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Gonna Buy a GPS. Any Advice?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by gregp553, Dec 19, 2009.

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  1. gregp553

    gregp553 New Member

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    I'm going to break down and buy a portable gps for the car. Don't get lost much but finding more times I'd like to have one for convenience. And the prices have come down a lot. Maybe get the bluetooth option. Top at about $150. Read that Garmin sells good stuff. Anyone have one that they really think is the best? Why? What model?

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  2. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I was gonna spend a few hundred bucks and buy one with all the goodies. I ended up with the most basic Garmin and couldn't be happier. The more I looked at them I realized it was just a bunch of crap I didn't need. I thought I should have a wide screen for using it in a big truck, but didn't need that either. Watch for sales, you can get them for a hundred bucks.
  3. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    You missed some good black friday deals online, but they are still out there.

    Could of hints:

    the speaking of street names is pretty helpful, i.e. "Turn left in 500ft on Sponge st" is more useful than "Turn left in 500ft".

    widescreen is more real estate, but nowhere as handy as say google maps or mapquest on a PC/Mac/Laptop...

    FM broadcast is useful but usually only available through pricier ones and not sure how well it is implemented, outside the mfgr... (like for channel surfers for me).

    I wouldn't be too concerned with traffic updates, most of them are only for major cities and I've found them somewhat limited in usefulness so far here in NJ. Also, if you see some units that use MSNDirect, they are kicking the bucket in 2012 so don't expect them to be around afterwards. Navteq which is what most Garmin units use for traffic is NOT going away though.

    Some have bluetooth, may be useful, may not.

    I bought a Garnin 285WT for $130 from Amazon over thanksgiving. It has the MSNDirect stuff but that's not why I bought it and it was cheaper than the 265WT which it is basically the same unit with the MSN stuff. So far, I find the traffic not terrible useful or accurate... the weather is neat and news and stuff but not a big deal.

    Jay
  4. festerw

    festerw Member

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    I've got a Tom Tom, my brother has a Garmin, IMO buy a Garmin.
  5. StackedLumber

    StackedLumber New Member

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    have used my dads garmin and sister in laws tom tom-hated both of them-they weren't over responsive-you would drive past the road and then it would say turn now on X street as you are passing through the middle of the intersection. Then I used my bro's Magellen-LOVE IT. It's not as "character friendly" per se-doesn't have a little car icon-just a triangle, but it is so accurate and gives great info. I have never had it tell me late for a turn. I do think though some of it is a simple matter of interface preference-ie. Chevy vs. Ford vs. etc. I've used our Magellan for some very long cross country trips and in cities and have been pleased-bought it refurbished off of Amazon for $200 less than the advertised new price.
  6. toonjie

    toonjie Member

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    Just got a Garmin Nuvi 1350 and love it! I would highly recommend it.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    We have a Garmin Nuvi - pretty damn good. I'd suggest the Garmins, unless you are ready to spring for a smartphone (Droid, etc.) and can get double use.
  8. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Garmin Nuvi 1350 and love it. No stress for road trips now...
  9. ROBERT F

    ROBERT F Minister of Fire

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    Garmin nuvi, Basic 205 model goin for 90 bucks local right now. got a 1300 and works great.
  10. mskif

    mskif Member

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    If you are in the market for a new phone, definitely check out the Droid. It can be a GPS and a whole lot more. Awesome device.
  11. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Get a tomtom for $80, but you do have to watch the roads your passing. Its best at night, when you can't see the street signs.
  12. gregp553

    gregp553 New Member

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    Good input, thanks. The phone idea is good but I won't be getting a new one of those for a year, and we'll trade off the gps between two of us. I was told the Garmin Nuvi 265wt is good, with bluetooth, but the 285 sounds good too. I'm used to rental cars and Everlost. Despite its shortcomings, I like when it sounds a tone before giving the instruction and it recalculates a route quickly if you go off track. Don't know if these do that. Thanks for the input, there are too many choices.
  13. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    The 285wt is essentially the same as the 265WT, except that the 285Wt uses MSNDirect for traffic, weather, flight status, etc. and the 265WT uses navteq for the traffic. MSNDirect is going bye bye in 2012 so it will essentially function as a 265WT after that. (minus the traffic and weather stuff) I got the 285WT since it was cheaper at the time. I have 9 months of free traffic...

    the Nuvi XXXX line is a newer line of units... as opposed to the older 2x5 series...

    Jay
  14. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    2nd that. We bought a GPS nav unit a few months ago. Just bought a Droid. Pretty much wasted my money on the nav unit as the Droid does what it does and a whole lot more.

    The spoken directions on the nav units is a great feature that I wouldn't want to do without.

    I read that the OP doesn't need a phone but thought others that read this post might.
  15. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    We have a couple Garmin Nuvi's here at work. No matter what I do and how I configure it, it always takes me out of the way adn adds an hour to a 5 hour drive when we visit my brother in PA. The ting takes me off the highway in northern NJ and I ran on secondary roads at 45mph between stoplights the rest of the way there. The other time I tried to use it was when I visited by brother in law in Boston, he was staying in the financial district, which is basically right downtown. Problem is, the damn exit to get to the area off I-90 is inside a tunnel in the Big Dig...since GPS's are line of sight satellite triangulation, the GPS shut down the instant we went underground.

