Need Advice for Purchasing a GPS...

WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8aAugust 27, 2012

system for my granddaughter, please. The only GPS I have used is built into my car, so I have no idea what a good portable system is. I have done some Google research, but can't get a feel for what people recommend. Also, did some review reading on Amazon and don't see any 4 1/2 or 5 star ratings.

Would you mind pointing me in the right direction please.

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You trying to find a lost kid in the mall,,, or is the kid trying to find her way home ?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:04AM
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I'm assuming we're talking about a GPS for a vehicle, not something for the back country. Is there a budget?

Consumer Reports might be a good place to start.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Hand held types eat batteries.

My water proof Garmin Etrex is hard to read w/o specs (for me) the buttons are hard to push, the menu is tough to figure out w/o constant use. It can't be plugd in to a power supply. Gotta carry extra batteries.

My son's iphone gps-app is superior in every way. Xcpt not waterproof.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:23AM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

mxyplx, thanks for the reminder. My granddaughter's phone also has a gsp system, so that will save me some money. Just hadn't thought about that.

Thanks for the responses everyone.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:52AM
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I got a garmin nuvi 2555lm in May for a trip and I love it. Had an older basic garmin and it was going to cost more than it was worth for the map updates.

The new one has free map updates for life so I just hook it to the computer to get them. I love the lane assist on this plus I can show my photos on it and listen to audio books, has a memory card slot. I also like I can search for stores, gas stations and stuff in the area where I am traveling.

I can do pay per use GPS on my phone or pay for the monthly subscription for GPS but since I need it more and more now for me the one time cost of the garmin was a better choice.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Can you make the instantaneous speed full size in the window?
I couldn't tell from the site.

I'd love to have one hanging under the foredeck that I could read from 8 feet away.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Don't think you can do that it just shows up over the map like that and stays there. Mary

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Google maps on Android phones (sorry Apple) is a capable (and free) stand-in for a portable GPS. In this case, I think single-purpose-designed devices are better for regular use. For those with limited data plans, it seems silly to consume data transmissions unnecessarily by using a smartphone. GPS devices are cheap enough.

Garmin Etrex is poorly suited for car use, it was designed for a different purpose. It's lacking the few basic features that even the cheapest "portable for car use" units have

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 6:06PM
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I just have a multimedia phone for talk and text so don't pay extra to have data with it as it's not a good phone to surf the web and a smart phone would be much better if I was gonna pay for data. I have a kindle fire I take every where with me so when traveling I can pull into any McDonalds parking lock and hook in. Mary

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 6:13PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Granddaughter advised she cannot hear the GPS sound well enough on her phone to be able to use it. So, back to square one.

I don't have a subscription to Consumer Reports so that is out for reviewing.

The kid is direction disabled, has just started driving, and I truly don't want her to get lost when it is fairly easily avoidable by purchasing a GPS. I had not even thought about budget, but will have to work that out.

Once again, suggestions, please.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:15PM
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Would a stick-on mounted compass help? Be a cheap $10 at Walmart interim solution till you get squared away.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:44PM
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There is a separate sound adjustment for features such as GPS in many phones. Before you buy anything, your granddaughter needs to check the various volume settings on her phone to make sure that the one used for the GPS is set correctly.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 1:07PM
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The model I posted the sound is loud and clear. Do you have any friends that have GPS devices you might look at and check them out that way? My friend just got the model up from me where you can speak to it and I got to play with and do her map and software updates and it was nice. Screen was smaller than mine so I think I prefer my larger screen better for me and I don't need to talk to it. Mary

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 2:39PM
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It looks like Dec 2010 was the last consumer reports on GPS and I seem to have misplaced my copy somewhere. I think those listings would be well out of date. My guess is that they are all fine.

I think that they are very useful but I am concerned that all of us, and presumably young inexperienced people in particular are losing track of reality by relying on computers, and actual physical reality in this case.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 11:55PM
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You said "I think that they are very useful but I am concerned that all of us, and presumably young inexperienced people in particular are losing track of reality by relying on computers...."

Computers, smart phones, and the various other electronic devices around us ARE today's reality. The genie you're concerned about is long out of the bottle, and isn't going back in.

I agree with you that along with adapting, everyone needs to figure out how to not lose the useful skills and habits that were essential in the thrilling days of yesteryear.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Sage advice snidely. Something we can all use. Thanks. Children, pay attention!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 6:51AM
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'coomputers...are today's reality' until you are on the wrong side of town with no idea how you got there and are 20 miles and 40 minutes away from your destination and 50 minutes late when your device said you were 5 minutes early, all because you accidently selected the wrong town/street or whatever, and didn't notice that you were going in the wrong direction. Or the real car ran you over while you scanned or listened to your device. And when you choose the correct destination, you still don't know how to get there again when your device is broken/missing.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:16PM
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You have quite an imagination, chas.

Maybe 15 years ago, I was on a trip to a Southern city I'd never been to before. I flew in the night before and found my hotel with directions from the car rental company. I got up in the morning needing to drive about 10 miles to an appointment. I asked the woman at the hotel's front desk how to get to 3600 XYZ Street, she gave me directions. As I got off the freeway, I realized something was wrong, I was in a seedy neighborhood (abandoned buildings, those not abandoned had bars over doors and windows) although I WAS in the 3600 block of XYZ street. I cautiously found a payphone (yeah, that long ago), made a call, and was informed that I must have gone to 3600 EAST XYZ Street instead of 3600 West XYZ Street. I sheepishly arrived 20 minutes late to my meeting. I'll refrain from describing my personal emotions that morning.

