In 2018, many vehicle owners simply use their smartphone’s map app, but there’s a whole range of advantages to having a physical GPS system in your car. These devices come with a variety of optional features, such as advanced lane guidance, forward collision warning, and even DVD players.
We’re going to recommend the top 10 GPS systems for your vehicle, taking into account the features they offer and how well they get you from point A to point B. Let’s explore the world of GPS technology!
How to Choose a Car Navigation System – Buying Guide
Sometimes, a smartphone just doesn’t cut it. Having to constantly look down, then back up towards the road is dangerous. So, if your car doesn’t come with one, it’s probably a good idea to acquire a NAVI system (unless you’re one of those dads that stick to physical maps; in which case, good for you).
So we’re going to take a look at a bunch of different NAVI features and help you settle on a system that’s right for you and your vehicle.
Is It Going to Fit? Let’s Look at Form
Navigation systems come in all shapes and sizes. We can break them up into roughly three categories. So think about where you want the device in your car, how you’re going to use it, and let’s find a form that’s going to work for you.
The 2DIN: No Messy Wiring
DIN and 2DIN refers to the height of the area where the audio, or GPS system will fit into. 2DIN systems tend to fit neatly into cars, and there is no exposed wiring.
However, depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the screen could protrude above the dashboard and into the line of sight of the windshield, so make sure you double check before you purchase one.
Portable: The Cheaper and Removable Option
The cheaper and alternative option are portable NAVI systems, which are the Bluetooth headset equivalent of NAVI systems. Sometimes, they just look weird. However, they are portable, meaning your NAVI system isn’t married to your car for life.
If you’re parked in a sketchy area and are worried it might get swiped, simply unplug it and bring it with you. If you buy a new car, you can swap them out.
They range in price from $60 to nearly $500, all depending on what features you want. Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan are the most popular portable NAVI system companies.
In-Dash: The Go-to Option When 2DIN Is Too Big
In-dash NAVI systems are integrated into the dashboard of the car with little to no wiring exposed. Some systems might not be compatible with your car’s dashboard, so make sure you check with the manufacturer of the in-dash system and your car’s manufacturer before you purchase one.
They tend to be called “infotainment systems,” because they come with a bunch of entertainment options. There’s also inputs for auxiliary cables and USB devices. As such, they tend to be more expensive. Pioneer is one of the most popular in-dash NAVI system companies, but we’ll explore some alternatives, too.
When you buy an in-dash, unless you’re a tech savant, you’re probably going to have to go to a mechanic to help get it installed. The actual navigation module can usually be hidden away under the seat, so you’re only stuck staring at the monitor. But the screen does jut out, so make sure it’s not going to get in the way of your air conditioning or emergency light buttons.
Also, your car might not have the ability to integrate the in-dash NAVI without exposing the wiring, or it simply might look clunky. If you’re rolling around in a 1970s Camaro and throw a large screen in the middle of the dashboard, it’s going to look weird.
Choose a Memory Type Depending on Price or Power
Map data and other types of media files (MP3, MP4) can be stored in SSD (Solid State Drive) or memory cards. HDD (Hard Disk Drives) are more outdated and only a few types of systems still rely on this type of memory. So, we’re going to focus on SSD and memory cards.
Memory Cards are Cheaper and More Widely Used
Memory cards are used in most car navigation systems and tend to be more common in cheaper models. HDD was much more common in the past, but memory cards are pretty much required due to the computing power needed for map navigation. If you aren’t looking for high-processing speed in your GPS system, we recommend settling on a system that only requires memory cards.
SSD Memory Is Faster and Better At High-Speed Data Processing
In recent years, SSD has been the memory recording method adopted by the majority of laptops. It can do many different things at the same time and is recommended if you don’t like having to wait for startup time as you switch from task to task on your GPS system. However, this increase in data processing power will cost you.
Map Updates and Traffic Alerts
In order to keep up with the smartphone apps, most GPS companies offer lifetime free map updates. Having map updates is crucial, so you know you’re getting the most recent route and POI (point of interest) information that’s out there.
Some NAVI systems require you to sync the device with your phone in order to get the updates; others can download them when connected to Wifi or simply from the satellite connectivity; others require you to plug them into your computer. Many NAVI systems are already loaded with maps of the United States, and some come with maps of Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and even the world.
These companies are also in the process of developing crowd-sourced traffic information, where cars with NAVI systems from the same company will communicate with each other to learn the most up-to-date traffic conditions, and update your route accordingly.
