You might spend a lot of time searching for a new car stereo or some other accessories to make your car look and feel nicer. But what about springing for something useful? In-car GPS devices have come a long way in the past few years. Now, touch-screen devices with clear, sharp displays are the norm. Some can even be used to control the other accessories in your car as well and have awesome feature like voice activation, 3D displays and multiple views so that you can be absolutely sure about where to exit and turn. Yes, it is true that smart-phones have some great GPS and mapping apps that make them useful for navigating as well. But newer GPS devices are far from useless, since they have some amazing features and they are still able to do a better job than phone GPS systems when it comes to driving directions.
Thinking about getting a full-featured GPS device for your car? If your car doesn’t have one that is factory installed, these three models are your best option.
TomTom Via 1535
This slim, sleek device is a new offering from the company that has become the main competition for Garmin, the most popular GPS-maker in the world. This is an easy-to-use device that is simple to plug into a power source and easy to update via your computer. The Via 1535 offers hands-free operation, with voice commands and the ability to use the device for hands-free calling from your cell phone. The software and intuitive user interface make it easy to actually use the device for getting from Point A to Point B. The Tom Tom can also access traffic data and reroute you if there is a traffic jam ahead.
Garmin Nuvi 50
The Nuvi 50 is a great value for people who want a GPS system that can get the job done without too many bells and whistles. If you are looking for something that is useful and has good value, this is the best option on the market, hands-down. Nice updates of graphics and features mean that the latest Nuvi 50 does much more than its bare-bones predecessors. The screen offers a clear picture and extras like text-to-voice street names and directions make it easy to find your way without having to glance down at the screen every few seconds to make sure that you are taking the right exit or making the current turn. Garmin has even-more-basic models, the Nuvi 40 and Nuvi 30. These are also worth looking into if you want a basic GPS system. However, the larger screen, better display and voice features of the 50 make it an obvious choice, and, at around $100, it is the best value in the Nuvi line, by far.
Garmin Nuvi 3490 LMT
This state-of-the-art device is for people who want a little bit more out of their GPS system. The crystal clear screen makes it very easy to see where you are going. The super-smart voice recognition system makes it possible to interact with your device hands-free without running into problems (such as having the computer misunderstand you and take you somewhere that you don’t want to go). The problem: this is a pricey GPS system, at nearly $400. However, it is also one of the slimmest, packing lots of features into a very thin space. The Nuvi 3490 is practical as well. It comes with lifetime updates and a 3D capabilities that make it a pleasure to look at. This GPS is small enough that it can even be used for pedestrians who want to find their way around a strange city while on foot.