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Old 08-29-2015, 05:59 AM   #1
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GPS Recommendations?

Okay---so maybe here's a chance to help me spend my extra cash laying around.........

Have a desire for a nice stand-alone GPS device, the need is not vast or all that important---'twould be a nice thing to have but not a pressing need. My requirements would be simple however before this topic drifts into techo-babble keep my criteria in mind:

-Stand-alone, absolutely NO cell phone or internet access required---nothing!

-Travel fully within the USA, probably never further than a few states in any direction from Ohio. More often than not travel would be within 200 miles of Columbus, Ohio.

-I don't own now and never will any sort of "smart phone".

-Prefer a 7" screen or so, turn-by-turn spoken directions not a real must have or the ability to mute them. Map display with movable capability of great interest, one with zoom in and out very much like Google Maps.

-No connection to the internet ever ever ever, no paid subscriptions or other financial tethers.

Have looked at Cobra's offerings but if Amazon ratings are accurate those aren't of high quality or usefulness. Currently have a Nextar 3.5" GPS, gifted from a neighbor that's slow as the dickens but eventually finds the signal, doesn't have zoom in/out feature---but it was free.

Interested to know what might be open to me. I'm not beyond a tablet-like device if an outboard GPS receiver could be hard wire connected, don't want BlueTooth connection.

TIA
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Old 08-29-2015, 07:16 AM   #2
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

I have a Garmin nuvi 3590LMT, that I've been very happy with. As a decoder, the "T" stands for the ability to provide traffic updates and recommend alternate routes based on traffic, and the "L" is for Lifetime updates for maps. I've had it for a number of years, so its probably been superseded by now.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/prod96637.html

This is a smaller display than the max you mentioned, but if you look under Garmin's RV offerings, they do have 7" display models, and even one that comes with a backup camera which displays on the Garmin. Pretty slick IMO.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/cOnTheRoad-c518-p1.html


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Old 08-29-2015, 09:09 AM   #3
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

We have a Garmin 2595. It has a 5.6" display which is adequate. It also has 2 features which I view as 'musts', Free Lifetime Map Updates, and voice control. While driving I can ask it to find a city or a bank, rest area or whatever and it will show me the closest ones, and I choose which I want.

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Old 08-29-2015, 02:04 PM   #4
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

We have the Garmin nüvi 2798L MT Portable GPS with Backup Camera. It's got the 7" screen you're looking for plus voice command (which we love). The traffic feature can be handy and the lifetime map updates are indispensable and very easy to do with a brief wired connection to your home computer. We update about every 6 months.

I bought this model specifically for the backup camera since we had never had a large van and were moving to the SMB from a Miata. It was fairly easy to install and even though I'm very comfortable with the mirrors now, the b/u camera is helpful to be sure there are no toddlers lurking behind us.

It also communicates with our phones via Bluetooth, so we can talk hands free. That sounds like a feature you don't need but it's there if you change your mind.
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Old 08-29-2015, 03:50 PM   #5
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

X-2 on the larger Garmin for on-road travel. I've never looked at the model but the larger screen is nice when inputting locations, addresses and the like. Mine has been programmed for work data tied to my work area and gets me to whatever place, area or piece of equipment I need to be at. I suppose you could do the same for travel to plan out things. At least when you get close to a spot you want to be at all you have to do is select it and not deal with typing. It has all the same stuff my smaller one in the van has but being able input data w/o the fat finger issue is worth it IMO. Not having to deal with PC's Tablets, Bluetooth or phone stuff is nice when dealing with a standalone unit. Downside is it's too large to put in the window (per CA driving regulations) and needs to be mounted elsewhere. Mine is on a Ram mount that works OK but I still like a window mounted unit and I'd never be without one of those especially in heavy traffic. The backup camera is marginal at best. There is a lag time that can get you in trouble but as mentioned at least you can see if something is there. You'd have a hell of a time trying to back up to a trailer and it is fair to say don't even think of using it for that. Maybe the newer models have overcome this. The voice command is nice but vocally inputting an address fails most of the time on first attempts. Also it's annoying when the radio makes it jump into voice command. It seems that any music or radio noise keeps you from accessing the voice command feature at all. Mine has a little sun shade that is practically worthless and at the wrong angle, sun wipes out the screen making it difficult to impossible to read. Off road wise I'm surprised of the forest service roads on it but if I'm looking for piece of equipment entered in the data base that's in a field or orchard it just says drive off road. This happens with some forest service roads...it says your on FS-XXXX then all of a sudden says something like "driving west". The Garmin's also suffer with finding the quickest route. I'd guess this is probably true with most vehicle GPS units. I had a group of older folks pass me in a car on an off road trail up by Kings Canyon NP. I wondered if they were locals knowing where and what they were about to get themselves into but it wasn't the case. True it was the quickest most direct route to the park but it was a 4x4 road only. We caught up to them trying to turn around at a muddy water crossing. I was using my PC loaded with topo maps but when I turned on the Garmin and put Kings Canyon as the destination it said to continue driving on the 4x4 road. I've had this happen a number of times and feel they are not a total solution to keep from having other maps. A nice feature is while on the highway and your destination requires you to turn onto an off ramp, the screen splits and shows an actual image of the off ramp. Quite useful IMO if you're in an unfamiliar place. Other standard points of interest features are restaurants, gas stations, parks, nearby cities and stuff that most GPS unit would probably have. Coming from a rural hick town these things sure make heavy traffic driving less stressful.
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:46 PM   #6
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

