A GPS unit really comes into its own when you want to get to your destination on time but have no idea how to get there, or you want to explore the great out doors without getting lost. We often find there is nothing worse than the situation of needing to get somewhere fast, not know the way and getting lost. Getting lost is really annoying, but this where a GPS unit that you can carry around in your Car, Truck, RV or even on your motorcycle that will help you stop yourself getting lots.
How About Just Using A Smartphone?
The honest answer here is probably yes you can, however using a smartphone is really not a good idea especially over the long term. Smartphones are brilliant and have come a long way over the last few years especially with the development of Google maps, but still they do have a few annoying features. Firstly they need to connected to the internet to work and give you directions which means that you will run up expensive charges being connected to the internet the whole time and secondly, they are just not big enough to really use properly. Often when using your smartphone for directions, you can see where you are on a map, but finding the right street to turn down becomes a problem given the small screen and lack of clarity. We often find that using a smartphone causes more problems than being lost in the first place.
Other Problems With Using Your Smartphone Include:
- They do not mix well with water and therefore taking your smartphone out of your car for a walk around is not an option.
- If you’re riding a bike and using your smartphone whilst it rains, you could end up with an expensive bill for a new smartphone.
- The touchscreen are great, but do not work well with gloves and cold fingers
- Signal Reception is often terrible in the countryside
- Cannot be taken abroad as roaming calls are very expensive
The solution is to get yourself a gps device that you can carry around everywhere you go and should the need arise and you feel that you’re getting lost, you can simply take it out of it’s box, plug it in, switch it on and use it to help you get to your destination on time. The problem with buying a gps unit for your car, truck, RV or even your motorcycle is often so much making a decision that you need to buy one, by deciding which one you should be buying giving that you pop over to Amazon or Ebay, you have some serious choice from GPS units that will cost you $25 all the way up to the top of range models that can easily set you back $500.
One point that we would make early on – Buying a gps unit is not cheap and you not fall for the easy traps of popping into your local store, seeing a cheap $25 gps unit that has been made in China, but says that it comes with all the bells and whistles as it’s not going to work. We have done this and honestly, you’re going to have to buy another one very quickly. The problem with these cheap models they often don’t work or if they do cannot be updated meaning that as soon as the road layout changes, your gps unit becomes useless.
We do appreciate that you’re going to need to spend more money, but you will get this back in the longer term if you buy yourself a Brand Named GPS Unit, with the Top Two Manufacturers being Garmin and TomTom. Even if you buy a basic TomTom unit, it will still be better than a top of the range Chinese import that you think will do the job.
What Should You look for in a GPS Device?
Firstly a specific GPS Device that has been designed specifically to provide you with directions does not come with the above four problems given that it has been to get you from one location to the next in the quickest time, using the fastest route for the best price. Typically there are eight areas that you need to look for when deciding what’s the best GPS for you.
- Screen Size – It’s a great idea to aim for a GPS Sat Nav unit that is no smaller than 5-Inches otherwise even with a simple interface you will find yourself pressing every button but the one you want on a touchscreen and quite frankly, anything smaller than this and you will not be able to see the directions clearly enough.
- Processor Speed – This also includes signal Lag meaning that your GPS unit has enough processing power to work out your directions quickly and efficiently and therefore stop the mess when you take a wrong turn and spend the next five minutes with the GPS unit thinking which is the best way for you to go next.
- Simple Interface – The more simple the interface, the better the GPS unit. There is no point in having numerous features on your GPS unit if you cannot easily find them.
- Voice Command – is getting much better over the last few years and has gone from a feature that sounded great in principle, but in reality was more frustrating that it was worth to a feature that actually works well and can really be used to help with directions on the move.
- Bluetooth – is feature that sounds much better in principle than it is in reality. Yes its a great idea to bluetooth your phone to your GPS unit, however realistically, 99% of users will not bother and therefore this is something that you can do without.
- Real-Time Traffic – now this is worth its weight in gold as long as it work well and does not cost extra or a subscription. Ideally you want to look for GPS units that provide this as standard which therefore means your GPS unit will take into account any traffic jams that could be along your route and guide you around it.
- GPS Mounts – Again here the general rule is the simpler the better. Yes you can get a really fancy GPS mount that uses magnetics to hold your GPS in place, however all you’re really saying to local car thief is that there is a GPS unit in this car, waiting to be stolen.
How We Chose The Best GPS Units?
To choose the best GPS for Car we had to do numerous amounts of testing and research to ensure that we covered all the GPS market, not just the preferred GPS units. As a first step we checked out the reviews from a few of the major outlets in the market such as CNET, PC Magazine, Consumer Reports and Car GPS Reviews. We then moved this on to look at hundreds of GPS review websites all over the world to ensure that we covered what the whole population thought of a product, not just what customers here in the US thought and thirdly, well we run a car rental business and therefore we have bought hundreds over the years and therefore have a good idea of what customers want and don’t want.
We also did not focus purely on the top of the range models as we wanted to ensure that we had properly covered the entire market and therefore could really show what are the best GPS satellite navigation units for all budgets, not just what was the best GPS on the market. We found that by combining the both what customers have told us from our car rental business and the market research we were accurately able to find out what are the best GPS devices and which you should avoid.
During our research we found that they bottom end of the range is around $100 where customers end up with a choice of either going to for a slightly older model with more features or a brand new model that has been released in 2015, but one that comes with hardly any features. The mid-range of the market is from $100-300 where to be honest you should be looking to buy a new unit and only really if you have money to burn should be you be looking at the top end of the market which start’s at around $300 and goes quickly upwards.
- The Best GPS Unit For Your Car – We think the best GPS Unit for your car is the Garmin DriveSmart 55/65 which either comes with a 5.5 Edge-to-Edge screen or a 6.95 Inch Edge-to-edge, Glass Touchscreen, fantastic maps and turn buy turn direction to help you get to your destination on time. We love this gps unit and highly recommend it to all our customers and clients given it’s just so easy to use and most importantly, it’s made by Garmin meaning that you can be sure that you’re buying a quality product that will last you for years to come given it comes as standard with free lifetime map updates and traffic alerts.
- The Best Cheap GPS Unit For Your Car – Let’s be honest, the best cheapest gps unit is the one that get’s you from point A to Point B is the quickest time for the least amount of money. The point that needs to be made here, is that it has to get to your destination. If you simply want the cheapest gps unit for your car, then head over to ebay.com and pick yourself up an basic import, but I really have no idea if it’s going to work or not.
- The Best GPS Unit For Your Motorcycle – The biggest problem with choosing a gps unit for your motorcycle is that it needs to be small, and a GPS that is small, means that you cannot see it. On top of this the screen needs to be able to handle dull light such as when it’s raining or direct sunlight on a sunny day. This means that choosing a gps unit for your motorcycle limits your options down to the two Brand Named GPS Units Garmin and TomTom. Buy one of these and you’re buying quality and but which is the best.
- The Best GPS For Your Truck – Buying yourself a Truck GPS is a more difficult choice that it normally should be given that you have both the Brand Named GPS unit of Garmin and TomTom, but you also have another good option of the Rand McNally Series of Trucking GPS units that you need to consider. In this section we test out which is the best gps for your truck, by testing out some of the best models on the market and putting them through their pace in the most difficult situations. Examples include setting the gps unit up with the a massive truck and then setting the gps up to find routes around some of the smallest roads and highways possible across the USA. View this section for out results and find out what we think is the best trucking gps model.