If you’re one of the few people that still uses their mind to figure out how to get home, isn’t it about time you caught up with modern technology? Aside from the significant possibility of pedestrian injury, installing a GPS system in your car means that you could theoretically drive home with your eyes closed. And if you consider yourself more safety conscious than that you can still use your fancy new car gadget to help you find a short cut when your regular driving route is full of traffic. Before you get over excited however, and run out and buy one of these novel inventions, there are a few key important things to consider when purchasing one. I will now outline just what those important considerations are.
Of course, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a GPS system is the actual screen.
- When it comes to the size, don’t head out and blindly purchase the largest one that you can afford. GPS systems with large screens are not only much less portable, many of them are too large to safely be attached to a car windshield. You should therefore aim for the smallest screen that both your eyes and your fingers will allow.
- Many GPS systems include anti glare screens which are pretty much essential on sunny days. Some cheaper GPS systems frequently don’t include such screens and should therefore be avoided.
When it comes to maps, there are two things that you need to look for.
- First, you will obviously want a GPS system that includes maps of the areas that you frequently drive through. If you purchase a GPS system online, don’t automatically assume that maps of your area are included.
- Secondly, some GPS manufacturers sell add on maps. If you frequently take your car with you when you go on holiday, you don’t want to purchase a GPS system without this useful feature.
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a GPS system is how it will actually be attached to your car.
- If you want a GPS system that attaches to your windshield, make sure you choose one with a rigid arm. Many GPS systems employ gooseneck arms which lead to the GPS system bouncing at high speeds. As you can imagine, this makes it a lot more difficult to read.
- Another important thing to note about windshield GPS systems is that not all states allow them. It doesn’t matter how small the screen is, if you live in such a state, you will have to stick to the dashboard variety.
Spoken Street Names
In the past, GPS systems never included spoken street names but this has been changing recently and now more and more sound like actual human beings. If you would prefer not to hear things such as “turn left in 1.3 miles”, make sure that you purchase a GPS system capable of pronouncing street names. Not only is the alternative rather irritating, it can also make it very easy to make a wrong turn when there are multiple turns in close succession.
Street Name Prediction
Regardless of how intuitive the touch screen on a GPS system is, typing a full street name while driving is never going to be exactly convenient. Many GPS system manufacturers attempt to get around this problem through predictive entry. A GPS system with predictive entry generally only requires you to type in the first three letters of a street name before it predicts what you are trying to type. Predictive entry is not only convenient, it is also a great safety feature as you end up spending less time looking at the screen.
Real Time Traffic Updates
One feature that can greatly increase the usefulness of a GPS device is real time traffic updates. Such GPS systems can not only tell you which way to go but also recommend whatever route has the least traffic. If this feature appeals to you, it’s important to be aware that some GPS manufacturers expect you to pay a subscription fee to receive the traffic updates. You are better off choosing one of the many manufacturers that provide the updates for free by including onscreen advertisements instead.
Cool Extra Features
Finally, to appeal to those that love gadgetry, many GPS systems now come complete with an interesting selection of additional features.
- Many allow not only MP3 playback, but also video playback. You simply slot in an SD card with your files and press the play button.
- Bluetooth connectivity is also a very popular feature in GPS systems. You can then use the GPS systems screen, speaker and internal microphone to make and receive calls as you drive.
This guest post was written by Chris. He likes to write about car accessories, GPS and driving. He drives a used Ford and can’t go anywhere without a GPS system.