OK, you would have to have an iPad, but the Garmin USA navigation app loads all the maps on the iPaD so you don't need cell phone or internet service. Works just like a stand alone navigation unit, but you get the bigger screen. Takes about 5 or 6 MB of storage space on the iPad or iPhone. You really need to connect it to WiFi for updates on the program.
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Old 08-30-2015, 05:43 AM   #7
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

Thanks for the great info so far----needless to say I have even MORE to take into consideration NOW.

DaveB your location is pretty much where I'd mount a display as well. That size screen would be usable for me as I absolutely hate anything sitting on my dashboard. Because I don't take my eyes off the road even to change radio stations or FF my MP3 player something eye level would be a distraction for me. (FWIW a GPS would not be used so much for the turn-by-turn feature, rather to give me an overhead view of my route which I memorize and recall when executing the turn-by-turn travel.)

So having looked at tablets I would be 100% okay with an iPad-like device especially if it could be equipped with a GPS sensor and maps downloaded for recall, all within a 200 mile radius of home base. Being NOT online is the desire---do my options increase with that sort of set up? What equipment is recommended?
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:56 AM   #8
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

I have a Google Nexus 7 (Gen 2) tablet which has built in GPS. I'm not sure, but I think most of the better tablets have built in GPS. As for maps, there are many apps that can download many different map sources, some free, some paid (paid map sources generally higher resolution maps)

If you want straight from the box functionality, I think you would be better served with a dedicated GPS unit, if you maximum flexibility and a tool that serves many functions, a tablet is the way to go. (I have both).


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Old 08-30-2015, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

If you are considering the iPad and want a built in GPS, then you need to get an iPad that is "3g/4g/LTE/etc." enabled, vs. just the "wi fi" model. This does NOT mean you have to have a plan OR be online, EVER, but it's just that the wi-fi only models do not have a GPS built in, whereas the cellular ones do have a GPS built in.

I have a "3G" iPad Mini and used it for over a year with no "plan" whatsoever. I just wanted the built in GPS. I downloaded marine charts (my main purpose for having it) and used them in many places with no signal and no plan.

I also have the Garmin USA app for it for road tripping, but I have to say I'm rather disappointed with it. The screen look is nice (as are all Garmins, to my eye - nice layout), but the interface is a bit clunky (maybe all Garmin mappers are like this - you can't change routes, etc.) and, most annoying of all, if you put in "favorites" they are basically stuck there forever unless you manually recopy each one (if anyone knows differently, please shout out!). Also I'm not sure you can load in POI databases (I'd like to). Plus a number of annoying little things, but I won't drone on.

A ~$50 app is a pretty expensive app, as they go, so I expected more. It also seems like they abandon apps like this and instead go on to develop new things (vs. fixing any bugs).

I had high hopes, but wouldn't recommend it. OTOH, it's great that it can be used offline. I'm looking for something I can use on the iPad that is better, because it IS nice to just use the iPad vs. a stand-alone mapper.
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Old 08-30-2015, 10:23 AM   #10
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Re: GPS Recommendations?

Viva you might be onto something----I'm intrigued.

Given I don't do the globe-hopping thing, that most trips would be to suburban locations an application with loaded-in maps would probably suit me very well. Another upside to a tablet device would be I could load in a program like MS Excel for on-the-spot billing or creating invoices.

However looking at what's available I find them in one major computer retailer I trust ranging from $70 to well over $1.700. Any choice I make would be as dependent on the quality and durability of the device hand-in-hand with the GPS function and possibility of SMALL occasional use as a computer of sorts, all off-line.

So if we explore a tablet what would be a good solid choice?
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