GPS car navigation review Nov 2009

Find the best GPS system for both city and country driving, whether in a car or on a motorcycle.
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05.What to look for

  • Routing options You can program the GPS to exclude toll roads, unsealed roads or highways from the calculated route.
  • Announces school zone Provide warnings when approaching a school zone where speed limits are reduced. Some models announce when you are approaching a school, while others simply show up as a speed alert.
  • Most car GPS devices project the full-route display as a line on the map from your existing position through to your destination.
  • Lane guidance informs you when to move to the exit lane and displays complex multi-lane manoeuvres clearly.
  • Walking mode allows you to plot a route for pedestrians, such as walking the wrong way down one-way streets or taking a short-cut through a park.
  • Text to Speech (TTS) allows you to get information on when to turn without having to glance at the screen with the unit saying the street name all have this feature now except the Mio A350 and Tom Tom Rider 2nd edition motorbike model.
  • Remote trip planning allows you to run through your driving route in virtual mode before you even get into the car (also known as A-B routing). allows you to run through your driving route in virtual mode before you even get into the car (also known as A-B routing).
  • Some units can communicate with Bluetooth-enabled phones, allowing you to make phone calls by selecting certain Points of Interest or POIs.
  • Some units can show photo images, play certain video formats and even display text documents as an e-book.
  • SUNA This allows you to collect live traffic information out of the box with a SUNA subscription integrated into the car GPS unit or as an optional extra.
  • Mac compatibility If you want to use your car GPS on a computer, all models on test provide some functionality on a Windows (XP or Vista) machine. However, the Navman, Mio and ALDI models do not offer support for Apple Mac OSX.
  • SD or Micro SD memory card slot except the Mio A350, A450 and the TomTom One 140 and TomTom XL 340 allow you to store images music and video files as well as the latest maps.  
  • Trip recording or Trip log takes note of your travels and saves the information as a set of positional points to post online into an application such as Google Earth.
  • Display of car speed, distance to destination, estimated time of arrival, street names and distance to the next turn.
  • Day and night mode; in the latter, the screen changes colour and turns down the brightness so it won’t blind the driver when looking at it in the dark.
  • USB connections for uploading data to a PC.  

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