GPS Buying Guide for Black Friday 2008

GPS Device Features to Consider

In this article, we will discuss a few key features to look for in a GPS device. In the budget ($100 to $200) range, the two most important options are screen size, readability in various lighting and inclusion of Text-to-Speech. When comparing GPS products, also explore accessories such as dashboard and windshield mounting kits. Not all units will include the proper mounting hardware for your vehicle.


A Tom Tom ONE GPS

Screen
Nearly all GPS units sold today have touchscreens, allowing the driver to control the unit by simply touching the screen. Two things you will want to consider while comparing different screens is size and visibility. Most people are probably going to want a larger screen. All of the GPS devices being advertised for sale on Black Friday have screens between 3" and 4.5". Also, examine the readability of the screen. Cheaper, poor quality screens will be more difficult to read in bright, direct sunlight and difficult to read from wide angles.

Voice Prompts vs. Text-to-Speech
The most common way for a GPS device to provide instructions to the driver is through voice prompts. An example voice prompt might say "turn right in 500 yards," however it would not include any specific street names.

Some devices can read you street names by using Text-to-Speech, but this usually costs an extra $50 to $100 (or more). For example, GPS device with Text-to-Speech would give instructions such as "In 500 yards, turn right on Water street." Text-to-Speech provides more specific instructions to the driver. In our budget GPS price range, a GPS with Text-to-Speech is a nice upgrade, but not a deal-breaker if it's not included.




Tom Tom supplies various voices with their devices,
and additional voices are available for download.


Other Features
Manufactures of GPS devices try to pack as many features as they can into their products, but more bells and whistles in a device will come at a cost. Some extra features include Bluetooth (cell phone) integration, music playback, speed limit warnings and automated traffic reporting. If you are looking for any of those advanced features, you are probably not going to find them in a GPS that is under $200.

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November 19, 2008

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