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After years of resistance, I finally got a GPS for our car last week and am blown away by how useful it is. Waiting was worth it, too, as prices have come down: I spent $150 for mine (a Garmin Nuvi 1250T with lifetime traffic), which is considerably cheaper than the going price for a good GPS even a year ago.

No more glancing down at a map or printed Google Maps directions, and no more arguing with my girlfriend, who is the first to admit she is helpless as a navigator. (Typical exchange: me: "could you tell me which way I need to turn up ahead?" her: "don't you see the sign?" me: "I see about 10 signs, could you just tell me which way I need to turn? There's a lot of traffic and I'm concentrating on not getting us killed, I don't want to be distracted by searching for the right sign." her: "don't you see it? it's right there, it clearly tells you which way to turn." me: "sorry, could you just tell me whether I need to turn right or left?" her: "it's marked there on the sign -- hey, you went past the turn, didn't you see it?") GPS was made for us.

I feel so much safer driving with this thing, I can keep my eyes on the road and it hasn't made a mistake yet. It's easy to enter addresses and save them to your favourites, it tells you when there's traffic or road construction ahead and reroutes you to avoid it. It estimates when you'll arrive at your location. And the one we got is designed to be portable enough to slip into a pocket and use for pedestrian navigation in the city -- it even gives you public transportation information.

I'm sure this is old hat to most of you, but I honestly think if I had to throw away every gadget I own except one, this is the one I would keep.
 

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After years of resistance, I finally got a GPS for our car last week and am blown away by how useful it is.
It was pretty 'life-changing' for our road trips. :D

no more arguing with my girlfriend, who is the first to admit she is helpless as a navigator.
I think this is why these machines were invented, not really for the navigation, but to avoid the frustration and arguments. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know many smartphones come with GPS as well, but I really don't want to shell out money for a data plan. Even if I buy an updated map for my GPS every year for $80, it's still a lot cheaper than having a smartphone with a data plan, plus if you want to use your smartphone for navigation in the US or Europe, you pay roaming fees for the data. Why smartphones can't act as standalone GPS units without requiring data downloads is a mystery to me; even if you have a base map loaded in your smartphone it still requires a data plan to operate.

Plus I don't think smartphones can currently access the traffic/construction information that you get on a GPS, which is transmitted by radio. I'm amazed how accurate and up-to-the-minute that information is. I've had to drive a lot more than usual in the past week, and each time I went out the GPS rerouted me to avoid constrution or informed me when a traffic jam was coming up.
 

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I agree about the data plans, but Garmin and other companies do make software for Windows Mobile, so you would have the same functionality as with your current GPS, if your phone has a real GPS unit inside of it and not the stupid cell tower triangulation used by many. there are portable GPS units you can also buy and connect via bluetooth to your phone.

It might make sense if you want to minimize the number of devices you bring along, but the biggest benefit of the dedicated GPS is the nice big screen. No smart phone will ever match that, unless you consider an iPad as a smart phone.
 

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I wouldn't buy stocks in Garmin

Google is coming out with turn by turn directions and cars are coming out with Google maps built in. No matter how much Garmin undates their database I can't see them keeping up with Google Local and Google Maps

That said I own a handheld Garmin and love it for the durability/water resistance.

$150 is well worth it. I pitty the fools paying $2k for integrated nav systems that can't compare to Google
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I wouldn't buy stocks in Garmin

Google is coming out with turn by turn directions and cars are coming out with Google maps built in. No matter how much Garmin undates their database I can't see them keeping up with Google Local and Google Maps
Yeah, I agree -- I can't imagine anyone will be able to compete with Google in this market, but for now I'm really impressed with what Garmin is doing; it's a remarkably mature technology and it's very well thought-out.

I actually have had a Garmin bicycle GPS for the past year that I use for bicycling tours; it works well but is nowhere near as advanced and user-friendly as the car models.
 

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I agree about the data plans, but Garmin and other companies do make software for Windows Mobile, so you would have the same functionality as with your current GPS, if your phone has a real GPS unit inside of it and not the stupid cell tower triangulation used by many. there are portable GPS units you can also buy and connect via bluetooth to your phone.

It might make sense if you want to minimize the number of devices you bring along, but the biggest benefit of the dedicated GPS is the nice big screen. No smart phone will ever match that, unless you consider an iPad as a smart phone.
Just a few pts for smart phones:

Data plans aren't so expensive once you figure out how to text and call within the data. I pay under $30/month in total

A lot of smart phones use aGPS which is actually triangulation plus GPS. GPS takes a long time to sync if it has no clue where in the world it is, whereas triangulation snaps it to a rough location and then GPS fine tunes it

The size of the screen is one thing, but smartphone screens have such crazy higher resolution that they can look bigger. Some smartphones are coming with 4" screens now

Won't be long and you'll plug your smartphone into your monitor and use it as your computer with a wireless keyboard.

