Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to ReviewBox Brasil. Today we are going to talk about the GPS, a device that indicates the vehicle's location and guides the best route to reach the desired destination.

Although some people think that GPS has fallen into disuse because of smartphone applications that perform the same function, the truth is that these gadgets have excellent features and affordable prices.

But with so many options of models and brands, you may be lost when choosing the ideal device. Thinking about that, we prepared this article with all the information you need to know about this device. Enjoy your reading!




Summary

  • The GPS works through satellite signal, so you don't need to worry if you're in a remote area, without phone or internet signal, because the device will keep working.
  • Besides the basic function, the GPS can come with interesting features like digital TV, FM radio, multimedia files reader and even with a rear view camera compatibility.
  • Generally, the GPS comes with a vehicle charger, support for the equipment, instruction manual and warranty certificate. Some models come with a rearview camera.

The Best GPS: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Travelling with family or friends is always fun. What nobody likes is to get lost on an unknown road or city, driving round and round until their patience (or petrol) runs out.

To avoid this kind of inconvenience and make your way even safer, it's worth investing in a GPS. Do you want to know all the features and functionalities of this gadget? Read this Buying Guide.

Imagem de um casal viajando.

With a GPS in your car, you can travel safely and calmly. (Source: gstockstudio / 123RF)

What is a GPS?

GPS is an abbreviation of Global Positioning System, which in Portuguese means Sistema de Posicionamento Global and indicates a location and navigation technology based on satellite signals, transmitted to the GPS.

Among the functionalities of a GPS we can mention: driving instructions, indication of speed cameras and speed cameras, notification of maximum allowed speed, among others.

If for any reason you deviate from the route or go the wrong way, the GPS recalculates the route automatically and draws a new one for you to reach the desired location.

Imagem de um rapaz dirigindo.

With a GPS you can estimate the time it will take to reach your destination. (Source: facundowin / Pixabay)

You can set up some frequently used routes like the address of your home, college or work. Some devices are capable of leaving programmed up to ten routes.

What are the advantages of having a GPS?

GPS has several interesting features:

Driving alerts: GPS provides alerts that encourage safer driving and increase situational awareness. We can highlight:

  • Sharp bend alerts
  • Speed change notifications
  • Railway crossings
  • Animal crossings
  • School zones
  • Speed camera and speed camera notifications
  • Fatigue warning, which suggests possible rest areas when you have been driving for many hours.

Touchscreen: these devices have a touchscreen, which makes it easier to handle the device while driving. Some models allow you to choose whether you wish to use the device vertically or horizontally.

Loudspeaker: all the directions given by the GPS are informed by a loudspeaker. You can set whether you want to hear a male or female voice. Some models have voice control.

Free updates: some GPS models have software updates at no extra cost. These updates serve to renew the maps and locate new speed cameras and speed cameras.

School zone warning: sends a notification whenever the vehicle is close to these areas, so you can slow down to avoid accidents.

Rearview camera compatibility: some models are compatible with a rearview camera that allows you to see obstacles on the way through the GPS display. The camera can accompany the device or be purchased separately.

Indication of places nearby: with the GPS you can consult suggestions of restaurants, snack bars, lodging, gas stations, shops and tourist points on the route and destination.

Advantages
  • You will find models for cars and motorbikes
  • Does not need telephone and internet signal to work (receives satellite signals)
  • When the battery is dead, it can be charged in the vehicle's own socket
  • Some devices offer software updates at no additional cost
  • Some devices offer software updates at no additional cost
  • Includes support for fixing in the vehicle
Disadvantages
  • Some models have paid updates
  • Most models do not indicate the traffic situation
  • Some models do not indicate radar and traffic cameras

What is the best place to install the GPS?

The ideal is to place the GPS on the driver's left side, as close as possible to the dashboard and rear view mirror and always below the driver's eye line.

It is also important to pay attention to the fixation. If a collision occurs and the GPS is not properly installed, it can be thrown into the face of one of the passengers and cause serious or permanent injuries.

Imagem de uma pessoa dirigindo.

If you prefer to place the GPS in the middle, be sure to install it below the eye line. (Source: Jaromír Kavan / Unsplash)

What are the features of a GPS for motorbike?

If you're looking for a GPS for motorbike analyse whether the device is made with resistant and waterproof materials. It's also important to assess how the screen displays in sunlight and in the dark.

Give preference to models suitable for motorbikes, because besides the support being different, it's important that the device can be charged on the bike (but look for a model in which the battery has a long duration).

GPS or localisation application: which is the best choice?

From a few years ago, many people stopped buying or even using their GPS devices because they prefer to use a location app, but is this exchange worth it?

