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Old 09-15-2008, 06:28 PM   #1
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HELP - which GPS?

Going to buy a GPS before heading South this winter. I have looked in all the usual places, Costco, Best Buy etc - THERE ARE DOZENS OF THEM!!
I am sure lots of you out there have a favorite. What would you suggest the best for RVing? also would like a good size screen - willing to pay around $200 - $400 (has to have Canada as well as the US) Also portable between different vehicles.

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Old 09-16-2008, 06:01 AM   #2
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I have a Garmin Nuvi 660. Got it off the intenet for about $350. It is portable and works GREAT! Has lots of features and a wide screen.
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:20 AM   #3
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We have the Magellan 4000, also got a great price off the internet. It was around $400.00 at the time but that was 2 years ago. They have came down since then. Ours can be updated though we have not to date. We bought our kids cheaper ones on black friday around $150.00. They are happy with them, however we are not. They are much slower which makes sense you get what you pay for. We love ours. Would not travel without it. We have been on roads we never knew where there.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:38 AM   #4
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I have a Garmin Nuvi 350 that I use as I get close to an unknown destination. I really don't use it much for helping me on long trips. It sometimes wants to take me off in directions and highways that I know are not the best way to go. But when I get close to where I am going, it has not failed me (yet) on getting me to my destination. I have seen the 350 recently on the internet for as little as $150, MUCH less than I paid 2 years ago.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:45 AM   #5
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I have had a bulky Magellan 760, back then it cost me $1,000. Loved it and all its features, but the LED screen broke forcing me to buy a new one. Whereas I was was familiar with Magellan features, I bought a 400 series unit for about $350. It was smaller and didn't have near the features as the 760. Worst thing it didn't have Canadian maps and could not be upgraded to accept anything but USA maps. I didn't find that out until the day before we entered Canada. Ended up buying a Garmin Street Pilot c550 in Banaff for less than $250. It doesn't have all the features my Magellan 760 or the 400 series had, but it is easy enough to use. What I really like about it is its hands free blue tooth cell phone feature.

I would recommend going to a CompUSA, Best Buy, Staples, etc and get a salesman who knows something about the different GPS they stock. Look at the different features and pick the one that suites you best.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:49 AM   #6
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I have the in-dash unit in my Chevy truck, BUT has a Magellan 6000T Roadmate for backup and when we rent a car. I, too, use mine near the destination as the units sometimes route you other than the route you want. Mine is upgradable and is bluetooth capable, has picture feature and music also. Probably a little more than you want to spend, but as mentioned earlier, don't go cheap.....You do get what you pay for with these gadgets......Good luck on your choice and happy travelling..
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:05 PM   #7
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We also have the NUVI 350. I would agree with BB TX that it often will want to take you on its own route which will get you there but not always the best route.

This unit, as I suspect all of them do, has its own faults. I would not throw away the paper maps. We have found the unit to be very good in urban areas. We were thinking of getting the non-talking model but decided against that and are very glad. The talking unit is very helpful.

We just came back from a trip in Western Canada and it worked well We also were in Sitka, Alaska and it did a great job there as well.

Bought ours from Amazon.com.

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Old 09-16-2008, 01:18 PM   #8
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I have the TomTom 720 and have had very good luck with it. Like others, it may take you on roads that you would rather not be on, but it will get you there. You can't get lost. If you take a wrong turn it will tell you several times to turn around at the first opportunity, but then it will readjust and put you back on a alternate track to your destination. What some forget about when programming a GPS is that "FASTEST" round is not always interstate, and can take you on some back roads. I always use a mapping system to see where I want to go, then program the GPS for that route.

GPS's are a continuing updated product with new model numbers and improvement each year. How much do you want to spend?

The Garmin NUVI 260W is on Consumer reports top rated for standard GPS systems.
The TomTom 930 with Traffic Optional is on the top of the GPS with Traffic Navigator Optional systems.

You can Google search for "GPS Reviews" and get lots of information. Buying a GPS is like bying a truck, 5th wheel, or other items. What do YOU want.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:24 PM   #9
Pete Hanson
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We have used a laptop GPS which is a little more cumbersom than the small GPS units but it is loaded with features. It is produced by ALK and it is called co-pilot live. For RVing it will avoid really sharp turns and low bridges on major roadways. It also allows planning a trip and saving it to use later which is a feature we use a lot. Obviously the screen size is as big as your laptop. Buying a quality laptop mount for your truck helps make it more usable. Other than that its like all the other GPS units. Just one more solution for you to think about.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:11 PM   #10
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We also go the laptop route, but with Microsoft's Streets and Trips. As with Pete above, we like the route planning and saving features. Very detailed maps of all of Canada and the U.S.

