Automotive GPS Buying Guide for Newbies

car-gpsAutomotive GPS devices make it easier for drivers to find their ways. If you are planning to buy a GPS, there are some important features to be aware of.

1. Screen Size: Car GPS systems come in various different screen sizes. Larger screens provide a better view of the maps and texts. It’s ideal for those who have difficulty with vision. However, too large can become a safety hazard and interfere with the overall view of the road. A 4.3″ screen size which is in between 3.5″ and 5″ screens is ideal. The cost of the GPS may also go higher with the screen size.

2. Latest Maps: The purpose of the GPS is to get you to the right place. That’s why, it is important to make sure that the GPS you are buying has the latest maps installed. The latest map should be of the current year. You must note that often updating maps is not free and the charge can range from $30 to $80.

3. Text to Speech: Some GPS devices offer turn by turn directions which means that the GPS will give out a voice alert when a right or left turn is coming ahead. However, these GPS systems don’t really mention any street names. GPS systems that have Text to Speech feature reads out the street names where the turn needs to be made. For example, the GPS will have an audible voice alert saying “Turn Left on So-and-So Street.”

4. Bluetooth Technology: Having a GPS that can connect to cell phones using the bluetooth technology is very handy for drivers. Bluetooth enabled GPS devices turn the GPS into a speakerphone. Look for this feature as it makes driving safer.

5. Wi-Fi: Some GPS devices offer wi-fi features which allow you to connect to free wireless Internet hotspots. Ideal for downloading maps or browse the Internet. Not really necessary but can be very useful sometimes.

6. Accuracy: Most GPS devices are accurate to within a few feet however there are some that are accurate to few meters. When choosing a GPS, it’s good to have one that is accurate to few feet as that will help choosing the correct lanes more easier.

7. External Memory Slot: In order to store additional maps or ever growing updated maps, you will need a GPS that has a memory slot for SD or microSD cards. This feature will enable your GPS to have additional storage capacity for carrying maps or important data with you.

8. Extra Features: You may find extra features such as Traffic and Weather Updates, Address Book, Media Player, Voice Address Input and Points of Interests useful when considering a GPS. However, the price of the devices go significantly higher with extra features.

9. Price: GPS devices come on sale often and it’s not a good idea to buy one at the regular price. You can find a decent GPS from $150 to $250.

10. Brand Names: Brand name GPS systems usually offer free map updates and solid map technology. Brand name GPS systems include Garmin, Magellan and TomTom.

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