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Car GPS
Old 03-31-2011, 12:57 PM   #1
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Car GPS

I am considering an inexpensive GPS for mostly in state travel. Does anone know if the GPS systems for cars like Garmin have a montly fee, or if they work well? Also can you program routes- i.e. punch an address I want to get to? I need the type for a car, I'm too cheap to buy an iPhone etc :-)
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:10 PM   #2
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We have had a Garmin Nuvi for several years now, and have used it in the USA, Canada and UK. It's great, we love it. I had a quick look and you can get one for ~$80 on Amazon.

No monthly fee, buy map updates when you want them.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:11 PM   #3
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How inexpensive is inexpensive? I bought a Garmin the day after Thanksgiving at one of those dawn deals. I got a Garmin 1490T, where I get lifetime traffic updates. It has tons of features. There's also a Garmin 1490LMT, which gives lifetime map upgrades and lifetime maps. No annual fee, but you do get some popup ads to help pay for the free traffic. If you press on them or wait they go away. Compant and has about a 2 hour battery when you take it away from the charger.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:14 PM   #4
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I've used a Garmin Nuvi and it will do all the things you mentioned. There is no monthly fee but you need to occasionally update the maps. Especially in big city areas where roads change frequently. They are available from Amazon for about $75 and up depending on the model.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:20 PM   #5
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The GPS boxes made for cars don't have monthly fees, outside of a couple fancy models that let you subscribe to real time traffic services. They will nag you to buy an updated map package after a few years. That's something you buy online, download to a computer, and then copy onto the GPS box, usually via a USB cable.

Punching in an address is pretty much THE basic function for the car GPS boxes. They'll all do some form of turn-by-turn navigation. 'Fancier' boxes will speak street names as well as let you know about upcoming turns, which I find handy. Most will also let you program a series of addresses, or 'waypoints', which can be handy.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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I would like to keep it under $200. Auto updates would be preferred. I would want something easy to "unhook" and remove when not in use, easy to install (like plug it in and go), intuitive to use, and I too would prefer the speaking of upcoming directions. (Maybe all this is not possible for this money) Recommendations would be welcome- now I am excited- did not think no monthly fee was possible! If there are featurses I shoould be considering, please advise!
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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At only about $100 (more if you want more bells & whistles, but not necessary IMO), I wouldn't be without one when traveling outside my home town. There are no monthly fees, you can update as often or infrequently as you want online for a fee (mine would be $69). But major roads really don't change that much so updating more than every 5 years if that is probably not necessary. They are just wonderful IMO.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:56 PM   #8
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I would like to keep it under $200. Auto updates would be preferred. I would want something easy to "unhook" and remove when not in use, easy to install (like plug it in and go), intuitive to use, and I too would prefer the speaking of upcoming directions. (Maybe all this is not possible for this money) Recommendations would be welcome- now I am excited- did not think no monthly fee was possible! If there are featurses I shoould be considering, please advise!

There are no auto updates that I know of.... you have to purchase them... or at least upload them to the GPS...


I had a TomTom and it was a POS... would crash every once in awhile and I could not get connected to the website that was supposed to update the map. It was frustrating to try and have it calculate a route and then give an error and you get nothing...

We have a Garmin 205W .... got it as a refurb... has worked great.. only problem I had with it was when it wanted me to drive across the ocean from one island to another when in Hawaii... it did not give me a route... but listed some places as POI....
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:59 PM   #9
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...only problem I had with it was when it wanted me to drive across the ocean from one island to another when in Hawaii... it did not give me a route... but listed some places as POI....

tee-hee- In MN we have plenty of lakes- I'll have to watch out for that!
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:59 PM   #10
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I borrowed a GPS from a family member in february when I drove from Wisconsin to Florida. Don't know what I would've done without it and will never again drive out of state without one. They said theirs cost $180 and had everything. It was great. When I get one i'll likely spend around $150. Their old one was around $80 but wasn't nearly as accurate. For example: it will say to turn left in 500 ft but you actually passing the street as it saying that whereas the $180 one was virtually EXACT every time. I figure the $100 will be made up with gas savings by not taking wrong turns.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:28 PM   #11
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I would like to keep it under $200. Auto updates would be preferred. I would want something easy to "unhook" and remove when not in use, easy to install (like plug it in and go), intuitive to use, and I too would prefer the speaking of upcoming directions. (Maybe all this is not possible for this money) Recommendations would be welcome- now I am excited- did not think no monthly fee was possible! If there are featurses I shoould be considering, please advise!
Should be able to get a Garmin Nuvi 1250T or 1450T for that. Sometimes best Buy or someone will run a special for the 1490T model for under $200. Now that I have lifetime traffic, I would never go without it, it reroutes you and saves a lot of time........ The nice thing about the 1400 series is they are 5 inch screens, a lot of garmins are 3.5 inch screen (hard to see for me) or 4.3 inch screens (better, but I really like a 5 inch screen, particularly at night)
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:37 PM   #12
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We bought a Garmin 205 about five years ago and replaced it with another one about a year ago since the map update was only $20 less than the price of a new one. We'll never again be without one. In an unfamiliar area they are terrific.

