We’ve all had those moments where, no matter how many times we consult the handy A-Z, we’ve been hopelessly lost on an arduous car journey.
It doesn’t matter whether we are finding a remote country location or trying to negotiate a baffling city centre one-way system, getting lost is one sure fire way to add unnecessary stress to any car journey.
Thankfully, satellite navigation systems have become extremely affordable in recent years. Once an expensive optional extra that was the preserve of expensive executive saloons, sat nav systems can now be bought for less than £100.
And even though the price of GPS technology has fallen through the floor in the last five years or so, the number of features and the versatility of these machines have continued to increase. Today, your sat nav system is completely portable, can monitor traffic jams, act as a mobile hands free kit and even warn you of speed camera locations.
There are three main players in the GPS market; Garmin, TomTom and Navman, so let’s take a look at what they all offer to help you save time, stress and money by keeping you en-route to your destination.
First up, we’ll take a look at Garmin and the Nuvi 250w. This pocket device, made by company that provides GPS to the US military, is easily portable with a 4.3in touch screen. Of course, it gives voice commands and boasts accurate maps of the UK. It also features a “Where am I” feature, which finds specific points of interest that are close to your location, including fuel stations, speed cameras, cash machines and restaurants.
Coming in at the same price as the Garmin, the Navman EU M470 is ideal for those who want a slightly larger touch screen without breaking the bank.
Like the Garmin, it boasts a colour touch screen, voice prompts and speed camera alerts but unlike the Garmin, the Navman also has a lane assist feature. This function means that when you approach a complicated junction, the screen will show exactly which lane you need to be in and which signs you need to be looking for.
If you want something a bit more feature packed however, then TomTom has something for you.
The TomTom Go 1000 UK comes in at a bigger price tag than some of its rivals but it more than makes up for that in features.
It comes with all of the features that you would expect, along with advanced lane guidance, speed camera warnings, live traffic updates and an ability to make hands free phone calls with your mobile (it also includes the phone numbers for restaurants, hotels and other points of interest). The TomTom also comes with a “latest map guarantee”, meaning that if a map update is released within a year of you purchasing your TomTom, you can download the latest map absolutely free of charge.
So don’t let a lack of direction ruin your journey. Save yourself the hassle of late meetings, in-car arguments and endless U-turns with a new satellite navigation system.