Having now read reams and reams of forum posts and articles about GPS, and the benefits of one over the other, I feel more confused than ever.
Basically I know what they do - I have one in my vehicle. But that one is built-in.
It is now certain that I will have the use of my friend's Dodge Caravan for my 25 week stay. My thought was, since they will not accept much in the way of payment for the use of this vehicle, to at least compensate them in other ways.
One of which is to buy a GPS device for me to use, and then to leave it with them. But which one? And do they all run off the (cigarette lighter) 12v outlet? And if so, can that outlet also be used to keep the mobile phone charged?
In single syllable words, which of the better devices is the easiest to use? and what should I expect to pay?
Lifey who only has 54 days to departure
"Single Syllable Words...."
Here's an article with all of the basics spelled out for you.
The article was published a couple of years ago, but the reasoning is still sound.
Yup, Mark, I had read that article as well, but as it is almost three years old, assumed that it may be out of date. I will take your word for it, that it is still relevant.
Seems like the Magellan Roadmate is the one to go with. Is anyone able to give me a ball-park figure as to what I should expect to pay. Just that I do not want to be ripped off. And over your end of the world, I never know which are the best stores for good service and fair prices. Just searching on the net does not do it for me.
I will most likely be buying this in MN where the car is waiting for me.
Text to voice
Good morning Lifey,
A close friend spent several hours researching GPS units in November 2008 and I followed his lead in purchasing a Garmin Nuvi 260 unit for my business-traveler and directionally-challenged wife. Three primary reasons for selecting this unit were:
1) Manufactured by Garmin. I eliminated small, more obscure manufacturers from consideration altogether.
2) The 260 is (was) the lowest priced Garmin unit with text to voice. With text to voice, the unit speaks to you as you travel, warning well in advance of turns, changes in direction, etc (once you've typed in your destination + route for the day). Such eliminates the requirement to take your eyes off of the road (although pulling over to look at the map display is often useful).
3) The 12v power supply disconnects from the unit itself enabling the user to slip it into his pocket and use it in pedestrian mode. The internal battery life allows for hours of such use.
We purchased, separately, a small device to hold the unit in a standard cup-holder in order to eliminate the windshield interior mount and telltale "ring" it leaves, which in urban areas is a signal for bad guys to break the vehicle's window to steal the "hidden from plain sight" GPS whose presence the "ring" indicates. The unit came with a standard 12v power cord (plugs into the cigarette lighter--no, wait, that's an archaic term--plugs into the vehicle's 12v power outlet). We also purchased an AC charging adapter, although now that acquisition seems a bit superflous.
Oh, and the voice audio features a wide, wide variety of languages, including both male and female voices, and also featuring American, British, and Aussie English. My wife prefers the male British voice, reckoning she's being directed by Hugh Grant. I did not make that up.
The friend who researched the unit emailed me last week to advise the discount retailer Costco is selling the Nuvi 260 for $135 nowadays, in excess of the $175 he paid for his and the $145 I paid for the wife's.
Enjoy the shopping!
Thanks Foy, that is a lot of relevant and valuable information.
Though, unlike your directionally-challenged wife, direction is not my handicap... I was born technilogically challenged. lol Explain to me the ease of use of the Garmin... that is going to be of the my main point of interest. After more than a year of having one in my vehicle, I am still struggling.
And will it cover Canada as well? Part of my trip will take me to Alaska and Dawson City.
I am particularly interested in the devise which eliminates the suction cup, tell-tale ring on the windscreen. Vehicle break-ins have become a huge problem here as well.
Good to hear it is available at Costco - I will have a membership as the Costco in Melbourne will be opening in a couple of months. But hey! the price!! I was expecting to pay 'up to a thousand'. (I paid several thousand extra because my Subaru has built-in satnav.)
Foy, that information adds a lot to what I had already gathered off this amazing site - Thanks!
Last edited by Lifemagician; 03-01-2009 at 05:31 PM.
If you have a laptop computer, you can buy Microsoft Streets and Trips with a USB GPS module for about $75. That's what I use.
I'm not a techie by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am a CDI: a Certified Digital Illiterate. The Nuvi is very, very simple. At the most elementary level, you use a touch screen keyboard to type and scroll to a destination address, then just start driving. Along the way, the device calls out turns and junctions, etc, at least a half-mile ahead, then repeats it as you further approach the turn. Once you make the turn, it tells you "Now drive 11 miles on I-95" and such until your next turn. If you manage to miss a turn even with all the help, the device will call out "recalculating" and will quickly provide alternate directions to get you back on track.
I don't recall whether Canada is included in the map base or not. I'm fairly certain map package upgrades are routinely available.
I'm enthused with the GPS but would never consider traveling extensively without a map library aboard. They're cool and useful devices, but not a complete substitute for a map.
As to cost, I must imagine your built-in is a few years old. That might explain the poor user interface, too. Ultra-cheap GPS units are sold in convenience stores around here.
Thanks for that suggestion. I had looked into it, but with many queries, it did not seem practical.
Originally Posted by glc
From my experience, Wifi is questionable in some of the areas where I may need it most. Also, it was not clear as to whether it gives audible instructions, as the satnav does. And I am not sure that I could hook my computer up to the 12v outlet. Its battery would only last up to 5 hours (probably a lot less). And I know that there is not a console between the two front seats, so could have problems positioning it.
About the laptop..........
Here's a really foolish sounding question: Is your standard household electric service in Oz as it is here in the US, meaning 110/120volts AC, 60cycle service? If so, your laptop will need a standard power inverter in order to run off of a vehicle's 12volt DC. The inverter converts Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC). Here's an idea to consider:
You'd mentioned acquiring a GPS for use during your trip and to leave as a gift to your gracious host. You can also consider acquiring a "jumpstart battery pack" for your use and to leave behind, as well. The one I've got features a rechargable battery pack for jumpstarting a vehicle (complete with cables) and also has a built-in compressor for airing up tires, plus there's a DC to AC inverter built in. The unit itself can recharge off of the vehicle's 12 volt electrical system or off of household AC current. My wife uses ours on any and every trip we take as her laptop screen is much brighter with AC power supplied.
You do not need wifi to use S&T with a GPS. The GPS puck plugs into a USB port, my puck sits on top of the dashboard and receives the signals fine - remember, GPS uses satellites, not fixed ground stations like wifi. I use a Radio Shack universal DC-DC adapter, it plugs into the 12v socket, it comes with a bag of tips, and has a voltage switch.
S&T is audio capable as long as your laptop has Windows XP.