Some of Garmin’s higher end models give you extremely precise route directions, such as when you’re going in school zones and when sharp curves are approaching. It’ll even tell you when you’re speeding.
The lower end models will require you to connect your smartphone to get live traffic updates; the higher end ones can update via WiFi.
Have a Pickup? Get a 7 Inch Screen
When you buy a NAVI system, one could argue that everything really boils down to the screen: how responsive it is, how big it is, how clear it is, whether or not it’s a touch screen. The screen of the NAVI system essentially acts as the physical map, so you better make sure you’re getting a good one.
4.3 inch screens (measured from left to right) are the minimum size you’re going to want to have on your NAVI system. Anything smaller, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice and might as well stick to your phone. As the screen gets bigger, the resolution tends to get clearer, too.
If you’re driving a car with a big windshield, like a pickup, it’s all the more important to get a larger screen, so don’t be scared to upgrade to a 7 or 8 inch screen. If you got the real estate, might as well use it.
Kenwood offers a 12 inch screen, which while impressive in that regard itself, is probably too obstructive to place in front of your window while driving. 9 inches is where we’ll recommend you stop, unless you’re an 18 wheeler driver.
The More Features, the Higher the Cost
You’d be impressed by what GPS NAVI systems can do these days. Some NAVI devices know exactly which lane you’re driving in on the road; that’s how accurate these devices can be. Here are some other features that might make your system a gem.
Chat with Your System via Bluetooth
Most systems have the ability to talk the route to you step-by-step, and others allow you to hook up your headphones and listen to these instructions via Bluetooth technology. Additionally, some systems are voice-command, which means you can literally talk back and forth with then, having it set your route without having to touch anything. That’s better service than Siri can offer.
Cameras for Parallel Parking Fledglings
Some NAVI systems, both in-dash and portable, offer front and rear view cameras if your car doesn’t have them. Some of the more advanced (and expensive) NAVIs that have front cameras can detect when you’re veering from your lane, or when you’re close to hitting a car in front of you. A smartphone won’t do that.
They come with additional wiring which might not be that sightly, but these cameras can prove invaluable when backing up or parallel parking. The more money you spend, the more you’re getting. It depends on what you want. If you’re only interested in looking at the map, then these features won’t really matter.
Entertainment Capabilities for Road Trips
Let’s say you’re taking a road trip, let’s call it a 12 hour road trip. You’re trying to do it all in one day. Oftentimes in the US, you’ll be taking the same highway for hundreds of miles. From Los Angeles to Houston, it’s a straight shot on the I-10, literally 24 hours on one road.
If you’re driving with your family, it wouldn’t hurt to have a CD/DVD player, and some NAVI systems offer just that. Throw on a movie for the kids (not you) while you’re driving. You can even receive route instruction notifications that will pop up on the movie, so you can make sure you’re heading in the right direction while your family enjoys the entertainment.
You can also upload MP3 files to your NAVI system, and if you opt for the voice command option, you can select your playlist all while keeping your eyes on the road. Sirius XM, FM, AM radio; they can all be there if you want to pay for it.
Apps. Yes, NAVI systems can now come with apps. Garmin’s newer portable models now come with TripAdvisor built in, so you can get a restaurant or hotel recommendation on the go, just another way NAVI systems are becoming more like phones. And remember, you’re saving on that costly data. In-dash systems from companies like Boss and Sony come with Spotify and Pandora too.
TOP 10 Navigation Systems
Based on what we’ve discussed, you’ll want your GPS system to be at least 4.3 inches wide, have touch screen capabilities, and offer map updates. Here’s our list of the best GPS Navigation systems to buy online.
10. Garmin Drive 5’’ USA EX GPS Navigator
Entry Level Garmin GPS System
Garmin’s the leader in vehicle navigation systems, and their entry level NAVI system is hard to beat for its price. You’re not going to be able to watch any movies or really do anything other than getting to your destination, but it’s got all the advanced warnings and direction features you’d get from the higher end models.
By using Garmin, you’re relying on the same map data that all Garmin GPS systems use. There are some in-dash systems that even use Garmin maps. However, it does not come with free lifetime map updates, which is why it comes in at number 10. There are no turn-by-turn voice instructions either.
9. Magellan RM6220
Entry Level Magellan GPS with Dash Cam
For $75 with this product, you’re getting a touchscreen GPS system with lifetime map updates and an integrated dash cam feature. It has no WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity, but if you’re OK with plugging it in to your computer to get updates, then this system’s the way to go.
