GPS units nowadays have to do a lot of things. Since we enjoy giving out a helping hand to buyers who might be struggling with their choices, we have taken the time to consult a plethora of info in regards to the best GPS of this year. We based our research on a number of factors that eventually get to define the right decision. For example, we’ve considered the owner factor and looked at some of the most recommended expert review sites. In addition, we’ve estimated the value offered for the cost and tried to decide whether certain models are worth every penny or not. Last but not least, we had a look at the social media activity gathered around various models and what people are saying about the overall item and brand quality. After going through thousands of products, we’ve finally made up our minds about the absolute best. It’s the Garmin RV 760LMT. This unit does exactly what it’s supposed to do and comes with one of the largest displays that are now available on the market. Featuring an easy-to-use software with a free lifetime of map updates as well as traffic updates, it’s safe to say that it’s at least worth considering. If it’s unavailable, perhaps you should have a look at the second best unit on the line, the Garmin nüvi 2596LMT.
Professional buying advice on GPS systems
The first and most important thing you have to check is the maps a GPS has preloaded. The best GPS of 2017 will certainly come with maps of the region in which you live already downloaded and ready to use. In fact, it will probably also have maps of the entire country in which you live, making your life a whole lot easier, because you don’t have to worry about not getting guidance once you go from one region to another.
However, if your GPS doesn’t have all the maps you need preloaded, then it should allow you to download more. This, of course, means that you will have to check if you have GPS coverage of an area before visiting it.
There are two main ways of getting maps. Some people are forced to buy cards containing new and improved maps, whereas other users simply opt for models that come with a free lifetime of map updates. While a unit might become slightly obsolete compared to new models, considering that displays are larger and processors are becoming better with every year that goes by, if you reasonably care for the GPS you end up choosing, there is a high chance you will be able to use it for as much as a decade and even more. You have to ask yourself this question: are you willing to pay for extra maps or should you invest in a unit that allows you to download all software updates and maps included for free?
Data storage and maps go hand in hand. Even if your GPS has maps of the entire country you live in, it is still very useful to make sure that it comes with extra storage space, just in case. This storage space can come in the form of a memory card, though it can be built in the device. Regardless of what it is, the reason it’s so useful is that it allows you to use the same GPS when you travel in different countries.
All you’ll have to do is go online and download the maps for that specific country, and you’ll be ready to go. As such, you won’t have to purchase a whole new GPS every time you plan on traveling, as that can get pretty expensive.
Units that come with limited data storage might not be the right pick for people who are frequent travelers. Some individuals might prefer purchasing a GPS that comes with a microSD or SD port of which the capacity is estimated to a various number of gigabytes. On this account, some of the models we’ve gone through during our research allow buyers to use cards of which the storage is either as much as 8GB or a maximum of 16GB. It goes without saying that, should you choose a GPS that comes with a built-in memory card or data storage, you won’t be able to take advantage of the convenience of adding as many maps as you might feel like.
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Another thing that’s extremely useful is the feature of voice commands. This is especially true if you’re getting a GPS for your car, but it would still be quite helpful even for other types. The reason is pretty simple: if you have voice commands, you’ll be able to control your GPS on the go and without taking your hands of the steering wheel.
Indeed, older models that can only be controlled by pressing buttons are not so helpful, because with them, you essentially would have to find a place to stop your car, and then readjust your destination. As you might imagine, this is extremely inconvenient, which is why we are recommending that you get a model that has voice commands.
Not all GPS units are created the same. Some, which you might use in an RV, for example, have a larger screen and can be a bit of a nuisance to move from one car to the next. Therefore, portability is a detail to consider if you plan on taking your navigation system while you’re going on an adventure on foot. If you intend on using the GPS in the car forever, you might have little to worry about in terms of battery reliability, as most units can be charged using a USB port or the lighter port in many vehicles. By contrast, if you want to take the product in the woods or on a long hike, you need to know that its battery will last until you’re safely back at home.
All car GPS systems have some type of audio notification or another. The main difference between the units you’ll come across is in the volume. Will you be able to hear that voice when other people are talking around you or while you’re listening to music? Does the GPS you’ve decided to purchase come with built-in speakers that raise up to par? Would you prefer using headphones and listen to the instructions as closely as possible? These are all questions you alone have to answer and here’s where you need to correlate your needs and requirements with the specs of the product you’re eyeing.
- Ease of use
As is the case with virtually any other device you might feel tempted to buy at some point in your life, you need to know all about its usability. If the GPS is user-friendly, you’ll be able to go through the interface as smoothly and quickly as possible. Should you set another destination, you need to know that your GPS is able to give an accurate response in a matter of several seconds. Faster systems are capable of locating satellites in a timely fashion. If you’re having trouble separating the wheat from the chaff, all you have to do is refer to some customer reviews and find out what other buyers have to say about the user experience.
