The Best GPS: Many Ways to Find Your Way

We compared navigation systems to see which ones do the best job of pointing you in the right direction.

By Craig Ellison, PC World |  Personal Tech, GPS

The greatest disadvantage of a connected GPS device is its cost. The price of TomTom's XL 340S Live is $80 higher than that of the similarly featured but unconnected XL 340S; and even so, it covers only three months of data service. Subsequently, you'll pay $10 per month for the accompanying live services--a steep price when you consider that the money could be going toward something significantly more versatile, such as a smartphone data plan.

The XL 340S Live's fuel-prices feature lets you select a fuel grade and then search for the cheapest source nearby or in a wider area. Alternatively, you can search by price area-wide, by distance, or by cheapest price along the planned route. I checked local fuel prices along my route as I drove, and the TomTom-reported prices appeared to be up-to-date.

Google local search supplements the TomTom device's internal database of 7 million points of interest, letting you search near your current location, within a city, or in another location. If you choose ‘another location', you can use any of the Navigate To search options, including home, address, favorites, recent destinations, points of interest, current location, point on a map, GPS coordinates, or the position of the last stop. When you select a point of interest that Google local search suggests, you can add it as a favorite, show the location on the map, or navigate to it.

The Live connection also provides live traffic data. You can browse traffic incidents on a map, show traffic on a planned route, and (if you set locations for home and work) check traffic on your daily commute--more options than most other traffic services offer. The XL 340S Live can read traffic updates aloud, too.

If you aren't already paying for a smartphone with an associated data plan, the XL 340S Live might make sense for you. But consider the long-term cost before you commit to it or to any other two-way connected GPS unit.

Check These, Too

Currently, four connected GPS devices are available: the XL 340S Live that I tested; the larger and more expensive TomTom Go 740 Live ($350); the Garmin Nuvi 1690 ($400); and our Best Buy, the Insignia NS-CNV43 ($200). Like TomTom's devices, the Insignia NS-CNV43 comes with three months of free data. Thereafter, plans for continued coverage range from $5 for three days of service to $99 for a year of service. The unit's two-way connectivity covers movie times and an interface to Twitter--features not found on either Garmin or TomTom products.

In-Dash Car Navigation

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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