If you already have a laptop that can run Windows, then S&T is a very economical way to go.
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:05 PM   #11
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I have had four Garmins and would not hesitate to recommend another. They are American made vs. the European Tom Tom. I would recommend the 700 series Nuvi for a couple of reasons, the main one being the ability to put in multiple stops along a route. I would say any of them will do the job.
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Old 09-16-2008, 05:31 PM   #12
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We have a Garmin 650 which we bought from Costco when they had a $100 off sale. I think we paid $299. We use it even when we know where we are going as it gives us estimated arrival time and reminds us when we are coming to a turn. Even though we know where we are going, it doesn't take much to forget to turn. You know it is that age thing!!! now what was that?
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:15 PM   #13
D and M On The Road
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Garmin Nuvi 760 here. Love it. Has voice and the optional traffic feature. I agree that a GPS won't get you to your destination sometimes by the best/fastest route, but it will get you there. When you are a stranger in a strange land, that's what counts. We have kept our paper maps also, you can't have too many references.

Oops! Almost forgot. Bought ours through Walmart online during a super sale and had it shipped to the local Walmart for free, then we picked it up there.

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Old 09-17-2008, 06:50 AM   #14
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We are in the market, also. We have friends who have used the TomTom and Magellan, and now have the Garmin, which they like a lot better. We have decided on the Garmin Nuvi 260W, which has the wide screen and text to voice feature (turn left on XYZ street in 200 feet) as opposed to "turn left in 200 feet". It's a fairly basic unit, but has everything we need. Battery backup, so it's portable, or you can use a power cord in your vehicle.It's available at Costco for around $250.00.

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Old 09-17-2008, 12:40 PM   #15
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My wife has a Garmin 260W and likes it. I have a Garmin 205 and like it. Only significant differences are screen size, text to speech, and price. The 205 is an entry level GPS but it very effective and easy to use. It is not text to speech, which is a show-stopper for some, but doesn't bother me. For the money, it's hard to beat.

Can't speak for the TomTom or Magellan. If you go with a Garmin, my suggestion is to buy the on-sale least expensive one you can find. If it doesn't live up to your expectations, return/exchange it for a fancier model. When I bought my 205 I bought 3 of them at the same time from Office Depot (2 wide screens and 1 not) and paid less for all 3 of them than the single 260W. I got them for the same price as the previous model that was going out of production (200) because the store employee was dishonest on the phone and in person and the manager wanted to make it right (lucky me). I gave the two wide screens to the kids and the mother-in-law.

As far as the larger screen, some swear buy it. I've used both and can't tell any real difference since I don't look at it (maybe a glance) if I'm driving and if you're not driving you have plenty of time to zoom in/out or pan the map to where you want it.

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Old 09-17-2008, 01:28 PM   #16
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Laptop with Streets and Trips. It, like the others can lead you astray on roads that are not passable. I also use MS Live Earth for a bird's eye view of my route. Google Earth works for the same purpose and often has photos of sights along the way.
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Old 09-17-2008, 02:36 PM   #17
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We have a in dash nav system and back up with a Garmin c550. We used the Garmin a lot before we got the new truck and it never let us down.
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Old 09-18-2008, 05:16 PM   #18
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I may be off the beaten path a bit here, but I have two strips of picture-hanger velcro and slap in my hand-held (Garmin 76csx) whenever I take a trip. It goes from the truck to my pocket to the boat, etc., and I do chase an occasional Geocache, so the portability is a plus to me. It has the basic features of the big brothers, just doesn't speak to me ... gives me beeps and tones for upcoming turns and all. I connect it to the laptop to set up routes and search for caches along a route, and can change it over from city navigator to marine, or to topographical if we go off-road sometime.
It does have it's limitations, doing searches for points of interest is a bit of a chore and best left to the designated navigator person. It is waterproof and rugged. The display is color, but way small compared to the big-screen guys. Text input and programming are best done on the laptop and transferred over, as there's no keyboard on the unit and you have to make entries by scrolling around a deisplayed keyboard. Iy has, however, been perfectly reliable and uses all the Garmin mapping software without a glitch.
Anyway, just 2 cents worth from my multi-use perspective.
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Old 09-19-2008, 02:45 PM   #19
D and M On The Road
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Here's a couple of comparison charts for the Garmin Nuvi models if you are looking at them.



The first link also has a link to a comparison chart for the Tom-Tom models.

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Old 09-21-2008, 02:51 PM   #20
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Thanks to everyone for their input - it definitiely looks like we will be getting a Garmin - will post here which model we get and how it is working out.
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