While the majority of individuals depend on smartphone apps to get them to their destinations, it is even better to use a proper GPS device, especially when you are driving. A car GPS has many benefits over smartphones such as the fact that they need no data connection and offer you more navigation data. Hence, with a car GPS device, you are sure to use the shortest route to arrive at your destination.
You will also get Bluetooth connectivity so that you can pick your calls without taking your eyes off the road. More features include voice commands, geo-based recommendations, and others. However, the difficult part is determining the best car GPS. Numerous brands are offering various GPS navigation systems that have a wide variety of features and prices, making it hard to know the one that is ideal for your transport needs. This review of the seven best car GPSs and buying guide will help you discern the best car GPS for you.
7 Of The Best Car GPSs
If you are an individual who does not like traditional maps that are integrated into GPS systems, then you will like the performance of this car GPS. It offers you a realistic appearance of the road being driven on, including the upcoming paths. As a result, it will be easier for you to know the turn or lane to take, which minimizes the risk of making a wrong turn. Also, the device comes with IQ routes that ensure you have updated information regarding the state of roads. It even calculates the fastest route to any specific destination, which ensures that you have the shortest and fastest trip. This GPS makes things easier by including your city’s points of interest.
Hence, in case there is a popular site, you will have a simpler time finding it. The navigator features a voice navigation function but fails to work properly as it does not understand you at times and can end up offering you the wrong addresses and details. Moreover, its screen display is quite small and can make it difficult for you to check tiny details. But the touchscreen is highly responsive and allows you to adjust settings easily. The system offers few driver alerts, like being informed regarding new speed limits as you move between zones. You will also be alerted about any blocked paths that may be on the map. Another feature includes Bluetooth for hands-free calling since it links to your smartphone. It allows you to pick your calls without leaving the wheel unattended.
• Driver alerts
• Excellent directions for finding hidden spots
• Responsive touchscreen
• Updated data on routes
• Inclusive of points of interest
• Small screen
• Faulty voice activation
• Tricky updates
2. Magellan Roadmate 1220 Car GPS
If you want a car GPS that is hassle-free and easy to use, then this Magellan Roadmate is ideal for you. The device is basic to ensure that you will not be distracted by unnecessary features or details. The system shows you where you are headed. In case there are sites that you frequent a lot, you can utilize the search icons on the touchscreen to obtain faster results. The system not only offers visual directions, but it also has an audio feature that tells you the direction so that you can keep your eyes on the road. It also contains preloaded maps of Puerto Rico, the US, and Hawaii. Additionally, it features a Smart City function to assist you as you travel between cities.
You can easily narrow down the destination that you are headed based on the region you are located. You can also plan some stops along the route without facing any issues. But the primary hurdle of this GPS is that it fails to let you know when its connection with the satellite is lost. The screen freezes on past directions, and you may not even notice it until you are lost. When it comes to its display, this car GPS is sufficiently compact to be slipped inside the pocket and moved around. However, this means that your directions will be revealed on a small display and this can be hard when you are on the road. Other hurdles include the lack of driver alerts and no extra features.
• Very portable
• Preloaded maps
• Simple to get directions in all cities
• Simple to follow directions
• Very basic features
• Can lose connection to the satellite without your knowledge
• Tiny screen
One of the most noticeable features in the TomTom VIA 1515M GPS is its IQ Routes. It compiles data from several databases to offer you precise estimates regarding the time you can drive to a particular destination. The function can simultaneously determine the shortest route that can be taken to any place. Hence, you can forget getting late to any destination. Moreover, it has the Advanced Lane Guidance, which is essential when attempting to navigate confusing streets or a tricky junction. It assists you to know when a turn or lane is upcoming to make sure you don’t miss it. If you usually travel a lot, you will notice that the GPS has preloaded detailed maps of Canada, the US, and Mexico.
Hence, you can take this car GPS to any of these countries and ensure you are not lost. With regards to display, this GPS has a responsive and easy to use touchscreen. But it is small and can make it hard for you to view directions, particularly when the Advanced Lane Guidance’s split screen feature is activated. Additionally, this car GPS lacks many driver alerts. But it offers each street’s speed limit as well as warnings regarding blocked roads. The GPS updates regularly to offer detailed information, but it can take some time for the updates to implement.
• Responsive screen
• Preloaded maps
• Frequent updates
• Time-saving route features
• Driver alerts
• Easy navigation options
• Questionable durability
• Small screen
• Tricky updates
The one outstanding feature of this device is its ease of following directions due to a clear screen that offers concise directions. It gets rid of any unnecessary information to let you concentrate on the road more easily. It also has voice directions to prevent you from being distracted by visual directions. Additionally, it is user-friendly as it utilizes landmarks and traffic signs to let you know your location and destination. Hence, if you are not used to ancient directions, this feature is pretty useful.
This car GPS is ideal for the contemporary user since it employs Foursquare to come up with updated and preloaded maps. Therefore, finding famous sites and spots will not be an issue. It also has Direct Access feature to make sure that shopping malls and airports in your location can be spotted quickly. However, the issue with the system is that it can show you the longer routes and you require refreshing it often to get accurate directions. With regards to display, its touchscreen is quick to respond to your commands and offers a dual, split screen.
This feature allows you to see your current location and the upcoming routes as well. Moreover, the system has a lot of driver alerts such as notices of upcoming sharp curves, change of zone speed, and notices of red light cameras. It also updates its maps frequently for accurate data. But the updates can miss some streets or areas.
