phacopida wrote:Is there an advantage to having a dedicated GPS device as opposed to a GPS app for a smartphone or tablet?
Having been one that used to swear by my cell phone GPS... here is my current opinion.
I love Google Maps/Navigation. It works great, is (fairly) up-to-date, and best of all: it's free. It was all I used for years, and prior to that I did VZ Navigator on my non-smart phone. Earlier this year I purchased my first vehicle with a built in navigation system. When I first got it I said, "Well that's one feature I'll never use..." But, I was wrong. Here are the reasons I like having a stand alone GPS over my cell phone:
1. I can use my cell phone for something else like: making calls, letting my daughter play games on it, internet radio, etc.
Not to say it can't multitask, but if I have Pandora up playing music then I can't see the map which... is nice to see.
2. Going off of point 1, I love that with the stand alone GPS I can ALWAYS see the map. My phone doesn't get a text message, low battery alert, go to sleep, etc etc etc. I realize there are lots of ways to turn off all these things on your phone to assure you always see the map, but I don't want to. I don't want to turn off my low battery alert, and at the same time I don't want to have to have to try to close the low battery alert while I am driving 70MPH and trying to decide what exit I am suppose to get off.
3. Depending on your cell phone and the GPS, the voice instructions are typically much louder from the stand alone GPS. This isn't always the case, but it is something to consider especially if: you really like voice instructions and/or you have loud people traveling with you often.
4. The stand alone GPS is (or should be at least) always in your car. Cell phones get forgotten, lost, broken, etc. and if you need navigation and don't have a phone... then you're screwed. By having a stand alone GPS that you leave in your vehicle, you insure that you always have a GPS.
5. The stand alone GPS can be used by other drivers. If someone borrows your vehicle, a spouse/parent/child for example, they now have a GPS too. You can even pre-program it for them (good if you have older less tech-savvy parents). If you rely on your cellphone GPS then they don't have GPS when they borrow your car, unless you let them borrow your phone too.
6. As great as Google Maps/Navigation is, or VZ Navigator, they are simply not as easy to use as any stand alone I've seen. The stand alones have large buttons, less clutter, and (typically) bigger screens. Depending on who's going to be using your GPS, these the GUI factor alone could be reason enough to purchase a stand alone.
Now, with all that said, there are some advantages to cell phone GPS...
1. If you need a navigation system while you're walking with traveling with a friend. You probably won't have your TomTom in your back pocket, but you will have your cell phone.
2. Maps are updated on cell phones for free (usually). Map updates with stand alone GPS units typically cost some money.
Hope that helps.