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What You Need to Know About Car GPS Units

Aug 20, 2008
If you've been comparing car GPS units, you may have already noticed just how complicated it can be to find one that's right for you, no matter how tech-savvy you might be. Hopefully, after reading this article, you'll be a bit more well informed about what you need to know to find the perfect unit for you and your budget.

If you haven't already been shopping around, you may not know that all car GPS units essentially do the same thing: they show you where you are and tell you how to get to where you're going. They also all come with a variety of pre-programmed destinations, called POIs (or, Points of Interest) to make getting where you need to be even easier. All you need is a finger, because all car GPS units utilize touch screen technology.

What makes finding the perfect one for you so complicated is all the extra features manufacturers are including in their products to meet market competition. Before you get too overwhelmed, let's talk about these manufacturers and compare the products they're making.

Although several companies produce car GPS units, I'd suggest sticking with the top three: Magellan, Garmin, and Tom Tom. Sure, there are other companies, like Lowrance, Mio, and Pharos. But all these other companies are competing for only 10% of the U.S. market. It may be a personal thing, but I've always liked to go with industry winners. Certainly other companies are making quality products, but I like to know that my purchase will be supported year to year.

Magellan was one of the original companies to start manufacturing GPS devices. With a great company name and a wide selection of products, Magellan is a good choice. I really like their Maestro series, which ranges in price from $150 to $350. You can get a Maestro 3100 for less than $150. That's not their best buy, though. If you just want an entry level GPS, then Garmin's nuvi 200 is probably a better bet. Magellan's best buy is their Maestro 4250, which can do everything Garmin's competing product can, but for $50 less.

Magellan also has a great deal for AAA members that makes the AAA Tour Book available right inside the device. Of course, you must be a member, but if you're a frequent traveler, it's an excellent deal.

With almost 50% of the total market, Garmin is the industry leader. A basic Garmin, the nuvi 200, costs only $150. However, if you're looking to spend a lot more, you can purchase the 880 model, which includes a lot of extra features, for around $1,000. There are no real competitors at the high end of the market place, that is for automotive GPS systems.

Catching up to Garmin is Tom Tom, a company that offers a great selection of products at very competitive prices. For example, what you'd pay for Garmin's basic nuvi 200 could also get you Tom Tom's One 3rd Edition, which has a lot of extra cool features. Tom Tom's GO series has more features and is a direct competitor with Garmin. Tom Tom is currently taking market share from Garmin by offering more features at a smaller price. Tom Tom is no slouch as a company, either. They totally dominate the European market!

Whether you want to spend a lot or a little, comparing car GPS units can be tricky. Continue checking out informative websites so you can find the system that's right for you and won't break your budget.
About the Author
To read more great GPS Reviews, check out my website.

Rick Cole is a true GPS enthusiast! Take a look at his website to find out more information!
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