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Car GPS reviews

Last updated: 19 January 2015

We test 10 car GPS navigation devices priced between $199 and $398 to find the best performing models with a range of basic and premium features.

Not quite sure what you're looking for? Our GPS buying guide will steer you in the right direction

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The rise of the smartphone app has forced car GPS device manufacturers to offer more for less in an effort to counter the competition. Most models now include free map upgrades for the life of the product as well as Bluetooth connectivity and live traffic updates – premium features previously reserved for the higher-end models.

While there are several models available for each brand, the differences are generally no more significant than a larger or smaller screen, or live traffic updates offered as an option rather than included in the unit.

Use our review to find out which models have the features that matter to you. We also assess GPS systems on:

  • ease of use
  • performance in city areas
  • performance in rural and regional areas.
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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Recommended retail pricing as of December 2014.

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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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Points of interest score

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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.

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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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Features

Bluetooth
Lane guidance
Lifetime maps included
Live traffic included
Walking mode

Specifications

Screen size (inches)

Included in this review

Members-only access
  • CHOICE Buy
  • Overall score
  • Bench test score
  • Ease of use score
  • Points of interest score
  • Screen quality score
  • Verbal instructions score
  • Speed of map refresh score
  • Ready to navigate
  • No tolls
  • No unsealed roads
  • No highways
  • More than one TTS
  • Map provider
  • Claimed battery life
  • NZ Map support
  • Other countries available
  • Touchscreen type
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Walking mode
  • Cycling mode
  • Announces school zones
  • Full-route display
  • Lane guidance
  • Landmark guidance
  • Safety cameras
  • Fixed speed camera warning
  • Current speed limit
  • Over the speed limit warning
  • Text To Speech (TTS)
  • Remote trip planning
  • Itinerary planning
  • Widescreen
  • Bluetooth
  • Trip log
  • Live traffic included
  • Lifetime maps included
  • Mac support OSX
  • Memory card
  • Screen dimensions
  • Screen resolution (pixels)
  • Screen size (inches)
  • Weight
  • Contact
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