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How to Compare GPS Systems to Get the Best Unit For You!

Sep 6, 2008
The best way to compare GPS systems is to figure out what you want and then find out who is offering that and at what price. There are basically three main manufacturers of GPS systems, Garmin, Magellan, and Tom Tom. All three make good products, although Garmin is currently the industry leader. In this article we're going to talk about ways to compare GPS systems that can help you buy the right one for you!

When I talk about GPS systems, I mean the after-market car variety. There are tons of other GPS systems out there--from the completely portable kind you take hiking to GPS software you can add on to your Palm Pilot. This article is about what we normally think of as a GPS system, the kind you see mounted on someone's dashboard, or stuck to their windshield.

All GPS systems basically do the same thing. They show you where you are on an electronic map. All of them also can calculate how to get to whatever destination you want to go to--and tell you where to turn. Let's make a list of what virtually all GPS systems have:

* Voice prompts that give you the directions.
* Some version of a touch screen.
* A database of POI's (Points of Interest), locations of hospitals, restaurants, etc.
* Usually a choice between views-2D or 3D.
* Almost all come preloaded with maps of the 48 States.
* All will calculate the best route to get to where you want to go.

So, this is what you get when you buy any type of GPS.

For the purposes of comparing GPS systems, let's look at what extra features are offered, then talk about who offers them and about what the prices are.

Optional feature include:

* Saying the names of the streets you need to turn on--as opposed to just saying "Turn Right".
* Getting a larger screen--4.3 inched diagonally compared with 3.5--(I like the 4.3!).
* More maps--Canada, Mexico, Europe!
* Has Bluetooth technology--this lets you use your GPS with your cell phone so you can make hands-free calls.
* Calculates multiple routes--Can you enter destinations A, B, and C and have it tell you the best way to get to all three?
* Real-time traffic and weather reporting capability.
* Can be used to listen to music or digital pictures.
* Larger POI database (hopefully, in the millions!)

Some of the manufacturers have other features. Magellan has teamed up with AAA to offer the AAA Tour Book through their GPS device. Tom Tom is trying out a neat feature that lets users input and change data in their database. Garmin is coming out with a new unit that will recognize voice commands.

Now that you know the "lay of the land" so to speak, it's time to start shopping and actually comparing GPS systems.
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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