The Automotive GPS: How to Choose One

In today’s world, no high end automotive is without its GPS to helps us travel from destination A to destination B. We can buy optional GPS systems as part of a new car buy or select models that are installed later. However, whether to buy one straight off or select one later that may be of better quality is a tough choice. Here are some considerations to think about when considering buying the GPS option that comes with a new car or having another GPS system installed.

Almost all the newest GPS system have a few things in common: Full-color Street maps, easy touch-screen controls, traffic alerts and rerouting options. It is the other features, cost and your integration options that make the difference.

First off let’s consider cost. Built-in GPS systems offered on new vehicles are often much more expensive. In-dash add-on navigational GPS systems are often only moderately expensive but need to be installed by professionals which can add to your expenses. Portable automotive GPS navigation systems are usually the most economical and easily ported from one vehicle to the next.

Secondly, consider integration with other automotive systems. Built-in GPS’s LCD display are shared with other car systems like climate control, antenna, power attachments, the radio, and hands-free cell phone. In-dash add-on GPS systems usually replace a vehicle’s radio/CD player, require an additional antenna and are not is only partially “integrated” into the car’s systems. Portable GPS systems have the least integration but often do not require external antennae.

New-car built-in GPS systems offered larger LCD screens are usually larger which gives better visibility, but the drawback is that they are usually a step behind in new features and map updates. In-dash GPS also usually include large LCD displays, AM/FM sterol and sometimes CD/DVD players with LCDs that fold away when not in use. While the portable automotive GPS device is usually much smaller, it has the usually provides quickest available update as it can be easily removed and updated through your PC.

Your final consideration is the size of the screen and features. The largest LCD screens are found in the new-car built-in GPS systems which increase visibility to the driver. The drawback to these systems is they are usually slower in feature and map updates. The good news is that in-dash GPS usually provide comparable size LCD displays. They can also provide integrated AM/FM stereo and sometimes CD/DVD players with LCDs that fold away. However, for quickest and easiest updates, it is the portable automotive GPS device that a consumer wants. The drawback is that these devices generally have smaller displays.

Lance Thorington is a professional writer and online publisher. He also writes for a GPS review site which you can visit at

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