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By 22 December 2010 | Categories: feature articles

 

TomTom GO 1000

TomTom has been out and about this year releasing several new products onto the hotly contested in-car GPS market. The company’s latest offering, the GO 1000 LIVE, introduces a string of new functionalities.

One of the most flaunted new features on the device is its capacitive Fluid Touch screen. With this new technology drivers can pinch to zoom in and out of maps or scroll through menus with the tips of their fingers. A new Easy Click magnetic mount takes the chore out of docking as the GPS now simply glides into place. TomTom LIVE services are also available with the device including speed camera warnings, local search with Google, weather forecasts and most importantly live traffic updates. It retails for R3999 with one year free LIVE services included.

 

Navigon 40 Premium

The Navigon 40 Premium was hands down the best GPS device from Navigon we tested this year. This 4.3" device sports the updated One Click Menu while and Point of Interest (POI) interface also impressed, with interactive POI’s strewn across the display, showing the names and addresses of POI’s with the tap of a finger. The device is also equipped with Bluetooth technology for hands-free calling, supporting up to two phones and storing phonebook entries on the device itself. We were also suitably informed of the traffic situation with live updates provided to the GPS via a RDS-TMC FM radio system. No subscriptions or registrations are needed, and the traffic system worked well. The Navigon 40 Premium retails for a recommended R2199.

 

Garmin nüvi 1410

The Garmin nüvi 1410 is one of the latest GPS solutions from Garmin. Although general navigation worked well, we weren’t too impressed with the touch-screen on this model, being glitchy a number of times. Additional features fared better however and these include ecoRoute functionality which calculates the most fuel efficient routes, as well as a trip log function to track where you’ve been. Bluetooth technology and a built-in microphone and speaker also makes an appearance for convenient hands-free calling.

As an optional extra users can purchase the GTM 25 traffic receiver which enables the device to receive live traffic updates through FM radio waves as you drive. The 1410 retails for R3000

 

Nokia Ovi maps

We all like to know where we’re going, but not everyone can afford to buy an additional device in the form of an in-car GPS. Luckily users of Nokia smartphones can gain access to a free navigation service straight from their phone in the form of Nokia Ovi maps. The surprisingly effective Ovi maps can be used almost like an in-car GPS, giving you turn-by-turn voice and visual guidance supported in over 75 countries. This includes lane assistance, speed limit warnings and real-time traffic information. Nokia Ovi maps is pre-installed on new Nokia smartphones.

 

GPS: Stand-alone unit or Smartphone?

With a number of smartphones now sporting onboard GPS, do you really want to drop a few grand on a stand-alone GPS? There are pros and cons to consider for each option.

When using GPS functionalities on your smartphone, you have to remember that for one it’s going to be taxing on the battery life and secondly, the data charges when downloading maps might start getting uncomfortable, depending on how often you use it. Some makes’ local maps are not that good, while others provide you with a limited usage license.

With a stand-alone in-car unit there is no battery worries and additional charges are an optional affair. These devices have also been specifically designed for navigation so they will often sport much more advanced features in addition to generally having larger and clearer touch-screens. At the office we prefer made-for-purpose GPS units, while smartphones are reserved for in-case-of-emergency moments. 

 

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