Here, we've tested nine GPS systems, priced from $129 to $449.
On this page, you'll find:
The rise of the smartphone app has forced car GPS device makers to offer more for less in an effort to counter the challenge that GPS apps present.
Most of the models we bought for this test include free map upgrades for the life of the product, however many of them also have a limited time offer. Most models on test also have Bluetooth connectivity, and several have included live traffic updates - premium features previously reserved for the higher-end $600+ models.
The overall quality and ease of use of car GPS devices has also improved and they have special features for planning trips and navigating through unfamiliar territory quickly and easily. However, it is still useful to consider whether your smartphone, placed in an appropriate cradle to ensure safe use while driving, can add navigation device to the long list of tasks it already performs.
This update to our GPS test includes nine newly tested models. All are good performers in city and regional areas, but it’s the rural test that continues to show the biggest differences between GPS units. However, these are becoming less significant, with some newer units delivering improved rural results compared to the models they've replaced.
We've changed our test method
Because all units perform well in the city, we’ve simplified the city driving component of our test. Our rural testing this time around included regions in South Australia and Victoria to help us discover any variance in performance outside the city areas.
Due to the change in test method for the 2013 test, performance results for the 2013 test can't be directly compared with the previous test results.
Although you can compare overall results generally with models we have tested in the past you can't make an accurate direct comparison as we have added additional regions to our test in an attempt to cover more of Australia. We'll be retesting previous models under the new method if these models are still available for our next road test towards the end of 2013.
Calling 000? Try 112 instead
When travelling in the outback, your GPS device may be able to tell you where you are, but it won’t be able to get you out of trouble if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere.
The emergency number to call is 112 if you’re lost or under duress – all you need is a network signal and emergency services should be able to locate you. This number will work on your mobile as long as it can get any network signal and doesn’t have to be your phone network. In fact, you don’t even need a SIM in the phone. The standard 000 should perform the same way for phones produced after 2002, however 112 will work on any GSM mobiles.
For more information on GPS, see Cars.
CHOICE's experts independently test a wide range of products and services to bring you unbiased reviews, product comparison tools and buying advice that is trusted by 140,000+ members.
Get access to all
Video: How we test GPS units
CHOICE puts a collection of GPS navigation units through their paces.
This test includes nine newly tested models under an expanded testing method to include an additional region (Victoria).
Models tested (2013)
- Garmin nϋvi 2495LMT*
- Garmin nϋvi 2595LMT*
- Garmin nϋvi 3590LMT*
- Navman EZY100T *
- Navman EZY200 *
- TomTom Via 260 *
- TomTom Via 280 *
- TomTom Via 620 *
- Navig8r C50 *
* Newly tested.
Models tested (2012)
- Garmin nϋvi 2250
- Garmin nϋvi 50
- Navman EZY45
- Navman My80T
- Navman MY85XLT
- Navman MyEscape
- TomTom GO LIVE 2050 (Australia)
- TomTom GO LIVE 820
- TomTom Via 220
- Uniden IGO500
- TomTom Start 10
- TomTom Via 180
How we test
Accuracy of directions in city and rural regions, Ease of use (including instructions, installation and removal), Menu structure, Verbal instructions, Screen quality, Points of interest (POI), Map refresh speed, Durability, Temperature adjustment, Water resistance for motorbike units
Get access to our independent testing reports and save yourself time and money.