OT... GPS's

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Do you own one, if so, what brand?
Buying a gift for someone, and have been reading reviews until I'm blue in the face. Looking to spend around $250. Been looking on NewEgg, any suggestions for competitors?
Thanks
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Mike wrote:

because it will download the google maps satellite image as a layer) and an external USB GPS on my notebook.
You didn't say what the intended use might so I will assume auto navigation. I like the current TomTom products. I would look at one of the TomTom 4.5" XL series (maybe a 340).
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ditto on the Magellan. Used it to get to NYC and back to TX. Only got lost once in DC because it sent us to the opposite side of town.
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See my previous post where I mentioned that I ran a Magellan and Garmin side by side. The Magellan sent me the wrong way at 2 different highway junctions near my house while the Garmin sent me the right way both times.
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<snip>

That is a software problem. The on-line versions of several mapping programs directed you the wrong way along a one-way street near me for the longest time. I think it has now been corrected. These are the problems that a /human/ has to notice and figure out, as stated in all the notices and caveats.
But indeed, if one system does this in places that are crucial to YOU, by all means use another system.
--
Best regards
Han
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Let me tell you everything you need to know about GPSs. It all depends on the use. For one that is bulletproof, for just hiking, the Garmin XL12 is so good, one is in every USAF survival pack. A TomTom is good for driving, and I have one. The smallest one, but it really helps for what I use it for, and that's locating properties for real estate surveys. The better ones have all the bells and whistles and a bigger screen. The bigger more expensive ones have cds and computer interfaces so that it is really helpful when driving or motorhoming. They all have touch screen navigation, and some are more user friendly. There is a gps newsgroup, too, and you might want to lurk there and post. Don't let the knowitalls and snobs rattle your tree, though, as they will try.
It all depends on the use. I have two of the Garmin 12xl's, and I use them for navigating around for atv'ing, rockhounding, geocaching, etc. About $125 each. My TomTom was a gift, and it cost the giver $100. They go from there, and get up in the $400 range for one with all the bells and whistles. I wouldn't have one of the more expensive ones, but you are not me. Again, asses the use, then buy accordingly. One that is complicated and hard to use is no fun when you just want to get back to the same place you found a nice rock, or find the trail again.
Steve
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    My personal experience and opinion is that there is not much difference between the units. They all start with the same data, and they all have more than sufficent accuracy. The differences are in the interface and size and price of the unit. I like mine that has voice anouncements of the upcomming street names and instructions.
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On Aug 24, 8:46pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

re: My personal experience and opinion is that there is not much difference between the units.
Don't take this the wrong way, but your personal experience must be very limited.
re: They all start with the same data...
I disagree, but I guess that depends on what you are calling "data". For example, Garmin uses NavTeq maps and Tom-Tom uses Tele-Atlas. While both contain a number of (different) errors, there are definite differences in the maps and the algorithms used to plan routes.
re: ...and they all have more than sufficent (sic) accuracy
I guess that depends on your definition of "sufficient accuracy"
I once ran a Magellan and a Garmin side by side and the Magellan sent me the wrong way at 2 different highway junctions near my house. As soon as I followed the incorrect directions, the unit immediately recalculated and routed me in a big loop to get back to where the Garmin told me to go in the first place. If going a few miles (or more) out of the way on the wrong highway is what you'd call "sufficient accuracy" then that's OK for you...but not for me. Imagine being routed into in-bound rush hour traffic when you wanted to go away from the city and having to sit in the traffic just so you could loop around to get back to where you belonged.
re: The differences are in the interface and size and price of the unit.
And features like MP3 players and FM Traffic receivers and the number of VIA points and Text-To-Speech and the ability to learn routes and the ability to download pre-planned routes (i.e. your own tours) from the internet and the ease of adding custom waypoint files and I could go on and on.
The difference in features and accuracy cover as wide a range as the price range from very affordable to way above my budget.
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I once ran a Magellan and a Garmin side by side and the Magellan sent me the wrong way at 2 different highway junctions near my house. As soon as I followed the incorrect directions, the unit immediately recalculated and routed me in a big loop to get back to where the Garmin told me to go in the first place.
*****************************************************************
I'd really like to see some long term comparisons done like that between brands .
I have a Garmin and it has taken me a couple of crazy routes. One has been corrected. The first work day I had the unit I figured Id try it out. Leaving my house, it went the same way I'd normally go. About 15 miles later on a secondary road, it wanted me to make a left, right, left, to go around a small town green and gazebo rather than just continue 100 yards straight on the road.
Another time, it had me go off the road making a left, then a right, then a left, then a right soft of like zig-zagging up the set of steps. I could have just continued 1/2 mile to the light and made a left and cut out all the back road stuff. The computer probably showed that route as being a tiny bit shorter, but did not mention about all the school busses I'd run into.
Making checks like that on a known route is easy, but If I'm traveling in unknown territory I'd have to follow and accept the route unless I had a map.
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wrote in message

