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What to look for when choosing a new GPS Device

Updated on February 1, 2010

A GPS - What is this?

A GPS is a small electronic smart little device which can show you where and how to get where you wish to go. These little beauties can save you  thumbing through your road directory, trying to find which page joins onto the next area.  I hate maps and often have it upside down and completely lose my bearings.

Yes there are many varieties on the market, which makes it confusing to select the right one to suit you. A GPS can save you hours of frustration, and at the same time cause more frustration if not used or updated correctly.

How does it work?

GPS stands for (Global Positioning Satellite) it receives signals transmitted from the many satellites around the world, giving you clear concise directions. The US Air force operates these satellites, which also use ground stations to track the satellites orbit.



A GPS give clear directions

You use a GPS to get you from one town or city to another by the shortest possible route. There is nothing worse than sitting in traffic and not being able to find a specific street or building in an unfamiliar area.

All GPS's should do this. Then again, it is like anything, quite often for a little more expense you can purchase the one which does everything and more than you ever expected. Actually that is no alway true. I depends on the brand, they all have different features.

When you decide to invest your money in buying a GPS, I suggest that you do a lot of research. GPS technology is like living in another world or using another language if you are a novice.

Sales assistants could mislead you into thinking the one they recommend is the best one available. It may not have the features you need to suit your particular business or holiday adventures.

Make sure you do your research. Look at the different brands and make notes on the prices, and what features, each brand has to offer. Ask the salesperson to give you details on the availability, and which company does the servicing when there is a problem, and the amount of warranty each one offers. He should know (that is, if the salesman knows his product.)

Once you do this research, you will have the information to make your decision to buy the best GPS to suit your particular requirements. Never rush this decision by going out and buying the first one you see.

Map Updates

Before buying, check when the map was updated. You do not want to buy a GPS that its map is nearly out of date.

Areas Blocked

I know that there are certain areas that are blocked from a GPS.  I am not sure why, although I believe it has something to do with security.  There is an area out of Bendigo that a GPS will not work.

Brands and Types of GPS

There are two main types, hand held on your mobile phone, or one installed in the car.

There are many different brands of GPS, all proclaim to lead you correctly to your destination. You can purchase a GPS from as little as $200 to $1000 Australian dollars. Different brands offer a variety of features. Before outlaying any of your hard-earned money, make sure you understand which brand offers what. Do your research, this will save you headaches later.

Most will have voice instruction, which will explain where, and when to turn. If you do make a mistake, it will say recalculating and it will give you clear precise directions on how to turn back and correct your mistake. It will also warn you before you have to turn right after a certain amount of meters. While others, may not offer this feature. Most models also have a choice of listening to a male or female voice.

Some models have touch screens, where others operate from a button. Most have the ability to keep you up to date with new roads, by downloading the updated maps.

Brands of GPS and Cautions

Tom Toms

Some of these models offer features like, traffic jam notification, which allows you to avoid the area. Download your choice of fun voices. It notifies you of your speed, saving you from fines. It also offers you these: Points of interest, audio books, friends, weather, and scenic routes.


Like others, these have several models. The S50 offers its customers a 4.3 touch screen, red light camera and speed alerts, and Bluetooth hands free calling.


The nuvi 780 has preloaded maps, and tells you the points of interest, ATM's restaurants, and hotels. It has two and three D maps. The voice directing you tells you the names of the streets you are entering and exiting. It comes with a touch screen, simply enter your required destination and it takes you there by the shortest route. Tap the screen to see where you are at any time.

Be cautious

A word of caution: Make sure you have some idea in which direction you are going, most people can relate stories of asking directions to the beach and it leads them to the local sewerage farm. Not my choice of place to bathe. Others say it did not know of that particular address.  This often happens when maps need updating. 

Personally, we have had trouble with ours. It has led us in the complete opposite direction. The memory would not delete, and sometimes did not know the address. Ours had to be sent off to another country for service. We hope to go away in a couple of weeks and we do not have our GPS. That is why everyone needs to ask those very important questions, before buying.

Update- we did get it back in time.  But when over the eastern states it failed again.  We had to buy another one simply because for it to be repaired they send the article back to the place it was purchased.  As we were thousands of miles away we had to send it back to our daughter to have it serviced. It was a useless warranty as we needed it where we were at the time.

The ultimate decision is up to you, so do your research and spend wisely.


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    • profile image

      Matthew Taylor 

      8 years ago

      Eileen, thank you for the informative post. Before I bought my GPS I read your hub because to tell you the truth I didn't know much about GPS systems and how to integrate it with blue tooth. I ended up buying the Navman My50T for $225, is this a good deal?

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Beats me, Just thought that could be my answer, Joking. I think they do similar things but imagine these would have more features. Not sure as have not researched them though.

    • BeatsMe profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi Eileen, is this the same as the GPS in cell phones?

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Google maps are great, but when you get to a certain spot and decide to change your plans. Unless you have a laptop on wireless you are stuffed. You then got to dig out the old road directory. And somebody forgot to return it. hahah. My sense of humour running overtime. Thanks for stopping by

    • cgull8m profile image


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      I also know only a little about GPS, i just use Google Maps if I had to find a place. Maybe in the future :), I have bookmarked it. Thanks Eileen. Cheers :)

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      glad I could help, it is well known here went to a workshop a couple of months back.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Bob, you had me there I did not know what geocaching was. But got it - did a google search. thanks for educating me on something new.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      I have been casually looking at gps for geocaching.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Lissie, yes youre not wrong. Thats why I added that word of caution. You need to know at least the direction you have to go. Otherwise they can lead you on a reall merry dance. I would not trust them in the dessert thats for sure.

      Compass would be safet out there. Thanks for stopping by

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      A GPS is useful Eileen but never ever use it as a substitute for knowing which direction you are going in and having a decent map: particuarly going off road in the great sunburnt land!

    • shailini profile image


      10 years ago from Bangalore, India

      thumbs up

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Jedgrey, thanks for calling by. Dont know about experience but do try.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Mm del rosario, thanks for that , hope to have trouble free run accident wise. We can only hope for the best to stay safe.

      Mark, Thanks for thumbs up

      Eric, Yes definitely, We bought a mio, which no one seems to know anything about. We had trouble and had to send it away. but seems ok at present. Thats why did not mention it.

    • Eric Graudins profile image

      Eric Graudins 

      10 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Eileen,

      I'm sorta looking for one of these, because I'll be taking the car over to the big island later this year. The features and pricing of these GPS units are very confusing - just like mobile phones.

    • Mark Bennett profile image

      Mark Bennett 

      10 years ago from Citizen of the Globe

      Thumbs up, Eileen! Great work.

    • jedgrey profile image


      10 years ago from Texas


      You're the voice of experience, thanks for sharing, great hub

    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 

      10 years ago from NSW, Australia

      Hi Eileen, i might need this one day......enjoy your trip, and you take care on the of luck !!! MM

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Sweetie pie Thanks for stopping by

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Interesting hub Eileen with good tips.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Louie, Thanks, you never know when you might need one it sure beats the old street directory. It tells you when you make a mistake

    • Louie Jerome profile image

      Louie Jerome 

      10 years ago from UK

      I know nothing about GPS so I found this information helpful.


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