Be aware that they will not always take you by the shortest routes known by the locals, but they will get you there. My experience has been they'll be within 5-10 minutes of the shortest routes known by locals. That's still a lot better than spending 45 minutes wandering around. I have yet to be directed to drive across open water.

And it answers the question "How long until we get there?" to within a minute or two.

Best of all, we'll never again have the conversation:

"You were supposed to turn back there."

"Gee, it would have been nice if you'd told me that before we got to the intersection!"
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:48 PM   #13
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I would want something easy to "unhook" and remove when not in use, easy to install (like plug it in and go
You may want to get a device so you can mount the GPS on to your dashboard. And maybe a charger. Avoid the ones that mounts on the windshield as it leaves telltale signs that you have a GPS. Also, I heard that in some states (CA?), mounting anything on the windshield is illegal. Garmin sells this item.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:51 PM   #14
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We got a Garmin Nuvi about 5 years ago at Sam's. They now have an 'upgrade map for life' program for about $100 (I think). I will most likely replace this one someday rather than update the maps. In my experience the maps change in places where new streets are going in i.e. new suburbs. In downtown areas, it seems to work just fine. The other thing that seems to go out of date in a hurry are the POI's (points of interest). However, we really don't use these very much.
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:35 PM   #15
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tee-hee- In MN we have plenty of lakes- I'll have to watch out for that!

Hey, lakes are easy.... they just calculate around them...


I did not ask it to give me a route... I asked for points of interests and lots came up on another island.... maybe someone in Hawaii can see what happens if you calculate a route... I think they have ferries there, so I bet it will take you to a ferry terminal...


Now, I did get pissed at Expedia booking me in a hotel on the Big Island and having my car rental in Honolulu.... the guy at the car counter said it happens a lot... took me 2 hours to get fixed... and they tried to blame me for the error.... (you picked the place where to rent... NOT... it was a package deal)....
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:00 PM   #16
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I've had a Nuvi forever. The voice known as "Jill" is my favorite. One of my great amusements is to piss her off by doing something that forces her to recalculate the route -- as she is thinking about it, she says "Recalculating.." with just a hint of irritation. It's great.

And you guys thought I'd be bored in retirement....


BTW - I love the Nuvi.
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:34 PM   #17
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We have a Garmin 205W .... got it as a refurb... has worked great.. only problem I had with it was when it wanted me to drive across the ocean from one island to another when in Hawaii... it did not give me a route... but listed some places as POI....
You never know what will happen in situations like that. Go to Google Earth sometime and get directions for going from one place to another that are separated by oceans. Some very funny instructions like "swim to Japan" will show up.
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:40 PM   #18
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I would like to keep it under $200. Auto updates would be preferred. I would want something easy to "unhook" and remove when not in use, easy to install (like plug it in and go), intuitive to use, and I too would prefer the speaking of upcoming directions. (Maybe all this is not possible for this money) Recommendations would be welcome- now I am excited- did not think no monthly fee was possible! If there are featurses I shoould be considering, please advise!
That's no problem. We bought the Garmin StreetPilot c340 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator in April 2009 for $90. It does all those things.



Great for garage sales and traveling. I got updated maps a few months ago, and it was free.
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:06 PM   #19
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I've got this Garmin 255W and love it so much that I bought one for DW and she loves hers, too. Spoken street names, easy to remove and put in your purse, quick start up, intuitive touch screen, less than $100.

Amazon.com: Garmin nüvi 255W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator: Automotive
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Death by GPS.....
Old 03-31-2011, 07:03 PM   #20
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Death by GPS.....

Experts Warn of 'Death by GPS' as More People Visit Remote Wildernesses - FoxNews.com

Technolog - 'Death by GPS': Could it happen to you?

IIRC there was a retired couple who died of hypothermia in the Rockies recently because they stubbornly followed their GPS up a logging road.

You still need common sense!
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