GPS Reviews and Comparisons

GPS; copyright Krystyna Wojciechowska - Czarnik at Dreamstime.com

These days, getting where you need to go is a lot easier, thanks to GPS navigation. However, navigating the multitude of options for GPS devices can be a bit more confusing. The key to choosing the best GPS system for you is identifying the features you need and reading reviews about the most popular systems on the market.

GPS Comparison Chart of Popular Models

As with any product on the market today, there are always a few favorites. Here's a handy chart that identifies top features and availability:

GPS Comparison Chart
Model Price Range Screen Size Street Identify Route Set Up Bluetooth Traffic Receiver
Garmin Nuvi 2455 LT $140-$170 4.3-inch Yes Yes No Included
Magellan RoadMate 3055 $130-$160 4.7-inch Yes Yes Yes Included
Garmin Nuvi 3490 LMT $350-$500 4.3-inch Yes Yes Yes Included
TomTom GO 2435 TM $180-$280 4.3-inch Yes Yes Yes Included
Motorola Motonav TN765T $160-$250 5.1 Inch Yes Yes Yes Included

Popular Models

Certain models of GPS navigation systems are popular with buyers due to their combination of features and affordable prices. The following models, which were reviewed by Consumer Reports, are among the best selling.

Garmin Nuvi 2455 LT

If you're on a budget, this model of the popular Garmin Nuvi line offers basic features at a lower price point. The Garmin Nuvi 2455 LT includes the following:

  • Two and a half-hour battery life
  • Ability to use in pedestrian mode for hiking and biking
  • Preloaded with maps of the United States, Canada, and Mexico
  • Split screen for viewing traffic shifts in detail
  • Built-in photo viewer

Consumer Reports recommended this unit as a best buy, but users complain that it does not save favorite destinations as previous models did. Most owners recommend this model for its ease of use.

Magellan RoadMate 3055

Magellan is another popular name in GPS devices, and their RoadMate 3055 unit is a top seller at the lower end of the price range. This GPS includes the following features:

  • Two-hour battery life
  • Can be used in pedestrian mode for navigation while walking
  • Preloaded with maps of the United States and Canada
  • Capable of showing next maneuver in detail on a split screen
  • Ability to add multiple stops

Users praise this device for its ease of use, but they complain that the screen can be difficult to see in bright light. Most owners are satisfied with the features and appearance of this machine.

Garmin Nuvi 3490 LMT

If you're in the market for a higher-priced but feature-loaded GPS, consider the Garmin Nuvi 3490 LMT. This unit is recommended by Consumer Reports and includes the following features:

  • Four-hour battery life
  • Pedestrian mode with travel time for walkers
  • Ability to input multiple destinations
  • Ability to predict destination times based on current and historic traffic
  • Shows next maneuver on a split screen
  • Preloaded with maps of the United States, Canada, and Mexico
  • Slim, portable design

The advantages of this model include exceptional ease-of-use and the ability to re-route around traffic back-ups quickly. Some users complain that the traffic feature is difficult to use and does not have good reception.

TomTom GO 2435 TM

A great mid-priced model, the TomTom GO 2435 TM has lots of useful features, including the following:

  • Three-hour battery life
  • Pedestrian mode for walkers
  • Accepts multiple destinations
  • Split-screen showing detail for lane changes
  • Preloaded with maps of the United States, Canada, and Mexico
  • Voice recognition

One of the standout features of this unit is that it has voice recognition, which can help drivers keep their hands on the wheel. The major complaint most users have is that navigating the menus can be a little confusing.

Motorola Motonav TN765T

The Motorola Motonav TN765T is popular for its bright and attractive screen and quick functioning. Users also enjoy the following features:

  • Two and a half-hour battery life
  • Pedestrian mode for biking and walking
  • Google search for local destinations
  • Preloaded with maps of the United States and Canada
  • Split screen with aerial maps and upcoming directions
  • Ability to sync mobile phone
  • Voice recognition

Users love the Google search feature and the voice recognition, but they complain that there are many advertisements on the device that can be distracting. They also reported that traffic information could be unreliable.

Tips for Choosing a GPS Device

As you shop for a GPS device, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Make sure the device has a warranty of at least one year. Also, be sure that you understand what is covered.
  • Many GPS devices can't be updated through software downloads. This means you have to purchase a new device. Look for ones that can be updated by company software downloads, but check the price of updates. They can be expensive.
  • Just because a GPS device has a high price doesn't mean it's the best one for you. Shop around, and have devices demonstrated to you so you understand what you are getting for the price you pay.
  • Make a list of features you would like in your GPS. If you only want to have route directions and Bluetooth capability, save money by finding GPS devices that don't have so many features you won't even use them all.

Reviews Can Help You Choose

Ultimately, choosing the right GPS unit is like buying a new car. It simply comes down to reading reviews and knowing your needs. You'll find that no GPS unit is perfect, and the best unit for you might not be the best unit for your neighbor or best friend. The more you know about the many benefits and problems associated with GPS systems, the happier you will be with your choice.

GPS Reviews and Comparisons