Need GPS education - Jemsite
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2006, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
 
kennydoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,422
Need GPS education

Hey all

I'm considering buying a GPS system for the car (duh), but i need some info...

here are my questions:
1. Is there such a thing as a decent unit under $400? I know they exist, but are they worth it? I saw some models with Bluetooth and mp3 players, etc. I don't need any of that. I just need the basics.

2. Is it a service that i have to pay a monthly charge for? Or is everything loaded into the system and I just have to activate it so the satellite knows where i am?

3. Does it need to be installed/hard wired into the car like a car stereo or is it a stand-alone unit that I could conceivably take from car to car if i was going on a road trip in someone else's car? Is there a 2nd piece that acts as the receiver or is the receiver located inside the unit?

4. Where does the power come from? I know they say 'rechargeable batteries', but can i run it off the cig lighter?

5. I have a fancy PDA phone (Cingular 8125) that runs Windows Mobile 5.0 - can i use the phone as a GPS device if i load it with the proper software instead of buying a unit?

Speak out and educate me!
thanks
~Kenny
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 03:48 PM
 
Joel Lyndgohrd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Finland
Posts: 633
Re: Need GPS education

Hey Kenny,

I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. Can't say if it works the same way in America as in Finland, but it should. As a truck driver I'm always going to new places and the GPS has helped me out quite a bit. (have had mine for about a year now.) I use a HP iPAQ rz1710 with TOMTOM incase you are wondering.

Quote:
1. Is there such a thing as a decent unit under $400? I know they exist, but are they worth it? I saw some models with Bluetooth and mp3 players, etc. I don't need any of that. I just need the basics.
I'm sure there are. If you are just looking for the basic features at least. I paid €395 (or was it €495 ) for mine about a year ago and I'm sure prices has gone down. Check out www.tomtom.com for some good info.

Quote:
2. Is it a service that i have to pay a monthly charge for? Or is everything loaded into the system and I just have to activate it so the satellite knows where i am?
The good thing with the GPS is that after you bought the hardware (or software) it will not cost you any more money. Wonder how long that is going to last? So, free to use as much as you want.

Quote:
4. Where does the power come from? I know they say 'rechargeable batteries', but can i run it off the cig lighter?
I'd say that pretty much all GPS come with a adapter that you can put in the cig lighter, and if not, it is not worth buying. It will run on batteries too of course.

Quote:
5. I have a fancy PDA phone (Cingular 8125) that runs Windows Mobile 5.0 - can i use the phone as a GPS device if i load it with the proper software instead of buying a unit?
I'm sure you can. My GPS is basically a Hewlett Packard PDA with TOMTOM GPS software in it. So I can't see why it would not work.

Hope the info helped at least a little bit.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 04:12 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Posts: 3,614
Re: Need GPS education

+1.

I've got a Sony NV-U50 and it is very good. The main differences between the units are how fast they get back on track after tunnels and the likes. As they get no signal under ground. Just make sure the one you get got a US map.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
 
kennydoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,422
Re: Need GPS education

Thanks guys. I did a little research about getting it on my PDA, but i don't think it'll be cost effective - there's a monthly fee and they keep track of how much you use it. i think

anyone else have info?
~K
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-05-2006, 10:34 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: VA
Posts: 2,150
Re: Need GPS education

I've got a Garmin Streetpilot 2620. Plugs into the cigarette lighter, workes anywhere in the US (or overseas with new maps), no monthly fees. Nice map display, and I've got her loaded with a nice sexy female british accent voice. I take it with me whenever I travel and throw it in the rental car. I never get lost.

Best feature is the search engine. You can have it locate restaurants, gas stations, hotels, or whatever by category or specific name. You can even search "guitar" or "musical" to find gear shops. It also shows real time speed, ETA, distance and time to next turn. Very cool.

It's one of the absolute best investments I ever made. The 2620's been discontinued, but you can find them for $450 to $700 still.
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