how to buy a car gps navigator

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In fact, today’s PNDs sport more features than ever to help you get from point A to point B quickly and safely–features such as audible driving directions with text-to-speech (TTS), spoken street names, real-time traffic updates, Internet connectivity for points-of-interest search, and large easy-to-read screens, to name a few.
The Magellan SmartGPS bridges a gap between connected navigation apps and car-friendly GPS hardware with its ability to sync with the cloud and connect to the Web via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but its busy interface could use fewer moving parts.
Menus and features are similar to those of other portable systems, including spoken and onscreen turn-by-turn directions, traffic info, and a point-of-interest menu.
Shoppers looking for navigational aid can choose from many types of GPS devices, including aftermarket portable or in-dash units, cell phones, factory-installed in-dash units, telematics systems, and even laptop computers.
Higher-priced models can include such features as an FM receiver for traffic information, a wireless FM transmitter to integrate with the car’s audio system, and Bluetooth connectivity, which can be handy for hands-free phone operation.
In today’s competitive market, GPS prices have come down to the point where even budget units include features previously available only on more expensive models, such as the ability to speak street names, issue speed warnings, and provide reality view, graphically representing major intersections.
All portable navigation devices on the market today include pre-loaded maps and provide spoken directions and automatic rerouting if you miss a turn.
On the other hand, if you often encounter traffic congestion on your commute, choosing a nav system with real-time traffic information can help you avoid traffic congestion, accidents, or road construction, and plot a route around it before you even get to the trouble area.
Today’s portable units offer most of the features of carmaker built-in systems, and some have features that you can’t get in a factory-installed system.
Some portable units offer special routing options for bicyclists to help them avoid highways and for pedestrians, appropriate routes are provided that ignore one-way traffic restrictions.
While all systems include a plug for your car’s 12-volt outlet, a built-in battery also gives you the option of using the power port for another device, such as a cell phone, and it eliminates cord clutter.
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Read PCMag’s GPS reviews for the quickest route to a GPS device that gets you where you’re going—without breaking the bank along the way.
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Sears carries car GPS navigation systems from major brands like Tomtom, Magellan and Garmin.
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tom-tom xl 340 navigator is easy-pezy! simple directions,screen is great size, charges easily.i would recommend charging in car first (quicker)instead of by computer.
It does makes up for that with the traffic alert feature that seems to work really well, but that only works in areas that transmit the information.
It allows plenty of detail to be shown on the screen and identifies things like gas stations, hotels, eateries, banks and such on the route that you are taking.
We had a problem with the unit holding a charge, so Overstock sent the missing wall charger which solved the problem.I use it every day to supplement my car GPS and we take it on trips to use in rental cars.
One thing which some may find spooky and I find it interesting, if you usually do not vary your schedule everyday to a place (like office), it remembers and will automatically tell you 30 minutes to office when starting.
Simple handheld GPS models with 3.5-inch screens and basic features start at about $100; high-end models with more-sensitive receivers, bigger screens (4.3 inches and up), integrated traffic service, Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to connect to your car stereo can cost as much as $600.
Today’s navigation tool, the portable GPS device, can do things that paper maps are incapable of, such as automatically showing your exact location anywhere on the globe, providing precise turn-by-turn instructions on how to drive from any Point A to any Point B, identifying where the nearest gas and coffee stores are, and warning you when traffic problems make a detour highly advisable.
Some automobile models with small screens and basic mapping features cost around $100, while top-of-the-line models with big screens, multimedia capabilities, and even Internet connectivity can top $500.
How critical are frequent map updates? If you expect to use your GPS device primarily to find convenient java shops during occasional travels (or retail outlets that you’ve never visited before), working with less-than-up-to-the-minute mapping data is probably okay.
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Lifetime TomTom Traffic ensures you’ll always know your fastest way.
Pro: More Features — In-dash aftermarket navigation systems are geared toward techies and audiophiles who want additional features while maintaining the sleek appearance of the factory unit.
Pro: Price — A portable navigation system is significantly less expensive than the factory system.
Pro: Theft-Resistant — Unlike a portable navigation system, which can draw the attention of thieves, you don’t have to worry as much about someone walking away with a factory system.
Pro: Warranty Coverage — Since the factory navigation system is part of the vehicle, it is covered by the bumper-to-bumper warranty.
Pro: Customizable — Aftermarket navigation systems are designed to be the centerpiece of an upgraded audio system that allows for user customization.
Con: Price — The most obvious drawback for a factory navigation system is price.
Con: Limited Warranty — If your portable navigation unit malfunctions, you’ll only be covered for about a year or however long the limited factory warranty lasts.
Con: Use Limitations — Some factory navigation systems do not let you input directions while the car is moving.
