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  • GPS: Phone or In-Dash System?
Technology Articles > Gadgets > GPS > GPS: Phone or In-Dash System?

Gone are the days when a set of maps was stuffed inside of every glove box. Here to stay are GPS navigation systems. To say that society has become reliant upon GPS navigation is an understatement. There’s no disputing the fact that GPS technology can get you where you’re going quickly.

The biggest navigation problem that people face is deciding between a GPS enabled cell phone or smart phone and a handheld GPS tracking unit. Each device is distinctly different. Used individually, both devices work well. Used together, these devices can work wonders.

In-Car GPS Advantages

An in-car GPS system (either built-in or handheld) has many advantages. The first advantage is that in-car systems come with very wide screens. Smartphones that have smaller screens can’t compare to the visibility that an in-car system offers. When viewing driving directions or a map, the ability to clearly see where you’re going is essential. Since in-car systems are solely meant for navigational purposes, these devices offer drivers a variety of personalization options.

Larger screens aside, in-car GPS systems can feature voice activation, vocalized driving directions, and a number of other features such as night vision and stopping points along a route. It is even possible to find specific restaurants, call for a reservation, or find a gas station with an in-car GPS system. All of this can be achieved while driving and without erasing any maps or altering directions in any manner.

Cell Phone GPS Abilities

GPS-enabled cell phones have come a long way. Some phones (including Android phones and the Apple iPhone) can even be mounted to your windshield using a special mounting apparatus. While quickly catching up to in-car units, GPS-enabled phones are still better used for handheld navigation (mostly owing to the small screen size).

It can also be tricky to slide your finger across a cell phone screen while driving. As stated, using these phones to find a bicycle route, navigate through a city, or get through a maze of subways is a great idea. However, it’s best to stick to an in-car GPS if you plan on taking lots of road trips.

How the Two Work Together

GPS-enabled cell phones have on distinct advantage over in-car navigation systems. These phones contain up to the minute information. For example, an in-car GPS may not have information about a store or restaurant that was just built. Your cell phone, on the other hand, will be able to provide you with an address and phone number.
Cell phones contain refreshed maps and addresses.

Most in-car GPS units contain saved maps and information. Using a cell phone to uncover mapping details, and then entering this information into your in-car GPS will ensure the best route possible. The other reason why these two devices work well together is that you can call someone using your phone. In the event of an accident or other mishap, your cell phone could save your life. Most in-car GPS units do not offer calling features. If you’re trying to decide between a cell phone and an in-car GPS system, consider combining the two for the best results possible.