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Old 03-08-2018, 02:03 PM
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Default Car GPS Navigation systems? Are any any good?



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OK, Lady Friend needs an in-car GPS navigatior - Garmin/TomTom/????? As non-computer-literate as you can be and still be above ground. No sense of direction, either. Is now having to drive into Salt Lake City every 3 months to get medical services, (72 year old cancer survivor). City traffic has always buffaloed her.

She wants one with a big screen that will "talk to her". (What she WANTS is Onstar, but she's driving a Ford.)

I know from nothing about these. My OTR van has had a laptop running deLorme Topo coupled to a GPS since about Y2K, I do my own route planning thank you very much.

What advice has the assembled multitude got to offer?

Looked at Amazon. Garmin gets polarized reviews - either love it they hate it. The haters claim that it has gotten them lost.

I see a number of Chinese knockoffs. I don't buy Chinese off of Amazon, (been there, done that, burned the T-shirt ).

TomTom is another brand; any good? Is Magellan still in this market?

Got to be reliable finding addresses in SLC, and ultra-easy to program.

Thanks !
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:43 PM
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If she has an iPhone it does a pretty good job with providing directions. It even talks and tells you when to turn.
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:45 PM
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Garmin tends to be more user friendly....over the TOMTOM/Magellan units....


back when I sold GPS units.....we all had the opportunity to utilize all those you listed.....and Garmin all ways came away as the easiest for a non-tech person to use

and the street navigation units....will have voice prompts for turns


I can not address the pros and cons of "smart phones" gps.....as I have never had or ever will have a "smart phone"
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:08 PM
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I have used Tomtom for the last 10 years and it's accurate and very easy to use. As rustednail mentions, Garmins get better reviews. But there's nothing complicated about the Tomtom or my totally non techie mother could have never used hers.

Setting up a route is simple. Touch the state, then start touching the letters for the city name and it auto fills in the names. Click the right name, same with street names, then number. Click done and it routes.
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Old 03-08-2018, 06:07 PM
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Old TomTom units had good user interface that was copied over to the iPhone app. I have both and I like them a lot. Clean and simple.

New TomToms have different UI and my brother had one since the old one broke. He preferred the old one usability wise and the new one (cheapest he could find) is sometimes slow and lags at the most inconvenient times.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:18 PM
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GMAPS app on android phone. Tells you the turns, tells you the traffic and figures the best routes with traffic optimized.
You can download the city maps if you don't want to use up data.

Sit the phone sideways on the console. Works better than anything else I've used.
You can play the sound through the car radio using the bluetooth if you like, or keep the turn by turn audio on the phone speaker.

if you want a bigger screen get a cheap Samsung tab and use that instead, using your phone as a wifi hotspot.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:32 PM
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I've used Garmins for years, mainly because I learned how to load pirated maps. I travel all over the US for work and I wouldn't drive without one, but if the other brands didn't work people wouldn't buy them. Nothing worse than being half asleep in the middle of the night in Kansas City and not knowing how to get to your favorite motel. If you travel a lot you find eating and sleeping places that you like and having them in the GPS is very convenient.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:26 PM
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She thinks the iPhone screen is too small. (Hopeless to argue that one.)

If you need to use the iPhone as a phone, does that disable the app?

There's a dozen or so Garmin models offered on Amazon. Which ones are the latest and greatest? Is having the latest and greatest the way to go?

"Evolution does not always mean improvement." (Steven Jay Gould.)
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by The Old Coach View Post
She thinks the iPhone screen is too small. (Hopeless to argue that one.)

If you need to use the iPhone as a phone, does that disable the app?

There's a dozen or so Garmin models offered on Amazon. Which ones are the latest and greatest? Is having the latest and greatest the way to go?

"Evolution does not always mean improvement." (Steven Jay Gould.)
No, the phone (android), still works while the APP is still navigating.

For $100 or so, a Samsung 7 inch screen TAB with wifi can run GMAPS using the cell phone as a hot spot. Bingo, giant screen GPS.
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Old 03-09-2018, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLF View Post
Old TomTom units had good user interface that was copied over to the iPhone app. I have both and I like them a lot. Clean and simple.

New TomToms have different UI and my brother had one since the old one broke. He preferred the old one usability wise and the new one (cheapest he could find) is sometimes slow and lags at the most inconvenient times.
That's my experience too. I have and old Tom Tom and a new one.

I can't figure out the new one. Sure I can find a destination and plug that in. I can't find a way to have it run without a destination plugged in. Just not as user friendly as the older original Tom Tom.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:04 AM
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@OP before I get to the "which brand to choose" part, I will elaborate different kind of automobile navigation system and their pros & cons.

Basically automobile nav system could be differ by their originating manufacturer which included in the vehicle sales package.

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)

This is the kind of navigation system that came integrated with the vehicle and they work by fusing data input from GPS signals, gyroscope, compass, speedometer, and pedometer.

Pros:
  • By processing all those input the unit could reliably determine the vehicle location & course even when travelling inside a tunnel.
  • The placement and the size of the unit is already well thought of by the vehicle manufacture so it's onboard sensors (compass & gyroscope) will not be effected by any magnetic interference or vibration that come from the engine or from other aspect of vehicle operation.
  • Usually also integrated with the vehicle build in entertainment system (audio & video) by acting as media player.

