questionsshould i get a gps unit?

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I would suggest picking up an inexpensive gps with lifetime maps. I've had great luck with garmin (I think Newegg has one on sale today); we've used it in the US and Europe with great success.

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I have a TomTom 550 and it has never crashed on me.

I like it, and for $80 it is an excellent deal, even better if you have any jumbowoot coupons left.

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I think you should learn to navigate by use of the sun and stars.

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@durkzilla: i was looking at this one, but at mygopher (the $75 coupon is burning a hole in my pocket.
@dw1771: my wife does not like me using my sexton when driving. = (

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Do you not have a smartphone? Do you plan on getting one in the near future? If so then no... Garmin and TomTom can't keep up with Google Nav or Waze even.

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@jeremytheindian: I almost agree with you, but the only caveat is that if your phone does not have a GPS chip. If not, you could find yourself out in the country without a very good cell phone signal and end up getting lost.

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@jeremytheindian: Totally agree. Waze is the way to go. I use it over the in-car nav in my wife's car.

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I second those who have said Garmins are a good choice :) They are more affordable now, and even though it's another piece of technology to carry, it's a dedicated piece of technology. You won't have to stop getting directions to receive a phone call.

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The problem with the smart phone gps is once you've reached your data alotment and your carrier slows down your speed or if you don't have 3g/4g data coverage your maps don't load well and in some situations don't load at all, If you do a lot of traveling it is nice to have a stand alone unit that works with just a gps signal and a view map feature that doesn't rely on gps either so you always have a map with you. It's probably due to my aviation background, but I like redundancy when it comes to navagation.

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I love having a GPS and wouldn't be without it. I do have an Iphone4, but I prefer using my TomTom. It just sits nicely, and is easy to see and understand. I also love that it tells me not only the speed I'm going, but the speed limit. Not all GPS units do that...

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I can't speak to other brands of GPSs, but I do love my Garmin! ...Now I just need to decide whether I want to buy the Darth Vader/Yoda voice pack from the Garmin Garage...

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@theselected: The places you can go and not get a good cell signal are diminishing. If that is a concern, be a little more choosy on your smart phone purchase.

@dmaz: If you're more concerned with directions than talking to someone, don't answer (shouldn't be talking and driving anyways). On my iPhone, I can talk to someone on speaker and still get directions from it (not that I do, but I could if need be).

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Buy it! ... or another GPS
What I found when I researched before buying mine was that Garmin had really good prices, and really good reviews. You can easily find a good Garmin for under $100 (Walmart and Best Buy often have them on sale, and from someone elses answer, check Newegg). I like the Garmin setup, and it's saved me all sorts of time in not having to prepare everything for navigating.

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If I haven't saved the cost of purchasing my GPS in gas alone I would be shocked!

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I have a Garmin and really like it. The user interface is simple to use. It's not a substitute for actually knowing where you're going and I still like to keep paper maps as a back-up, as it's not great for doing major reroutes should the main route be closed (like a wildfire closing a mountain pass). But for regular navigation, it's great.

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Right now I've been using my phone for GPS, but I'm seriously considering a Garmin or TomTom. The phone's screen is small, and so when I find myself pondering why the heck the nice lady is telling me to turn left and into someone's duck pond, it's hard to glance at the screen and figure out exactly where that turn is supposed to be.

I also use my phone's Pandora player as I drive, and occasionally get calls. It's distracting/annoying trying to move through all of those things while I'm driving down some unfamiliar country road.

So if you're like me, and pretty much drive in your car for 5+ hours a day, a dedicated GPS unit is probably worth the expense.

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You really don't need a GPS if people are always telling you where to go...unless you still get lost.

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Wow, lot's of good answers and references. What I missed was your reason for wanting GPS?

I traveled a lot and found GPS was nice, but knowing where I was going first was a bigger benefit. GPS helped locate me in remote areas with no signs, but was too busy in traffic.

I do have Magellan & Garmin units, and like what I've seen of TomTom. However, long term, I load Delorme Street Atlas or TopoUSA on a laptop with a USB GPS unit. That gives me a map, a reference, planning ability and voice guidance when needed.

Different folks, different strokes.
So again, what are you needing to do?

