Buying guide: GPS units and sat navs
- — 14 September, 2010 16:00
Shopping Checklist: GPS units
Ask what accessories come in the package. An in-car charger and window mount are generally standard. Some GPS units also come with an AC charger, remote control, or a USB cable for transferring multimedia and/or updating maps.
• Touch screen
This allows easy operation. Most GPS units come with a touch screen instead of physical buttons.
• Road safety features
Check if the unit has road safety features. These generally include notification of fixed speed and red light cameras, as well as school zone warnings, accident black spots and railway crossings.
A battery life of a few hours is important if you are going to use your GPS when it’s not plugged into the car charger.
If you want to use the unit in multiple vehicles or carry it around, smaller units are better. On the flip side, a larger unit will come with a bigger screen, which can enhance the overall navigational experience.
Check how the unit connects to your computer. Most connect to a PC via a standard mini-USB connection. Connection to a PC can sometimes be required for software and map updates.
• International maps
Going overseas? International maps can generally be purchased, but some GPS units include them as a standard feature.
Some GPS units have Bluetooth and can act as a hands-free kit for your mobile phone.
• Additional features
You can view photos, play MP3 files and watch video clips on some GPS units.
Most units have a combination of a small amount of internal memory and an SD card slot. However, an extra SD card or microSD card may be needed for storing MP3 files, photos and video clips.
• Map updates
These usually involve an annual fee, which is important when calculating ongoing running costs.