Remember life before GPS in your smartphone? I do, as it is when I first drove from New York to Philadelphia–and got lost. I wound up on a seemingly never-ending two-lane street, without a place to even turn around. Getting back on track took forever. Getting lost, of course, can lead to exciting adventures. This is why using a readily available GPS device is perfect for most travelers. Whether driving unfamiliar land, walking through the wilderness, or researching a new town, a dependable GPS navigation for your car gives you choices. It can direct you from the beginning, or you could become intentionally lost, knowing there is a way out.
The best GPS devices not only provide spot-on navigation but also include a range of bonus features that maintain the consumer super-informed (weather and traffic reports) and make the exploration experience more fun (with social media connectivity). Some GPS devices in your prestige car do more than simply play electronic tour guide: they can also function as lifesaving devices in a crisis. The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w, by way of instance, includes a SPOT satellite communicator feature which lets you send an SOS message, in case you end up in danger when braving the elements. You can also use it to send messages to family and friends once your trek takes you out mobile phone range.
Other devices are multifunctional, such as the Garminfone. It’s a terrific GPS device, also it includes many smartphone-like features in addition to a dash mount, so it seamlessly transitions from a handheld to in-the-car navigation. With a contract, the Garminfone is hundreds of dollars less (as low as $99 at press time) than many standalone GPS devices.
Whether you are hiking in the woods, surfing the Souks of Marrakesh, or simply forcing the Northeast Corridor, these terrific GPS Devices can assist you in finding your way.
The benefits: The SPOT Satellite communicator allows users to send and receive email and social media updates via satellite. Plus, the identical feature may be used to send an SOS in case of an emergency.
Downside: The display is small and not too sharp.
Droid2 by Motorola
The benefits: The compass mode enhances the Google Street view feature. The image display matches what you are seeing through the windshield. As your car turns, the image moves, kind of like a live–activity smart map.
Downside: To use this mode, the telephone must be facing forward; this could be awkward when walking.
DroidIncredible by HTC
The benefits: The phone’s GPS and camera team up with Wikipedia to deliver content related to your environment (using the free Wikitude program, available through the Android shop).
Downside: While impressive, the points-of-interest database is not all-encompassing, yet.
The benefits: The system includes uber-reliable GPS, and it is backed by the spot-on Garmin network. In addition to the car mount (included) means it moves readily in the palm of your hands to your car’s front window.
Downside: The phone’s built-in camera is simply so-so.
The benefits: This handheld has a built-in 3.2-megapixel camera using geo-tagging Capabilities, so that you can photograph your environment and plot them on a map.
Downside: The device is on the bulky side.
The benefits: The extra-wide 5.1-inch display shows more of your environment. Plus the dashboard menu, which displays direction, speed, and elevation, can stay open without obstructing route instructions.
Downside: Obtaining a constant sign can be problematic in town settings.
TomTomGo 740TM Live
The benefits: Real-time traffic reports and five-day weather forecasts make this In-auto GPS useful for planning multiday itineraries and spontaneous detours.
Downside: Initial setup is a small pain as the steps are long and tedious.