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Widescreen GPS — Is it Worth it?


Recently, with the announcement of the Garmin Nuvi 660 and other GPS devices with widescreen displays, people have been asking me how much of a difference the bigger screen makes. Here, in a picture, is the difference between a traditional 3.5 inch display and the newer widescreen GPS displays.

Widescreen GPS display pixels

Ultimately, it is up to you. Would that much more screen space make a difference to you while driving and looking at the picture of the road? For many people the answer is no— a 3.5 inch display will work just fine in most cases. However there are some times when you might want to consider the larger display.

Sometimes to get the best installation, the GPS device isn’t always placed very close to you in the car. If the device is further than an arm’s length away then a widescreen display might be in your future.

Another reason to consider a widescreen display is if your eyesight isn’t quite as good as it could be. Having a bigger display could help. Also note that these wider screen GPS devices tend to have higher quality displays that are a little brighter than their 3.5 inch counter parts. This could be an important consideration as well.

Look at the graphic and note which direction you gain the most… hoizontally. The widescreen displays are only 32 pixels taller (where you would see more of the road ahead) however they are 160 pixels wider. So you gain much more of a horizontal view than a vertical view. For most people, a 3.5 inch display has worked well for a number of years in GPS navigation devices and should continue to be a good option for a number of people. However don’t rule out the widescreen GPS models if you need a bigger picture.

2 Responses

  1. I am considering the Magellan Maestro 4250 but I have read a couple times that it was harder to hear unless the car was very quiet. Any educated opinions on that?
    Also any educated opinions on the total Magellan 4250.

    Lee - January 12th, 2008
  2. I wonder how an entire industry can go haywire.
    It is quite moronic to show a navigation map in widescreen. When forward is UP, then it only makes sense to have the 16:9 screen VERTICAL. Who cares about showing kilometers to the sides and a compressed view in the moving direction. Duuuhhh!!

    But I know that marketing forces has nothing to do with intelligence and sanity, it’s all about bling-bling for the dumb masses. Right?

    Leif Knudsen - June 10th, 2011

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