Best GPS Navigation System
Gone are the days when drivers had to rely on their trusty road maps to help them get to their destinations. Thanks to some amazing leaps in innovations and technology, road maps have all but disappeared from car glove compartments because of modern GPS navigation systems. Road maps are not necessarily rendered useless, but GPS navigation systems do have some major advantages over road maps—a driver does need another person to act as navigator, several route options are presented, any changes in a chosen route are immediately reflected on the system, and some even real-time traffic update. Technically speaking, a GPS navigation system is a combination of a GPS receiver and AV (audio/video) constituents that aim to assist a driver on the road. GPS systems may be accessed from different devices like smartphones, stand-alone portable devices, or built-in car, truck, or boat navigation systems. Perhaps the most widely used GPS navigation systems, and hence the ones that will be discussed here, are those for smartphones and for cars.
A car GPS navigation system should of course, first and foremost, possess a GPS receiver. This receiver is responsible for picking up satellite signals that make it possible to pinpoint its exact location. Next in importance is the screen where the map is displayed. Third would be a loudspeaker that gives the driver verbal instructions en route to his destination. A computer processor is also necessary in order for the system to calculate route distances and corresponding ETAs. Last feature would be a map database where the system can get various route information and landmarks.
For smartphones, most apps that will work just like the ones in a car navigation device will mainly cost between $15-$70. Basic features that should come with these apps include points of interest, advanced lane guidance, route options, speed alert, text to speech capability, full-route alert, remote trip planner, and traffic information.
When scouting for the ideal GPS navigation system, a lot of features that differentiate one from the other will come into play. It is probably better to just look for features that will not overly complicated navigation or that will best suit the user’s purpose.
Car GPS navigation systems can be portable or integrated. Portable units come with a suction cap that makes it possible to attach them to windshields. They are very easy to install, but have a battery life that would probably last for only a few hours. They can be plugged into the cigarette lighter though, so it is not really a major problem.
On the other hand, integrated systems are built into the car’s electronics, and will make it possible to use speed information and position tracking, even when satellite signal is cut off.
Whichever type of car navigation system is preferred, the first thing to take note of should be the ease of entering destinations or addresses, and of routing preferences. Next is the quality of display where map information can be viewed. Ideally, the display should be large enough and have a glare-free feature because safety in driving is always top priority, and having to stare at the screen for too long is never safe. The next feature that preferably should be present is loud and clear navigation device voice. In situations where it is dangerous to take eyes off the road for even a second, it helps to be able to audibly hear directions from the device. On top of everything else, the ideal GPS navigation system should be able to update the driver with the latest traffic information. Nowadays, this is a necessity as traffic is becoming worse, and it is always better to arrive at a destination on time. Lastly, the GPS navigation device should be easy to install, and although not really necessary, an option to remove and carry the device or stow it away.
The following list will tackle only car GPS navigation systems since it is the most prevalent type of navigation system there is.
Amazon.com lists the Garmin Nuvi 57LM as its bestseller in its Vehicles GPS Units & Equipment Category. Many users probably prefer this model out of all the others primarily because of its simplicity and ease of use. It also helps that Garmin is a reputable company, known for rolling out quality GPS navigation systems. Garmin Nüvi 57LM is pretty basic compared to its other fancy competitors, but it is a solid system and it allows the user to input waypoints that will be included in the system’s computation of the most efficient route to a destination. Speed alert is also included, so as to avoid getting a ticket in unfamiliar roads. The screen is resistive and has a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. The battery is rechargeable and lets the user utilize the cigarette lighter socket for other charging
– clear, responsive screen
– value for money
– gives clear directions
– no Bluetooth capability
– some users might not prefer resistive touchscreen
– no instruction manual
A more expensive option to the Garmin Nüvi 57LM because of added features, this model already comes with Bluetooth capability for those wanting to connect their navigation device to their smartphones. Map updates are also free for life, although the free download is only good for up to 4 times a year. Garmin Nüvi 2789LMT is preloaded with POIs and make it trouble-free to find addresses. Additionally, users may add their own POIs to make navigation even easier the next time around. Traffic information is given in a very detailed manner, and includes the expected duration of delay, along with any possible detours. Garmin Nüvi 2789LMT is voice activated, and will respond to spoken requests. It even occasionally assures the driver that he is on the fastest route possible. This feature is very useful in ensuring that the driver’s hands stay on the wheel even during a change in navigational commands.
Garmin made it a point to make driving directions easily understandable, and uses landmarks and buildings to guide the driver. It is also worth mentioning that Garmin Real Voice is a pleasant feature that makes the voice sound natural and friendly. Garmin Nüvi 2789LMT offers Active Lane Guidance that lets drivers approach an exit or interchange confidently. There are even animated, brightly colored arrows that show the correct lane to take, making it easy to check it out at a glance. But perhaps the most significant feature added to this model and what is lacking in Garmin Nüvi 57LM, is the Bluetooth compatibility. With this model, it is now possible to connect to a smartphone and allow hands-free calling. Other useful features that come with Garmin Nüvi 2789LMT navigation devices are speed alert, and capability to display estimated time of arrival, nearby services, and name of current street.
– Bluetooth capability
– maps are very detailed
– responsive voice command
– some users complain of the screen being too reflective
– device sometimes shuts off
– software sometimes crashes
Pioneer’s AVIC-8200NEX is its top-of-the-line GPS navigation device and essentially overtakes its competitors in terms of the features it offers. Equipped with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, it is sure to satisfy almost all smartphone users with it superb multimedia-receiving feature. And if that isn’t enough, this navigation device is also fitted with Bluetooth technology, superior capacitive touchscreen, and user- friendly interface.
Many users also praise Pioneer’s AVIC-8200NEX for its excellent navigation performance and easy installation. And of course, Pioneer wouldn’t be what it is today without its world-class sound system. Audiophiles would rejoice that this navigation system just made driving that more enjoyable with its 13-band Graphic Equalizer.
– covers all multimedia integration bases
– built-in onboard navigation
– topnotch sound system
– randomly exits to main screen
– GPS sometimes fails