How to Buy a GPS

in Path

You will need to follow these steps to decide which GPS is best for your needs.

1. You need to decide the purpose which you intend to use the GPS for.  You can use a GPS for any of the following:

  • Car navigation, route planning, travel time estimating
  • Boat navigation, path tracking, path re-tracing
  • For hiking, camping and riding - path tracking, path re-tracing
  • For flying - plane navigation
2. Once you know what you will use it for, you can look at what features you need.  There are many different products on the market, offering different features.  You need to decide which of the following features are important to you, and choose from the range of available product features.
  • Storing waypoints - you can record locations along your travels and re-trace the path you have taken.
  • Display - there are some displays with lots of details describing your current environment, or basic display with very little information other than current location.
  • Maps - some GPS devices include maps which allow you to look at your location in context of your surroundings.  You want to make sure the GPS you buy has maps which cover your area in great detail.
  • Routing - You may choose a GPS which tells you which route is best to take between locations.
  • Waterproof - if you plan to use the GPS around water or in the outdoors, it should be waterproof.
  • Rugged - if you plan to carry the GPS around in the outdoors, you want something that is strong and won't break if you drop it.
  • Battery life - if the GPS is powered by its own source, make sure that it has a long battery life and/or it is rechargeable.
  • Comfort - if you are carrying the GPS around constantly, you want to be able to carry it comfortably and use it easily.
  • Readable - the display has clear writing and images that are easy to read and see.
  • Understandable - if the GPS has an audible voice, can you understand the accent and what is being said.
  • PC connection - important for updating the software and maps on your GPS, as well as saving the data from your GPS if you have saved waypoints and routes.
3. Decide which brand.  There are many different brands of GPS device, and each have their benefits and disadvantages.  It is good to choose a common brand, as it is easier to get it repaired and get help with using it.

The common brands are:

  • Garmin
  • TomTom
  • Navman
  • Magellan
  • Mio
  • Navigon
4. Decide where to purchase.  You can choose to purchase your GPS online and get great comparisons and discounts, or you might choose to buy from a nearby store where you can receive support from the sales staff and return the device if it is faulty.

5. Things to check before you finalise your purchase:

  • The GPS allows multiple satellites to track your location.  The more you have, the better, as some satellites drop out.
  • You know how to install the GPS if it is going to be mounted or installed inside your car or boat.
  • Where to get support if you don't know how to use the GPS device.
Finally, you should go to How to buy GPS to keep informed on how you should buy a GPS.
Author Box
Tamas Hyklos has 1 articles online

GPS devices are a great way of travelling in unfamiliar territory. They are constantly evolving and adding new features. It's important to keep up to date with current models and make use of the best features and brands available.

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How to Buy a GPS

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This article was published on 2010/04/02