Review Car Navigation: Stay on Track with the Best Car GPS Systems
Do you still have a bunch of paper maps stuffed into the glove compartment of your car? Today’s technology has made the common street map a thing of the past; car GPS (Global Positioning System) devices are becoming more widespread as the internal electronic components grow to be more inexpensive. However, with all the choices available, what is the best car GPS device? In general, each device has features that are designed for specific users and habits. Luckily, many websites offer comparison evaluations. To compare auto insurance quotes, you simply type in your ZIP code into the FREE tool above!
New cars today will usually have the option of adding an integrated GPS system within the dashboard. This form of car GPS is incredibly helpful for everyday driving; users can type a new address into the system through its touch screen and it will verbally and visually instruct the driver in the correct direction. Some devices even have voice recognition so that the new address can be spoken into an integrated microphone and the device responses accordingly.
Built-in GPS is an exciting feature, but consumers should be aware that they can be more expensive than their portable comparisons; the dealer can charge a premium for the hardware, software, and installation fees. Consumers should also note that the GPS will require periodic software updates for new road configurations and better communications with satellites. Unless under warranty, the software updates are usually expensive to purchase.
Portable GPS units are the most versatile and popular devices sold for car installation. These devices are commonly installed on a permanent stand on the car’s dashboard, or even affixed to the inside of the windshield. In the past, the devices had black and white screens with actual push buttons for maneuvering through the menus. However, current models use color touch screens that can range from small to large viewing areas, based on the consumer’s needs.
Each manufacturer places certain features within the GPS device, but most offer the basics, such as finding a nearby gas station. For example, your car’s gas light illuminates to indicate the need for fuel. If you are in an unfamiliar area, it is possible to drive quite far before stumbling upon a gas station. Luckily, the car GPS can be programmed to find the nearest, and even cheapest, gas station.
There are a few drawbacks to portable GPS units. Unlike the integrated systems, these devices can attract thieves if the GPS unit is left attached on the dashboard. As a preventative measure, consumers should always remove the GPS device from the dashboard each time they park the car; this removal and replacement process can become irritating for some people or they may forget completely.
GPS within Smartphones
As smartphones become more widespread, manufacturers are adding more features to entice jaded customers. One particular addition is GPS capability. Instead of a separate GPS device that attaches to the dashboard, consumers can simply pull out their smartphones and triangulate a restaurant or point of interest.
Many consumers enjoy this specific device since they do not need to have two different devices; every needed feature is rolled into one electronic. Consumers should note that these smartphone GPS features will commonly require a data plan for accessing the GPS information. In contrast, the built-in and portable GPS devices do not require any form of data subscription.
Who Needs GPS?
Not everyone will benefit from a car GPS device. If a person simply drives along the same route each day and only ventures across his or her own town, a GPS device will certainly not help him or her; the driver already knows the area. However, these devices were meant for consumers who commute through traffic or drive far distances on a constant basis, such as salespeople.
Vehicle traffic is a nuisance that many people cannot avoid; they must arrive to work each day without fail. However, car GPS offers a reprieve from the stop-and-go traffic. Car GPS can have the feature of real-time traffic; drivers can quickly access the best road or freeway choice based on the traffic data fed into the device. As a result, the driver can find an alternative route if their normal pathway is congested with traffic or an accident.
What about Bluetooth?
Many drivers use Bluetooth headsets to call friends, family, and colleagues while on the road. However, many car GPS units have a built-in Bluetooth device; this addition allows the driver to use the GPS as a calling device. Calling a person can be as simple as verbally asking the GPS to dial a number and then hearing the conversation directly through the vehicle’s speakers. This feature is especially helpful for consumers that travel for business purposes.
Many drivers are concerned about more distractions behind the wheel. A car GPS should not be the center of attention; any physical programming with the touch screen should be done while pulled over or parked. In fact, some states within the United States have barred the devices from being on the dashboard since they can impede the driver’s vision. Using common sense with the device is paramount for a safe driving situation.
To find the best car GPS, plug in your ZIP code within the comparison evaluation window and evaluate all the consumer choices. Be sure to check out reviews of cars with built-in GPS systems. If you would like to also compare auto insurance rates, enter your ZIP code in the FREE tool below now!