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  • GPS Buying Guide
Technology Articles > Gadgets > GPS > GPS Buying Guide

From live traffic options to display specifications, it’s tough to choose a good GPS system. Yet, GPS systems are now more affordable than ever before and most of these systems are also more advanced than they were previously. In short, if you’ve been thinking about buying a GPS system, now’s the time to head to your local electronics store and start shopping (after you read through this guide, of course!). Below, you will find some of the most important things to consider when it comes to purchasing a GPS system for your vehicle.

Those Additional Features

It might seem odd to start a buying guide by noting some optional features that GPS systems include. However, chances are that you’ll be attracted to some of the features that sales people are talking about and GPS manufacturers have printed in bold letters on the side of any given GPS box. So, let’s begin with the many possible GPS features available.

The number one feature that you’re apt to get the most use out of is the Bluetooth connectivity feature. This feature is offered on a number of GPS systems and it will allow you to connect your phone via Bluetooth to your GPS system. If you need a Bluetooth connection feature, just make sure that the GPS system you choose is compatible with your current phone. Other features that might entice you include SD card playback options (photo, video, and audio) and various other audio options.

Screen Display Size

Since you will be driving and looking at a GPS display simultaneously, it’s important to choose a GPS that has a decent screen size. Most GPS systems available today come with a 4.3-inch screen. The biggest GPS systems come with a 5-inch screen, since this is the largest screen size allowed at the time being (any bigger and the screen would block your vision!). Choosing a GPS with a smaller screen size (3.5, for example) will certainly save you some dough, but consider whether or not you want to squint while driving and looking at a display. Make sure to test out displays in-store in order to check for lighting and clarity.

Map Updates

When it comes to making sure that your maps are always updated, you have two basic options. The first is to choose a GPS that doesn’t come with automatic updates. In this case, you will have to purchase updated maps from a manufacturer. The second option is to buy a GPS that includes automatic updates. I recommend that you purchase a GPS with regular automatic updates, due to the fact that roads change frequently.

When shopping for a GPS system, make sure to follow the basic guide listed above and don’t fall prey to marketing or sales tactics. Right now, some of the top brands on the market include TomTom, Magellan, and Garmin. Keep in mind that prices range from $70 to more than $200, but you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to GPS devices.