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Author Topic: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?  (Read 9686 times)

Offline kbunnystarr

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GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« on: April 03, 2007, 08:05:19 AM »
 :) good morning.  yesterday a friend mentioned they might gift me with a GPS system, and asked me to look into them......I decided to start here.  He said maybe truckstops are a good place to look as well, does anyone have any real positive r real neg things to say about any particular system>  or what ot look for ? or stay away from?  he said look for the flat panel and that they plug into a cig lighter?  anyway  ANYTHING ya'll can share would be super great.......its seems like a great gift, but i want to know what im getting and also dont want to spend tons of $ on it.have heard you dont have to to get a nice system.$300-400, is that true?
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Offline Busted Knuckle

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2007, 08:18:42 AM »
Hey Bunny,
I got a new microsoft streets and trip program w/gps for christmas. I got it programed in my laptop and love it! You could also use it on a PC as long as you have the power to run he PC and also a monitor screen convienently located to see it. Also as an added benefit you can use it to plan/plot your trips as you travel! FWIW BK  ;D
Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Offline kbunnystarr

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2007, 08:57:13 AM »
hey BK nice to hear from you....hope the world and the road is treating you nicely, yeah the main thing for me is trip planning.....want to look into all options, have 2 laptops currently, one i use wireless the other is not set up for that yet......think i may want a gps exclusive screen thing how ever that works to jsut have mounted on teh dash.......homm, i should post some bus pics, ive not done that yet, maybe people would like to see my bus ..anyway, umm, yeah, i want to consider all options.....is there a reason you got for your lap top instead of a specifically gps only system for yer setup?  i dont know a thing about it all so, fill me in :o)   take care. kbs
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Offline Nick Badame Refrig/ACC

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2007, 09:02:02 AM »
Hi Kristine,

I have the Pioneer AVICN3 in dash all in one nav system but, it's big bucks.
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/v3/pg/product/details/0,,2076_310069681_295503034,00.html

They just came out with a new system thats alot cheaper called the D3. just follow this link.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/v3/pg/top/cat/article/0,,2076_310069607_411376305,00.html

And here is the portable version..http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/v3/pg/product/details/0,,2076_310069683_309501410,00.html

Good Luck
Nick-
« Last Edit: April 03, 2007, 12:23:25 PM by Nick Badame Refrig. Co. »
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Offline Kristinsgrandpa

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2007, 09:15:59 AM »
  Bunny, I have a set up similar to BK's only I have the DeLorme instead of the Streets and Trips.  I opted for this system for the larger screen size.(laptop screen as opposed to a handheld unit) There isn't a lot of difference between the Microsoft and the DeLorme. Check their websites for the specs.

If you have  good eyes you can easily use the smaller handheld units. They are great also, some having more features than others. Also their websites will list the features.

There was a thread about this subject not too long ago and everyone listed their favorites and the benefits of each model.

  I wanted a small handheld unit but couldn't see the screen so I went with the laptop and the DeLorme, now I have to find a space for my laptop.  Oh, and someone posted the fact that it is illegal, in some states, to have a laptop on the dash of anthing you are driving.

My laptop and the DeLorme program, with GPS mouse (antenna system), was less than $350.   The Streets and Trips and the DeLorme were about the same price when I bought mine. About $90 IIRC. My laptop was only $200, but when it arrived it needed a new battery ($48).

Generally speaking the features reflects the price.

Ask Nick about his AVIC N3 It is a fantastic unit.

Ed
location: South central Ohio

I'm very conservative, " I started life with nothing and still have most of it left".

Offline JackConrad

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2007, 09:50:29 AM »
   I went with the laptop for 1 major reason. Bigger Screen & Older Eyes=easier to see. We installed both MS Streets & Troips and Delorme. Each of these 2 systems are around $100 each. I use both because each has certain features that I like.
  The Streets & Trips has much better detail of local streets.  The Delorme has a larger (easier to see) speed reading. Both have some different Points of Interest installed in their data bases. Either one will work and overall functions are very similar. 
  We attach our laptop to a moveable pedestal attached to the center of the dash. The laptop can be moved between driver and co-pilot.  Jack
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Offline Runcutter

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2007, 10:48:58 AM »
Kristine, I use both the DeLorme Street Atlas and the Magellan Roadmate, but for different purposes. 

The Street Atlas program alone isn't expensive, $30 to $50; the current version is Street Atlas 2007.  Running it on either the desktop or notebook computer, it is my trip planning tool.  While I have used it with the Earthmate GPS, having to set it up on the rental car passenger seat, or build a stand for the bus dashboard, isn't my preference.

For vehicles, I'm now using the Magellan Roadmate 760.  Yes, the screen is smaller than a notebook, but I have the audio turned on.  (You can use audio with DeLorme, so this isn't a unique feature).  If I set a route on the Magellan, I glance at the map occasionally, but follow the verbal cues.  That's a major increase in the safety factor, I don't have to take my eyes off the road.  If I decide to go a different way, or make a wrong turn because of lane choice, it will re-route me after a fairly short period of time.  The Magellan is about 6 inches long by 3.5 inches, the screen is four inches diagonal.  I can zoom in, or zoom out with the screen.

Since I'm a frequent airline traveller, the small size, and the fact that I can slap it on the rental car windshield with a suction cup mount is an advantage.  Before buying my first Magellan, I had to unwrap and plug in the notebook, boot it up on the passenger seat, and pray no one cut me off in traffic - to send it to the floor.  The suction cup mount isn't the best, I've had it fall of the windshield sometimes.  For the 4107, I'm going to install a permanent mount on the dashboard.  By the way, one other advantage of the small size is that it doesn't create much of a blind spot.

