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Recommend a GPS unit with these features?

Can anybody recommend a GPS unit that has the following features and is as inexpensive as possible?

1 Spoken turn-by-turn directions
2 Lifetime map upgrades
3 Traffic alerts
4 Adapter available so that it can plug into USB port as well as car power port

Also it would be nice if it had these 2 features:

5 Warnings for traffic signal & speed cameras
6 Expandable memory

Thanks for any help.

Comments

  • sussamb 813 Points
    Pretty much every Garmin has those features these days apart from 4, assuming by that you mean work off a usb port in your car? There are ways to make it work but it means buying a special cable.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Also, you will need to use the included power adapter if you want Garmin's free lifetime traffic. The traffic receiver and/or antenna are integrated into the adapter and cable. You would still be able to get traffic data via a bluetooth link to a smartphone on some models, but that costs extra.
  • Abraxas 0 Points
    Please bear with me, as I know nothing about GPS units.
    sussamb said:

    Pretty much every Garmin has those features these days apart from 4, assuming by that you mean work off a usb port in your car? There are ways to make it work but it means buying a special cable.

    I have a "Dual Device" power cord. It enables charging of two devices at once.

    It has a part that plugs into the car's power port (the old cigarette lighter power port).
    That part has a cable permanently attached to it with a "micro-charger" on the other end of it that plugs into my cell phone to charge it.

    On the part that plugs into the car's power port, on the opposite end from the end that actually plugs into the power port, is a USB port for charging a second device.

    I need to be able to plug a GPS unit into that USB port just to power the GPS unit, not to exchange data with the car's Bluetooth system.

    So I'm looking for a GPS unit whose power cord can plug into this USB port, either directly, or via some kind of adapter.

    Since this adapter is for power, not data transfer, I'm not sure if this is the same thing as what you called a "special cable".

    So could you please tell me if it IS the same thing, and if so, what this adapter is called?
    Boyd said:

    Also, you will need to use the included power adapter if you want Garmin's free lifetime traffic. The traffic receiver and/or antenna are integrated into the adapter and cable.

    To me that sounds like it may be a different device than sussamb's "special cable". Please elaborate.
    Boyd said:

    You would still be able to get traffic data via a bluetooth link to a smartphone on some models...

    I don't understand how a traffic feed from a cell phone would be integrated with the data from the GPS unit.

    I was told by a sales associate at an electronics store that Bluetooth is for syncing your car speakers to either your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or to a GPS unit. He didn't mention syncing car speakers to both a cell phone and a GPS unit at the same time.

    I don't think I need to involve my car speakers, since the GPS unit itself talks.

    Please explain.

    I appreciate whatever patience you both can muster. But as I said, I know nothing about GPS units.
  • sussamb 813 Points
    edited March 2016
    Using any cable other than the one supplied by Garmin for powering the nuvi in the car may or may not work so unless you try it I have no idea whether your cable would work or not. Also as mentioned by Boyd any cable other than Garmins won't enable you to use the traffic included with the device.

    You can as mentioned by Boyd use your cell phone and Garmins 'smart phone' link. Details are here

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/mobile/apps/smartphone-link/prod111441.html

    Your salesman is slightly confused since Bluetooth is not for linking your GPS to your car speakers but to your phone.
  • alanb 539 Points
    edited March 2016
    I use a device like you mention in my Ford Ranger, using one port to charge my phone and the other to power my nuvi 3597LMTHD. Interestingly, one port on my adapter is labeled "A" for Apple an the other "S" (for Samsung I assume). The "A" port is rated for 2.1 A and the "S" port for 1.0 A. Interestingly, the 3597 works fine in the "S" port but gives an "incompatible charger" error in the "A" port. So I just have to make sure I connect it in the "S" port and use the "A" port to charge the phone.

    But as Boyd and sussamb said, this eliminates my HD Traffic feature that came with my 3597, as that is incorporated in the Garmin power cord. It isn't a problem for me because there is no traffic service available in my local driving area.