Con: Theft-Prone — Next to a portable navigation system, an aftermarket navigation system is the second most likely to get stolen.
Pro: Resale Value — Factory navigation systems also improve a car’s resale value.
Pro: Easier, Cheaper Updating — The maps on portable navigation systems are also easier and less expensive to update.
Con: Price — A system can sometimes cost as much as the factory unit.
Thieves will have a much harder time stealing a factory navigation system than a portable unit that’s stuck to the windshield with a suction cup.
Con: Mounting — Portable navigation systems are usually mounted on the windshield or the dashboard.
Pro: Better Screen — Since many aftermarket navigation systems have DVD playback, they typically have higher-resolution screens with animated menus and flashy colors.
Pro (and Con): Price — Factory-navigation skeptics argue that their are an alternative to an expensive factory system, saying that the phone already has a map application, and that’s all you really need.
Pro: Integration — The factory-installed navigation system will appeal to car buyers who like a clean, high-tech, integrated look.
The Magellan RoadMate Series of in-car GPS units is long standing and well regarded, and some of the newest models come with some impressive features, like traffic camera alerts, landmark guidance that adds detail to your directions like "turn left in 300 feet at the Chevron gas station," as opposed to "turn left in 300 feet," and lifetime traffic alerts and map updates.
Even though many of you praised Tom Tom’s smartphone navigation apps, others of you pointed out that the Tom Tom Go series (most notably the Tom Tom Go 1535) all offer spoken word driving directions in portable packages that don’t need mobile data or an internet connection to work.
Earlier in the week we asked you which GPS units were best for your car, whether you preferred your smartphone or tablet, or if you’d rather trust a stand-alone GPS device that doesn’t need mobile data or cellular service to give you maps and directions.
The series proudly notes that mobile data or an internet connection are not required for the Nuvi series to give you spoken word turn-by-turn directions in plain language with accurately pronounced street and city names.
Great units will include the ability to create custom POIs, or waypoints (which are similar to custom POIs), and the best units allow you to save multiple locations.
The best navigation GPS units have a great combination of all of these features that will make you forget all about the GPS capabilities of your smartphone.
If you navigate away from the selected route, most navigation units will automatically create a new route.
The Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD, the Magellan SmartGPS and the Garmin Nuvi 2797LMT all carry more features than your everyday navigation smartphone app, and will help you quickly and safely reach your destination.
Most devices allow you to choose a variety of different routes such as the fastest or most direct, as well as whether or not you want to avoid certain hazards or obstacles like toll roads and highways.
A navigation GPS device can give you real-time traffic updates and suggest ways to adjust your route around accidents and construction.
What keeps car GPS units relevant? First, an independent GPS unit is dedicated to your car, but can be transferred from vehicle-to-vehicle if need be.
If you need to create a route with multiple destinations, look for a device that will sort these destinations into the fastest, most direct route possible.
Look for units with a warranty, and check on the ease of navigating the website so you can receive help and information on returning defective items.
You will want to find a GPS unit that not only meets your driving needs, but also has relevant and useful features to help you get from here to there.
You want a device that not only knows where you are, but can give you directions using buildings, stoplights and other landmarks around you to help guide you to your destination.
The best GPS devices we reviewed had a plethora of features, accuracy, lifetime map and traffic updates and a large enough screen to be helpful.
Being hands-free is also important, which makes speech access and Bluetooth critical features for GPS units.
The manufacturers of these navigational GPS units should have an email address, email forms or phone numbers available for contacting the company directly.
Below, you will find the criteria we used when we reviewed navigation GPS units.
Remember consumers may be searching on eBay or elsewhere for "Portable GPS", "Sat Nav", "Car GPS Systems", "GPS Navigation", "GPS Gadgets", "GPS Trackers", "GPS tracking system", "car tracking", "GPS Navigators"," Portable GPS Navigator", "GPS Car DVD Players", "Vehicle GPS”, “GPS Devices", "Vehicle GPS Navigation" or any variation of the above.
Wholesale Category for GPS Devices including: GPS / Sat Nav Devices for cars – Portable GPS Systems and Handheld GPS Car Navigation Systems – GPS Tracking Devices and Loggers – GPS-enabled Gadgets such as GPS watches – Motorcycle GPS Navigators.
In an email interview, PC Mag’s Lendino tells us, “Real-time traffic is take-it-or-leave-it, although most have it now, just because there still aren’t enough sources (especially on secondary roads) for accurate data.” He says, further: “In New York, telling you to get off the FDR to avoid a jam ahead is worthless if you plunge into a gridlock in midtown Manhattan.” Also, Garmin has limited coverage for all three of its traffic services (which you can check here; basically, it’s only North America that has decent coverage).