However, there have been reports about the reliability of their mapping systems, and if you’re a stickler for the most accurate and up-to-date maps, it’s probably a better idea to go with Garmin’s entry level models. However, the price is hard to beat for a dash cam and GPS system combo.
8. Garmin Drive 5’’ GPS Navigator
Garmin GPS with Voice Activation and Free Lifetime Maps
For 30 more dollars, you’re getting the same NAVI system as above, but also free lifetime map updates, as well as spoken turn-by-turn instructions, so you don’t have to constantly glance at the screen to see where you’re going. This model also comes with a suction cup for your windshield.
Frankly, free map updates is an underrated feature, because many of these companies will nickel and dime unwitting customers for updating their maps. This model also comes with Foursquare POIs enabled, which allows you to access millions of restaurants, stores, and basically any commercial enterprise that Foursquare is aware of.
7. TomTom VIA 1515M Auto GPS
Entry Level TomTom GPS with Split Screen Function and North America Maps
Cheaper than Garmin’s entry models is the TomTom, which might not have the instant name brand recognition as Garmin models. However, it does come preloaded with maps of not only the US but also Canada and Mexico–and offers free lifetime map updates. For a cheaper price than Garmin’s model, too. Hard to go wrong there.
Who knows, you might find yourself crossing the border at some point, and Mr. Tom will be ready to help. It doesn’t offer turn-by-turn voice instructions, but does come with a split screen view. This zooms in on a specific exit that’s coming up and tells you where exactly to get off, without distracting you from the greater route.
6. Pioneer AVIC-7201NEX
Luxury In-Dash GPS System with Full Entertainment Suite
If you’re looking to splurge on an infotainment system, it’s hard to beat Pioneer’s top of the line in-dash system. As we said before, the screen is important, and this touch screen uses capacitive technology, which responds to heat conductors on your finger rather than pressure from it. In short, they’re more responsive.
This model’s truly got it all: updated maps, restaurants and loads of other POIs. It’s got Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, weather updates, and Bluetooth capabilities. Plus, it comes with a rear backup camera, too. What truly sets this puppy apart, though, is its screen, which is 7 inches of slick sensitive touchscreen.
5. Garmin DriveAssist 51
GPS System with Advanced Drive Instructions and Dash Cam
The main feature of this NAVI system is its dash camera, which gives you forward collision warning when you’re driving, alerting you if you get too close to the car in front of you. For drivers who look for that added safety feature in the NAVI systems, Garmin’s DriveAssist 51 is the way to go.
The dash cam also has the ability to record the drive if you’d like, in case you want to have extra evidence in collisions, or simply want to create time lapses. It has capacitive touch screen technology, voice activation, live parking updates, free lifetime maps, the whole shabang.
4. Garmin Drive 51
Budget Centric GPS System with TripAdvisor and Free Lifetime Maps
Back to the basics. For $150 on Amazon, you’re getting a really reliable GPS navigator: free lifetime map updates and traffic alerts, TripAdvisor ratings, and even parking prices and availability when you’re trying to find a spot. If you live in a big city, that feature alone could be worth it.
Unlike Garmin’s entry models, which require you to plug the device into your computer in order to get updates, this model allows you to do it if you’re connected to your smartphone. It also comes with the option to add a rear view camera, though it’s not included in the price. As far as your standard navigation needs go, you can’t go wrong with Garmin.
3. Garmin DriveLuxe 51
High End GPS System with Faster Processor and Advanced Smartphone Integration
This is Garmin’s higher end model, and you’re buying the best of the best. It has the fastest processor of all Garmin models, a capacitive touchscreen, voice command features, built in WiFi for faster map updates and live traffic reports, the whole 9 yards.
When connected to your phone, text messages and calls that you receive will pop up on the monitor. If you’re simply interested in getting the best GPS navigator out there without additional entertainment features, and you don’t mind opening your wallet, this is the NAVI system for you.
2. TomTom GO 520
Budget Centric GPS System with High End Screen Technology and Voice Control
This is a direct competitor to the medium-end Garmin Drive 51, and it just packs a little more features into the device for a very comparable price. For just 10 more dollars, you get the ability to make hands-free bluetooth calls and advanced lane guidance, which tells you when you’re swerving out of your lane, among other features.
This is TomTom’s answer to the medium-end Garmin NAVI systems. It’s got voice control, dynamic destination prediction that learns your driving habits, and even the capacitive screen technology that Pioneer uses on its $900 models. Garmin’s Drive 51 doesn’t.
