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GPS Comparisons and GPS Ratings - Do They Help?

Aug 22, 2008
What about all these GPS comparisons and GPS ratings you see on the Web? Do they help at all?

Buying your first GPS device can be a bewildering experience. They all basically do the same thing, show you where you are on a map and tell you how to get where you're going. All of the major brands, Garmin, Tom Tom, and Magellan, among others, make a good product. Even at the different price points, the features are very similar.

So how do you go about deciding if you want a Tom Tom One or a Garmin Nuvi 350?

You can spend anywhere from $150US to $950US on a GPS device. So, if you are like most people, you do not want to spend a few hundred bucks and get the wrong thing.

The first thing you need to do is to decide what's important to you.

The basic things to look for in a GPS device are size and quality of the screen, clarity of the voice prompts, and ease of use while finding locations you want to go to or typing in an address.

Personally, of the cheaper GPS devices, I like the Tom Tom One's screen the best. The maps show up very clearly. Also, the icons are clear enough to see without having to take it off the suction cup mount.

I really like Garmin's voice prompts, though! They're clear, come at the right time (not too late!) and easy to follow.

As far as ease of use, I like the user interfaces of all three of the major manufacturers. Having said that, for lower priced devices, again, the Tom Tom One might have the most intuitive interface.

There are a lot of sites all over the internet that purport to rate GPS devices. The problem with this is 1) did the reviewer actually use the device, and 2) does the reviewer actually care about what you do?

That's why when I started my GPS review site (which you can access from the link at the bottom), I combed the customer reviews on Amazon and put together a list of what people were saying about each item.

It's fairly meaningless when you compare GPS systems by checking off which ones have turn-by-turn voice prompts, for instance. Nearly all of them do. What's helpful is when a reviewer talks about using a Garmin Nuvi in heavy traffic with a lot of ambient noise and being able to still hear the device loud and clear.

So, I find narrative reviews by customers a lot more useful than GPS rating systems or GPS comparisons. Ratings and comparisons can be useful, but they are more of a starting point rather than something you need to make your final decision with.
About the Author
To read more great GPS Reviews, check out my website.

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