7 Tips For Buying a GPS Navigation

by Nancy

Buying a GPS Navigation system is essential to help one navigate roads on a busy street securely and efficiently. GPS systems come in a standalone version, and as integrated systems within phones and tablets that are connected to a network. Many cars also have navigation systems that are built in. Portable versions of GPS may even come in the form of a watch, which could be useful for runners, or for parents trying to keep an eye on their children’s location as a safety measure. This article offers tips and tricks regarding what to look out for when buying a GPS system.

1. Budget

There are several versions of what we know as GPS, and the price reflects the features of the GPS, as well as the use of it. The price may be affected by whether the GPS is a handheld GPS or trucking GPS. Some can purchase in-dash navigation units or mounted ones. More expensive GPS units include the Marine GPS Chart plotters. The reviews may also reflect whether the product is worth the price, or not. One of the lowest prices for a GPS Navigator was found at fifty dollars, and it came with an 8 GB flash memory, HD display with the preloaded USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico maps.

Those that used it mentioned that it had trouble keeping satellite reception, and that battery life was poor. Some even suggested that it sent them to the wrong direction. A GPS Navigator that got almost five stars was worth one hundred and nine dollars, and was said to be reliable, easy to use, and works in remote areas. Of course, one can go higher in price. More expensive ones were one hundred and fifty to two hundred and forty dollars. Bluetooth installed a camera, and voice command seems to increase the rate significantly.

2. Integrated Systems

Integrated GPS systems are excellent in that they can comfortably fit in the pocket, rendering them portable and extremely handy. Integrated systems can be toggled on or off, as they can deplete battery life of the unit it inhabits at a rapid rate. Integrated systems enable one to be able to see a map in real time. These can even replay the route that happened, which is handy for those who have jobs where they drive others around for profit, delivery jobs, or even trucking careers. Integrated systems are great for those that are managing a fleet of work vehicles, or managing their own business. The massive amount of data that is saved within an integrated system, in a portable unit, makes them appealing to many who are looking for a way to not only make it to their destination but track it as well.

3. Standalone Devices

A Standalone GPS System is one that is not connected and dependent on a network. Surprisingly, standalone GPS systems can do many things that integrated units can’t do. Standalone systems have a more extensive display that is much clearer to see. Usually, a standalone GPS system comes with the GPS unit itself, a USB data cable, a cigarette lighter plug, and sometimes even a suction cup to mount the standalone. It’s best to obtain an independent that can easily be removed and stored out of sight when one is not occupying the vehicle.

4. Core Features

Integrated and standalone systems may have maps that are incredibly detailed. They may also have driver alerts that let the driver know what’s coming up next, increasing awareness. Warnings of upcoming traffic events, like accidents, sharp curves, changes in speed to due to school zones, and some restaurant finders are also available. Gas stations and attractions nearby can also be found as part of the core features of a GPS unit. Some core features include whether the GPS is Bluetooth enabled, whether it speaks street names, or includes lifetime map updates. Some may consist of a camera, voice command, or video player. Some GPS units have an MP3 Player, and are waterproof, and may contain a digital compass. Some updated versions also have an altimeter.

5. Map Availability

Map availability has a lot to do with signal strength. Stronger signals are found in more reliable units that are usually more expensive. It’s essential to update standalone units, as some units require a manual update on a computer or through Wi-Fi. If the maps aren’t updated, map availability can be reduced or even non-existent. Fantastic map availability can be seen in 3D in some of the more sophisticated units.

6. Look for Alternatives

An alternative to a GPS system is a map, but maps may be outdated as new roads and highways are being constructed and deconstructed every day. Maps may be challenging to read and interpret, and they do not provide ease of access to view while driving. Trying to perform such a feat, especially alone, is not particularly safe. New technologies are emerging, guaranteeing real-time position tracking in a way that removes the annoyances of blind spots where the signal may be weak or nonexistent. One of these emerging technologies is called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

It’s also known as DARPA, and it is supposed to be more accurate than the current GPS system. While DARPA is mostly being developed for military use, it may come to civilian use later down the line. Most GPS in the United States use a system called GNSS, or Global Navigation Satellite System. GPS signals are usually quite weak and can’t be used in areas with poor signals, such as very deep canyons. GPS signals are also prone o interference. Aside from that, apps outside of what’s preloaded on the phone can be used to navigate from point A to point B. Some apps like Waze, Scout by Telenav, and CoPilot Live Premium USA can be used, and they each have their plus points. CoPilot works without having cell service or a data connection. Waze provides updated information on police speed traps and other Waze users nearby. Scout offers alternative routes when the main road is suddenly full of traffic.

7. GPS Navigation Systems: Shop Online First

Shopping online for a GPS system, primarily a standalone, is quite easy. Many online retailers have them priced according to their features offered. Several expensive models are provided at lower, certified and refurbished prices. A lot of online products are backed by at least a one year warranty, and come with free lifetime updates and detailed maps of North America.

Ultimately, a GPS allows one to navigate their world safely and efficiently. Standalones are great because they don’t drain the phone’s battery, and integrated units are great due to their portability. GPS systems aren’t limited to the road but can be used by golfer’s or fishers alike, depending on the needs of the user. GPS offers a better driving experience by giving the user confidence when navigating throughout their everyday adventures in life. These tips and tricks should help one make a great decision when buying a GPS within their budget.