1. Power Acoustik PDN-626B
Budget Centric In-Dash GPS System with Full Entertainment Suite
This in-dash NAVI system has all of the features we’ve listed so far, and it comes in at under $140. Of course, it comes with all the features you’d want in your GPS system. But what really sets this NAVI system apart are its entertainment capabilities: AM and FM radio, CD and DVD player potentials, and of course, the ability to hook up to your smartphone via Bluetooth and play music, and even make calls.
The one drawback is that it’s in-dash, so there might be some installment fees, but that’s easily overlooked because of everything else you’re getting. Of all the GPS systems we’ve reviewed, the Power Acoustik PDN comes with the most features at the most reasonable price, and it’s got great navigation capabilities to boot.
GPS navigation companies are having to up their game due to the proliferation of map apps on smartphones. While you may not be convinced of the necessity of a navigation system for you car, they’re a whole lot safer than looking at your smartphone while driving. And we’ve also talked about a bunch of devices with additional features that no smartphone has (for now). So we hope you’ve found one that’ll get you on the road again.
We searched high and low to find the best rhythm games available for iOS and Android. To us, the best games match movement requirements to screen size, use music that you actually want to listen to, and maybe even include some extra bits like storylines and character bonding. Though of course, different games work better in different situations–some games are better for sitting down and playing for hours at a time, while others are great for when you’re stuck waiting in a line. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked our favorite rhythm games for both Android and iOS. Top 10 Best Rhythm Games for iOS and Android to Buy Online Choosing a rhythm game to play should rely heavily on what kind of gameplay you’re looking for–super interactive or more casual. 1. Rayark International – Cytus II Visit the App Store for more details Visit Google Play for more details Price: Free from the App Store; $1.99 from Google Play Best Difficult, Storyline-Driven Game Not going to sugar coat it–
If you’ve got an audio player, smartphone, or action camera, you’re going to need a Micro SD Card. And you’ve got quite a few choices: storage sizes that range from 64 GB to 128 GB to 400 GB, as well as the formats SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Here, we’ll introduce the basics of SD cards and talk about how to choose one. We’ll look at speed ratings, cost performance, and additional support, then talk about 10 great SD cards you might want to look into. The Basics of Micro SD Cards You’re looking through a shelf of micro SD cards, and you’re beset by computer terminology, jargon left and right. Leaves you pretty clueless on what to buy, right? Let’s go through the basics. The Simplest: Cost Money is something we all understand. Micro SD cards start off at around $10 and end up in the $100 range. What makes for the difference in cost? Mainly, data storage size and data reading/writing speed. Then you’ve got the location of the manufacturer (whether it was made in the good old USA, or not). Of cou
eBooks have come a long way and gone through many transformations since being released over ten years ago. The advantages of eBook readers are multifold over spine-and-cover books and tablets. You’ve got obvious things like memory space, to clarity and lighting, distraction free reading, and even waterproofing. With so many different companies, ranging from Sony to Amazon, there are tons of options. To find the perfect eBook reader, think first–what kind of bookworm are you? Benefits of an eBook Reader There are many reasons to switch from traditional books to eBooks. The following are a few of the biggest. The Power of a Library in the Palm of Your Hand Instead of having to carry around an entire library on your back, with an eBook reader, you can carry thousands of titles in one handbag-sized tablet. And that tablet will sort and alphabetize your titles for you–something that’s near impossible in the unkempt homes of reading addicts. Something else about eBook readers: when you ne
Karaoke is always a welcome addition to any party. The only problem is that it can sometimes be difficult to get the right tools to where you need them, especially since traditional karaoke machines require a TV or bulky equipment. Luckily, there are quite a few options for portable karaoke machines now that allow you to take the fun anywhere. But picking the right one can make or break your party, so it’s important to get it right. In this guide, we’ll go over the things you should consider when deciding on a portable karaoke machine. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our favorites to help you get started on your search. How to Choose a Portable Karaoke Machine – Buying Guide While you should definitely consider going for the flashiest machine possible, you want to make sure that it also fits your needs and situation. Standalone Mic or Speaker Set Depends on Portability Needs and Party Size There are two main types of portable karaoke machines: all-in-one microphones and separate m