    If you need the traffic service, you may need to get one of the car power adapters that converts the cigarette lighter plug into 2 power plugs. These are inexpensive and available at Walmart and auto parts stores. They are a little bulky, but will work for powering 2 devices.

    Another option may be if you get a Garmin GPS that is capable of the Garmin Smartlink service. This is a paid subscription service that connects your Garmin device to your smart phone through the bluetooth connection. It can provide traffic alerts on the Garmin through SmartLink connection. I don't use this service, so I don't know for sure that it will work without the Garmin power adapter. Maybe someone else can answer that.

    Edit: OOPS ... just reread the earlier posts and see that sussamb and Boyd already suggested the smart phone solution.
  • sussamb 813 Points
    alanb said:

    I don't use this service, so I don't know for sure that it will work without the Garmin power adapter. Maybe someone else can answer that.

    While I haven't used it I understand from what others have said that it's completely independent of whatever you use to power the nuvi, so will work without using a Garmin power adapter.

  • alanb 539 Points
    edited March 2016
    One additional thought ... if you are considering one of the Garmin traffic solutions, either through the power adapter or the smartphone link, be sure to check the coverage for the locations you will be driving in. The different services have different coverage areas.
  • Abraxas 0 Points
    sussamb said:

    Using any cable other than the one supplied by Garmin for powering the nuvi in the car may or may not work... any cable other than Garmins won't enable you to use the traffic included with the device.

    I take it that Garmin's power cable, and GPS unit power cables in general, plug directly into a car's power port, no?
    alanb said:

    If you need the traffic service, you may need to get one of the car power adapters that converts the cigarette lighter plug into 2 power plugs.

    Assuming that the answer to the above question is "yes", I think you've hit upon the easiest, simplest, fastest, cheapest solution. Thanks. And thanks to you too, sussamb.
    alanb said:

    ...check the coverage for the locations you will be driving in. The different services have different coverage areas.

    Tragically, I live in Megapolis BosWash, the largest megapolis in the world, population 44 million, so I think I'm probably covered.
  • alanb 539 Points
    edited March 2016
    Abraxas said:

    Assuming that the answer to the above question is "yes", I think you've hit upon the easiest, simplest, fastest, cheapest solution. Thanks. And thanks to you too, sussamb.

    You may like the Wagan Companion Go-Plus (Model EL2882). It is pretty compact and flexible with one power port and 2 USB ports. Just search for it at Amazon.

  • Boyd 1985 Points
    Just to get on the same page… Garmin's automotive devices come with a power adapter that plugs into the round cigarette lighter socket in a car. Not sure if this is what you mean by "power port".

    Garmin has made this very confusing unfortunately. In the past, the power adapter itself contained the electronics that received traffic data, and the wire that connects the power adapter to the GPS also has an antenna inside. Today, some of their devices have the traffic receiver electronics inside the GPS itself. However, the wire from the power adapter to the GPS serves as an antenna to receive traffic data.

    So the bottom line is that you must use the adapter/cord that comes with the device, and it must plug into a round cigarette lighter socket. Traffic data is broadcast over the air using either regular FM or HD radio stations (the data "piggybacks" on regular audio broadcast channels).

    Regarding your question about smartphones and GPS, you are mixing apple and oranges here. :) Your location is determined by satellite signals the GPS chip receives. But these devices also have Bluetooth data communication capability. This means they can "talk" directly to a smartphone (send/receive data). An app running on the phone fetches traffic data over the internet using a cellular connection. Of course, you must have a compatible phone and you will pay regular rates to your phone company for any data that is used. But you also have to pay a one-time fee to to Garmin subscribe to the traffic service.

    So this is a completely separate way to get traffic data as opposed to the free traffic that is included with the GPS and is received directly over the airwaves.
  • alanb 539 Points
    edited March 2016
    Boyd, I am not sure if your last post was directed to me or to Abrasas (or maybe both?). Just to be clear, the power adapter I recommended (Wagan EL2882) has has both a cigarette lighter type power port and 2 USB ports, so you could plug in your Garmin power adapter and use the USB to power your phone using a single cigarette lighter power port on your car.

