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Old 09-09-2008, 04:09 PM
 
Location: In my playhouse.
1,047 posts, read 2,529,020 times
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I am wanting a GPS for my car and have been reading about several on the market. I travel a fair amount and would like one that I could preplan my trip on and help me locate a motel.

Please give me your advice.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,425,994 times
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I feel Garmin makes the best portable GPS systems on the market. The Nuvi 200 Series is a great bargain, especially the basic Garmin Nuvi 200 at about $150-$200 depending on store. It doesn't have all the high-end features like bluetooth but I feel it's the best bang-for-your-buck. I would never go with a TomTom as they use an inferior routing system that you can research on. Garmin all the way!
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,499,742 times
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+1 for Garmin. I'm not up on the current models, but I've been very happy with my GPSMAP60C for a few years. We drove from Washington, DC up through Maryland to Gettysburg, PA, then into Philadelphia, then on to NYC - all in a day, and all using only the GPS for routing, finding places to eat (except we knew where we were going to get a cheesesteak in Philly ), finding gas, etc.

My unit has routing, but it's not primarily for in-car navigation - it's an outdoor model, suitable for use on the trail. It's been dropped and banged around a lot, and it just keeps on truckin'. It seems to be practically indestructible. My friends with Magellans have all had problems with the cases cracking and other, similar problems.

Go Garmin!
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Beautiful place in Virginia
2,658 posts, read 10,572,027 times
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http://www.city-data.com/forum/scien...s-systems.html

When shopping for a GPS, it is important to consider the following:


How much do you want to spend? (Prices range from $150 to over $1k)

Will this be used in one or multiple vehicles? (portable units versus installed units are better). However, built in units acquire satellites instantaneously. The Handhelds have taken anywhere from 15 seconds to a couple of minutes.

How good is your vision? There are various sizes 3.5" to 7"

How portable do you want it? Pocket size up to the size of a novel. Bigger units have shorter battery lives. Portable units facilitate the use when walking around areas. However, skylines make satellite signal difficult at times (I had some problems even in Baltimore, MD with a smaller skyline).

How computer savvy are you? Some are easier to update than others.

How many waypoints do you need? Some have only one others do multiple waypoints to calculate the most efficient use of your time (ie Nuvi 700 and 800 series)

What do you expect from your GPS in terms of function? Some are so extreme, they are just shy of becoming a full fledged PDA.
-Just Maps/Directions
-Points of Interest
-Voice guidance
-Bluetooth for phone/hands free
-Traffic information
-News, Movie, Gas Prices, Weather Information (Microsoft Network)

Make sure you have the accessories such as AC and DC adapter and mount.

Look into what map updates cost for a system and make sure updates can be made.

---
I recently bought one for my parents. I was looking for at least a 4.3" screen. I looked on Amazon for a Nuvi series (small handheld). I narrowed it down to the Nuvi 660, Nuvi 670, and Nuvi 750.

The 660 and 670 has Bluetooth/FM traffic information + AC adapter,mount and DC plug, External antennae (to the unit - not by wires and not outside the car)
The 750 is an updated version but no bluetooth/FM traffic, internal antennae

The 660 has only N America maps and the 670 has Europe+N America.
The Nuvi was $15 more than the 670 (discontinued models).

This link has a comparison of most models.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/B000H49LXQ/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=172282&s=electronics#c omparison (broken link)

There is a new series that ends in the number 5, Example Nuvi 755 that has free traffic.

The price for the 670 was less than the others ($308 shipped) so I got that. There was a free update for the latest N America Map for 2009.

Updates for Garmin US Maps are about $69 retail but can be as low as 50 dollars on discount sites.
---
I had a Nuvi 660 before it was stolen and it was easy to use. Be sure to activate a PIN code (at least on Garmin) so if it is stolen and ever returned to Garmin, you may get it back. Although nowadays there are hacks to unlock PINs for 'Forgotten numbers' for savvy thieves (like the scum who stole ours).

I used a site that had POIs for various things, including Red Light Cameras, Golf Courses, etc:

POI Factory | new & interesting places for your GPS

They also have a forum of GPS discussions which can help you decide what you want.