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I always thought it was dumb to buy a GPS considering the capabilities of phones today. Especially since it's not that hard to get around with hand written directions unless you have serious problems.

BUT. I am going to Costa Rica in a couple weeks where they don't have road signs or addresses. A GPS with the rental is about 10 bucks a day. So I am strongly considering borrowing one from a friend. Would buy if I knew it would be used more often.

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I bought a cheap TomTom about two years ago, on clearance. It comes in handy any time I go on a longer road trip, or if I'm trying to find an address I don't know well. To me, it's much handier than trying to look up and follow directions on my iPhone. It easily mounts to the windshield, and it's dedicated to the one purpose -- no phone calls, texts, calls, or slow-loading maps interrupting me. I don't use it on a daily basis, but when I do use it, a couple times a month, I'm glad I have it.

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@caffeine_dude: When I had a sexton, he had a wife, which meant using him was not very practical no matter where we were or what we were doing.

My husband (the former sailor) has a lovely brass sextant, but it stays mostly on a bookshelf in our office. When we're driving, we generally have Madame Garmina, who knows all and tells all, with us.

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@theselected: Personally, I'm not all that interested in having google and the government know everywhere I've been. I'll stick with my Garmin.

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Wow, thanks for all the answers.
No I do not have a smart phone. To be honest I do not have a cell phone. I am always with someone with a phone or at someone's house or in wifi.
Why do I want a GPS? I borrowed one when I went to a city, it had lane assist and I (against my better judgement) followed it blindly. It amazed me I was taking the freeway mixers like I knew what I was doing. I purchased a cheap one (a Garmin 255) I hate the keyboard so much (it is abc). Also the maps are dated and the window mount is lost, it has no lane assist(I think it went with a car I sold) What I am saying it would cost more to make it right then just buy a different one. I do not use it much (I am a homebody but I do not like to get lost and like to find new things when I do travel).

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I really wanted to use my HP tablet running CM7 (Android with Cyanogenmod 7) a GPS unit. Is anyone using there HP tablet as a GPS unit.

FYI The tablet has GPS but does not have a cell phone attachment. I can preload maps using wifi. I tried a few programs a 3 months ago and all crashed.

@magic cave: I should have been navigating using a sextant, my problem was I was trying to use a sexton for navigation when I should have been using him to dig graves!

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i got my tomtom550 two years ago. i have lifetime maps. since each map update is about 50-75 each, it is worth it to spend the extra 20 to get the lifetime map update when buying the original gps (with tomtom that means it will have a letter M in the title "tomtom 550m", T is for lifetime traffic updates). i love my tomtom, it saved my butt this past week multiple times while visting my sis in north carolina. that being said it did crash for the first time three days ago, but all i had to do was a restore operation (in the manual easy to do).

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I purchased my Garmin a few years ago and need map dates - they are relatively expensive, so I am going to buy a brand new one with lifetime map and traffic updates. Curious about the traffic feature - do those of you who have it like it? I would think it would be a real asset. I have a Nuvi 255 now. There are bigger screens out there -suggestions? To the OP, I do not mean to hi-jack the thread - just thought I could catch a couple of comments.

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So I have the $75 coupon at mygopher what one should I get. http://www.mygofer.com/computers-electronics-gps-systems-car/s-29536?sName=Car&vName=Computers+%26+Electronics&cName=GPS+Systems&viewItems=120&keyword=lifetime+maps&sLevel=0&sortOption=PRICE_LOW_TO_HIGH&filterIndicator=all I want lane assist, lifetime maps, speed on the GPS, and qwerty keyboard.
I am leaning on the Garmin NUVI1390LMTREFURB Refurbished 4.3 In. Bluetooth GPS with Lifetime Traffic & Map Updates
because I am not sure how long Magellan is going to be around. All I hear is Garmin Garmin Garmin and the occasional TomTom when ever GPS is talked about. I honestly forgot about Magellan.

@klozitshoper: I am giving up on the HP Touchpad, and would like to see opinions too. The bigger screens in general give you a qwerty keyboard, from what I have seen. I am also giving up my 255, I do not care about traffic but really want lane assist lifetime maps, speed on the GPS, and qwerty keyboard.

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In case anyone is paying attention I got a $150 my gofer credit and got a nice Garmin 1450 LM with some cash to spare.