Despite delivering a good service, with maps and information updated in real time, using the application as the only form of location is not recommended because, in order to work, the software needs an internet signal and the mobile phone network.

Imagem de um smartphone sendo usado como GPS.

Despite being an alternative to GPS, the smartphone location app has some disadvantages. (Source: DariuszSankowski / Pixabay)

With GPS you will never run the risk of getting lost out there, as the device picks up satellite signals. In addition, if you use these services frequently, it is ideal that you look for a device suitable for this purpose.

In addition, the smartphone has some disadvantages: the size of the screen often does not allow you to view the route in full, the volume is lower and battery consumption is very high.

The GPS has a larger screen, longer battery life, does not depend on telephone and internet signal, has many interesting features and a good cost-benefit ratio.

GPS Location application
Differential It will not let you down due to lack of signal or low battery It is effective and free
Signal capture Satellite Mobile phone towers
Advantages Besides indicating the route, it has several entertainment-oriented features It indicates the traffic situation in real time
Disadvantages It does not indicate the traffic situation It consumes battery, data plan and depends on the phone signal of the smartphone

How much does it cost?

In recent years, the prices of GPS devices have fallen considerably. Nowadays, the consumer can find very complete options at very accessible prices.

The cheapest models cost between £180 and £300. The intermediate devices are usually a little more expensive, most options costing around £500. The premium models cost between £1100 and £3200.

Purchase criteria: Factors to compare different GPS models

Driving around large cities is not always an easy task. There are countless streets, avenues, intersections and districts. With so many addresses, any driver needs help when driving a car.

The best solution in this case is to invest in a GPS. This category has matured in recent years, that is, it was able to add features and reduce prices, which makes this an excellent time to invest in the device.

To choose the ideal model, you must analyze and compare some features, we list the main ones below:

  • Interface
  • Maps
  • Screen size
  • Features
  • Internal memory

We will explain each of these items throughout the section.

Interface

When you are buying a GPS analyse the navigation interface of the device. The ideal is that the icons should be relatively big, to facilitate the visualization. The screen must be sensitive to the touch, so that you don't need to use the digital pen to navigate.

Another fundamental characteristic is the voice guidance tool, that is, when the device narrates the direction to be taken to reach the desired location. These features make sure that the driver's attention is not distracted while driving.

Maps

Many people don't know, but checking which maps are present in the GPS device may be a very important purchase criterion if you intend to travel by car through foreign countries.

Some models only have the Brazilian map, but most have maps of some South American countries like Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Some models also have a map of the United States.

Although they are a little harder to find, some GPS models are even more complete and have maps of the whole world. But if you choose a simpler device and you need additional maps, you can buy them or download them from your computer.

Stay tuned [...] While most manufacturers offer free updates, some offer one to twelve months of free updates, but then start charging a fee to keep the maps up to date

Screen size

When choosing a GPS, look at the size of the screen. Most models have a 4.3-inch screen, but you'll also find some options with 5, 6 or 7 inches.

Tip: models with a 5-inch screen are the most popular because this size is considered ideal, after all, you can easily view the information and the device takes up little space.

Imagem de um GPS.

Buy a GPS in proportional size to the panel of your vehicle. (Source: Waldemar Brandt / Unsplash)

Features

The GPS can come with some features that go far beyond directing the driver's path and serve to entertain and distract the family during longer journeys or traffic jams.

  • Digital TV and FM Radio: will keep you entertained during that boring traffic or long trip. (Note: devices with these functionalities have an external antenna).
  • Micro SD, e-Book, MP3 and MP4 reader: with these media readers, you can open text, audio, video and image files while travelling, without altering the device's main functionality.
  • Rear view camera: this tool will help you to perform perfect manoeuvres, avoiding damages to the vehicle's bumper and possible accidents. Devices with this feature may come with the camera, but in some cases it must be purchased separately.
  • TripAdvisor: this resource is used to suggest the best accommodation, restaurants and attractions along the route or at your destination. The coolest thing is that you can access other travellers' reviews of such places.
  • Live traffic: this feature may be very interesting to avoid traffic jams. To use the tool, the GPS needs to be connected to a smartphone with internet access.
  • Call via Bluetooth: some models are able to integrate with the smartphone interface and enable access to the list of contacts and to make calls.

Internal memory

Just like any other electronic device, the GPS has software, an operating system and internal memory. The better the set of these functionalities, the cooler your experience with the device will be.

The internal memory is responsible for storing the offline maps, saving the programmed routes, the points of interest and other important information. You can find models with 2, 4 or 8 GB.

If you want to store more information in the GPS memory, look for a model with a memory card slot

(Source of the detached image: Mike Bird/Pexels)

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