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What Features to Look For When Buying A GPS

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The GPS is a handheld device that allows you to navigate through areas that you are unfamiliar with. They are relatively simple to use. Just enter your current location, the address of where you want to go, and the GPS will automatically calculate the shortest route to take to get there. 

Directions are spoken, allowing you to concentrate on the road if you are in your car. If you take a wrong turn, which can happen quite easily when you are in an unknown area, the GPS will recalculate a route. The GPS is portable, so you can use it in your car when out hiking, use a marine GPS in your boat, or even use a specially designed GPS on the golf course.

The GPS devices have maps preloaded so you do need to update your maps periodically to deal with any new roads.

When buying a GPS there are a number of important features that you need to consider to make sure you get the best GPS for your needs. I will look at the most important GPS features.

GPS Screen Size

One of the most important things to consider when buying a GPS is the screen size. Generally, they range from 2.5 inches (just over 6 cm) to 7 inches (approximately 18 cm). Measurements are diagonal across the screen, just like TV measurements. Based on user reviews, the smallest screens can be hard to see, especially if you mount the GPS on the windscreen of your car, and they are especially hard to enter locations through the touchscreen. The largest screens, on the other hand, can hinder your view when mounted on the windscreen and are bulky to carry. Mid-range screens are the most popular, as you get the best of both worlds.

Spoken Directions

The best GPS devices speak directions to you and actually name the streets that you need to turn into. This is a major advantage as you can look for the street sign and confirm you are going in the right direction. There are a lot of quality GPS’s device like Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX available in the market. But, some GPS’s just tell you to turn right ahead, which can lead to confusion if there are a few turn close together.

Dynamic Location Entry

Dynamic location entry is a relatively common feature, but definitely an important one and one that you need to make sure the GPS you are buying has. What the dynamic location entry feature provides is a prediction of the location as you enter it, saving on keying, and saving on time.

Detour Function

The best GPS devices provide a one-touch button to request a detour or alternative route. This is very handy if you see the traffic building up ahead, or if you hear a traffic report on the radio and you need to choose another way to your destination.

Route Information

Some GPS devices provide information about the route you are about to take, such as toll roads. This will allow you to make a decision before you leave, and choose an alternative route if you want to.

Alternative Power Supply

Look for GPS units that can plug into car lighters for power and can also be charged from a standard house socket. Some can also be charged via a USB attachment through your computer.

Blue Tooth Communication

A nice feature to look for is an internal phone that uses the GPS screen, speaker and microphone. This requires you have a blue tooth compatible phone. When using the phone, your GPS direction function is overridden.

MP3 Player

Another great GPS feature to look for is to have MP3 player capabilities. Either play songs through the GPS speaker system or hook up the GPS to the cars audio system through the auxiliary port. Memory size depends on the unit, but some GPS’s have an SD card slot that allows you to increase the memory size significantly.

Video Player

Some GPS units allow you to play videos. This function overrides the navigation function but can be quite handy for kids on long trips.

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