Automotive & GPS
Automotive GPS Units
Never get lost on the road again!
Though many newer cars come with factory-installed GPS units, you may want to upgrade your current capabilities or add an aftermarket accessory to an older vehicle. Automotive GPS units use advanced satellite technologies to track your vehicle's position and help you navigate unfamiliar roads. You can also take advantage of additional features which provide driving directions and monitor traffic conditions to help you avoid congested areas and traffic accidents. Black Friday is a great time to go shopping for automotive GPS accessories, as many retailers offer incredible savings during the Thanksgiving shopping season.
Automotive GPS Features
When you're shopping for an automotive GPS unit, use a point-by-point comparison to find the best product at the best price. Here are the major points of comparison you should use as you perform your consumer research:
- Screen features. The basic screen specifications include resolution, screen size, and input options. While screen resolution and screen size may not be of particular importance to you, the input options should be carefully considered. Does the GPS unit support voice-activated commands and programming, or does all information have to be entered manually?
- Receiver features. Look for automotive GPS units with so-called "high sensitivity receivers". A high sensitivity receiver updates more quickly and provides faster connections to positioning satellites, which enhance the system's responsiveness and will provide you with a more reliable navigational experience. Lower-end models with standard receivers may provide delayed responsiveness if you miss a turn or venture off your planned route.
- Navigational features. For an optimized driving experience, choose an automotive GPS unit that provides audible directions. This prevents you from having to refer back to the screen to find your way along an unfamiliar road, enhancing safety and reliability. Also, remember that there is variation among models that provide audible directions. Some will only provide you with directions by distance; for example, you might be told to "turn left in 150 yards." Higher-end models will provide actual street or highway names, telling you to "turn right onto Elm Street in 100 yards" or "merge onto Interstate 10 in 0.5 miles." You can also toggle between imperial and metric measurements if your journey is taking you into a country that uses the metric system rather than imperial measurements.
- Traffic alerts and avoidance. Internet connectivity options, available on higher-end automotive GPS devices, automatically update with traffic monitoring services to provide you with real-time updates on traffic conditions along your planned route. If there is congestion ahead or if there's been an accident, the GPS unit will alert you and can even search out an alternate route that will allow you to avoid the congested roads ahead, helping you same time and fuel.
- Programming features. Advanced automotive GPS units allow you to program your trip into the device when you embark, allowing you to get turn-by-turn directions if you're heading somewhere you've never been before. Some GPS devices must be manually programmed, while others support voice programming. Some GPS units also interface with mp3 players and audio book players, giving you quick and easy access to in-car entertainment features.
- Additional support features. Some automotive GPS units also support safer driving by providing hands-free calling and wireless Bluetooth connectivity to other in-vehicle components. These features are typically only available on top-of-the-line models, but they can save you money if you were going to purchase a separate hands-free device.
Generally speaking, the higher the price of the GPS unit, the more features it will have. That's why it's ideal to shop on Black Friday -- you can get an advanced automotive GPS unit for the price you would normally pay for a lower-end model!