GPS Reviews: What Are The Best GPS Systems

When I first wanted to get a boat gps I read hundreds of gps reviews on-line and in magazines to try and narrow down the choice.

By reading these gps reviews I learned what features would serve my needs, what brands have the best reliability, and which models have the best consumer feed back.

Still it was not an easy choice.

There are an amazing number of individuals that just love to compare gps systems and write reviews on the internet.

I have no intention of repeating their work.

I like to compare gps systems by keeping four important points in mind. In this order!

  1. dealer reputation/service
  2. price
  3. reliability and reception
  4. features

I am happy to pay more at a local dealer who will give me great service and take care of any problems that come up.

If there is no local dealer then an internet based dealer with a good reputation would be my next choice.

Price is obviously one of the important points, but just as I did not buy the cheapest boat and expect it to perform as well as, or last as long as a heavy duty boat, I would not buy the cheapest GPS and expect it to perform like a more expensive model.

Reliability is a challenging point. From my reading all the brands of gps units have reports of some issues. Stick with one of the larger brand names and you will hopefully have better luck.

Reception is an important issue. Most gps units now have built in antennas. Reports indicate that built in antennas are never as sensitive as external antennas. For example, I had hoped the new Garmin Oregon handheld gps devices which are easy to use with a touch screen design would have great signal reception.

On-line reports indicate it doesn't have good reception! The Garmin GPSMAP 62s, and its precursor the CS60 with the external antenna seem to be the most popular handheld gps devices for their ability to lock on to satellites.

Features are something that is personal. GPS ratings often rate a unit on features, but be careful here, if these are features you will never use. I like a unit that is easy to use. While I am not challenged by figuring out electronics, I certainly prefer models that are intuitive - so I can turn it on and learn as I go. I admit I do not use most of the features on any of the electronic devices I own. I am more of a "Keep It Simple" person.

I prefer models with a larger screen. Keep in mind the larger the screen, the more money! I wanted a unit for my boat with a built in depth sounder, for fishing and for navigating when exploring coastal waters. So I looked at the marine units that are designed for just that purpose.

After reading many gps reviews I settled on a Garmin GPSMap 400 series. Yes, the GPSMap 500 series would be nicer with the larger screen, but the space limitations of an inflatable boat made me choose the smaller unit.

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