Welcome to NeedAPlan.com, the website that aims to review every GPS model across the navigator range, and decide which are the best models and more importantly, which you should avoid.
Remember, across the USA, there are both hundreds of different models and hundreds of different manufactures, however within this review, we're going to stick to the key mainstream models that you can buy across the USA.
We're not going to be looking at those cheap imports that you can pick up at Walmart. In our experience, they simply don't work as well as you expect. If they do work, generally they work well for a few months, before breaking down and with very little option to re-install the software or claim on that guarantee, users generally have no option but to pick up yet another model.
If you want a basic gps navigator, it would be better if you downloaded Maps.Me rather than buy a cheap imported model as you would probably get more long-terms value.
Why Do You Need a GPS Unit?
GPS Navigator Reviews - Why do you need a GPS Unit? The real truth here is that if you don't want to always be getting lost whilst you explore the great outdoors or want to get to you location fast they you are going to need a GPS Unit to stop you getting lost.We find there is nothing worse that walking around with no idea where you are or which direction you should be going in to get back to your car to go home. If you're driving then really there is nothing worse than trying to get to your destination quickly and getting lost or stuck in the traffic because you are not up-to-date with the roads and what is happening on them. For all these reasons, you need to get yourself a specific GPS Unit.
Can I Just Not Use My SmartPhone?
Smartphones are great at what they do and the honest answer is yes you can, however you really should not. Smartphones are brilliant especially with the new software that has been developed over the last few years and the improvements in mapping software such as Google Maps, however they have a couple of really annoying features that can cause you problems. Firstly a good smartphone is expensive and delicate. Have you ever dropped your smartphone? They don't tend to bounce to well and often the end of result of you dropping your smartphone is a cracked screen or worse still, an expensive replacement of your phone. Other problems with smartphones include:
- There are NOT waterproof and tend not to mix well with water
- Most come with a touchscreen that does not work well with gloves and cold fingers
- Reception will usually be good in a city, but not always in the countryside
- If you loose your smartphone, you also loose all your contacts
- They can be expensive to run, especially out of the USA
A Specific GPS Unit that has been designed for use in a specific situation does not have these problems.
What Should You look for in a GPS Device?
The Best GPS Device is the one the gets you from one location to the next in the quickest time, using the fastest route for the best price. There are typically Eight Key Areas that you need to look for when deciding what's the best GPS for you.
- Screen Size - No smaller than 5-Inches otherwise even with a simple interface you'll be pressing buttons that you don’t mean to, missing important directions or not being able to read on-screen directions.
- Signal Lag - There is nothing worse than driving along whilst the GPS tries to work out where is going. Fast processor speeds ensure fast route Calculations and Re-calculations.
- Interface - Simpler equals better. A simple interface means you can find the features you want to use quickly and easily.
- Voice Command - In principle a great idea, however they're not perfect meaning you often end up getting so annoyed with the choices that you end up pressing buttons anyway.
- Bluetooth - is another great option that is better in principle than reality. Honestly, the added price to you GPS Unit is not worth it as the performance is really not good enough with the technology today.Real-Time Traffic is worth its weight in gold.
- Real-Time Traffic will alert you to any major traffic areas within your route and can find an alternative route that takes you away from the traffic jam.
- Device Mounts – Honestly the most basic the mounts are the easier they are to use and besides its really not worth spending more to get something fancier. Yes you can get something fancier but what your really saying to the local car thief - Steal Me.
- Extra Features such as 3D buildings, terrain images and landmarks are a great item to have as standard but really you don’t want to be paying extra for this service.
TomTom VS. Garmin
The battle for the top spot in the gps range across the different models often falls down to two manufactures, TomTom and Garmin. Both are fantastic and have been designing GPS navigation devices for years and for every TomTom fan, there is always a Garmin fan that says that there's is better. We have tried to keep this review independent and looked at real facts, however sometimes its pretty difficult especially as there is one glaring fact that often separates TomTom from Garmin.
It often comes down to whether the unit comes with Traffic updates. Both manufactures provide free lifetime map updates meaning that for the life of the product you will not be driving around on old maps, but whilst TomTom only provides free traffic updates on the more expensive models, Garmin provides free updates on all its models.
This means that when you're comparing the top car gps models, TomTom has a fair fight, but when you're comparing the budget gps navigation models, TomTom does not come with traffic updates, whereas the Garmin models do. This makes it pretty hard to choose a TomTom and therefore explains why often gps navigator reviews think that the Garmin's are better than the TomTom's.
How We Chose The Best GPS Units?
Firstly we checked out the reviews from a few of the major outlets in the market such as CNET, PC Magazine, Consumer Reports and Car GPS Reviews.
Secondly we looked at hundreds of GPS review sites and users reviews. After reading a few hundred you begin to understand which are the good models and which are the models you should be avoiding.
Thirdly we've bought a selection over the last few years.
Our three step process allow us to build a good picture of the GPS market and really understand what is the best GPS Models and what are the units that you should be avoiding. With our research we have come to the conclusion that the mid range models that cost in the region of $150-$200 are the best as they have everything you need and for a price adequate.
The High-End GPS units start at around $300 and go upwards but in our experience really don’t add anything to the overall user experience and whilst some of the functions are nice to have, you really don’t need them.
In general we found the five-inch screen work best for typing an address and the voice command was a little touch and go.