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David Pogue’s GPS Advice


Recently David Pogue (tech columnist for the NY Times whom I respect very much) wrote about his experience with a Magellan RoadMate 300. He didn’t have much good to say about the 300, however he received it as a gift and mentioned that it is in fact an old, discontinued model from Magellan. He did, however mention several important considerations when purchasing a GPS for auto navigation.

Unfortunately, the RoadMate lacks a battery. It won’t turn on except when it’s plugged into an electrical outlet or cigarette lighter.

This has troubled me a few times with certain GPS receivers as well. You might think “I’m only going to use it when in the car” however it is often handy to pre-program favorites, routes, addresses, etc into the device the night before big trips.

Some cars are wired so that you can use devices plugged into the cigarette lighter without the car being turned on… this is handy. However this isn’t the case in my car and having to turn the car on, then have the car sit idling while I program the GPS isn’t exactly saving me any gas nor being considerate of the environment. Get a GPS with a battery.

If you are indeed shopping for a portable car GPS unit, here’s my advice: don’t buy a model that requires manual map loading before each trip; life’s just too short.

I would agree with this for first time GPS users. The process of loading maps never seems to be as easy as it should, so don’t do it, buy a GPS with pre-loaded maps. If you are a seasoned GPS user, want to save a little cash, and are comfortable with computers then go ahead and purchase something where you can load the maps yourself.

I recently purchased a second GPS for the rest of my family that required me to load maps. This was okay since I just loaded it with a few states and we use that GPS for shorter, more local trips.

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