questionswhat are the best car gps brands/models?

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my vote is to simply get a smart phone that can also be your GPS. Especially if you catch a decent deal, you can get a smart phone for the same (r much lower price) as a GPS (we got our Droid2's for $25 each, brand new, because we were up for renewal and there was a sale & a visa card rebate). The navigation system is far better than the TomTom I used to own (admittedly I had a very low end TomTom), which is great. Just my $.02 :)

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@hobbitss: I hadn't seen any comparison between brands... that's why I asked the question. Thank you for posting that though

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I have owned both Garmin and TomTom devices. Each has its pros and cons.

I have a Garmin nuvi 360 that I recently retired in favor of a TomTom XXL 540-TM.

I love the Garmin interface and voice prompts, and the fact that it tells you simple and helpful things like which side of the street your destination is on. I dislike the crappy quality of the newer Garmin units, and their ridiculously high prices for both the units and the map updates and traffic features.

The TomTom was less expensive compared to similar Garmin units, and has cool features like celebrity voices. The user interface took a little while to get used to, coming from Garmin's, but the satellite acquisition time is really fast and the UI shows me pretty much everything I need to see. Voice prompts are timely and accurate, but as mentioned before, that one little bit about which side of the street your destination is on makes me grumble a bit.

The update procedure for the TomTom takes ages even over broadband.

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@smtatertot13: I have a BlackBerry Bold which has Google Maps but no navigation and am stuck with it until next summer. My father has a Droid 2 but does not use the Navigation because it does not tell him his current speed while he is being directed.

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@dabills22: admittedly that is the one thing i miss about the GPS. the Google navigation on the Droid2 does tell you the side of the street of your destination (my low-end TomTom didn't) Especially if you're driving downtown in a large city with heavy congestion, you definitely want something to tell you the side of the street. Otherwise you wind up in the middle of a block, surrounded by cars, trying to figure out which building is the one you need. No fun.

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In my experience, TomToms are faster, but Garmins are more user-friendly.

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Does either have a more accurate ETA calculation?

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@dabills22: There really is not distinguishable difference between Garmin and TomTom on the ETA calculation - both seem to be pretty accurate in my experience.

The units with a built-in FM traffic receiver may give you a more precise ETA on long trips IF there's a significant delay on our route AND IF the traffic information is accurate - I have found the TomTom traffic to be somewhat inaccurate (delays occur/clear more quickly than the info can be updated), and I've seen reviews that claim the same is true for the Garmin service.

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I love my Garmin 750. Haven't had any other to compare to, however.

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Keep in mind - with cell phone navigators, if you go off grid (out of town, really rural), you loose your navigation.

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@tarantino: Well, I've had GPS cut out on me on my Garmin when traveling near military bases and other, er, "government installations"....

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@tarantino: You only lose navigation with cellular devices if they don't have GPS transponders, and instead rely solely on A-GPS, which is the system of determining your location based on the signal strength from nearby cellular towers.

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@dabills22: really? because it doesn't tell him his speed? Does he not have a speedometer?

Anyway, I use google navigation via android. It is better than any handheld gps i have seen. You never have to buy updates and it links with your contact's addresses.

Garmin, TomTom and others are a thing of the past and will be gone in the near future.

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@rychard: you will still be navigating but you will also lose your maps. Map images are not transmitted via GPS but by cell towers.

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My mother got me a cheaper Motorola unit. I don't remember the model number. It was super cheap for the holidays so she picked it up for me. I've never used a TomTom or Garmin so I can't compare, but it's been pretty handy for me. The only thing is that I've had trouble finding places by name at times. Someone else may be able to chime in for the 2 big brands. But if either of them is better than the one I have, they would both be pretty nice and useful.

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I have good experience with garmin just splurge for the lifetime map updates and that makes it worth the price

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I have Garmin and Magellan and like both. Go for at least a 4.3 screen

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Although GPS navigation devices and smartphones become more common market for standalone portable navigation device (PND) is not quite dead.
GPS Navigation System : http://www.autogadgetreview.com/take-a-look-on-top-5-gps-navigation-system.html