In some states such as California, it is illegal to mount a GPS unit on the windshield, as the legislation forbids drivers from blocking their view in any way. California residents do have the freedom to mount any kind of GPS on their dashboard, cup holder, floor mounts, or air vents. Just to be on the safe side, be sure that you are aware of your local legislation in order to avoid getting in trouble with the police. Want to have a safe trip? Do your homework and read about the laws of the states you will be transiting.
The top GPS in 2017 will have other features that will make your life easier. An FM receiver is terribly useful if you live in an area where there’s a lot of traffic at certain times. That’s because it will allow your GPS to get live traffic information, and let you know how long it will take until you’ll reach your destination. Alternatively, it can also recommend other routes that will take you there faster.
There are also models that come with a wireless FM transmitter, which allow your GPS to connect to the car’s audio system, making it much easier for you to hear the instruction it’s giving you.
While added features are great, there are characteristics that can be plain useless, or worse, detrimental to the performance of essential tasks. For instance, if you use your GPS for hiking, you should opt for one that doesn’t have a lot more than just the basic features. “Why should I do that?”, you might ask. The fact of the matter is that, the more functions you use on your unit, the higher the chance of its battery running out before it should suppose to. As for other types of GPS devices, you should check what the GPS reviews had to say about other features.
Buying one of the best GPS in 2017 is pretty difficult nowadays, with such a vast array of models that are available on the current market. For your consideration, we’ve selected some of the most acclaimed models out there, which have gathered the appreciation of multiple US customers. They’re dependable, affordable and convenient and the user reviews we’ve analyzed say that they’re worth every penny.
Garmin RV 760LMT
This unit is probably the best RV GPS of 2017, as it features one of the largest hi-res touchscreen display ever to have been designed in today’s marketplace. Thanks to the 7-inch, 800 by 480 pixels screen, owners can see any kind of data accurately, considering that it also has white backlight.
This is a GPS with traffic, which includes both traffic updates and a free lifetime map updates. Some of the neat characteristics of this model are the specialized RV routing feature and the cautions and advisories plus. They include data regarding anything from sharp curves to state borders and lateral winds.
Additionally, users are allowed to set the device in accordance with the RV model they are driving. As such, they can select the height, the width, the length and the weight of the vehicle so that the RV routing does its job properly. Furthermore, the Garmin RV 760LMT has one of the most useful specs for drivers, as the voice-activated navigation allows buyers to simply speak to the device in order to set up their preferred route.
The Garmin RV 760LMT is worth considering if you’re still prospecting the market, as it has gathered more than 250 5-star reviews.
Garmin nüvi 2596LMT
While Garmin is one of the most reputable brands in the industry of manufacturing top-notch navigational system, the primary reason for choosing this model consists of the fact that it is among the most fully capable ones on the market today. The interface is easy to use regardless of the technical abilities of the user, considering that the 2596LMT comes with a touchscreen display that makes it a piece of cake for owners to select just the right route. In spite of the fact that the Garmin nüvi 2596LMT can be purchased in multiple versions, whether they include lifetime maps and traffic info or not, we’ve noticed that most of the GPS owners prefer the fully equipped version as they won’t have to spend extra money on virtually anything.
As is the case with other products in the line, this unit comes with voice directions which can give you a clue as to whether or not there are any parking lots or restaurants in the area you might be transiting. Besides, it is worth noting that the Garmin nüvi 2596LMT comes with a complimentary mobile app which can be used with both Android and iOS devices, depending on your mobile operating system. Many drivers might want to let their loved ones know where they are at any given moment, which is why this app comes in handy when it comes to sharing their location.
TomTom VIA 1505M
If you’ve been searching for the perfect navigational tool for when you’re out and about in the United States, Canada, or Mexico, perhaps it may be a good time to have a look at the specs of the TomTom VIA 1505M. Whether you intend to purchase it as a manufacturer’s refurbished item or brand new, the fact of the matter is that this navigational system can get you out of trouble when you need it the most. While the display of the TomTom might be smaller when compared to the one that some of its competitors have been equipped with, it doesn’t leave out any vital information. Therefore, you’ll be able to take advantage of the free lifetime map updates that this unit comes with, as well as of the advanced lane guidance, points of interest, and roadside assistance spots where you may need to take your car or truck.
Typically, the TomTom VIA 1505M can be installed on your windshield, but since some local regulations might restrict this practice, we urge you to use the optional disk that can be bought separately. In short, the TomTom comes with easy-to-use features that make it a breeze for most drivers to deal with transiting through an unknown area or state. All of the necessary items are provided in the pack, given that the box contains all the documentation you may need in order to get the unit up and running.
