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GPS Bluetooth Compatibility

Feb
19
2007

Update: Find a phone that is compatible but not listed as such from the manufacturer? Want to know if other users have found a phone to be compatible? We now have a list of user submitted GPS and Bluetooth Phone Compatible Test Results. You can add your results to the list or search the list for user submissions!

Bluetooth hands free calling is a feature offered on my upper-level auto GPS devices. If you haven’t heard of it before, Bluetooth is simply a feature which allows two devices to communicate with each other wirelessly over a short distance. So if you have a Bluetooth mouse and a computer with Bluetooth, they can work together without a cable tethering them via Bluetooth.

In GPS devices the connection takes place between your GPS and your mobile phone. Your GPS device works like a Bluetooth headset. When a call comes into your phone, the caller ID information and the notification of an incoming call can display on your GPS. This can be handy if your phone is in your pocket or purse, and offers a safer way to take the call.

After answering the phone on your GPS, the speaker inside the GPS broadcasts the voice of the caller, and an internal microphone in the GPS picks up your voice, sends it back to your phone, and then your phone sends it back to the person on the other end of the call.

Some GPS devices will allow you to dial POIs from the GPS. Navigate to a restaurant and dial your phone, directly from the GPS, to make a reservation. Other GPS devices can even view your phone’s phonebook from the GPS and you can make calls to those people directly from the GPS.

While this might sound like a fantastic feature, keep in mind it doesn’t always work as well as you might hope. The sound quality isn’t always fantastic and not all Bluetooth mobile phones are supported from every device. Try to see if the manufacturer specifically claims compatibility with your phone. Even with compatible phones people often report less than satisfactory audio quality.

Just because two devices offer Bluetooth doesn’t mean that they can pair with each other and work together. And just because a GPS device offers hands-free calling via Bluetooth doesn’t mean it is compatible with each and every Bluetooth phone. Thus, each GPS model needs to be tested with each phone. There are so many combinations that manufacturers don’t get to test them all, but they try to test the popular ones. Even with testing, there are some combinations that prove to work fine despite the manufacturer not listing the pair as being compatible.

Rather than keep up with each of the combinations here is a link to the compatibility charts for some of the manufacturers.

Garmin Bluetooth Compatibility
TomTom Bluetooth Compatibility
Magellan Bluetooth Compatibility (models except Maestro).
Magellan Maestro series.

8 Responses


  1. Like most others I am looking at a GPS system for use both in auto and pedestrian mode. As I am going to Europe I would love to have one preloaded with European maps. I am also interested in Blue Tooth but so far have not found one with my phone and service listed. I have the Sanyo Katana through Sprint. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

    Debby Shelor - February 27th, 2007
  2. Not much can be done about phone compatibility, but check out the Nuvi 370, TomTom 910, or Nuvi 670 for GPS devices that have both North America and European maps pre-installed. You can compare the three side-by-side here.

    Tim - February 27th, 2007
  3. WHAT S/D MMC MEMORY SLOT CHIP DO I NEED FOR MEGELLAN-MAESTRO 4250; WHAT BLUETOOTH TO PAIR WITH MY GPS; WHAT’S GOOD LAPTOP(12″ SCREEN), WITH ALL PLUG INs (CABLES) TO MAKE IT ALL WORK FOR CAR TRAVEL.I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE MAPS APPEAR ON LAPTOP FOR LARGER VIEWING. I’M WAITNG FOR MANUFACTOR TO ANSWER OR EVEN THEIR TECH BUT STILL NO ANSWER IN OVER 2 WEEKS AND EVEN SENT ANOTHER EMAIL TO THEM. CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME AND TELL ME HOW TO PLUG THIS ALL UP IN MY CAR. AND CAN I TAKE MY GPS FOR CITY DIRECTIONS OUTSIDE OF CAR.THANK YOU.AND, ALSO, THANK YOU FOR YOUR WEBSITE.

    GRACE - March 13th, 2008
  4. I understand the blue tooth feature on GPS’s do not work the best but of them, which seem to be the most reliable? Our state requires by law hands free cell when mobile. I am looking at getting a new GPS and a new phone so compatibility should not be a problem.

    Kirby - December 4th, 2008
  5. Kirby, unfortunately it doesn’t really work out like that. Compatibility is really hit or miss. There are not really any GPS devices that work with substantially more phones than another GPS. Some will work– some won’t. Also many of the newer phones are sometimes less likely to be initially compatible as it takes time for the GPS manufacturers to test and tweak their software.

    Tim - December 4th, 2008
  6. I’m interested in the garman nuvi 760. I’m with verizon. Is there a better phone that works with this GPS system

    Randy - May 18th, 2009
  7. I have successfully connected via bluetooth my blackberry pearl 8100 and my Garmin gps. However, I cannot get my voice dialing to work when the bluetooth is connected, only when it’s disconnected.

    I would really like to have this work so that I can take advantage of total hands free while driving. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    caren - August 23rd, 2009
  8. Hi Caren
    I think a lot of other folks have the same problem. Some have said that if you take the BB out of the holster it works, and others say if you remove and then reinstall the battery it works. You may also want to see if you can upgrade the firmware in the unit.
    Hope this helps

    Ben - September 3rd, 2009



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