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Old 08-06-2015, 09:11 AM   #21
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My Garmin Nuvi is dedicated to my car with a hard wire setup. Cost was about $2500 less than a in-dash unit upgrade when purchasing the car.

Lifetime maps is great and I can remove it at a hotel by unclipping it from it's holder. I have it mounted in the lower left portion of the inside of the windshield just below the inspection sticker.
Is it legal in your state to mount the GPS on the windshield?

50% of states have laws against windshield mounting. It's legal in my state but not in the neighboring state (20 miles away).
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:20 AM   #22
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I like the screen size of a dedicated GPS and I recently traded my defective garmin Nuvi 1450 with a lifetime map updates for a Nuvi 2589 for only $119. The new unit has voice activated navigation that makes it much easier to navigate without having to input an address.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:12 AM   #23
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Is it legal in your state to mount the GPS on the windshield?

50% of states have laws against windshield mounting. It's legal in my state but not in the neighboring state (20 miles away).
I've been doing it occasionally in rental cars, had no idea it was illegal anywhere. I learn something every day...
GPS Windshield Mounts Illegal in over Half the U.S. - GPS Tracklog
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:59 AM   #24
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Maybe the auto manufacturers got that law passed.

Yeah if you think built-in GPS is ridiculously overpriced, wait until you see what they'll try to charge for built-in computers and systems for self-driving car.

They'll claim their systems are designed to outlast temperature extremes and so on.

The worst part is that with some import brands, you have to take the GPS as some part of a package of options. Some of those are options you want like bluetooth while in many cases, the only available inventory has these expensive options packages.

So a lot of people end up getting GPS even if they use their phones instead.
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Old 08-06-2015, 12:36 PM   #25
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People may wonder where I put the laptop or netbook to run map software when driving.

My motorhome has a big dashboard, plus the computer is in front of the right seat, far from me, as my wife is the navigator. It can accommodate a laptop without blocking my view at all. I only glance at the map occasionally to confirm what my wife said.

Same when we drive around with the dinghy, although she often has to rest it on her lap, because the dashboard is not sufficiently deep and the netbook may fall down. A laptop is just too big for the car. Hence, I try to use the smartphone as much as possible when touring with the dinghy, so that she does not have to continually hold the computer.
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Old 08-06-2015, 01:35 PM   #26
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I've been smart phone GPS'ing exclusively for the last 4 years or so (since I got my first smart phone). Google Maps is my go to in the US where I have (free) cell service. Overseas, I use google maps offline for the mapping and location part. The GPS nav won't work without cell service I don't think.

A decent GPS navigation without cell data is the maps.me app. I didn't like it as much as google maps so rarely used it. You download a map data pack (for free) for whatever state(s) or country(ies) you are visiting.

If you need a cheap cell phone and free cell service, freedompop is pretty good. I saw they had a $40 smart phone that includes free cell service (their deals come and go of course). Better deal than a GPS IMHO, and the 500 mb/month of free data should be plenty for even the hardiest GPS users. And you also have a phone, 2 way comm device, email, texts, camera, etc in the same device.
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Old 08-06-2015, 02:21 PM   #27
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Yes! I've been using the smartphone exclusively. Typically I use Google Maps. However, there is also the free for Android "Here Maps" which lets you download maps for offline use. It is made by Nokia and equally as good as Google Maps for Navigation. Zero need for the standalone GPS.
Good to know about the Android "Here Maps". I've been using a cheap no-service windows phone as a stand-by nav-unit. Works great.

Would be nice to get ability to add way-points to a route though. Probably possible on some dedicated nav units; not seen it in a phone.
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Old 08-06-2015, 02:41 PM   #28
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Co Pilot claims to have waypoint ability, but it is android only.
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Old 08-06-2015, 03:12 PM   #29
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Hey, thanks to earlier posters who mentioned some free maps for Android.

We have a couple of old iPhones, but also an 8" Android tablet that my wife uses to watch youtube videos. I have downloaded a couple of apps for it, such as an OBD display, and they work great. I have meant to get a map app for it, but keep forgetting. This tablet has a built-in GPS. Its screen size will beat any smartphone.
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Old 08-06-2015, 03:29 PM   #30
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Right but for most passenger cars, you can't have too big a screen on the dashboard because it would obscure the windshield.
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Old 08-06-2015, 03:57 PM   #31
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I've used my nexus 4 for most of my road GPS needs. It just died and I went with a more modest phone, but expect it will do well for on the road GPS needs.

For backwoods hiking...no cell towers, electricity, etc... I think I'm going to pick up a dedicated GPS where I can change batteries instead of bring a solar cell and try to charge a transfer battery and recharge the phone at night. Plus this will work internationally without extending my cell plan.
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:09 PM   #32
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Right but for most passenger cars, you can't have too big a screen on the dashboard because it would obscure the windshield.
The iPhone 6 Plus screen is already 5.5". When Apple comes out with iPhone 9, it will finally catch up to this 8" tablet.

Come to think of it, the tablet will be perfect for my wife to use while being my navigator in the car, except that the netbook is still better for the motorhome.
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Old 08-06-2015, 06:04 PM   #33
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For backwoods hiking...no cell towers, electricity, etc... I think I'm going to pick up a dedicated GPS where I can change batteries instead of bring a solar cell and try to charge a transfer battery and recharge the phone at night. Plus this will work internationally without extending my cell plan.
I've used a couple of car GPS's for hiking, and have had a lot of problems with no satellite access due to tree cover and being on the downhill side of the mountain. I have been thinking about getting dedicated backpacker's GPS and seeing how that works. Of course it's been a few years since I tried them. Maybe they are better at dealing with the tree cover now.
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Old 08-06-2015, 07:42 PM   #34
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I'm not a big fan of either. Recently, I had to go from western Canada to Bozeman Montana. I printed googlemaps directions, looked at my Magellan GPS instructions and consulted a map. The results:
1) googlemaps via PC. took a bit of a roundabout route, estimated 11 hours
2) GPS. took a different route, no time estimate
3) map, then put my chosen route into GPS. Got there in ~8 hours.

