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Vehicle GPS Navigation Units - which ones are best?
#1
I'm searching for a decent vehicle satellite navigation unit - they can be a bit pricey, so I want to be extra careful choosing the best one for the price.

Using my smartphone for navigation isn't an option for me.

Has anyone used a particular model that they love or hate? Any advice is appreciated.
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tav-2020 (12-12-2017)
#2
While you're wanting answers take a look at the suggestions in this thread -  http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/show...hlight=GPS
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TinaTomato (12-12-2017)
#3
tandem question for those out there: how well does google maps/earth do on identifying roads like in the SW? More specifically: if if free campsites or other site lists a site or boon dock road will google maps get you there? (obviously not to the site itself, but at least find the road?)
a tag along vagabond, hopefully ftrv by 2020
tav-2020   http://tagalongvagabond.com
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#4
I don't use google maps so I can't reply to that. I use google earth frequently and while it shows all roads a lot of times they are misnamed. using coordinates instead of names is more accurate for me, but you need a good GPS. I don't consider a cell phone to be a good GPS. highdesertranger
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#5
Tina, tell us your budget for an automotive, windshield type GPS unit. And do you want traffic and lifetime map updates?

'Best' is relative, and the best one for $50 is a lot different than the best one that runs $1000.

I prefer Garmins, but others have good luck with different brands also. 

---

Tav, many of the turn-by-turn dashboard units will show some dirt roads and forest roads, but not all of them. 

If you need or want that, you can buy one that has regional topo maps. Open your wallet wide if you need a good one.
Never trust a camp cook with lots of shiny new pans...
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#6
There are 4 things I look for in a GPS. map updates, traffic, screen size and ability to upload custom POIs, (points of interest). I've owned Garmin, Magellan and I installed IGO maps in my in dash system. They are a tool only. Even with the most current maps there will be some roads that haven't made it to the database. Vehicle size is another issue I haven't seen a GPS solve. I submit the number of tractor trailers that attempt to negotiate the tail of the dragon in North Carolina as evidence. personally I find POIs the most useful feature. I have every walmart in the country in my Garmin. i also like to know how far the closest gas is or how many miles to the next rest area. The older I've gotten the more screen size is an issue. I also have maps. Use to be able to pick up a current state map at rest areas, I don't know if that is true anymore..
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TinaTomato (12-12-2017), tav-2020 (12-12-2017)
#7
The ability to add online free POI files is a nice feature, that most modern GPS units have. 

Garmins certainly do. 

You can get a nice, easy to use, GPS unit that will have a lot of features in the $100 to $150 price range. 

And you can get them for $50 to $100, but they will usually have the bare minimum of features and most often will not have lifetime free map updates and rarely will have live traffic updates. 

So it really depends on what you want, or need, versus how much you want to spend. 

I would advise against ANY refurb units...I tried that once and it died soon after the 30 day warranty was up.

Steer clear of the cheapo units for cheap prices!

Buy NEW from a trusted source. 

My opinions, others may differ.
Never trust a camp cook with lots of shiny new pans...
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TinaTomato (12-12-2017)
#8
(12-12-2017, 05:01 PM)tx2sturgis Wrote: Tina, tell us your budget for an automotive, windshield type GPS unit. And do you want traffic and lifetime map updates?

I probably can't go higher than $150 - lifetime updates would be helpful, and traffic would be nice but isn't a deal-breaker.
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#9
This is a nice unit on sale for $99 from bestbuy

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/garmin-driv...Id=4908508

has all 4 of my preferred features.
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#10
Looks like a good one there.

Just a bit of info for those who have not owned one yet:

Lifetime Maps means that you will be able to download and install updated maps 4 times a year (unless that interval has changed).

This is important because roads are sometimes changed, new highways built, and new points of interest (like gas stations and restaurants) become entered into the database. If you don't have lifetime free updates you have to PAY for each update as the unit gets older. If your map database is 2 years old and it costs sometimes $79 for one update, you probably won't pay it...you'll just put that money to a new unit and so it's even MORE expensive.

You do need to have a LOT of bandwidth during a map update...it's about 2 gb for one update. And you have to register the unit online and use a laptop or desktop computer with a good solid internet connection to do this. Cell data is NOT the way to do it...it's normally too unstable to depend on for a 1 or 2 hour download. But two or three times a year, find a good solid, and fast, wifi connection with no data caps and it will work well. 

Lifetime Traffic means that the unit has a special car adapter cord that has a receiver built in, and it will show traffic congestion on the screen, and will beep about 2-5 miles ahead of the problem, to alert you. This only works in larger cities, on major highways, and it will not work at all in small towns, or out on the open highway.

If you only pass thru large cities occasionally, you probably don't need Traffic. If you live and drive in a larger city, its worth it.
Never trust a camp cook with lots of shiny new pans...
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highdesertranger (12-13-2017)


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