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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Inexpensive Portable GPS, Not Yet.


I was looking at portable GPS devices. Even though I don’t mind stopping for directions, it would be nice to have a clue where I am going. Now that I am retired I have anticipated a little more car travel. I did some research and after reading until my eyes bled, I decided to buy a cheap one and see how I liked it, then spring for a better one. Staples had a deal on their Omnitech GPS after rebates and other money games for $79.99. It has a 4.3” screen, text to speech and I figured with my $15.00 Staples cash would cost me an affordable $64.99 plus tax. I went in to Staples to see it and it was the only one on display not working. I asked the clerk and he said the screen was bad and I didn’t want it anyway, it was a piece of junk. He said he hated to sell them because he got so many back. I couldn’t decide whether to be grateful he saved me from a bad purchase or suspicious that he was trying to move me into a more expensive GPS. Since I now had a serious case of ambivalence, I didn’t buy anything.

I’m reasonably technical, 25 years in the computer business, you have to be. I do my due diligence on my purchases. I read the reviews and the bottom line on some of this stuff it is a plain old crap shoot.

I have since concluded that a unit with “free” lifetime traffic information and updates is the only route to go. The Navigon 2200T and 7200T, have free lifetime traffic without ads, as does the 8100T. The 2200T only has a 3.5” screen but is a bargain at Amazon for $119.00. I like the Navigon 7200T better due to the 4.3” screen but the price is $209.00. The Garmin Nuvi 265WT and the new Nextar Q4-LT both have free lifetime traffic info but you also get advertising which is a turn off for me.

So for those of us of the male persuasion that are not averse to stopping for directions perhaps a GPS is unnecessary. Although there are many places I don’t care to stop and ask for anything let alone directions. (Take for example a rather scary truck stop in Tennessee where the collective number of teeth in the clientel was 4. I did have a nice time in Tennessee and this is in no way a blanket condemnation of Tennessee or tooth challenged people anywhere.)

If you want a GPS you may want to luck at the Navigon units mentioned above. They seem like they are at a good price point. Me, I am probably going to wait until I can get all the features in the 7200T for the price of the 2200T.

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