As for your various silly scenarios, wrong destination details will always take you to the wrong place, whether you're using technology or asking for directions in a gas station. I've learned to get accurate information and a cross street, it helps. Devices don't break so suddenly as you would like to suggest.

You should be happy using whatever method works for you. Personally, I won't own a car without a GPS system, and I have a portable one to use when I travel and rent cars. I've been using them for >10 years, daily and in far-flung places, and none of the things you mention have ever happened to me. A few silly routings, of course, that's part of the fun. Have I gotten lost or failed to arrive where desired? Never.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 2:31AM
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I had a silly routing by my own fault. Decided I wanted to visit a craft store in Maryland we don't have here but silly me wrote the address down for the location in Virginia across the river not Maryland by where I was staying. Punched the address into the garmin and thought it strange it was taking me out in the country but no matter I figured I would see the country side and enjoy it.

Going along lovely winding tree lined country roads, even passed a neat antiqure ford out for a ride in the country on a nice sunny day. Then I come to what I think is a park and a river but there is a line of cars and I was cofused. Garmen says take ferry, what? Well the only way to get across to the craft store was on this ferry since the address I typed in was for Virginia across the river. I didn't take the time to do it but when I got home googled about the ferry and learned where I had gone, was actually fun. If I every go back I am going to take the ferry as I have never been on a ferry with my car before. Mary

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 2:46AM
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Excuse me snidely, but there was nothing silly or particularly imaginative about my examples. They were perfectly reasonable, and even supported by your own story of minimal misdirection. I did not suggest that the GPS was at fault although that is sometimes the case. I simply suggested that through confusion and human error, a gps will direct you to the wrong place, but if one was paying attention to landmarks and the sun etc., they might realize that they were going in the wrong direction.

Secondly, people lose cell phones, gps units, and remote controls under their butts, all the time. And when they break, often or seldom, you can't use them, and have to find your own way back to places who's route was not focused on.

I suspect that the reason you never got lost (except when you did) was that you used your "real world" experience along with your gps to guide you. I was specifically concerned about inexperienced (young) people completely relying on a gps.

I don't think I suggested that I didn't use one. Of course I do. Unfortunately, I have been clumsy enough that I have more than once found I was going in the wrong direction and had to correct the gps address.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Chas, I think you have a very unique point of view. That's ok, you're welcome to your opinions. You do seem to be stretching, though, in enumerating what you see to be problems.

"Confusion and human error" lead to undesired results in any task. I've met dozens and dozens of self described "directionally challenged" people who sing the praises of how GPS devices have saved them from ever getting lost again. Haven't you? Many in my family fit that description, and none of them could watch a sunset and tell you which direction is north, without thinking about it (if at all).

Concerning your silly explanation about what you see as a factor of device unreliability, I suggest you not buy sunglasses or other eyeware, because if you sit on them, they'll break too.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:40PM
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I have a Tom Tom, which I like. So far, it is the only gps, that can actually locate my house. All the others want to send people down the road and to a house on the opposite side. Mine did that too, but, after updating, it finds my house perfectly.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Maybe the other's need the map updates to find your house or something, weird. Mary

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:32PM
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The accuracy of any GPS depends on the accuracy of the maps loaded onto it. I have had two different GPSes, that cannot find my house. They lead you via an old logging road that does not exist any more. I have had more than one delivery person call my on the phone for directions after their GPS led them astray.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Wonder how the GPS would have handled my adventure in Huntsville Alabama 45 years ago.

My verbal directions over the phone were to get on MORO DRIVE and proceed etc etc. Drove all the way from Nashville TN and couldn't find it. Stopped at a gas station, asked for Moro Drive and they said go that way a few blocks can't miss it. After obviously missing it I spotted a postman. I asked him if he knew where was Moro Drive. He said it was 3 streets back. This time I got cagey and asked if the nearest street was street 1 or street zero etc. We got that settled and I proceeded along methodically counting the streets one-two-three and stopped and carefully read the sign. It clearly said MEMORIAL DRIVE.

Well? :-)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 7:18PM
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In my initial post, I suggested that any gps should be fine. I probably should have added that the free update units would be better. I would like to point out that my garmin claimed multiple updates per year and I have only seen one in 20 months, but that is good enough for me.

One point about the various posts about actual gps errors. This relies on both the speed of gps updates AND the two mapping companies. My original gps was missing a street in my neighborhood and had my street (and another) misspelled and located in the middle of our property. The mapping co. associated with my gps had a correction site that I filled out. It took two years before the mapping co. got around to updating the names and locations. I could watch for those updates on google maps, that apparently relied on this company as well. Presumably, our subdivision design was submitted somewhere, and than the roads were built in slightly different locations. It was interesting to see the world view clearly showing roads while the overlay streets were drawn 'over there' or non-existent. The misspellings probably made it difficult for a visitor typing in an address although I suppose that (all?) modern gps will give you options and a misspelling wouldn't do one in.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:07AM
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