One advantage of having both, is each keeps the other honest.  Teaching a scheduling class in Michigan a few weeks ago, one showed that the route from the hotel to the transit authority was quite devious, while the other showed the straight line using a local road - some kind of glitch.  One version of DeLorme showed the route from the house to the church with multiple highways, about 20 miles.  In truth, it's leave the house, turn left, turn right, enter the parking lot 9 miles later - something was missing from the map database.  You can (and I do) get the same from looking at paper maps, always using something to cross-check the electronic devise. 

Since I've been on the DeLorme mailing list for years - probably going back 5-7 versions, I seem to recall a recent email that they're coming out with a portable stand-alone version.

There are a bunch of competitors on the mobile units, Tom Tom has some TV ads, Garmin makes some (I use a Garmin bag to protect my Magellan), Lowrance, etc. 

I do my shopping at Frye's Electronics, or their on-line site (outpost.com), and before I bought the last one I studied many on-line reviews (google search on GPS).  After study, I ended up getting the Magellan at Best Buy, when they had a rebate program.  The latest isn't necessarily the best, I chose the 760 rather than the 800 - while the 800 would play music, most cars have a radio - and the 760 had a bigger screen, which does make a difference.  Like all electronic gadgets, the market is constantly changing, and prices are falling.  My research from last Summer, and my choice of the 760, would not necessarily be valid now, nine months later.

I would suggest studying the reports/reviews on-line, but then visiting an electronics store to actually look at and play with the various alternatives.  Electronics stores should have more options than truckstops, at least that's what I've seen.  All that said, if you already have a notebook computer, with power, at the front of the coach - the cheapest way is Street Atlas, Microsoft, or whatever with a GPS receiver that plugs into the USB port.  The way I do it is just what works for me, so the other responses also have some very good points.

Good luck.

Arthur
Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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Offline DrivingMissLazy

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2007, 10:52:33 AM »
Is there any possibility of combining the GPS monitor with a Back Up Camera monitor and having it built into the dash?
Richard
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Offline Nick Badame Refrig/ACC

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2007, 12:04:18 PM »
Richard,

That is what my Pioneer system does..

It splits the screen with Nav. and backup. And you can send them to other tv's in the coach too.

Nick-
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Offline n4rsn

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2007, 12:25:28 PM »
I use the Garmin 18, with my laptop, and am really happy with it.
I paid about $75.00 for it, and there is not much there.
Steve

Offline rsmith

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2007, 04:24:04 PM »
Kristine,
I too was looking for a good GPS several months ago. I have programs for the laptop, but the last thing I wanted to do was lug the ol laptop everywhere. I was looking for something small, lightweight and portable enough to move from vehicle to vehicle.
I tried several different brands and had differing opinions for each one. There are many great systems out there.
A friend let me borrow his and now I refuse to give it back. It is a Delphi NAV200. It is by far the best and the easiest that I have come across. The internet list price is around 350.00 but I see them all the time on E-Bay selling brand new for around 200.00. Well worth the price if you are looking for the small portable type.
It has a 7" screen that is easily seen both day and night, a option for voice commands(scared the bejeebers out of me the first time I left that turned on) and requires nothing to download. Just put in the address and it gives you the best route turn by turn.
There are many systems out there and I tried many but I don't think you can beat this one.
I'm not really sure where you can find them in stores but as I said I see them on E-bay selling all the time.

Randy

Offline rip

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2007, 06:15:27 AM »
I use co-pilot in my laptop we really like it.My wife complained about using the laptop in our car,so I just ordered a garmin nuvi 660.We travell fulltime,so I hope we get a lot of use out of it to offset the high price.
      Don

Offline edroelle

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2007, 07:19:14 AM »
Like Jack, I use Delorme Street Atlas and Microsoft Streets and Trips.  To me, Microsoft is easier to learn, and more user friendly for mapping routes.  But, the Delorme is easier to use as a GPS.  Both are very powerful.  If you already have a laptop, it is a no-brainer between either of these and a stand-alone unit.

Ed Roelle
Flint, MI

Offline TomC

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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2007, 07:35:37 AM »
I have the Magellan Roadmate 360, which is a cheaper unit that does an excellent job of tracking your route.  I like it because it is a separate stand alone unit that only has to be plugged into the cigarette lighter, then just suction cups to the windshield with about a foot long goose neck.  I mounted mine right above the backup camera TV (the backup camera system was $165.00, now I think they are around $230.00).  On my last 17 day trip to Arizona, Utah and Nevada, the only thing I had to do was to punch in when we got into Arizona, and again we came into Nevada.  Only once did it send us astray when there were two locations with the same name (how often does that happen?).  What was really neat is when we were in a big city, we could ask where the nearest Safeway was, and it was on the unit!  It is about the 1.5 times the size of a deck of cards and does everything I need it to do.  My theory is to buy just what you need without a whole bunch of other junk built into it.  This unit is upgradeable over the internet for added streets.  Highly recommend it.  Good Luck, TomC
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Re: GPS systems.....good brands? what to look for?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2007, 07:54:52 AM »
 Since we have a 15" tablet laptop with touch screen I am in the process of ordering Co-pilot (plus the SDK's) and will be using X10 for the back camera and some of the control on the electricals. I need everything as big as possible so I can quickly check the screen and keep my eyes on the road. With the 15" screen
I should be able to run split screen between the two apps nicely.

  Skip