How do you like your GPS?

I have a Garmin nuvi and I love it. It has a very intuitive interface; I have never had to read the manual. Not only is it great in my car, it is great when I take it on a trip to use in a rental.

I also have a 2008 Toyota with the factory GPS and it has the worst interface I can imagine. I have a hard time figuring out how to do the simplest things, like saving my current position and then renaming it. All the regions are loaded but you have to select one if you go to a different region. And I pushed the voice command button and said, “Show barber shops.” That worked great but now everywhere I go I see every barber shop and beauty salon in sight and I cannot figure out how to turn this off. “Hide barber shops” is unrecognized. And last, it has a “safety” feature that you cannot operate it if you are moving more than a couple of miles per hour. That means that if I’m driving on the highway and need to find fast food to placate the kids, my wife cannot search for a destination and set it. I am going to have to now spend time reading the manual, which is almost as big as the manual for the whole car, plus find out if there is a hack to disable the nanny.

Do you have a factory GPS in your car? How do you like it?

I have Telenav Navigator on my Blackberry, and honest to god, I like it much better than when I was using the tom-tom in my mom’s car. I’m pretty averse to using anything electronic while I’m driving so trying to program while I’m on the move isn’t a problem for me.

I’ve got factory GPS and I like it fine although I really don’t press it real hard. I just use it to track my progress on the map, never as a guide telling me how to get somewhere.

I’m not sure how thay’re configured now but I’ve got two CDs for each half of the US, one of which must be in the player for Nav to work.

I believe it was one of the earlier models so it may well be horifically antiquated now. Don’t current models have the capability to provide construction and traffic warnings? How about weather?

I have a Garmin GPS that is more of a hiking model, but it does have full street direction capability. I also have a recent TomTom which a much more attractive 3D type display. I use and enjoy both. Garmin’s database of businesses such as restaurants and shopping is about 20X better than TomTom’s pathetic database. So I use the less elegant Garmin for travel. Garmin also allows you to to mark anyplace as a GPS location. TomTom only marks near a known street address. Still you can’t beat the large touch sensitive TomTom screen, and it has voice recognition.

I am looking to buy a car with a built in GPS, but I have several major reservations. First is the fact that everything is locked up when you are driving as mentioned in the OP, even for the passengers.

Second is the cost, a GPS does not cost $3 to $4,000.

Finally I am concerned about upgradability. Both of my GPSs are basically small computers that interface with my main computer. I can create routes on my main computer, download Google map routes, upgrade the firmware, and get weekly updates on road changes. I can also download specialty programs written for the GPS. None of this seems to be possible with a built in GPS. I would probably keep a car 4 years, and that would seem like an eternity without being able to get any new features.

I have an entry level Magellan that I bought for price. It didn’t require a manual to use and I use it all the time. I’m aware that most factory units limit programing while driving. What I find most useful is the ability to pull up the written instructions. That way I can see in advance what to look for and thus watch for it on the road rather than stare at the unit’s graphic depiction. It’s easier to look for exit 22B than it is to wait for it to display visually. My eyes are on the road and not the unit.

I have a Garmin nuvi 760 that has all the bells and whistles and is easy to use. The one thing I haven’t figured out, though, is why it consistently does NOT give you the fastest or best routes, even though you will eventually get to where you want to go.

For instance, if I’m going north from my home, the GPS tells me to go south to a “larger” road before heading north on the main road, while I can go north immediately, miss 2 traffic lights, AND go fewer miles. It does the same on my way home. It wants me to go 1/2 mile south of where I will turn off and come back around, when I’m just 2/10 of a mile south of the road I want to turn down. And yes, it is less mileage.

It’s just weird that way. I must repeat that yes, it always will eventually get you where you want to go, but I still don’t get why it routes things the way it does.

But I am still glad I have it.

Grilled, garnished with fresh basil, and dusted with bacon salt.

I have a TomTom, and it changed my life forever. I’m one of those hopeless people who can’t find my way out of a paper sack. We got a refurbished one without all the bells and whistles for about $100 and it has made the stress of travel practically vanish. When we went out to New Jersey to case the place for apartments, TomTom made life a breeze. If TomTom had not been there, we would have been pulling out our hair.

Plus, he always gives us warnings to protect us from the bears.
You know, ‘‘Bear left! Bear right!’’

I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to become fodder for the forest animals while out on my Sunday drive.

I have a plan to purchase a Garmin ForeRunner sometime this winter, but that’s for running, not driving.

Is this an attempt to earn your user name? :cool:

I’ve noticed this too, it’s perplexing. In areas where I already know where I’m going, I ignore it. But it makes me wonder how often it is making me ramble about when I am in unfamiliar places.

The other maddening thing I have noticed about the Garmin is that it sometimes seems to ignore the “big picture” … when driving on a road that follows the coast, so there are some natural curves, the silly thing will decide that the road curved TOO FAR and tells me to get off the shore road. Shortly after, when the shore road has curved back around, it tells to get back on the shore road. I once had this repeat about 12 times, and it was a situation where I was relying on it to get me to the destination.

Oh, another crazy thing. This must be a database problem because it happened with more than one service. When people visit our house, the GPS instructs them to take a “road” through a park. Unfortunately, the road is really a gravel footpath about the width of a sidewalk, clearly not for cars. When the GPS reroutes, it wants to take you down another road near the park, that ends … at that same gravel footpath. We have received several confused phone calls from our guests. Now I try to remember to tell people in advance.

But overall I like it.

I bought a low-end GPS and for the most part am pleased with it. It seems to take me the long way around most of the time, but for what I wanted it for, it was worth every penny. I don’t go to places where I need it too often, but when I do need it, I’m very glad I have it.

