questionsis it worth it to buy a gps with lifetime map and…

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I have never updated any of my GPS units though I am sometimes tempted to do so. I definitely will if I plan to take a trip out of my area, but so far the old maps seem to serve me fine. The other thing to consider is that by the time you want to update the maps you might want to just buy a new GPS with whatever the latest features are.

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it is the only gps WORTH buying...IMHO

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You can usually find good deals on Amazon for Garmin lifetime map updates that you can install on a Garmin unit that didn't come with lifetime maps. (I think I paid $70 for my update) So, if you decide to save a little money up front by buying a cheaper GPS, you aren't stuck with a unit that can never be updated.

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Or, do what I did: Upgrade her aging Palm device and her phone to a modern smartphone where she'll have a GPS(and in our case, editable Office apps & email as needed) anytime she has a phone(or mobile Google Maps). A separate GPS to me is only ok if she's not always with her phone.
Doesn't have to be an iPhone, there's TONS of quality smartphones available to fit any budget that can handle a GPS.

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As mentioned earlier with all the FREE apps out there I would not commit to any one GPS device with a lifetime agreement unless the price is a steal.

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It depends on how and where she'll use it, and for how long you plan to keep the GPS.

Last year I bought a refurb Garmin that included only one update. I hesitated in buying a LT update this year because the price differential between that and a new comparable unit with LT maps was only $50 - $60. In the end I bought neither, continue to successfully navigate and suspect that will be the case until I replace it in 2 - 3 years.

If your wife will use it in areas where the road layouts and routes aren't frequently changing, and you're likely to replace the GPS within a few years then lifetime updates may not be necessary.

If you plan to keep the GPS until it gasps its last breath the LT updates are worth it, especially if she travels to many unfamiliar places. The price difference isn't that great.

Phone vs Garmin depends on what you find valuable in each. I prefer the dedicated device because it's simple, easy to read, durable - and it predicts your ETA with eerie accuracy.

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I would tentatively say yes. Smartphones will very likely kill off the standalone GPS market. If she has a smartphone, it might be worth it to just get one of the better apps. However, a lot of those can come with subscription costs.

A standalone GPS, though, is a one time cost. Some companies have policies regarding how many times you can update your maps (like 3x a year) but really, I cant see ever needing to update more than once every year or two. How often do streets change/ pop into existence? So long as the hardware doesn't malfunction, the GPS will always be good.

You can also get an older GPS and pay a one time free for LT maps, I think. That could be worth it too.

I use my GPS very frequently, I love having it, even if it's just a safety net. Which can come in incredibly handy if the roads are poorly marked and you miss a turn. So I would recommend looking into one.

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You should also pay attention to the type of traffic information that is included. My old GPS unit only displayed traffic incidents, like reported accidents, road closures, etc. My current GPS displays traffic incidents and also traffic congestion levels. Traffic congestion levels are key because often you can tell that something is happening before it's a reported incident.

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Yes. Map updates are a must! Businesses change locations, speed limits change, new roads are built, exits change, roundabouts are put it, etc...
I got a TomTom with free lifetime updates on sale (around $80-$90 at the time) awhile back and I've already updated the maps 3 times. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003B3P2CO/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details
Newer version of this here: http://www.amazon.com/TomTom-5-Inch-Portable-Navigator-Lifetime/dp/B004MYFTEW/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

If you can wait until you find one on sale, it's definitely worth it to get one with lifetime map updates.

EDIT: I don't have lifetime traffic updates. Traffic never impacts my route, so I don't have a need for it.

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I am thinking about waiting till black friday to get one, but am unsure if they will have any great deals on a GPS since they are slowly it seems not as popular of an item.

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I agree with @havocsback. Any newer smartphone will have GPS built in with turn by turn directions or have apps that will address that need. Android phones come with Google Maps and navigation. Google Maps is updated very frequently and is very accurate in my experience. Other apps like Yelp! list nearby sevices and restaurants.

Ever since my wife and I got out first smartphones a few years ago, the Garmin has been tucked away in a closet, never to see the light of day again.

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Phone GPS units don't work everywhere. IMHO a standalone GPS is still a necessity if you are like me and drive through a lot of states where there isn't cell service.

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I'm with coolphilip on the view that phone GPS units may not work as well as stand-alone GPSs do. (I draw my knowledge of comparisons from my son, who is a serious geek, since I don't have a smart phone.) I bought a Garmin Nuvi last year and later added the life-time traffic updates to it, and I couldn't be happier. Our vacations are roadtrips, usually into backwoods country, and we rely heavily on the GPS to get us at least close to where we're going. It's also invaluable to me around town, as I have absolutely NO sense of direction and get lost in elevators.

They continue to come down in price, and I'd recommend one for peace of mind, if nothing else.

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Which do you all prefer Garmin or TomTom? I am trying to decide which one of those is better.

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I chose the TomTom XXL 540 LTM over a Garmin. The main reason was cost - I got it ~$99 on sale, and the Garmin I lusted after was about $100 more or so. The Garmin screen seems to be more crisp and intuitive...well, for me anywho. I'd head to a Best Buy or something just to see which interface you prefer.

Don't get me wrong - the TomTom works great. The interface isn't awful, just the Garmin seems (again, to me) to be sharper and more easy to understand at a glance. My GPS has saved my bacon more times than I can say. I get lost in a one room apartment with a map, so I have no sense of direction, and this is like my best friend.