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replacing old GPS

Posted on 2011-02-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
i have a gps from 2005- more bulky than the recent ones i see..

do you recommend switching to the newer thin ones, for any reason other than they are saving space.. is there more technology in the consumer gps in the recent years?

thanks
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Question by:anushahanna
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Do you mean a navigation system e.g. TomTom, or do you mean a standalone GPS unit such as a bluetooth or USB connected GPS that connects to a computer / mobile phone?

If it's a navigation system, the main reason for upgrading would be superior maps and navigation ability, and a nicer interface. The GPS will likely be pretty much the same.

For a standalone GPS unit, newer GPS devices may be able to lock on to satellites faster (initiate a "warm start" which can lock on within 5 seconds in some cases), and if you have an extremely old GPS right now it might have a limit to how many satellites it simultaneously locks on to (e.g. only 3 or 5) which can reduce the accuracy.

All in all though, for driving I don't think you'll notice much of a difference. If you aren't having problems with your existing GPS I don't see a reason to update it.
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Oh forgot to mention - some newer navigation systems have some fancy features, e.g.:

     - Traffic / weather monitoring and re-routing around construction zones using a data plan
     - Built in magnometer (compass) to determine direction
     - Over-speeding alerts and warnings (detecting speed zones for the road you're on)
     - More updated points-of-interest, or dynamic online searching of points of interest

But none of this has anything to do with the GPS part of the unit, it's just the software and user interface
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The primary advantages asides from the smaller form factor include:
-possibility for newer GPS chip set (i.e. SiRF II to SiRF III)
     Newer GPS chip sets offer faster satellite acquisition, and better signal reception
     and potentially higher levels of accuracy.
-possibility for improved battery performance
-increased storage (more on board, support for SDHC)
-ability for add-ons (add additional vehicle icons, games, music, etc.)
-ability to add real-time traffic services (varies with model)

Personally, I really like the Garmin Nuvi series.
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by:anushahanna
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i meant something like TomTom. (plug into the charger)

by superior maps- do you mean higher resolution? and also is it faster in the newer tomtom's to connect to the satellites ?
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by:anushahanna
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thanks for the new features.. helps to decide now..
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by:Frosty555
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>>by superior maps- do you mean higher resolution? and also is it faster in the newer tomtom's to connect to the satellites ?

Not really higher resolution, but just more recent and updated with more information about the streets (e.g. speed limits, one way roads, special circumstances etc.). Also some navigation devices have more information about the surrounding landmarks like surrounding buildings, some of them have 3D projections of the buildings which can make navigating a bit easier.

As far as acquisition times go I can't really say. There might be a small difference but like I said I don't think it would be a very big difference - on average it takes my TomTom about 15-20 seconds to get a GPS lock.
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