Garmin Dezl 760LMT
If you want to buy a GPS for trucks, this is the one to get. Although it might not be as affordable as the formerly described models, this one is a large, 7-inch 800 by 480 pixels unit, which comes with a highly efficient backlit touchscreen display.
The unit includes specialized truck routing and a list of customizable restrictions, including height, weight, width, and length. Unlike other models in the line, the Garmin Dezl 760LMT comes with Active Lane Guidance, which is a unique feature developed by the manufacturer to allow customers to visualize the image of the preferred lane to be in.
In addition, the Garmin Dezl 760LMT does an excellent job when it comes to letting owners to navigate with confidence, as it comes with very detailed maps and a series of turn-by-turn directions. The name of the streets are pronounced in such a way that it is practically impossible for the driver to miss the turn.
Lifetime traffic is part of the deal with this model, and that sure comes in handy if you’re no fan of traffic jams. Since this is a free feature, it’s a net advantage of the Dezl 760LMT over other units on the line.
Magellan RoadMate 5230T-LM
The Magellan RoadMate is one of the most inexpensive models that we have come across, even though we have analyzed the specs of thousands of units. The product includes free lifetime traffic alerts and even provides parking garage locations. This is a no-brainer as it is easy to set up and utilize both by tech-savvy enthusiasts and by first-time users. The 5-inch touch screen makes it possible for drivers never to miss their preferred lanes.
Additional features include seven million points of interest, speed limit warnings as well as AAA roadside assistance. The unit comes with a selection of pre-loaded maps for Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States of America.
The package contains both the unit per se and a variety of accessories. Thus, owners might find a USB cable, a quick start guide, a vehicle power adapter, a windshield mount as well as the pre-loaded maps we were mentioning earlier on. Given the fact that over one hundred buyers took the time to write 5-star reviews on this product, it’s safe to say that it’s worth taking into account if you have the time. Most of these owners praise the value the Magellan Roadmate offers for the price.
TomTom START 55TM
This is a somewhat more innovative device compared to the TomTom one we have showcased earlier on. It still features the same 5-inch screen but it does feature a series of benefits such as lifetime traffic and map updates both in the United States and Canada. As is the case with many other models that are becoming popular nowadays, this one has advanced lane guidance and it would have been close to impossible for it to leave this spec out.
The model is relatively easy to use, as emphasized by the many reviews it has gathered in this sense. The TomTom Start 55TM features a broad range of points of interest as well as road assistance and fuel prices. What’s more, this GPS can make sure that you reach your destination in due time, as it does a remarkable job of selecting the fastest routes.
Another detail that’s worth mentioning with the TomTom Start 55TM is that it as an EasyPort mount that is very easy to fold and can thus allow you to take the device wherever you may feel like going. If, for some reason, you’re feeling reluctant about leaving the GPS in your car, you can safely remove it and place it in your pocket.
TomTom START 50M
This is a 5-inch GPS that includes lifetime maps and advanced lane guidance. The unit is known for providing directions both on screen and audibly. Street names are spoken accurately, regardless of the state or country you’re traveling to. Nevertheless, the unit only comes with a preinstalled US map, but buyers can download a broad selection of maps from the manufacturer’s website. Moreover, the TomTom START 50M has free daily map changes in regards to speed limits and blocked roads.
This is a 5-inch, 480 by 272 pixels unit that’s highly affordable mostly because of the size of the display. If you’re looking for a rather inexpensive, basic model that does its job wonderfully, you might want to check this one out. Since its display is smaller, it might be fit to use for a larger number of activities and might even be up for the task of hiking.
While the TomTom START 50M might not be an outstanding choice for people driving RVs, it still manages to be a notable option for people looking for an affordable GPS. Its points of interest include gas stations and a variety of other spots you might be interested if you’re taking a long trip.
Cobra 5600PROLM Pro Driver
Getting a good GPS under one hundred dollars can be quite a difficult endeavor. Yet this one is worth having a look at because even though it’s relatively affordable, it still features a high-definition 5-inch touch screen and includes a wide array of maps. The maps are of Canada and the forty-eight US states.
The package contains a large variety of accessories, from the USB cable to the windshield mount. As is the case with the Garmin Dezl model mentioned above, this one includes truck optimized route guidance.
With this unit, lane assist with junction view is part of the deal. What’s more, you can always choose one of the twelve million points of interest featured by the Cobra 5600PROLM and have a safe trip while you know where you’re going.
What was the opinion of the general public in regards to the way this model performs? While some claim that the graphics of the Cobra might not even come close to the ones of a Magellan or Garmin model, other buyers say they are perfectly happy with the way this GPS works. Some owners have taken the time to write detailed reviews about how user-friendly this unit actually is.