Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Still Use a Standalone GPS

Even though (nearly) everyone raves about Google Maps or Waze or any other mobile phone navigation app I still use my trusty standalone GPS. I've tried the mobile phone alternatives and just not been happy. There are some things for which a uni-tasker is simply better and navigation seems to be it.

My most glaring complaint about mobile phone navigation is volume. My phone simply isn't as loud as my standalone GPS. I can crank the volume up so loud on my standalone GPS that it can be heard over the radio or any conversation with a passenger.

My second complaint is with mounting hardware. My standalone GPS mount is secure. That puppy isn't going anywhere. The power connection is built into the mount so I never have to worry about connecting the power cord then putting the GPS in the mount or putting the GPS in the mount then trying to connect the power. It just works.

Third is not having to worry about a mobile data connection. Ever. The entire North American map is built into the standalone GPS. All it needs is a clear view of the sky to get its bearings and we're ready to go anywhere. With my phone I've had instances in which the mobile data connection was lost while I was driving and navigation functions ceased. That's just not good when you're supposedly within 10 minutes of your destination but you're in heavy traffic.

Fourth is the quality of the navigation instructions. My standalone GPS lets me know 2 miles ahead of any turn or exit that I have a maneuver coming up. It tells me clearly which lane I need to be in and shows me a road sign indicating which way to go. It gives me the names of the streets and the numbers of the exits. It tells me whether my destination will be on the left or the right side of the street. In addition to the voice directions it has audio tones to let me know what I should do, so I can navigate by the tones without looking at the screen. My standalone GPS also tracks whether I'm moving much slower than the posted speed limit for more than a few minutes and starts offering me detours to get around the problem.

The fifth and biggest thing for me is that being a dedicated device my standalone GPS is doing nothing but providing me with navigation. It leaves my phone completely free for anything I might need to use my phone to do, and doing that will not interfere with the navigation at all. If I have to place or answer a call while I'm driving I'm still getting navigation instructions so I don't have to wonder if I'm still going the right way or if I missed my turn. Mobile phone navigation apps work passably well for spur-of-the-moment driving but if it's a planned trip I'll take my standalone GPS.

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