Friday, November 03, 2006

Navigating Car Navigation Systems

TomTom One
I was asked recently for some advice about GPS gadgets. I don't know a lot about them although I was once involved with checking for a bug in all the units at the Australian Defence Department.

It is a lot easier to buy a new car with the GPS built in. You might consider the deluxe model of the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid and save the planet at the same time.

The simplest add-on GPS units are designed to plug into the cigarette lighter, they stick to the windscreen with a suction cap and are under $1,000. There are hundreds of different models of Vehicle GPS available. Some of the leading brands are Garmin, Magellan, Navman, and TomTom.

The TomTom units seem to rate well for low end users. Their bottom of the range TomTom One is sold in Australia at stores like Dick Smith, starting at $649. There is a review of the TomTom One.

More expensive units have bigger screens and a Bluetooth mobile phone interface built in, but provide the same navigation features. A bigger screen is not a lot of use as you should not look at it while driving, but listen to the spoken instructions.

You can buy these units via the Internet, but make sure the unit has the maps for your country. Most sold on the Internet will have maps for the USA. While new maps can be loaded, it is easier to start with the right ones.

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