I have a bare bones TomTom. It is kinda funny some times when you are looking at a road, and Tom says there is none there. Then, when there's a blockage, and you have to go around, or you just know a short cut that Tom doesn't, he gets all flustered, "TURN AROUND" or "MAKE A U TURN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE" are common remarks, but he soon replots the way, and an alternate is displayed. If you live in the country, this is particularly noticeable, as they only have the paved and major roads displayed. Still, for a small $100 unit, it does a lot. Saved me time a lot of times.
Steve
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re:"TURN AROUND" or "MAKE A U TURN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE" are common remarks
I have a utility that allows me to change the things that my Nuvi says.
Some examples...
"Make a U-turn" is now "Turn Around, Fool." (as per Mr. T) "Recalculating" is now "Lost Again!" "Arriving at ..." is now "Yahoo! You made it to..."
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I've been reading your comments in this thread- and paid minimal attention to your experience with different models of these things.
But this sold me- If I ever take the plunge, I'm gettin' me a Nuvi.<g>
-snip-

Does it also have user-changeable databases? I've looked at these things off and on for a few years. But I travel so little & enjoy being lost so much, and enjoy maps more than the average bear. . . so I keep putting it off.
One of the great features I read about one of them was user-groups, where folks could share databases. So if I was coming to your neck-of-the-woods you could hook me up with all the points of interest, shortcuts, work-zones & eateries better than some huge database updated by the beaurocracy.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Doable with others including stuff like changing male/female voices, accents and using voices such as Homer Simpson etc.

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re: "Doable with others including stuff like changing male/female voices, accents and using voices such as Homer Simpson etc.
The changing of voices and accents is typical of just about all brands and models.
As far as changing the things that these voices say, I can't speak for anything other than the Nuvi line, but the utility I speak of was custom written by a Nuvi owner. It is *not* a Garmin supported "feature".
The user has to access the Garmin via the USB port, edit a text file within the Garmin and save the changes back out to the unit.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

There seems to be a community of enthusiasts around any device that is hackable. It isn't any big challenge to mount a filesystem and then edit a text file. Flashing different ROM images etc can be somewhat more tricky. The TomTom is Linux based so you can change the UI or even add little programs you might write.
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One of the "features" of the Nuvi line is (it is suspected) that it will try to place your destination on the right and/or route you via routes that make more rights than left. Rumor has it that this is because rights use less gas than sitting while waiting to make a left.
As I said...rumor has it.
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-snip-

Rights are safer. UPS does the same thing.
Jim
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Mike wrote:

What's best for you really depends on intended use. e.g. for driving navigation there are plenty to choose from, there are some that can also be used for hiking, biking, boating, etc. and a lot of what you are paying for are the maps (don't believe me? check out Garmin's site - buying a map that your unit isn't loaded with costs about half as much as the unit itself) so it pays to get what you need up front. Also updates are good - I recently bought a Garmin and it was useless until I took advantage of my "free" map update. Haven't had to go outside my sphere of influence since updating so can't say how out of date the "current" maps are. Took about 4 hrs. on a 56K connection to do everything. I also downloaded an enforcement camera database as well so it can warn me when Big Brother is watching (I live just outside of DC, there's both speed and red light cameras all over the place. That also explains somewhat why an out of date map isn't much use to me - there's tons of construction projects going on around here and all the way out into Loudoun County...)
But short answer, if we knew what you were going to be using it for, we might be able to give you better advice. Me, I got a Garmin nuvi 500, which is pretty much an all-around compromise - it's mostly driving centric, but doesn't have spoken street names and has a smaller screen than some other models. It's waterproof, but only has a rough topo map and no marine charts. It costs about the same as a better unit for driving only. So if your priorities are different than mine you might be disappointed with the unit I bought... (and who knows if I even bought the exact best unit for me.)
nate
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My Garmin 12xl's rattle around on an atv for hundreds of miles, get left out in the sun and rain, and so far, so good. Not so sure how other units would have done, but these have sat in rain, snow, and 115 degree heat and didn't squawk.
Steve
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This is the one I'm looking at. It will be used for driving. http://www.newegg.com:80/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16858108329
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