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Dedicated GPS vs. smartphone navigation

Advantages of in-car GPS guidance

  • Joe from Mesa

    Posted on 8/5/2018

    I would have agreed with this up to about 2013. GPS units do have nicer screens, are hyper accurate, and offer nice bonus features (like a trip computer). I have a 2012 Garmin that I've used a lot, but I haven't paid for updates on it for the same reason i didn't on my 2009 TomTom: the updates cost more than the GPS. The phone updates and apps are free, Google has excellent traffic information, and even iOS maps (which are still all you can use on CarPlay until iOS 12 goes live and lets us use google in Carolay) work well enough nowadays and are completely voice operated and hands free. The fact that you can download area maps for offline use in google kind of nullifies the argument for a standalone device.

  • Ryan Martin from All of Them

    Posted on 8/2/2018

    Says the guy who sells GPS units. Every argument put forth was either moot or outright false. I have been driving trucks for 11 years. I've spent thousands on dedicated gps units, put a few million miles on them collectively, and will never waste money on one again. Don't waste your money on obsolete inferior technology that's going the way of Taxi Cabs and Blockbuster.

  • David Robinson from Olympia

    Posted on 9/2/2017

    I also disagree with this article. My brand new Mazda Miata (happy dance) has the Garmin NAV system. Yesterday, I asked it to direct me to the nearest Costco. I live in Olympia, WA. It gave me one option - in Kootenay, BC - hundreds of miles away. (The nearest Costco is in nearby Lacey, WA, about 6 miles away.) I then manually entered the city and state (taking up a lot of time, not a function to do on the road) and it proceeded to direct me to an empty lot. My phone finally turned me around and took me to the Costco. On the way home, the car NAV never notified me about a freeway backup. When I took an exit, it said, "recalculating" but then continued to tell me to take an exit 2 miles away, even though I was now off the freeway. The previous week, I keep saying "Mullen Rd" and it kept giving me Nelson Rd. and not finding the address. Verizon, Samsung Android any day of the week. From now on, plugging it into my on board audio system. Like mentioned above, bigger screen is irrelevant - voice giving accurate directions is what it's about.

  • Ben from Baltimore

    Posted on 11/24/2016

    I have used TomTom extensively as I only had a flip phone, but now use mostly Waze on a smartphone. TomTom had very easy menu system that allowed you to control navigation very easily and force it to go the way you wanted to go when you knew the areas. With Waze I find it to be a chore if you want to do anything beyond the basics. Some times Waze will come up with convoluted ways to get to a location which can add a lot of time though flipping to Google Maps at such times can get around that. For example, while going from Baltimore to New Jersey had a commute time of close to 3 hours, my ride laughs and says we can get there in 2 hours by ignoring the GPS and she was right. Coming back, when ignoring Waze, it added another 2 hours to the journey after ignoring its instructions and rerouting us. It seemed to want us to go 30 miles forward, loop back and pick up from there or something along those lines. Google Maps corrected for that, but my ride knew how to get there anyway. On the flip side using my TomTom for long rides was excruciatingly slow. Making a wrong turn in DC going to Baltimore was a challenge while having to continue to drive while it took over a minute to recalculate the route only to find that it had to do it over and over again since I was forced to continue driving due to traffic with no where to pull over while it recalculated from my new position. Possibly places outside the US have costly data usage and so a dedicated GPS would be preferred there.

  • Steve from Los Angeles

    Posted on 8/21/2016

    I think the data used for this article seems WAY out of date... I've been downloading offline maps to my phones for years and they work just fine "out of coverage areas". A huge advantage for me with phone nav is the ability to redirect the nav audio... having the lady tell me in my BT earpiece and not tell everyone in the van while interrupting the entertainment is another huge plus. Top that off with the (somewhat dated now) Garmin HUD+ Bluetooth connected to my phone nav and I don't take my eyes off the road for any of it. That's what works for me anyway. Regards,

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/24/2016

    Andy, forgive the duplicate reply from Facebook, but you make some good points. Cell phone coverage is getting better all the time and Android maps are pretty solid. We're glad your phone navigation experiences have been so good. But for every person with experiences like yours, we also hear from lots of other customers who want a GPS device because their phone mapping is slow or unreliable. One reason we wrote this article is that people ask us all the time: "Which is better, a nav device or my phone?" And one of our main points is the notion of having a specific navigation tool so you don't HAVE to use your phone, and can save it for all the other cool stuff it does. There's no wrong answer here. Use what you prefer.

  • Andy M. from Tampa

    Posted on 6/23/2016

    3 - Battery usage - Get a car charger if you don't already have one. $1.99 at a cheap store and use your existing cable. Also look at external battery packs. (0-3) 4 - accuracy. I've never had anything more accurate or better navigation around delays than the Android. Read above too. (0-4) 5 - traffic information. I can't speak for a GPS but I can say that google updates are almost instant and spot on accurate. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. (0-3-1) 6 - faster rerouting. Duplicate of issue 5, nothing new. (0-3-1) 7 - bigger display. True. Not important, I'm alerted by voice anyway through bluetooth through the car stereo, but OK. (1-3-1) 8 - less likely to be interrupted. Actually the Android will interupt your voice conversation and or screen display (as a rider not driver) with updates, so yes interruptions but to keep you from making the wrong turn. Call this a tie (1-3-2) Final score is Crutchfield sales team 1, consumer 3, 2 ties. How much are you selling that in dash unit for vs. something that is free? Well, not free, but you have already paid for it. NOT a good investment.

  • Andy M. from Tampa

    Posted on 6/23/2016

    I also left this on facebook so copying. Not very happy with Crutchfields blatant attempt at sales. With all due respect, I have to disagree.. . ADAMANTLY I've been through the dedicated GPS and to be polite they suck. Before addressing the article I will say that my brother's house in Arvada is 15 years old and to this day Garmin does not find it. As of last year Garmin reported the JW Marriott Grande Lakes Orlando as only an ATM and if you tried to press for details it routed you to Miami. Android Maps is flawless. Second, delay avoidance on a dedicated GPS is worse than horror. When on the Garmin I learned the hard way to NEVER EVER EVER use it's accident avoidance. It always put me into worse traffic. Android maps is awesome. Dedicated in car systems cost big bucks to update the maps after a sizable investment. Google updates are free. Now on to the article. 1 - Our of cellular range on a remote beach. Well (disclaimer, Verizon retiree) with Verizon at least there are only a couple places I've ever been without cell signal but also when I was and running both the Garmin didn't have signal either. Sorry but where people actually use a GPS I doubt there is an issue. Crutchfield behind (0-1) 2 - data usage. According to my phone data usage the GPS is not significant on the data plan. Even if it should happen to bump me over my data plan, it's $10 for that month. Consider that vs. the subscription fee to update maps in a car GPS. (0-2) to be continued.


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