Choosing a Car GPS

by : John Rivers

Navigating using maps can be very frustrating especially if you are doing so while driving your car. This becomes even stressful when you are driving all alone in a strange territory. Sometimes, however, having someone with you won’t help either, because more often than not, your companion would end up confusing you more than helping you navigate the road.

But traveling need not always be this difficult. It doesn’t even have to be stressful. If you think it is the map that is causing you your problems, then better get away with it and throw it outside your vehicle’s window. Instead, go get a new Vehicle Navigation Systems and use it instead of the map.

Car GPS Devices

Simply said, a Vehicle Navigation System is a GPS receiver especially designed for cars and their navigation systems. Like all other types of GPS receivers, car GPS devices can also receive signals from GPS satellites and can use the information carried by these signals to determine its current location. But because they are meant to be used on moving vehicles, they must be stuffed with features specific to vehicle navigations systems.

In particular, car GPS devices must be able to give you the best possible route toward a particular destination. It must also be able to recalculate your route in case you miss a particular route instruction. It must also have a text and/or voice system for giving directions. Other basic features that all car GPS devices must have are:

• Map storage system
• Screen or display that can handle images of more than 320x240 pixels in size at a resolution and brightness suitable for driving.
• Address book for storing frequently visited addresses and points of interest
• Detachable or external antenna for better GPS visibility

Now, there are a lot of car GPS devices of different kinds and brands available for every type and brand of car there is today. Because of this, you may find it difficult to select the particular car GPS that would perfectly fit your needs, should you want to experience the functionality of one.

In general, however, you’ve got two options should you want to travel with a car GPS device. The first option is to purchase a vehicle with built-in or fixed car GPS system. The other option is to purchase a portable car GPS device suitable for your car.

Buying a Vehicle with a Fixed Car GPS Device

Built-in or fixed car GPS devices can usually be found only on brand new luxury vehicles. As such, you definitely wouldn’t see this option viable if you don’t have the cash to purchase a luxury vehicle. But for those who can easily afford one, this can be the best option because the GPS device is already integrated in the vehicle’s system. This removes all the hassle of installing the car GPS device on the vehicle and loading additional navigation software on the system.

Buying a Portable Car GPS Device

For those who simply can’t afford a new luxury vehicle but still wants to enjoy the functionality of a car GPS system, the viable option for him is to purchase a portable car GPS device. Now, for this type of car GPS device, you are again given two options: a portable car GPS preloaded with maps or a unit that would require you to transfer map data from your PC to the device.

Since the car GPS device needs to have a map in either option, choosing a car GPS unit preloaded with maps would seem to be a wiser choice. But while this type of car GPS device will save you from all the hassles of loading maps to the system, it also costs higher ($1,000-$1,500) than the other option.

The greatest advantage of portable car GPS units that requires map transfers, on the other hand, is their price, which would generally sell at the $500 to $800 range. Installing the system on your car, however, may be quite difficult and laborious.