Consumer Reports gave it a class-leading score of 75, saying “[t]he Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT is true to Garmin form, providing very good navigation with a user interface that has a bit of a learning curve but improves methods for common tasks.” The only competition to score better were top-of-the-line $300+ models that are just too expensive to really justify considering they don’t add any serious functionality.
That’s the best mid-range model of Garmin’s 2013 nuvi line and the best overall GPS model, because it’s fast and accurate, has the best interface, features useful extras and comes recommended by every expert we talked to.
The 5-inch 2555LMT is an appealing $140, but while it does incorporate lifetime maps and traffic, it also comes with the older lane assist feature and drops Bluetooth and voice controls, which is a dealbreaker.
Stick to the Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT…because it’s fast and accurate, has the best interface, features useful extras and comes recommended by every expert we talked to.
In Owings’ experience, the sound quality over the unit’s voice-activated Bluetooth hands-free calling was mediocre, “sounding like a Bluetooth device from several years ago.” The 2597LMT also doesn’t come with a magnetic mount—one of the most oft-praised features in Garmin’s luxury model, the Nuvi 3597LMTHD.
The 50LM is ~$100 cheaper than our main pick but you lose some pretty great features like its voice-activated navigation system, Active Lane Guidance, Bluetooth compatibility, and real-time traffic.
But it puts your money towards the fancy features you don’t need (a thinner form factor and a glass capacitive touchscreen), and bypasses the practical ones that really make a difference for getting safe directions (animated lane guidance, the nearby services stream, and natural language directions).
(Though Owings says the $130 delta between the two models isn’t worth it: “The 3597’s magnetic mount is nice, but I wouldn’t spend that much more for it.”) Lendino also laments its “dated plastic resistive screen” and “low resolution.” But that’s not really important either since you’re just getting directions, not watching movies.
Jamie Lendino summed it up thusly: “I still Garmin’s interface more than TomTom’s and Magellan’s, and I think its POI search is more flexible than the other two and allows you to do more things…The trick with Garmin is finding one of the new ones at a reasonable price.” That reasonable price bit is why we didn’t choose the $350 3597LMTHD as the best unit out there.
On the other hand, you still get voice controls (albeit an older system), lifetime maps, Bluetooth, and lane assist (the older version of active lane guidance, which helps you navigate complicated exits only with a static graphic).
If you want cheap, you might as well commit.) The 50LM is nice because it’s still got that generous screen (good for avoiding input mistakes and viewing directions at a glance) and lifetime maps (four updates a year, like the 2597LMT).
The TomTom Start 55TM is reasonably priced ($128) for a GPS unit that comes with a 5-inch screen, lifetime traffic and map updates, and gas prices without a live data connection.
Another novel aspect within this voice command system is Garmin’s “Real Directions,” which uses natural language to guide drivers, telling them to turn at recognizable landmarks, buildings, stop signs and traffic lights.
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Use these cables to connect and control your or with your Alpine, Kenwood, JVC, Pioneer or other aftermarket in-dash car stereo receiver.
Finally getting that car stereo that you have always wanted? In this category you will find everything that you need to install your new stereo, as well as items that you can use enhance the sound from the new headunit.
Car stereos with built-in GPS navigation offer the high quality audio of an aftermarket head unit combined with the convenience of a factory GPS navigation system.
In case you need to return an item, our customer friendly return policy makes it easy.
Portable automobile GPS navigation systems , such as those from Garmin and TomTom, have more flexibility in where and how you use it, the ability to swap the unit from one car to another, generally have more features, and are less expensive than a factory-installed built-in or add-on units.
Some of the best models, such as the popular Garmin nüvi 2557LMT have wide-screens, FM transmitters so that you can hear your voice prompts and alerts through your car sound system, Bluetooth wireless connection to your cell phone, theft prevention features, lifetime traffic, lifetime map updates, long-life battery operation, and more.
Most new-car makers now offer built-in GPS navigation systems in at least some of their models and are relatively expensive compared to portable devices.
By all means, try out a friend’s GPS if you can, but I find that owners often don’t know all of the features of their own units, or they aren’t aware of important differences in performance and features up and down the price scale.
Most higher-end units can help you detect and avoid traffic backups and can be used, along with a Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone, as a hands-free calling device.
This article is designed to help you find your way through the GPS buying maze to get the best unit for your needs at the best price.
Our in-car GPS top picks section takes the selection process a step further, by identifying top models by category.
When you walk into a big electronics store, you can often try out the item you’re thinking of buying, whether it’s watching a big screen television, checking out a laptop’s display, or listening to a stereo.
Your first step is to understand what features are available; what you need based on anticipated use; what would be nice to have if you are willing to spend a little more, and what’s a good value.

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