GPS Buying Guide
Types of GPS
Sport & Hand-held GPS
Auto Dashcam GPS
GPS Buying Tips:
• A portable auto GPS can be switched between vehicles
• A dashcam GPS is a navigational aid and a video recording device
• The text-to-speech feature voices street names and driving instructions
• A handheld or marine GPS improves safety and adds fun for rugged outdoor activities
• Pour la visibilité, choisissez un écran de 4,3 pouces min.
GPS screens come in a range of sizes depending on the type of unit and purpose. The screens are measured diagonally, with the most common sizes being 3.5 inch, 4.3 inch, 5 inch and 7 inch. Touch screen technology is available on high-end units, which may also feature 3D displays and pinch-to-zoom and split screen capabilities.
Most auto GPS devices are pre-loaded with maps of Canada and the United States and kept current through free map updates. Most devices will allow you to add maps of different countries or their major cities in the event you plan to take your GPS abroad for business or a holiday. Whether you’re driving or on foot, a portable GPS can help you locate attractions and historical sites — and avoid getting lost.
GPS mounting kits come in many styles, all intended to keep the device stable and secure while in motion. Some mounts use the air vent ports on your dashboard, others lock into coffee and cup holders and friction-fit mounts can be attached to any flat surface. What’s important is to position the GPS screen so that it's visible at a glance and doesn't obstruct your view. Note that some jurisdictions in North America forbid the use of windshield-mounted GPS units.
Reality View +
This feature will display actual buildings and intersections on your GPS screen instead of maps and drawings. Reality view is helpful when you’re passing through a town or city for the first time and looking for visual clues to help you navigate. Reality view is a premium feature on more expensive devices.
Voice Guidance & Recognition +
The ability of GPS devices to "talk" to you is what truly sets them apart from old-fashioned paper maps. Once you key in your destination, you can relax and drive while the text-to-speech function keeps you up to date on your progress. Previously exclusive to the priciest GPS units, text-to-voice capability is becoming more common on mid-range models. Voice recognition is a related technology that allows you to control the GPS unit with voice instructions, rather than using the keyboard.
A helpful feature of some auto GPS units is the ability to pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth for hands hands-free calling. To enable hands-free calling, both your GPS unit and your smartphone must have Bluetooth capability, and Bluetooth on both units must be activated.
Traffic Detection +
Avoiding that rush hour traffic jam or accident scene can be the difference between being on time for after-school pickup and leaving the kids waiting by the curb. The traffic detection/avoidance feature is available by subscription through cellphone networks. Similar services can alert you to route detours. If your GPS unit has a detour button, you can press it to re-plot your route and avoid delays.
MP3 player +
GPS models with MP3 players allow you to pre-load your music for playback either through the GPS unit itself or through your car speakers. Some units are wired and others work wirelessly.
Lane Guidance +
The GPS unit will advise you when to switch lanes in advance of approaching intersections, exits or on-ramps so you don’t miss your turn or aren’t forced to make an abrupt move. Lane guidance can include junction view (where available) in which the map highlights the lane you should be in.
Power Supply +
Portable GPS models plug into the 12-volt outlet in your vehicle dashboard and use rechargeable batteries for cordless operation. You’ll rely on the batteries to plot route maps before you mount the unit in your vehicle and when using it to navigate on foot.
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GPS Navigation Tips:
• Experiment with different address formats to achieve better search results
• Search by street address whenever possible, rather than business name
• Landmark or place names may not be registered with search providers
• Keep your GPS maps updated with the latest versions from the manufacturer