    I keep giving the thing a chance, and it keeps letting me down.
  16. gregp553

    gregp553 New Member

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    Not good news, Mayhem. I give gps a pass in a tunnel but why is it going out of the way? Does it have a traffic jam feature and taking you off the highway? Hmm. Actually, I have read some other comments about certain models not going the best route. Do you know which model Nuvi you use?
  17. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Don't recall which Nuvi it was, but we have two at work and I've used both with the same results, one is about 18 months newer than the other and they both tried to take me off the highway.

    I tried resetting both to shortest time, traffic avoidance was turned off (if available) and I also turned off toll road avoidance.

    Just weird.

    Also found out the hard way that when you are trying to get to a place on Third Street, you need to use the numerals, not spell it out like it is on the street signs, addresses and official maps.
  18. Wi Thundercat

    Wi Thundercat Feeling the Heat

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    I use a garmin 265wt w/ bluetooth and have been very happy with it ! :) Better half just bought a 255wt ,which is the same unit without bluetooth at target online for 99$ as she didn't care about having the bluetooth link. :coolsmile: Wi Thundercat
  19. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    What do you use the bluetooth to link to?
  20. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    I use the bluetooth to link with my phone. My car is old enough that it doesn't support bluetooth so it's nice to have the GPS do it. It's not integrated with the stereo, like most cars would be so if your car supports Bluetooth, more than likely, you wont need the GPS to support it and wouldn't need it as a feature (i.e. you could do just as fine with the 255WT as opposed to the 265WT or my 285WT..

    I've had the 285WT for about 1 month now and I've found it useful in places. Like most, it has some real quickly navigation so if you are already familiar with the area, some of the directions seem really strange but in the end, it will get you there.

    Jay
  21. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    I have a TOM TOM 340 XL. I find myself arguing with it all the time. It takes you out of the way to get where you are going. I suppose if you were somewhere and you didnt know your way around it would eventually get you to where you want to go but since your unfamiliar with the area you wouldnt know the difference. It has all the new "fastest route" feature which is total BS.

    I have not had any expierience with Garmin but my next one will be a Garmin.
  22. gregp553

    gregp553 New Member

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    As if all the model choices weren't confusing enough, now I see "factory refurbished" like new is cheaper than new/new. And refurbished comes with a 1-year factory warranty. Any thoughts on that one?
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Factory refurbished can be any number of things, but generally they are IMHO OK... A lot of units get sold and then returned for reasons ranging from "operator failure" to didn't like the interface, or got a better deal somewhere else... They get returned to the factory and checked out, repaired as needed, and should be in "good as new" shape, but by law, can't be resold as "new" - but they can sell them as "refurbished" and at least recover their manufacturing costs... I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a refurb as long as the deal was reasonably good.

    I use a Garmin that's a couple of years old when helping a friend with his wood business - with mixed results... We have found that it is best to use both a map book and the GPS, as it helps to confirm that the GPS hasn't gotten lost... Also it seems to want to get us off onto all sorts of strange routes instead of sticking to major highways - generally we find it works best to have an idea of where we are going and ignore the GPS until we get to the general area.

    The unit we use has a power cord that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket, and has a speaker in the lighter plug that tells us where to go...

    Gooserider
  24. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    There are a few things to consider. First off never rely totally on a gps unless you pretty much know how to get there, there is signage aplenty or you don't much care when you get there or how. They aren't the end all be all just like anything else. Have some sort of map along to fall back on. That said, I have never had one fail to get me there darn well. You have to check the settings. They have different routing according to toll roads, sort by time and avoidance of secondary roads to name a few. If it is taking you around by an hour it is simply set to avoid something like a tunnel ect. You have to remember these things are like 1980 VCR's. They sell based on how many goodies they perform as people are so damned fickle they brainlessly buy according to the number of features. That leaves you with something that will do all sorts of things that most of us will never ever use though they can get in the way sometimes. Check those settings if you are having problems. The size consideration is another thing, get one with big enough print that you can read it. If you are over 45 you will already know this. The rest of you just wait as your turn is coming. You almost have to start one up and hold it at a distance like your dashboard to see what you can deal with. If you use it in the woods and the car you probably will need two of them. They just don't make one size fits all. I personally find the screen on the handhelds too damned small and like the convenience of the smaller auto square types. They fit in a pocket nicely as well as in the car. The last big consideration is where it will work. Tom TOm is supposed to work worldwide though I haven't tested mine in Europe yet. Magellin is supposed to work anywhere in North America while Garmin only works in the US. That is without buying the supplemental maps which wouldn't be a big deal except for the $$$ raping you get to buy them. That's why I chose the not so hot Tom Tom over the what I consider rip you off Garmin. Not a big deal if you live in Colorado but I am near the Canadian border and if there is one place you need mega help is French speaking Quebec Canada. Just the other night I ran across a truck driver who decided to take a deliver to Montreal just to experience it and no one else wanted to do it. She was foaming at the mouth about the place and her Garmin Gps. She didn't know the little secret either............... You really have to look around and compare,check the web forums ect.
  25. agartner

    agartner Feeling the Heat

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    My favorite is the Magellan 2200T. Not new anymore, you have to find refurbs, they are out there. Simple, straightforward, and it runs either plugged in or on a battery for a good 8 hours a charge. Plus, it's waterproof so it can go from my car straight onto the motorcycle.
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