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Old 01-25-2013, 08:12 PM   #15
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Hi from AZ. . . I second the 'smartphone GPS feature'... Go to Amazon or C-Net and check the reviews on all of the Garmins, Magellans or Tom-Toms, because they're junk ! Even the RV specific models are not well rated. I guess they're using the cheapest chips they can buy to keep prices down or their programmers are terrible ! After 3 Garmins and searching thru the other brands, we'll use the i-phone we have anyhow. If my 1st Garmin had been as bad as the last, there wouldn't have been another. regards, Craig
I guess every ones experience is different. My Garmin C330 was used for 5 years before being religated to the second vehicle where it is still working well.
So far the Nuvi 50 has been fine also, but doesn't have a lot of time on it.

I also have handheld units, a garmin gps lll which I bought 13 years ago and it is still in daily service providing info to my ham radio tracker, and a GPS V I bought used a number of years ago and both are working flawlessly.

I have no personal experience with the traffic feature and am rarely in major cities anyway. It seems to get very mixed reviews on some of the forums.
It may be more appealing to some one with a daily commute in the city.
I never updated the maps in the 5 years with the C330 and it really didn't make much difference, but the lifetime maps feature was not available at that time
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:44 PM   #16
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Yes, we've had two Garmins and two Magellan models and they were all good, with only minor differences putting the newer ones ahead of the older ones. Never any problems with any of them. Our first one was a Magellan handheld we used in our boat. No map installed, and you had to work with 'waypoints' to build a trip.

As for using smart phones, I have to admit that I've never tried one. Here's one interesting comment from CU:

"However, an application is a better buy for smart-phone users, as the name-brand apps have the features and performance to rival dedicated portable devices, and they have the complete map onboard, so guidance isn't dependent on a cell signal. Whichever option you choose, you'll also need to purchase a mount, car charger, and possibly a data plan for your phone, if you do not already have one."

The other type of cellphone GPS system is a server-based system, and therefore relies on always having a good cell signal. For me, that puts it out of the question, I want 100% service all the time, and a GPS gives that, with the exception of some bridges interfering, and of course tunnels.

I suppose it's partly that I like the simplicity of the dedicated GPS, and also that I don't want to mix phone with driving directions, especially in an unknown area, as is the case when travelling.

In any event, I use it all the time when travelling, because it means one less thing to worry about, so I look into it carefully when it comes time to buy.

Good luck with your choice!
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:46 PM   #17
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Droid Nav is free app included in opsys.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:02 PM   #18
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The Google Apps cash a lot of data so if you don't have cell signal 100% of the time is it no big deal. I don't like to be 100% reliant on a GPS. I like to have the big picture. GPS units frequently take you way out of the way or take you where big stock holders want you to go. Lets make you go by every McDonalds on the way. It is wise to do some reseach on your route and compare that to the GPS route. There are places you don't want to go pulling a trailer. The GPS has no idea that you don't want to be in downtown Atlanta on a one way street.

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:26 PM   #19
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Check out the free "Waze" app for iPhone. It's a decent GPS maps application, but it's real strength is in the crowd-sourced traffic and police update alerts. So if someone ahead of you on the highway sees a speed trap, they'll report it in their app, and it shows up in your app as an alert.

You can also form communities within the app and send out chat/ broadcast messages. You'll also see on the maps where the community members (Airstreamers, let's say) are. Pseudoanomynously, of course, by account name.

There was a rumor that Apple was looking to buy them to give the troubled Apple Maps a boost.

Cheers,

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Old 01-26-2013, 05:28 PM   #20
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The past year we used an Android tablet for our GPS. Then we got a Garmin Nuvi 50, and I have now switched to the Nuvi for sure.

While the Android worked 90% of the time, the 10% of non-working time seemed to always occur at critical times. While the Nuvi needs only to find a GPS signal, the Android needs both GPS and 3G to work properly full time. As we were driving, if the 3G signal dropped out, the tablet would indicate our location incorrectly, and would pretty much become a brick. I found that unacceptable.

And the Nuvi has "lane view" which I find immensely helpful when towing. It means, for instance, that when you are on the boulevard and a freeway entrance is coming up, you get a 3D view of the overpass and which side of the overpass your proper direction is on. You know, "Is the Southbound entry on the left side of the overpass or the right?" And, because the boulevard is arched, you can't see it until you are on top of it. Changing lanes on the apex of the overpass is a nasty. With "lane view" you know a mile ahead which lane to be in for the ramp.

In the end, we drive with the Nuvi, and we investigate stuff with the Android. So, "where's the Museum and what are the hours" is a question for the Android.

