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New GPS suggestions?

jamesbill 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
car navigation only

Houston, TX 99% of the time.

Don't need extremely effective way point calculations. Mostly A -->B

Priority of performance:

Accurate maps and routes (obviously)
Traffic system, accident alerts
Higher performance touch screen (I realize this will likely increase the cost so might go without)
GPS reception

So far have only owned three Garmin nüvi, but that makes me neither more or less likely to buy that in the future.

1. How good are the portable GPS compared to something like a Pioneer AVICZ150BH? I was thinking about in dash to make reception better via an antenna, and to have a new radio. GPS is too important to me to sacrifice much performance though.

2. Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD is the only other GPS I have looked at because it said "HD Digital Traffic is our best traffic solution" and "5.0" high res automatic dual-orientation display, with “pinch and zoom” capability"

3. Are there solutions to use an external antenna that are cleaner than a wire running wild? Nothing would be worse than finally having a decent GPS and still having reception problems.


  • Boyd 2044 Points
    You really shouldn't need an external antenna unless you have an unusual vehicle that blocks the GPS signal or possibly if you live and work in an "urban canyon" like downtown Manhattan. Even there, modern devices will work but you will see your position drift to the wrong street sometimes.

    Traffic is a little trickier. Most devices use data that 'piggybacks' on broadcast radio stations. Once you go out of their coverage area (heavily populated urban/suburban areas mostly), you will get no traffic signal. If traffic is a top priority you might want a Garmin model that has the Smartphone Link option (check compatibility for your phone though, some of them don't have iOS support). TomTom makes some connected devices that directly receive traffic data from the cellular network but I am not familiar with these. In both cases though, you will pay a subscription fee.

    The screens on the Nuvi 3000 series devices (3490, 3590, 3597, etc) are very nice and support multi touch gestures properly. I have a 3550 and have been very impressed with the screen. I had the older 3790 and while the screen looked great, the multi touch features did not work very well. Garmin has fixed this on the newer models. Dual orientation is also a nice feature.

    No experience with in-dash units but not so impressed with what I've seen personally.
  • Thank you.

    I drive 99% Houston metro area so radio reception will typically not be a problem.

    1. Do you find the traffic information and interface reasonably usable?

    2. My satellite reception on the old models is a pain right at start up. Takes several minutes to find them. Once found they hold. How long is typical?
  • Boyd 2044 Points
    I gave up on traffic a couple years ago. Lack of FM traffic reception is problem in my rural area. On a 50+ mile commute I got no data until I was 20 miles from Philadelphia. This was usually too late to make major route changes.

    I used one of Garmin's connected devices, the Nuvi 1695 for a week and it was great in terms of always getting data. But the data itself was very questionable. It would often suggest convoluted detours to avoid non existent jams. After awhile I just didn't find it helpful, listening to traffic reports on the radio was good enough for me.

    Hopefully this is improving because my experience is about 2-3 years ago with the 1695. I think it could vary a lot locally too. But the busy Northeast corridor is a place where one might expect good coverage.

    I don't know your location, whether you park in a garage, etc. I live in the country and park outside. All of my recent devices (going back 5 years or so) usually get a lock within seconds. I am still fastening my seat belt and getting ready to pull out most of the time.

    Parking in garages during several recent trips to New York, I would typically get a lock within maybe 30 seconds out the door. But I think it helps a lot in that situation to turn the device off BEFORE it loses signal inside the garage. That way it already knows your approximate position. If you have no signal when it shuts down, it does a lengthier search for the satellites.
  • Navigating such as you talk about, I would not use my gps but my smartphone with the Waze app. It interfaces its many users to share info on routes, traffic and much more. It is extremely easy to use, uses GPS and very little of your data plan and with voice commands freeing your eyes for the road. It warns you of hazards, traffic problems, gives distance, eta ant travel time based on all the foregoing.
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