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How to Compare GPS Navigation Systems to Get the Right One For You!

Sep 6, 2008
If you've been thinking about buying a GPS, then your first step is to compare GPS navigation systems to find the right one for you. Although they all do basically the same thing, there are a number of differences you need to know about. Also, the price range varies enormously--from less than $200 to over $700! Figuring out your budget and what you can buy for the money is the trick to getting a system you're going to be happy with.

When I talk about GPS navigation systems, I'm usually talking about those made by the three big manufacturers, Garmin, Tom Tom, and Magellan. I'm not saying the others are not good. There are plenty of other companies that make excellent systems. I guess I have a personal preference for staying with the big companies.

Also, when I think about GPS systems, I mean the after-market, car variety. Not the kind you take hiking!

All GPS systems essentially do the same thing. They show you where you are on an electronic map and plot a route to where you want to go. So, at base, all GPS navigation systems share the same basic features. Those are:

* Spoken directions
* Touch screen
* A list of destinations--called Points of Interest, or POIs
* Maps of the lower 48 States--or at least regional maps
* Auto calculation of the best or shortest route

If those are what you get with any system, what other features are there?

Common features you can get are:

* More extensive maps--including Mexico and Europe
* Integration with Bluetooth technology
* Real-time traffic and weather--usually by subscription
* Plays music and serves as a audio book reader
* Much larger database of POIs

There are other features that you can get with specific manufacturers. Garmin is coming out with a unit that responds to voice commands. Magellan has teamed up with AAA to include their Tour Book with many of their GPS navigation systems. And Tom Tom is experimenting with a user generated database of points of interest, which is neat because users can record changes much faster than the company can.

Comparing GPS navigation systems is not hard once you learn what's out there and how much it costs. Your next step is to visit some sites and gather more information about price and exactly which units do what.
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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