Good luck, whichever you get!
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:05 PM   #21
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No matter which GPS or Smartphone or whatever I still recommend ( and use ) paper maps. I like the high tech stuff and trust its reliability but I still carry and often refer to paper maps. No batteries to fail and they give the big picture overview that I have come to rely on that the electronic stuff can't.

A good road atlas is indispensable for a road trip. Don't leave home without it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:07 PM   #22
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The past year we used an Android tablet for our GPS. Then we got a Garmin Nuvi 50, and I have now switched to the Nuvi for sure.

While the Android worked 90% of the time, the 10% of non-working time seemed to always occur at critical times. While the Nuvi needs only to find a GPS signal, the Android needs both GPS and 3G to work properly full time. As we were driving, if the 3G signal dropped out, the tablet would indicate our location incorrectly, and would pretty much become a brick. I found that unacceptable.

And the Nuvi has "lane view" which I find immensely helpful when towing. It means, for instance, that when you are on the boulevard and a freeway entrance is coming up, you get a 3D view of the overpass and which side of the overpass your proper direction is on. You know, "Is the Southbound entry on the left side of the overpass or the right?" And, because the boulevard is arched, you can't see it until you are on top of it. Changing lanes on the apex of the overpass is a nasty. With "lane view" you know a mile ahead which lane to be in for the ramp.

In the end, we drive with the Nuvi, and we investigate stuff with the Android. So, "where's the Museum and what are the hours" is a question for the Android.

Good luck, whichever you get!
Wow! That's a perfect solution!

Now I have a reason to get one of those tablet computers. hehehe!
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:55 PM   #23
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Get a smart phone that has one built in. Google has several map apps. I was seriously thinking about getting a dedicated GPS but the phone works great and downloads the latest real time data. My phone is a Samsung SIII and it works well. It is probably not as nice as having one stuck to your window but it gets the job done.

Perry
I also second the smartphone as a GPS. I also have the Samsung Galaxy SIII and a holder that can position the phone on the windshield or dash.

Google Maps + Navigation is free. It can give either directions or spoken turn by turn commands. It can also show traffic congestion indicated by green, yellow or red lines.

Waze is a similar free map and navigation app that also supplies current crowd sourced info like accidents, traffic, police and gas stations.

iOnRoadLite is a free app that uses the smartphone camera to look out the windshield and give audible warning for lane departure or closing too rapidly on the vehicle ahead. It also has the ability to snap a picture or record a video.

When one device can adequately perform the functions of multiple other devices, I consider that a strong plus!
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:11 AM   #24
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One key consideration on a smart phone based GPS map is also data network availability. Google Maps, Waze, and others depend on bringing map data down through a live data network connection. So if you are too far out there, let's say enjoying some boon docking at a remote National Park campsite, you lose mapping capability. Some apps will also store map data on the phone itself, which works well.

As a backup, I second Roger's point to have hard copy maps ready, easily stored in the trailer. "A good road atlas is indispensable for a road trip. Don't leave home without it."


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Old 01-27-2013, 07:57 AM   #25
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The Smartphone market pressure has brought the prices of GPS down and has forced them to now include lifetime maps. About a year ago I upgraded my older Garmin to their latest and greatest since the map upgrade was a ridiculous expenditure on the older one.

My Smartphone is a Samsung Galaxy SIII which is outstanding. I used it last week in Houston on a business trip and I was astounded as to how well it works.

I also like having an atlas to see the big picture.

When towing I prefer to have the Garmin mounted and not have to rely on the much smaller display of the phone.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:58 AM   #26
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Wow, sooo much to consider. Thanks everyone! Garmin NUVI 50LM looks great so far. I can see why some like the smart phone, everything in one unit. I also will consider a handheld unit but I suppose you would have to sacrafice some features that the NUVI 50LM would give you. I told myself to hold off till april before buying so I dont rush into buying one.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:01 AM   #27
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I would have a dedicated GPS if I were older and not so computer savy, or was on the road full time with no one to help with navigation. There are lots of different apps and some are better than others. Most of them are single purpose so you have to have a different app for different activities. There are also lots of choices that is going to get confusing for a lot of folks. Each program has it's own interface and they are all different. Right now, I use the phone GPS as a secondary device for navigation and don't use it 100% of the time. It definately helps with missed turns because you know what is coming. I use Google maps that tells me where I am and lets me figure out where I am going. Google also has a turn by turn app but it takes you where it wants to take you.

The phones are a complete navigation system. They have magnetic field sensor, a six degree of freedom (g-sensor), a GPS etc. It is a swiss pocket knife which means it does everything but not as well as a dedicated device. It has the advantage that you have everything with you. Modern phones are a personal computer in your pocket.

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Old 01-27-2013, 09:51 AM   #28
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A question for you guys using smartphone apps, would it drive the cost up using them for cross-border navigation? (roaming charges for data?)
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