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Choosing a Handheld GPS

Tags:
  • Wireless Access
  • Navigation
  • Devices
  • GPS
Last response: in General Connectivity
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March 2, 2007 12:49:16 PM

Don't get lost choosing a navigation device; whether you're driving, running or trying to get to your next meeting on time, there's a GPS that will guide you right.

More about : choosing handheld gps

March 7, 2007 4:44:48 PM

You forgot a couple of things in your discussion. Some more questions to ask:

1) If you drop the unit onto the pavement, is it tough enough to survive?
2) If you are in the woods and drop it into a stream, is it waterproof?
3) Are topographical maps available?
4) In an emergency, can it use easy-to-find AA batteries? (important in the woods where 120V is scarce)
5) Does it use a proprietary lithium-ion battery that will die in a few years? (iPods have this problem)

The answers to these questions might not matter to some people, but they matter a great deal to others.

A GPS, unlike most other consumer electronics, can retain its usefulness for many years. While a two-year-old PDA may be considered by most to be ready for the trash heap, a two-year-old GPS is still just fine. Because of this, it makes sense to spend money on a GPS that will take abuse and last for several years.
March 9, 2007 4:10:52 PM

Quote:
You forgot a couple of things in your discussion. Some more questions to ask:

1) If you drop the unit onto the pavement, is it tough enough to survive?
2) If you are in the woods and drop it into a stream, is it waterproof?
3) Are topographical maps available?
4) In an emergency, can it use easy-to-find AA batteries? (important in the woods where 120V is scarce)
5) Does it use a proprietary lithium-ion battery that will die in a few years? (iPods have this problem)

The answers to these questions might not matter to some people, but they matter a great deal to others.

A GPS, unlike most other consumer electronics, can retain its usefulness for many years. While a two-year-old PDA may be considered by most to be ready for the trash heap, a two-year-old GPS is still just fine. Because of this, it makes sense to spend money on a GPS that will take abuse and last for several years.


I agree, and I have others to add:

6) How does the interface perform?

- The interface will differ with regard to some areas which can make a unit more friendly or more annoying to use:

a) Does the keyboard appear as a scrolling line of letters, or as a keyboard?
b) Does the GPS entry start to autofill to help you choose an entry, or do you need to search and hopefully find it?
c) How does the interface's touchscreen perform? Especially in temperature differences?
d) Are the features easy to access and logically placed?
e) Does the interface respond quickly, or is there a delay?
f) Are the controls easy to use when on the road for simple adjustments like volume, MP3 controls, etc?
g) Can the display be changed to suit your tastes? Large fonts, modified display items, 3D vs 2D, etc?

7) Audio

- Not everyone uses bluetooth, or will have means to add to the audio capabilities of the GPS. How does it sound in the average environment of an auto? Do you need to have a quiet car? Do the windows need to be rolled up?

8 ) Daytime use

- How well does the screen display when in sunlight? Is there a glare?

9) Upgrades

- Although a GPS map is useful for years, can the maps be updated and if so, for how much?

10) Other accessories and/or costs

- It was mentioned briefly, but if the unit does not come with the FM traffic transmitter and subscription, optional external sattelite receiver, car power adapter, or other options, what are those costs? A GPS "deal" on the surface may end up being more costly than a "deluxe" version after all the add-on items are bought

11) Compatibility / integration

- Some models allow you to import contact and address data from PC programs. If that matters to some, which models do this, and with which applications?

12) Satellite vs. WiFi vs. Bluetooth GPS receivers

- There should be a list of Pros & Cons of these to help prospective buyers what would fit them best. (IMHO... Satellite is currently the best option for overall GPS use) Also, how many satellites can the model access? 8? 10? 12?

13) MP3 & other features

- Does the MP3 player have bass and treble, or full EQ features? Can the player run while the GPS is running? Can the MP3 player mute when audio directions are meant to occur?


I feel that a matrix showcasing the features each has (for comparison), as well as the pros and cons would help.
!