GPS buying guides #1: Introduction – What you should ask yourself
Paper maps were like the tube TV and the wind-up watch; they were great things of the past. Navigation tool of today’s world are capable of doing so many things that paper maps cannot do. The GPS device can show exact direction from point A to point B, provide you with alternative routes with precise instruction and it can also identify coffee shop and gas station within the vicinity.
Portable GPS device is definitely your true best friend especially when you travel around an unfamiliar territory. It gives you better confidence and security as compared to paper maps.
GPS technology is not meant for portable GPS device only, this piece of technology is also implemented on many smart phones. While having a smart phone with GPS capabilities is a less expensive alternative as compared to having a standalone GPS device, we will focus on dedicated GPS device that is specifically designed to be mounted on vehicle and portable GPS device that can be brought along for outdoor activities like hiking.
It is advisable to read the entire guide so that you can figure out the most suitable GPS device for your purposes. If you want to jump right in, you can simply visit our reviews on a wide range of GPS devices.
Before You Buy
The prices of GPS devices can start around $100 and can go up to $500 for high end product, depending on features and screen size. The addition of extra features like Bluetooth connectivity, integrated traffic service and bigger screens will cost you another hundred dollars.
So, before buying a GPS model, these are the important questions you should ask:
How far and how often will I travel?
If your daily routine is only taking short trips, need occasional directions – buying a GPS device in the range of $100 – $250 suits you the best. After all, you need to make sure that the price you pay is justified by how frequent you use the device.
If you use it on regular basis like going through complicated travel itineraries, you will definitely find that a GPS device becomes indispensable. So in this case, go for the best one you can afford.
Where should I mount the GPS kit in my vehicle?
It goes without saying that car GPS devices are meant to be mounted in your vehicle but it is not that easy. Most car GPS devices include a suction cup that is primarily designed to stick to a flat surface on your dashboard or your wind shield.
The catch is that in some states any wind shield mounts are considered illegal. On top of that, not all dashboards are flat and that will prevent the suction cup from operating correctly. That’s why some GPS kits are also equipped with a flat disc designed to be adhered to your dashboard and thus allowing the suction cup to work perfectly.
Another option of mounting a GPS device is by sticking it into the air ventilation grille. The obvious problem is that it blocks a fair amount of airflow from the ventilation. Even though most GPS devices are light, they may still be too heavy for steady support on a ventilation mount.
How critical are frequent map updates?
If you just need your GPS device to find retail outlets that you’ve never visited before or a specific shop during occasional travels, working with mapping data that is not frequently updated is probably okay. However, if traveling back and forth from one place to another on time is crucial, a regularly updated mapping data is definitely a must even if you have to pay for it.