As GPS devices and applications flood the market, how do you know which type of GPS system you should have? Do you think to yourself, “It doesn’t really matter because they all do the same thing”, right? Wrong? There are some major differences we should all know about before making that choice.
The GPS applications found on smart phone devices such as Androids, iPhones, and Palms though extremely portable and handy, are not necessarily “mount friendly”. When placed on the windshield or dashboard it becomes difficult to see the screen clearly and to manually operate. Understandably, the fonts and buttons are smaller than what you would have on a dedicated GPS unit.
It goes without saying that the obvious benefits to these smart devices include their multifunctional designs and their connectivity to the cellular network and the internet. Such connectivity allows for a more sophisticated GPS search capability, real-time traffic alerts and added services such as exploring local gas prices. Being able to effortlessly find a particular type of restaurant or service while you’re on a road trip or in unfamiliar territory is a key element.
The GPS personal navigation devices (PND) on the other hand are well suited to the road warrior, particularly if he is the only one in the car who is awake! These GPS devices tend to have larger screens, stronger speakers and can easily be seen from a dashboard or windshield mount. The touch screen keyboards, which display large numbers and letters, have been optimized for usability at arm’s-length while driving. There is no need to take your eyes or your attentions off the road to use this GPS device, which makes for safer traveling. Because of the larger screens, more data can be displayed simultaneously, including estimated times of arrival to your programmed destination, distances to upcoming turns, upcoming street names, speed limits etc. Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, and Lowrance provide variety of excellent options for anyone in the market for a dedicated GPS device.
Today’s smart phones have a light touch and elegant look. They use capacitive touch screen technology, which makes them a pleasure to use from the palm of your hand. However, while driving they do present a disadvantage with their smaller screens and keyboards and weaker speakers. In these particular areas, the dedicated GPS PND has the upper hand. Easily mounted, it can be clearly seen and operated due to its larger screen and keyboard. And yes, the speakers are louder as well. The GPS PND is a better choice for those longer, preplanned road trips, as well as for those of you who simply enjoy the occasional “going out for a drive” – even if you have no particular destination.
I personally enjoy having both systems as GPS devices at my disposal. Depending on the situation, both devices perform excellently GPS within it prescribed parameters. It’s like apples and oranges. Both are delicious fruit, but one cannot satisfactorily take the place of the other.
Brad Timinski is owner of GPS City, and offers Global Positioning System like garmin gps, tomtom, magellan, lowrance, and other gps devices available with unmatched on-line store experience. With over 20 years of direct engineering, marketing, and customer service experience in the GPS industry, he is uniquely qualified to offer top-level customer service and support. GPS City sells to thousands of customers in Canada, the USA, and worldwide. They range from small businesses to many Fortune 500 companies. From major universities and technical colleges to the Pentagon, Canada’s DND, military and other government institutions.