Option 3 lets you calculate the best route and then the GPS tells you where to turn. It wasn't perfect, wanted to go through some towns (like Malta Montana) rather than use a shorter route around them
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:27 PM   #35
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I use the Garmin for road trips, because 1) I'm concerned about needing a cell connection for the smartphone GPS, although the 'Here' maps on my windows phone can be downloaded on the phone 2) I use the phone for listening to podcasts, etc while on a road trip, and the multi-tasking on one device is too much for me (not the phone) to handle. 3) Also the Garmin maps are better than any of the smartphone maps I've tried. and the Garmin routing is really good. I update the Garmin maps, never update the built in GPS maps in the car, because they want too much money.

However, for my daily commute, I use Waze on my smartphone and never the Garmin. The real time traffic events are great. But Waze is well known for its poor routing, so I only use it on my commute that I already know all the routes for.
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Old 08-07-2015, 07:13 AM   #36
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I've used a couple of car GPS's for hiking, and have had a lot of problems with no satellite access due to tree cover and being on the downhill side of the mountain. I have been thinking about getting dedicated backpacker's GPS and seeing how that works. Of course it's been a few years since I tried them. Maybe they are better at dealing with the tree cover now.
For hiking I usually use the GPS as a safety valve. I let it track where I've been. If I get lost... I can use it to backtrack back out. When I'm hiking... it is partially to get away from the the tech.

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I'm not a big fan of either. Recently, I had to go from western Canada to Bozeman Montana. I printed googlemaps directions, looked at my Magellan GPS instructions and consulted a map. The results:
1) googlemaps via PC. took a bit of a roundabout route, estimated 11 hours
2) GPS. took a different route, no time estimate
3) map, then put my chosen route into GPS. Got there in ~8 hours.

Option 3 lets you calculate the best route and then the GPS tells you where to turn. It wasn't perfect, wanted to go through some towns (like Malta Montana) rather than use a shorter route around them
I often use google maps... but when setting up the route I drag the route through places I want to go. Thus no need to "plug points back into a GPS". This still allows for rerouting for traffic issues by the silly phone.
However, quite often I just use maps. There have been studies that indicate that relying GPS's degrades some cognitive abilities. Sometimes it is good to just work through it manually. I remember my father in law using a GPS and verbally arguing with it as he drove. He knew the route he wanted to use and knew it well... in that case... why use a GPS?
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Old 08-07-2015, 07:46 AM   #37
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I still use my Garmin Nuvi with free lifetime map updates, as I tend to use my phone more for listening to music/podcasts when driving and as was mentioned above don't want to be distracted multi-tasking on a single device. I have a CD/DVD slot mount (why listen to CD/DVD when you have a phone or MP3 player) that is much more sturdy than windshield mounts. I bring the Garmin when traveling for business/vacation to avoid the rental car GPS fees.

I do use the Waze app and like but - and maybe it is my phone - it seems to drain the phone battery even while plugged in. I tend to use it for shorter local trips during rush hour as it does well looking at traffic and finding the best route, identifying road hazards/issues, etc. Maybe when I get a bigger, sturdier, more battery-efficient smartphone I'll use it more and eventually replace the Garmin. But for now I have plenty of storage room and outlets in my car dashboard and armrest so having both is no big deal.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:00 AM   #38
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I'm happy using my old but trusty Garmin Nuvi 260 with lifetime map updates. My big fear is the GPS will konk out and I'd need to get one with all the bells and whistles but adds more complication than needed.

For those who use smartphones, do you a phone mount for viewing? Or do you just hold the phone by your side?

I use the bean bag mount for my GPS.

On a side note, I wonder if you got pulled over while using your smartphone as a GPS, will the cop still write you a ticket in some states for using your phone while driving? I watched on the morning news where cops where issuing tickets to folks on their phone screens. Then this one guy, who was obviously distracted, got pulled over. But he was staring and entering stuff on his GPS. No ticket written since GPS is legal.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:05 AM   #39
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On a side note, I wonder if you got pulled over while using your smartphone as a GPS, will the cop still write you a ticket in some states for using your phone while driving? I watched on the morning news where cops where issuing tickets to folks on their phone screens. Then this one guy, who was obviously distracted, got pulled over. But he was staring and entering stuff on his GPS. No ticket written since GPS is legal.
My defense is I'm using the GPS.

I use GPS on my phone while driving, especially if there's a lot of traffic. Real time route selection based on actual traffic conditions means I might cut a minute or three off a drive during rush hour.

Oh, and how do people drive in rush hour every day and remain sane? WTF.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:23 AM   #40
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... I do use the Waze app and like but - and maybe it is my phone - it seems to drain the phone battery even while plugged in. ...
Verify that your phone sees the car charger/power-supply as an "AC Charger" or "Wall Charger" or "Fast Charger" or something like that.

Apple uses a different method from Android to determine if the charger/supply provides high current. Apple has resistors on the data lines to ID the different types, Android went to the USB consortium and had a standard set for this, shorting the data lines IDs the charger as a high current device.

So it depends on the charger/supply. But with android, you can take a cable, cut the two data lines somewhere between the ends, and short the two data lines on the phone connector side. Mark the cable as "Charge Only", and the phone will pull as much current as it can from any power source you plug it into. Just make sure the power supply is beefy enough to supply a high current.

Here's a guide (though I would solder the wires, but twisting them probably works fine):

https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/c..._today?lang=en

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