No need to rush out and buy a smartphone though, they'll only get better. Won't be long and cars will come standard with car computer instead of just a radio. I can plug my smartphone into the OBD and get all the gauges, MPG, diagnostics etc. As far as realtime traffic all that is is all the devices communicating their speeds - easy to copy

Crazy times
 

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Agreed with the posts above.
I bought a Magellan a couple of years ago and it's been the best electronics investment for me.
We more than recovered our "investment" in the GPS on our trip to Quebec 2 years ago.
The GPS was a life-saver there.
 

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Yeah, GPS's are one of those life changing pieces of technology. No more planning directions ahead of time, pulling over to read maps, or driving in a strange city worried about what happens if you take a wrong turn. And because they tell you when to turn, you can keep your eyes on the road rather than watching for street signs.
 

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yup there goes a future bestseller like Bonfire of the Vanities.

it's like they said when dial tones replaced Butterfield 8 and Dial M for Murder. End of a literary era.
 

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...and no more arguing with my girlfriend...
You would think. I borrowed one of these gizmos on a recent trip to Philadelphia. Every time I missed a turn, first the lady on the GPS would squawk at me, followed by a delay of about 5 seconds... before my girlfriend would squawk at me!

It didn't take long for me to turn the thing off and hide it in the trunk. Then at least when I missed a turn I was the only who knew about it!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
MY GOD - and just think - I spent 40 years on the road as a travelling salesman - - and NEVER had one !:p
Exactly -- I've been driving for 30 years myself without a GPS and could easily drive for the rest of my life without one. But my point is that driving in unfamiliar territory or to unfamiliar addresses is SO much easier with this thing than without it. It's a luxury, not a necessity, but for me it has made driving much more pleasant, safer, and less stressful.
 

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IMO...Stand-alone GPS will be the next to be out of market. Now almost all good phones are coming with built-in GPS (no data charges). I was happy with my iPhone 3G that had TomTom installed. Now my Xperia x10 has one too.

GPS is just great a great technology but the device itself is making a slow exit.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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You are right for sure

In fact, smart phones are some of the best GPS sensors out there. They can snap on a fix in no time using triangulation from the cell towers, they have powerful cpu's and they have higher quality screens. The internet feed also enhances GPS - Google local is far more up to date than any GPS database I've seen.

I do still use a standalone rugged outdoor Garmin because I wouldn't strap my iPhone or any smartphone to a ski doo or 4 wheeler, and most place I use it don't have cell towers anyways

Ironically, I rented a SPOT emergency GPS locator for a trip up north and it had the worst GPS I have seen since the military first got them. Took forever to find a fix and loses signal easily. Why can't I have a SPOT app on my iPhone? I guess they wouldn't make as much $$..


I think Android and Google maps will be as standard integrated in many cars as an FM radio within years
 

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Recently purchased a Garmin 1350 for $150 at BestBuy plus $50 to download the Mexico map.
This has to be one of the best "toys" I have ever bought. Just drove 4000k to southern Baja with it. Great in the rural areas and fantastic on the freeways in LA.
Tried the TomTom GPS but the screen wasn't bright enough for me in the sun and it is rather sunny down here.
Bought many "things" in my lifetime that ended up in a drawer or the garage but the GPS is not one of them.
Do I need it? No. Can I live without it? Yes. Would I return it? No!
Love it!
 

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Recently purchased a Garmin 1350 for $150 at BestBuy plus $50 to download the Mexico map.
I recently bought a Garmin 1350T with lifetime maps updates and a leather case from The Shopping Channel for $199. I had been thinking of buying one for an upcoming trip so jumped when I saw this deal. This model is a breeze to use and should be very handy when I'm trying to find my way around Texas in a rental car.
 

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Sounds like a good deal for the Garmin 1350T. I wanted to keep it under the $200 and the Mexico map was $50. The lifetime map update might be worth it though.
I deleted most of the foreign languages to free up data space and had room for Mexico. The pronunciation of some of the Spanish names is interesting not that I am that much better at it. Some things I enjoy: elevation when in the high desert in Baja, the estimated time of arrival and your speed and speed limit when available. If you speed ( almost impossible in my rv) your speed numbers turn red! Enjoy.
 

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I use the GPS every day making in city deliveries. It makes life a lot easier.

I do wonder why they don't have the capacity to lock into one specific city though. I have to punch in the same city every time I use it.

Other than that, they are a lot better than looking at a map and trying to figure out if house number 1000 is this way or that way. Saves a lot of turning around and going the other way, which can get complicated at rush hour.

Now, if I can only get a car with an automatic transmission, I can die happy.
 
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