamiliar city. So, instead of your gps device saying "turn right" it may say "turn right on Big St".

5. Real-time traffic stats. Most GPS devices will ask you how you want to get to a location (either shortest or quickest route) but very few consider if there is traffic on the chosen route. Real-time traffic stats are usually reserved for the most expensive GPS devices. If you're rich, then this feature is for you.

6. Consider the GPS size and weight. When you go to your electronics store make sure you can pick up the GPS unit to feel it's weight. Also, screen size is very important if you have trouble seeing because your GPS device may be mounted a foot or two from your eyes.

7. Screen and audio clarity. Make sure you can see everything clearly on your GPS device especially in direct light and in the dark. Most GPS devices feature night illumination controls which really help for all you night drivers. The audio should be crisp, clear and very easy to understand. If you like to listen to the radio while using GPS navigation make sure your GPS unit has a load speaker (or good audio out).
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Discount Garmin Nuvi GPS
Magellan GPS
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