The Smartphone vs. the Dedicated GPS Device

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GPS applications on devices such as Androids, iPhones, smart phones and Palms though extremely portable and handy, are not necessarily "mount friendly". When placed on the windshield or dashboard it becomes difficult to see the screen clearly and to manually operate. Understandably, the fonts and buttons are smaller than what you would have on a dedicated GPS unit.

The more obvious benefits to these smart devices include their multifunctional designs and their connectivity to the cellular network and the internet. The connectivity allows for a more sophisticated GPS search capability, real-time traffic alerts and added services such as exploring local gas prices. Being able to effortlessly find a particular type of restaurant or service while you're on a road trip or in unfamiliar territory is a key feature.

The dedicated GPS personal navigation devices (PND) on the other hand are well suited to the road warrior, particularly if he is the only one in the car who is awake! These GPS devices tend to have larger screens, stronger speakers and can easily be seen from the dashboard or windshield mount. The touch screen keyboards, which display large numbers and letters, have been optimized for usability at arm's-length while driving. Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, and Lowrance provide variety of excellent options for anyone in the market for a dedicated GPS device.

There is also no need to take your eyes or your attentions off the road to use the GPS device, which makes for safer traveling. Because of the larger screens, more data can be displayed simultaneously, including estimated times of arrival to your programmed destination, distances to upcoming turns, upcoming street names, speed limits and much more.

Most smart phones have a light touch and elegant look. They use capacitive touch screen technology, which makes them a pleasure to use from the palm of your hand. However, while driving they do present a disadvantage with their smaller screens and keyboards as well as weaker speakers. In these particular areas, the dedicated GPS PND has the upper hand. Easily mounted, it can be clearly seen and operated due to its larger screen and keyboard. And yes, the speakers are louder as well. The GPS PND is a better choice for those longer, preplanned road trips, as well as for those of you who simply enjoy the occasional "going out for a drive" - with no particular destination in mind.
Personally, I enjoy having both devices as GPS systems. Depending on the situation, eachdevice performs excellently within it prescribed GPS parameters. It's like apples and oranges. Both are delicious fruit, but one cannot satisfactorily take the place of the other.

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