A Guide to GPS Car Navigation Systems
It seems like everyone is interested in GPS car navigation systems these days. Makes total sense! GPS devices can tell you where you are and give you turn-by-turn directions to tell how to get to where you want to go, anywhere in the United States, Canada, Europe, or Mexico.
Plus they come with all sorts of cool features. And it's right there where part of the problem is for anyone interested in purchasing one.
There are essentially too many manufacturers with too many products that do too many things.
Buying a GPS car navigation system feels like getting a master's degree in engineering.
Well, if you'll give me a few moments of your time, I can reduce all of this confusion to a few things you will need to think through in order to pick out the right GPS for you and your budget.
Right off the bat, there are three major GPS manufacturers, Garmin, Tom Tom, and Magellan. Garmin is the big dog in the industry, selling around 70% of all GPS devices. Tom Tom is a new arrival, but they've grabbed a lot of market share with excellent products at excellent prices. While Magellan is the older company, but not to be outdone in the features department.
There are other manufacturers, but personally I prefer to stick with the industry winners.
As far as what these things do, let's take a look base features first.
All GPS units can do the following:
* Tell you where you are and how to get where you're going via voice instructions
* Access a large database of pre-programmed destinations (called Points of Interest, or POIs)
* Interface with the user via a touch screen and an icon-based operating system
* Auto-calculate either the shortest or fastest route
If that's all you need to do, then for about $150, you can get all this and more. Things like digital picture viewer capability and audiobook capability are essentially standard features.
If you want to spend more, however, look what all you can get!
* Bluetooth for hands-free calling
* FM transmission, so you can hear your device through your car's stereo system
* More extensive maps, Canada, Europe, Mexico
* Real-time weather and traffic (usually via subscription)
And, there's more!
As you go up in price what each company offers really starts to differentiate itself.
What you need to do now is get on an informative website where you can actually look at specific devices, see exactly what their features are, and check out their prices.
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