Last edited by titaniummd; 09-12-2008 at 06:51 AM..
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
593 posts, read 2,260,367 times
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Personally I'd go with TomTom, especially if you are traveling and looking for hotels along the way.

I took my TomTom on a road trip from DC to PA this summer and it helped me find a hotel in no time. Actually helped me avoid a traffic jam too! man, that thing is the best co-pilot (no offense to my directionally challenged friend who was on the trip with me).
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:26 AM
 
218 posts, read 1,019,440 times
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I have a Garmin and it has a terrible time locating satellites in cloudy conditions. I took it to NYC and it never found a satellite there I guess because of the tall buildings. However last Friday in the middle of a terrible downpour my sister's Tom Tom found a satellite without any problems. Just for fun I have it on the deck right now and you guessed it, it's still searching for a satellite, it's cloudy out today btw. I think this renders my Garmin pretty useless.
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,499,742 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovelongboatkey View Post
I have a Garmin and it has a terrible time locating satellites in cloudy conditions. I took it to NYC and it never found a satellite there I guess because of the tall buildings. However last Friday in the middle of a terrible downpour my sister's Tom Tom found a satellite without any problems. Just for fun I have it on the deck right now and you guessed it, it's still searching for a satellite, it's cloudy out today btw. I think this renders my Garmin pretty useless.
What model Garmin did you have problems with? The models with the patch antennas (e.g. eTrex series) aren't as good at pulling in the signals - that's a "feature" (or drawback) of the antenna type, and any GPS unit that uses that type of antenna will suffer from the same problems. Models with quad (quadrifilar) antennas give much better performance.

Cloudy conditions shouldn't have had any noticeable effect - the radio frequencies chosen for the Global Positioning System were selected specifically because they weren't affected by weather. In over six years of using various GPS units on the trail and in the car, I've never had a problem with the weather affecting the tracking.
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Old 09-12-2008, 11:28 AM
 
218 posts, read 1,019,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swagger View Post
What model Garmin did you have problems with? The models with the patch antennas (e.g. eTrex series) aren't as good at pulling in the signals - that's a "feature" (or drawback) of the antenna type, and any GPS unit that uses that type of antenna will suffer from the same problems. Models with quad (quadrifilar) antennas give much better performance.

Cloudy conditions shouldn't have had any noticeable effect - the radio frequencies chosen for the Global Positioning System were selected specifically because they weren't affected by weather. In over six years of using various GPS units on the trail and in the car, I've never had a problem with the weather affecting the tracking.
I have the Garmin Nuvi 260W. After I posted on this thread I decided to check out reviews for this particular unit and apparently I am not alone with my complaint. Btw the Garmin eventually found a signal this morning!
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,499,742 times
Reputation: 8052
I'm not familiar with that model, but I looked it up on their website. It doesn't have the antenna type in the specs, though. I would guess that it uses a patch antenna, based on it's form factor.

GPS signals are very weak, and are easily blocked by any solid object, or anything with high water content (e.g. leafy trees). If you have a heavy duty car, and/or if the windshield is almost vertical, these things could affect your reception, too. If you're having problems with reception, but are otherwise satisfied with your GPS unit, it's usually better (and cheaper) to get an external antenna than to chuck the whole rig and replace it.
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:07 PM
 
218 posts, read 1,019,440 times
Reputation: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by swagger View Post
I'm not familiar with that model, but I looked it up on their website. It doesn't have the antenna type in the specs, though. I would guess that it uses a patch antenna, based on it's form factor.

GPS signals are very weak, and are easily blocked by any solid object, or anything with high water content (e.g. leafy trees). If you have a heavy duty car, and/or if the windshield is almost vertical, these things could affect your reception, too. If you're having problems with reception, but are otherwise satisfied with your GPS unit, it's usually better (and cheaper) to get an external antenna than to chuck the whole rig and replace it.
Thanks for the advice. I think I will bring it out of it's resting place and try it out again. I do love that it seems to have very up to date maps. I live in a rural area and when it works it is extremely accurate.
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