    The reason I questioned whether you might need the free Garmin FM traffic even if you use smartphone Link is because of the difference in coverage between the two services. For example, in my state, Des Moines has the free FM service, but not the smartphone link service AFAIK. So if you have both smartphone link and the free Garmin traffic, would the nuvi fall back to the free FM service when you are outside the coverage area for smartphone link? SInce I don't use smartphone link, I don't know the answer to that question.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    edited March 2016
    I was responding to the post @Abraxas made before yours. Sorry, should have made that clear...
    Abraxas said:

    Please bear with me, as I know nothing about GPS units.

    Now if he has a smartphone, the bigger question might be whether he even needs a dedicated GPS. ;)
  • alanb 539 Points
    How true :)
  • Abraxas 0 Points
    Boyd said:

    Garmin's automotive devices come with a power adapter that plugs into the round cigarette lighter socket in a car. Not sure if this is what you mean by "power port".

    Yes, that IS what I mean.
    alanb said:

    If you need the traffic service, you may need to get one of the car power adapters that converts the cigarette lighter plug into 2 power plugs.

    alanb said:

    You may like the Wagan Companion Go-Plus (Model EL2882). It is pretty compact and flexible with one power port and 2 USB ports.

    Since Garmin GPS units plug into a car's power port, and my cell phone charger also plugs into a car's power port, I think the power port adapter that "converts the cigarette lighter plug into 2 power plugs" is the simplest solution for me. I called my local Walmart, and they've got them, and they're inexpensive, so I'll go get one there tomorrow.
    Boyd said:

    Traffic data is broadcast over the air using either regular FM or HD radio stations (the data "piggybacks" on regular audio broadcast channels).

    Is it broadcast on ALL FM stations. or just on some, and if so, how do you know on which stations?
    Boyd said:

    So this is a completely separate way to get traffic data as opposed to the free traffic that is included with the GPS and is received directly over the airwaves.

    Free is not only cheaper, it also sounds much simpler, so that's the way for me.
    Boyd said:

    Now if he has a smartphone, the bigger question might be whether he even needs a dedicated GPS.

    I have a dumb phone, but it DOES have Bluetooth capability. But as I said above, I think the power port adapter that "converts the cigarette lighter plug into 2 power plugs" is the simplest solution for me.

    Thanks again to you both, Boyd and alanb. You've saved me time and hassle in getting this sorted out.
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    edited March 2016
    You don't need to concern yourself about what stations broadcast the traffic data, it is all handled automatically by the device. But the answer is that only select stations carry the data, and therein lies the problem.

    I don't commute anymore and don't use the traffic feature of my Garmin devices. But when I did, frankly, I found it all but useless in the greater Philadelphia area. Coverage was really poor. As soon as you get outside major metropolitan areas there was not traffic signal. For example. long stretches if I-95 had no coverage. I live about 50 miles from Philadelphia, and could not get any traffic data until I was halfway to work. At that point, it was usually too late to make a major route change, There are coverage maps (sorry, I don't have links anymore) and they were optimistic at best.

    Regarding bluetooth, it's just a communications protocol. On your "dumb phone", some of Garmin's devices will be able to connect to it and provide hands-free speaker phone capability. But you would not be able to use the phone to receive traffic data.

    Since you are new to all this, if you buy a GPS I suggest that you use a store with a liberal return policy just in case…. ;)
  • Abraxas 0 Points
    Boyd said:

    I don't commute anymore and don't use the traffic feature of my Garmin devices. But when I did, frankly, I found it all but useless in the greater Philadelphia area. Coverage was really poor. As soon as you get outside major metropolitan areas there was not traffic signal. For example. long stretches if I-95 had no coverage. I live about 50 miles from Philadelphia, and could not get any traffic data until I was halfway to work. At that point, it was usually too late to make a major route change.

    Good to know. I live 40 miles from Philly, north up 95 in the Trenton area, and I go into Philly all the time. Still, what you describe sounds at least a LITTLE better than nothing, so I'd still be glad to have it. But I take your point.
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