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Automotive GPS Buyer's Guide at Cabela's

Automotive GPS Buyer's Guide

Author: Cabela's Staff

Why do I need a GPS navigation unit for my vehicle?
 
In today’s high-tech world of smartphones, you may ask yourself, “Do I really need a GPS for my car?” While cell phones can help you get around, they simply don’t replace the anywhere-you-want-to-go capabilities of GPS navigation units.
 
The biggest advantage of navigating with a GPS instead of a cell phone is GPS navigation units don’t rely on a cellular signal to get you to your location. Instead, they use a system of 30 satellites that continuously orbit Earth. Each of these frequently emits information about its location back to Earth at the speed of light, and no matter where you’re at on the planet or what time of day it is, your GPS is able to receive this information from at least four of them. Your GPS then calculates how far you are from each satellite and pinpoints your location based on that information. This means that no matter where you are, you’ll always be able to get directions to where you need to be. And because GPS units don’t rely on costly cellular data plans to receive their information, you can use one all day, seven days a week, and you won’t be charged a penny more.

How do I know which unit to buy?
 
Now that we know the benefits of owning a GPS navigation system, how do we decide which one to buy?
 
Screen size is one way to differentiate between systems. Larger screens make directions easier to read and understand so navigating unfamiliar roadways is less stressful.
 
Along with large screen sizes, Lifetime Map Updates are a feature of higher-end GPS units. While nearly all GPS units come with preloaded maps, Lifetime Map Updates ensure that ever-changing roadways won’t end up getting you lost, because as the roadways change, so do your maps. If you plan on using your GPS for years to come, purchasing one with Lifetime Map Updates is a good idea.
 
Having a user-friendly device is also important. The following are some user-friendly features found on some navigation units.
 
• Points of Interest – If you are headed to a point of interest, such as Old Faithful, all you need to do is search its name and your unit will generate directions. This can make vacations, sight-seeing and even navigating your hometown more enjoyable.
• Voice commands – With this feature, all users must do is say where they want to go and the navigation unit will load the directions. This is typically found in higher-end units.
• Lane assist – This is highly useful when traversing congested intersections on complicated interstates. It tells you which lane you need to be in and shows you exactly when to exit, reducing stress and making travel easier.
• Travel info – Many systems also reduce the stress of travel by displaying speed limits, current speed, estimated time of arrival, weather, traffic reports and fuel prices right on screen.