When shopping for a GPS device, some consumers tend to get caught up on two things: brand loyalty and cost. Sure, the cost may be a major factor, especially when it comes to personal budgets, but along with product cost, it’s important to look at the overall features of a navigation system. If one’s sights are just set on brand, it’s very possible to overspend and miss out on worthwhile benefits.
Wondering what components you should be looking for in your next GPS purchase? It can be difficult if you’re just getting into navigation, but there are a few you’ll want to keep your eyes out for while shopping.
SD Card Slot
As your GPS gets older, so, too, does the information in it. Unfortunately, the world around you isn’t bound to stay the same, so you’ll need to find a way to update the built-in map data. While your new GPS device has built-in memory to hold new updates to the maps, it’s always good to have that backup storage.
If you’re into more advanced methods of navigation, you’re also able to create custom Points of Interest files so you’re alerted if you’re coming upon your favorite restaurant or upcoming common speed traps. While they don’t take up much memory, loading your POIs onto an SD card allows you to easily transfer them from one device to the next.
As a bonus, if your GPS can double as an MP3 player, a decently sized SD card can serve as your portable music library.
Sometimes the first route that pops up isn’t the best. GPS’ outfitted with automatic rerouting will recalculate your route to avoid lengthier trips caused by traffic and accidents. It’s another popular feature among newer GPS systems but is still left out on some models.
One of the bigger nuances of driving is constantly getting caught up in traffic. If your GPS has a built-in traffic receiver, you’ll be alerted to any jams that may impede your travels. With this information, you can alter your route and ensure a smoother ride and quicker ride.
With so much technology joining you on your drive, it’s getting harder to keep both hands on the wheel. While you should pull over every time you fiddle with any portable technology in your car, it’s more-than-likely that drivers try to multitask. Integrated voice commands allow you to set destinations without taking your hands off the wheel, and it’s a safety feature all navigational systems should have.
Wide Area Augmentation System
When it comes to your GPS, the device’s accuracy is going to be important. For the most accurate navigation, make sure the device you’re purchasing has a built-in wide area augmentation system (WAAS). Common in most modern GPS systems, WAAAs speaks with satellites and ground stations to increase location accuracy to within 1 to 2 miles.
With WAAS on your GPS, you’ll find your system losing its signal far less often, if at all.
Many GPS devices these days or equipped with features that are beneficial, but not entirely necessary. Of the most useful of them are Bluetooth connectivity and app integration.
Connecting your phone via Bluetooth further enhances the safety features of your GPS and allows another method of playing music, such as through your cell phone’s Pandora app.
As for app integration, adding useful applications like Yelp or Foursquare let you get on-the-spot reviews for establishments along your route. This takes the guesswork out of finding a place to dine in unfamiliar locations.