I have a factory installed GPS in my 2001 Pathfinder. I’m very happy with it. Easy to use and does what it should most of the time. The only downside is fairly expensive upgrades for the CD of data it runs off. ($160 every other year or so).

BTY, the Hertz NeverLost is pretty good when it works. For some reason, however, it often takes 10 to 15 minutes to find the satelites.

You should be able to ask it for the shortest route. Sounds like you’re either in “fastest route” or “most use of freeways”. Either way, you don’t need it to navigate from a known location, you need it to get you to your destination. It’ll recalculate once it figures out you ignored it.

I got a Garmin Nuvi for Christmas and am very pleased with it. It’s a low-end model, but that’s pretty much all I need. I have a terrible sense of direction and get lost easily, and I tend to know one way to get some places. If there is a road closed or a detour, I can get hopelessly lost. I use the GPS every day on my way to work – I know exactly where I’m going, but if I have to get off an exit early for some reason, I would be screwed without it.

My husband has exactly the same model. We are unhappy with the fact that it costs $70 for updates – and you can’t share the download; you have to pay twice. We probably will update one unit every year, and alternate. Or every other year, maybe, and when we go on driving vacations, just take the updated one.

The suction cup holder falls down all the damn time. Hate that.

I also have a nüvi for the car and love it. The only thing that bugs me slightly is that the mapping clearly hasn’t been road-tested thoroughly enough - often it will say “turn left” when in fact the road just bends to the left, with a minor junction leading straight on, or “bear left” when in fact you don’t have right of way and have to turn off. Near me there is a minor road which crosses a more major one, so you have to stop if continuing straight on. The GPS doesn’t even accept that there’s a junction there at all - no “straight on” or anything, it just gives directions for the next junction in half a mile.

I covet a proper hiking/biking GPS, though - specifically this one, which shows proper full-colour Ordnance Survey maps with a “you are here” dot, which is basically what I always wanted a GPS to do rather than having a screen showing nothing but vague waypoints and directions. So far I haven’t been able to convince myself to part with the big wedge of cash the unit plus maps would cost, though. (Unlike the US, the UK’s national mapping agency charges a fortune for digital data. I have already bought a load of it in one format for a PC mapping program, so I resent having to pay for the same data in a slightly different format for the GPS :frowning: )

I love having one…my TomTom One. My wife got it for me for my birthday. I always use it even if I know where I am going since it gives me an ETA. She recalculates the route if I get off track and shows me how to get back to where I was going. The Points of Interest database is a little underwhelming, but I’ve recently added ATMs for my bank and Tim Hortons locations. My wife is please with the latter.

My in-laws had bought a Garmin Nuvi 350 about a year before we got ours, which put the bug in our ear that we could mostly afford one. There is one feature that my wife hates and is glad that we got the TomTom instead. When the Garmin gets ‘lost’ and recalculates the route, the voice sounds quite annoyed when she drones “Recalculating…”. I thought it was funny, as did my wife…the first 3 times. Our TomTom recalculates silently, but displays that fact on the screen.

I am enjoying my Tomtom One. I have been directionally challenged my whole life and it gives me much more confidence when finding my way in the big city and deep in the country. Yesterday I had to find an address in Nashville. Tomtom did not take me the way I had expected her to, but she got me right to the door.

A friend of mine has a Garmin and after hearing that annoyed-sounding “recalculating” and the imperious “make a u turn immediately” one too many times, she renamed her GPS system “Map Bitch.”

I, too, am one of those people with no sense of direction, and my Garmin is the best $350.00 I’ve ever spent. I don’t use it for places I know how to get to, but if you want to send me to some place I’m not familiar with, I just plug it in, type in the address or the name, and I have no fear of wasting half my day trying to find it. If I’m looking for a store, or somesuch, it gets me there, too (I love that I can browse for local establishments). Updates are about $60.00 per year, but I don’t think of that as being really that expensive, since I now never am horribly lost.

This, I think, is the true “secret” of GPS units. They all have…weird road fetishes sometimes: my Dash Express prefers roads where it has recent traffic info, for example, to “unknown” roads. If you even THINK you disagree with the unit – go for it. It will recalculate from where you end up even if you’re wrong.

Speaking of the Dash Express, I’m pretty much loving it. It’s a little poorer than others I’ve owned at routing, but it’s great at the rest of the stuff:

Service: It’s cheap to buy ($299, w/3 months service) for a full-featured GPS, but they get it back with the monthly service (about $13). But for that you get traffic info: both live from other nearby Dashes, and historical for the road/time/day from your own and other people’s Dashes. It updates it’s maps over the cell network (included in the monthly service) and it’s software over cell or wifi (also included), so it gets better over time. The service also gets you real-time (wifi or cell network, so it works from almost anywhere) searches on Yahoo for POI stuff (there are some in the device, too, but I never use them). I figure the monthly fee isn’t bad for all that stuff, especially the map updates. You get a few months free, though, so I haven’t had to actually pay for it yet. We’ll see. The service also lets it connect to your computer via it’s web site, so you can send it POI’s from your desktop (they’ll show up on the device a few seconds after it’s next turned on).

It pronounces the names of the streets (occasionally laughably), and in general does what you’d expect from a high-end GPS. Hopefully the routing will get better in an near-term update, it’s my only real complaint with it. It lets you choose from 2-3 routes and routes around traffic, but some of its suggested routes are laughably bad. But this month’s update added a “my route” feature, so that when you ignore its routes often enough, it proposes yours first (in addition to its own).

I have a Garmin Nuvi 360 and it works great. For drives I am familiar with it sometimes chooses a route that wouldn’t be my first choice, but it doesn’t know local traffic patterns like I do. I just listen to it recalculate, and it will go on from there…no biggie. The voice does sound annoyed. I also like the bluetooth feature. Factory GPS for my car was $1700, my Nuvi was $230. A no brainer to me.