Cons:
  • The map is severely out of date, and unlikely to be updated
  • Due to the integration nature of the unit, it's unlikely the operating system or the accompanying software could be modified or modernized.

After market :

As the name implies. This include the use of consumer electronic devices such as tablet, and smartphone.

Pros:
  • Depending on which brand the unit belong or the navigation app, the map is always updated by downloading them from the unit manufacturer website or from other source with compatible map format.
  • The operating system and the accompanying app could always be upgraded or modernized to suit consumer need.

Cons:
  • They can't read / process input from vehicle pedometer & speedometer, which make the unit unable to determine location when travelling inside a tunnel or underpass.
  • Onboard sensors (compass & gyroscope) could potentially be effected by magnetic interference or vibration that come from the engine or from other aspect of vehicle operation.
  • Consumer need to setup the unit themselves (or hire someone to do so)

Now return to your question. I would highly recommend using Android based tablet that is charged from either from power bank or from the vehicle cigar lighter socket (make sure to use voltage regulator when charging / powering anything from cigar lighter socket).

By using Android based tablet not only the map could be easily updated, the Text-to-Speech synthesizer could also be change accordingly.

I personally use Samsung S4 (I-9500) with Sygic GPS Navigation app.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Coach View Post
She thinks the iPhone screen is too small. (Hopeless to argue that one.)
You don't need to watch the screen. I just plug in an address and follow the verbal instructions, such as, "In 400 feet turn right on Excelsior Avenue."
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varuna View Post
@OP before I get to the "which brand to choose" part, I will elaborate different kind of automobile navigation system and their pros & cons.

Basically automobile nav system could be differ by their originating manufacturer which included in the vehicle sales package.

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)

This is the kind of navigation system that came integrated with the vehicle and they work by fusing data input from GPS signals, gyroscope, compass, speedometer, and pedometer.

Pros:
  • By processing all those input the unit could reliably determine the vehicle location & course even when travelling inside a tunnel.
  • The placement and the size of the unit is already well thought of by the vehicle manufacture so it's onboard sensors (compass & gyroscope) will not be effected by any magnetic interference or vibration that come from the engine or from other aspect of vehicle operation.
  • Usually also integrated with the vehicle build in entertainment system (audio & video) by acting as media player.

Cons:
  • The map is severely out of date, and unlikely to be updated
  • Due to the integration nature of the unit, it's unlikely the operating system or the accompanying software could be modified or modernized.

After market :

As the name implies. This include the use of consumer electronic devices such as tablet, and smartphone.

Pros:
  • Depending on which brand the unit belong or the navigation app, the map is always updated by downloading them from the unit manufacturer website or from other source with compatible map format.
  • The operating system and the accompanying app could always be upgraded or modernized to suit consumer need.

Cons:
  • They can't read / process input from vehicle pedometer & speedometer, which make the unit unable to determine location when travelling inside a tunnel or underpass.
  • Onboard sensors (compass & gyroscope) could potentially be effected by magnetic interference or vibration that come from the engine or from other aspect of vehicle operation.
  • Consumer need to setup the unit themselves (or hire someone to do so)

Now return to your question. I would highly recommend using Android based tablet that is charged from either from power bank or from the vehicle cigar lighter socket (make sure to use voltage regulator when charging / powering anything from cigar lighter socket).

By using Android based tablet not only the map could be easily updated, the Text-to-Speech synthesizer could also be change accordingly.

I personally use Samsung S4 (I-9500) with Sygic GPS Navigation app.
Isn't the lack of Cell Service the other major con of a cell phone based navigation?
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drobs View Post
Isn't the lack of Cell Service the other major con of a cell phone based navigation?
Why do you need cell phone service for navigation anyway..? Satellite navigation (as the name implies) rely in using signal from GPS satellites (you know that things that fly in space)
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varuna View Post
Why do you need cell phone service for navigation anyway..? Satellite navigation (as the name implies) rely in using signal from GPS satellites (you know that things that fly in space)
I understand the concept of gps satellites.

However, I'm 1 step up from a flip phone. Didn't realize that modern cellphones have a GPS receiver in them.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Coach View Post
She wants one with a big screen that will "talk to her". (What she WANTS is Onstar, but she's driving a Ford.)

I see a number of Chinese knockoffs. I don't buy Chinese off of Amazon, (been there, done that, burned the T-shirt ).

TomTom is another brand; any good? Is Magellan still in this market?

Got to be reliable finding addresses in SLC, and ultra-easy to program.

Thanks !
Try ask her which tablet brand / type she is most comfortable.

Every Android tablet is good enough for navigation (in fact I'm currently testing the viability of using Sony Z3 Compact as complete Sea & Land navigation system)

BTW might wanna avoid buying any of those ChiCom navigation tablets, seriously they are piece of junks
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varuna View Post

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)


Cons:
  • The map is severely out of date, and unlikely to be updated
  • Due to the integration nature of the unit, it's unlikely the operating system or the accompanying software could be modified or modernized.
I've had OEM GPS in every vehicle I've owned for the past 15 or so years. Every one of them had the ability to update maps. Usually by DVD but my new Mercedes motorhome has a Garman GPS entertainment radio. It runs off of a detachable android tablet. I can update it's firmware, maps and OS via USB or wifi.
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