• Regular updates
• Plenty of direction features
• Numerous different driver alerts
• Great audio and visual directions
• Dual, split screen
• Incomplete updates
• Showing of longer routes
One of the best things about the Tvird Car GPS is its simplistic graphics that make sure you are not distracted by useless visual data. It clearly marks your current and upcoming roads. The device also reveals where you require going when you are about to take an exit or are at an intersection. It includes North American preloaded maps. In case you would rather use audio than visual directions, then it is an available option in the system. The car GPS utilizes the speakers of the car to announce directions for concise instructions. But the primary problem with the system is that the satellite signal tends to get lost, leaving you without directions. It also fails to hold plenty of battery charge, making it unsuitable for long trips. Moreover, the display of the Tvird Car GPS is sufficiently big for you to see directions easily. This is helpful when you are negotiating a confusing turn, and you require viewing a clearer image of the path. The touchscreen is highly responsive to allow you to adjust settings quickly. However, the device lacks in numerous alerts but lets you know the speed you need to employ in a specific zone. When it comes to extra features, this car GPS allows you to play games, watch movies, and listen to music. It also gets updates to ensure you have precise and up to date maps.
• Multimedia features
• Easy to follow audio and visual directions
• Speed alert
• Preloaded maps
• Responsive touchscreen
• Properly sized screen
• Short-life battery
• Loss of connection
Taking directions from this Garmin car GPS is straightforward. It has super clear graphics, and the maps are revealed in a manner that you can know your current location and upcoming roads. Also, this car GPS provides you with directions in a format that is easy to comprehend. It uses tools like landmarks to let you know your current location. The device features preloaded and detailed maps of entire North America.
The voice command option makes the GPS even more outstanding as you can activate some features on it using your voice only. But keep in mind that the technology is still being refined and it fails to get some voice commands. Moreover, the Garmin DriveSmart 60 is equipped with a 6-inch display, which is bright and can be seen in full sunlight. Even more, it allows you to zoom in on a variety of sites on the touchscreen. The device comes with some alerts including zone speed notices, notice of entering a school zone, sharp curves warning, traffic alerts, and upcoming roads notice. What’s more, this car GPS includes some smartphone features like a phone call and text message notifications as well as app alerts.
• Phone calls, texts, and app notifications
• Useful directions
• Plenty of driver alerts
• Preloaded maps
• Zoom function on the touch screen
• Voice commands
• Inaccurate voice activation
One of the most outstanding things about this car GPS is that it offers clear instructions that you can easily follow. It uses traffic lights and landmarks to guide you on your destination. Therefore, you need not watch out for tiny details and risk getting lost. It has an audio feature that speaks easily to understand and get clear directions. The system comes with preloaded maps of 49 states. Moreover, the GPS makes it simple to search for and get to your destination due to the use of Foursquare that assists you in finding favorite restaurants and stores quickly.
It also has a Direct Access feature that lets you find local airports and malls easily. When it comes to its display, this car GPS has a small screen that makes it hard for you to use the touchscreen or see directions. The touchscreen is also not very responsive. But the screen features a dual, split display that allows you to obtain two different views of the road you are using. This makes it simpler to see quick turns that you need to make as you anticipate the upcoming ones. Additionally, the GPS will keep you informed of speed limits in any specific zone. It also lets you know when you get into a school zone and informs you of the speed that you can use on such a zone. You will also not get lost from outdated maps as the navigation system receives frequent updates.
• Features free updates
• Preloaded maps of 49 states
• School zone notices
• Provides easy directions
• Dual screen
• Easy to find locations
• Small screen
• Slightly unresponsive touchscreen
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Car GPS
1. Screen Resolution and Size
While this can seem like an insignificant factor, you will realize its importance once you start using your car GPS. The screen size determines the clarity of the map at a particular moment. If the screen is big, the map will also be clear enough because details are spread out and not squeezed together, making them more distinguishable. The screen size is also essential since the majority of GPS models include touchscreens. In case you possess big fingers, it will be hard for you to use the settings properly on a small screen. What’s more, the screen needs to have a high resolution. If the resolution is low, even the size of the screen will not matter. Hence, be sure the car GPS you are looking for has a big screen size and high resolution.
2. Receiver Sensitivity
Your GPS can only be functional if it can obtain your location and other locations by linking to a satellite. For it to possess a constant signal, it requires having a sensitive receiver. If not, you will end up losing the connection regularly and waiting for the navigation system to struggle scrambling for its bearings. However, this is an inevitable event with the majority of systems facing it at a specific point. But the best systems will ensure that this only takes place occasionally or rarely.
3. Audible Directions
The fact is that the majority of people concentrate on the audible directions of a car GPS. This is because it can be hard to keep an eye on the road and check the screen at the same time. Hence, you require ensuring that the audio is as fast as the graphical details for you to get directions as soon as you require them. Moreover, the instructions need to be detailed for you to know what to do. Therefore, you need to comprehend the voice instructions every time, especially when it comes to strange street names that can be hard for your navigation system to pronounce.
4. Preloaded Maps & Updates
Numerous GPS systems are equipped with preloaded maps that normally correspond with your residence. They are beneficial since they take a short time to load. Hence, you will always know your route and destination without having to wait for the GPS to compute a route. But the maps can only be useful when they are up to date. Hence, you need to look for a GPS that provides you with regular and free updates. Even when there are limited preloaded maps, you still need regular updates for new adjustments to be considered.