by

There are a few simple guidelines to follow when choosing a Navigation GPS unit. Fortunately the process is simple and the choices are broad so you are sure to get what you need as long as you the time to assess exactly what that is.

There are a few simple guidelines to follow when choosing a Navigation GPS unit. Fortunately the process is simple and the choices are broad so you are sure to get what you need as long as you the time to assess exactly what that is.

By Car or By Foot
There are three types of Navigation GPS units categorized by their portability. Two for your car: installed and portable; and one for you: handheld. First, decide if you will be primarily using your Navigation GPS unit in a vehicle or on foot. If you need it for your vehicle, Navigation GPS units are usually bigger, with a larger screen that is easier to see from the driver s seat. Handheld units can be used anywhere you go whether that s navigating a city by rental car, by foot or out in the wild.

On Your Dashboard
There are two basic types of vehicle GPS units: in-dash and portable. An in-dash Navigation GPS unit is installed in your dashboard and is not removable. The advantage is that there are no extra wires or power adapters to mess with; the downside is that it requires professional installation, which comes at an additional cost, and once it s in, it s there to stay.

A portable vehicle GPS unit sits on your dashboard with the help of suction cups or some kind of adhesive. It requires a clear view of the sky through your windshield in order to get a good signal, so it may be difficult to see from the driver s seat. Portability is the advantage: you may transfer your Navigation GPS unit between vehicles. Dashboard GPS units also rely on speech recognition and speech simulation features more than handhelds because they are designed for hands-free use in a car.

In Your Pocket
The third kind of Navigation GPS unit is the handheld. It is designed for travel on foot or off-road vehicle and designed to be much more rugged to withstand the elements. These units generally have smaller screens than vehicle GPS units, but they are also lighter and display more than just roads and highways. Many people use handhelds as a pedestrian GPS unit while touring or vacationing in other cities. Some can even play MP3s and audiobooks and come with currency converters, making them perfect for exploring foreign cities as well.

Another important consideration before buying, especially if you are using GPS in your car, is traffic updates and other road-related extras. Almost all GPS units have driving route programs, but handheld models are also designed to go off-road so they don t emphasize extra driving features as much.

Choose Your Navigation GPS
After you have made choices about which type of Navigation GPS suits you better, you can then move on to looking at specific features, such as screen size, battery life and price. Think bigger screen, longer battery life and reasonable price.

If you are still having trouble deciding whether you need a portable dashboard model or a handheld model, consult the table below. It details the features that each model is likely to have (though there can be a lot of crossover depending on the brand). Choose the kind you want based on the features you need.

Features

Portable GPS Units

Handheld GPS Units
Road Mapsxx
Routing Engine x x
Audio Directions x  
Text to Speech x  
POI (Points of Interest) x x
Ability to Input Coordinates  x
Bluetooth x  
FM Transmitter x x
Mounting Hardware x  

For a comprehensive list and side-by-side comparison of the best Navigation GPS units on the market; including expert and user reviews from across the Internet, go to TopTenREVIEWS Navigation GPS Review. Here you ll find the TopTen Navigation GPS units ranked by overall best value. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To. 

More Top Stories