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Last updated: 12 September 2018

We test car GPS navigation devices priced between $80 and $499 to find the best performing models with a range of basic and premium features. We also test a range of the most popular car GPS apps available from companies such as Apple, Google, TomTom and Waze, for iOS and Android devices.

  • Our GPS vs apps guide will steer you in the right direction if you're not sure what you need.
  • Find out how we test GPS devices and apps out on the road.
  • A dash cam (dashboard camera) can help you keep an eye on the road, and may plug into your GPS unit.
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Our experts test-drive every GPS unit and app to find the models and programs that:

  • are the easiest to use
  • perform best in city areas
  • perform best in rural and regional areas.

We also look for important additional features such as live traffic updates, safety (speed and red light) camera and school zone alerts, Bluetooth for hands-free phone use, trip planning and public transport information.

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Recommended retail pricing as of September 2018.

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Lane guidance

Lifetime maps included

Live traffic included

Walking mode

Test results

Verbal instructions score

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We assess the quality of the voice, timing of turn and other instructions, how clear the instructions are, and whether it's possible to rely on verbal instructions without looking at the screen.

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Screen quality score

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We assesses: 1) map readability including route and road clarity, as well as text size 2) visibility in bright/daylight, 3) visibility at night/in low light. Extra points are also awarded if the unit automatically activates dimming when driving through a tunnel.

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Speed of map refresh score

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Our tester checks how long it takes the GPS to recover after a missed turn, and after coming out of a tunnel, with a planned turn-off immediately after the tunnel exit.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Ease of use score

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We assess how useful the GPS's instructions are, how easy it is to attach and remove the unit and whether it vibrates during travel. We look at how easy it is to use the menu structure on the touchscreen and, where supplied, whether it's necessary to use a stylus to navigate the menu.

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Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Recommended
  • Overall score
  • Bench test score
  • Ease of use score
  • Points of interest score
  • Screen quality score
  • Verbal instructions score
  • Speed of map refresh score
  • Time from start to ready to navigate (sec)
  • Map provider
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Availability
  • Type
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Walking mode
  • Cycling mode
  • Voice recognition
  • No tolls
  • No unsealed roads
  • No highways
  • Announces school zones
  • Full-route display
  • Drag to edit route
  • Lane guidance
  • Landmark guidance
  • Public transport information
  • Safety cameras
  • Fixed speed camera warning
  • Current speed limit
  • Over the speed limit warning
  • Text To Speech (TTS)
  • More than one TTS
  • Remote trip planning
  • Itinerary planning
  • Bluetooth
  • Trip log
  • Live traffic included
  • Live traffic update mechanism
  • Lifetime maps included
  • Mac support OSX
  • NZ Map support
  • Other countries available
  • Offline base maps
  • Memory card
  • Auto orientation
  • Touchscreen type
  • Screen dimensions
  • Screen resolution (pixels)
  • Screen size (inches)
  • Weight
  • Contact
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