For most of us, spending hours on the computer is almost an inevitable part of life. Unfortunately, that can leave our arms and wrists stuck in uncomfortable positions for an unhealthy amount of time, leading to issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. But using an ergonomic mouse pad can help! Ergonomic mouse pads are designed to keep your hands and wrists in more natural positions to prevent injury. But because we all use the computer differently and have different needs, it’s important to pick the right one for you. This guide will help you to figure out what just you’re looking for. If you’re still stuck at the end, we’ve also got a list of our ten favorite mouse pads for you to start your search. How to Choose an Ergonomic Mouse Pad – Buying Guide Deciding to get an ergonomic mouse pad can change your computer usage for the better–if you get the right one! Pick a Support Material Based on Your Computer Usage There are two main types of wrist supports: memory foam and gel. Each has the
Its excellent water resistance has seen the SoundCore Sport Bluetooth speaker become a regular fixture in outdoor use scenarios and the bathroom. While there’s no questioning its popularity, some users online claim that it is “lacking in the sound quality department” while others say it is “too loud.” These comments can turn off potential buyers. Our editing department purchased this hot item to find out its overall sound and bass quality. We put it to the test to see if it’s really worth the hype. Anker SoundCore Sport Bluetooth Speaker Visit Amazon for more details Visit ebay for more details Visit anker for more details Price: $39.88 What are the Standout Features of the SoundCore Sport Bluetooth Speaker? The SoundCore Sport is a highly shockproof and water-resistant Bluetooth speaker developed and distributed by Anker, a Chinese venture that has undergone quick and tremendous growth. It is IPX7 certified, which is rather rare for water-resistant speakers. It is also design
In 2018, there was a lot of news about plastics and the environment. In short, we’re all better off using less wherever we can. Many have taken to switching to biodegradable and compostable trash bags, including several city- and state-wide regulations on organic trash. But with all this hype, there’s also naturally a ton of misleading information and marketing out there. In this guide, we’ll cut through the rubbish and break down exactly what you should look for when choosing a biodegradable or compostable trash bag. At the end, if you’re still stuck, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites for you to start your search. How to Choose a Biodegradable or Compostable Trash Bag – Buying Guide Picking a biodegradable/compostable trash bag has a lot of things in common with finding a normal trash bag–you need to consider things like size, features, and price. However, there are a few extra things that you need to look for when picking out something more eco-friendly. Get Your Priorities
Rest assured that, even at under $500, you can find a quality laptop. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when comparing laptops from numerous big names, such as Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and HP. But, just pay attention to the Operating System (OS), storage type, memory capacity, and various ergonomic features. For students, professionals, or anyone in between, our top 10 budget laptops will help you make the right choice, even if you aren’t computer-savvy. In this era of accessible technology, having a mobile computing station isn’t something you have to break the bank for anymore! How to Choose a Laptop Under $500 – Buying Guide Before we introduce our recommended products, let’s talk about what sort of features to look for when comparing options. For laptops, simple operation, memory space, battery-life, and portability are essential, compared to desktop computers. We’ll explain below how to compare these specs within the context of popular budget laptops. Choosing a Suitable Operating System
Most people believe an external hard drive (HDD) can only store movies, music, and photos. But when shopping for an external hard drive, there are many other features to consider: ability to back up your computer, portability, compatibility, file sharing, etc. It’s also important to double check whether your Mac, PC, PS4 and other devices are compatible with the external hard drive (Notebook- or Desktop-class) that you are going to buy. In this article, we will review top features to look for, and list the best external hard drives on the market. How to Choose an External Hard Drive – Buying Guide Let’s take a quick dive into some of the key features found on external hard drives in the market today. Choose Functions and Performance That Match Your Needs External HDD is typically used just to save data. But nowadays, with people starting to use external hard drives for so much more, it’s important to find one that meets your needs. Let’s take a look at some key items to check off
In recent years we’ve seen our handheld devices become smaller and more powerful. In fact, for many things, tablets and smartphones can almost completely eliminate the need for bulky laptops or desktop computers. But, unfortunately, when it comes to typing, flat screens aren’t quite as effective as physical keyboards. Luckily, there’s an impressive range of small, portable Bluetooth keyboards available that can transform any device into an almost full-featured computer. The only problem is finding the right one. In this guide, we’ll go over the things you should look out for when deciding on the best portable Bluetooth keyboard for you. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started. How to Choose a Portable Bluetooth Keyboard – Buying Guide Finding the right keyboard is going to depend largely on your preferences as well as the situations you plan on using it in. So don’t forget to keep these things in mind when looking at your options. Size Determines C