Which GPS Is Right for Me?
We put several guidance systems to the test. Click on to read our advice for selecting one that best fits your lifestyle and pocketbook.
TomTom Go 740 Live
Although the addition of connected services makes TomTom's excellent devices even better, some still deliver uneven results. If you don't need the constant live updates about local gas prices and traffic, you're better off getting a lower-end model. However, if you're considering a Go 740 Live, be sure to buy the "TM" model, with lifetime map updates.
TomTom XXL 550-TM
The XXL 550-TM offers TomTom's usual impressive navigation features, and adds a roomy 5-inch screen. Included lifetime traffic and lifetime map updates make this unit the best 5-inch navigator choice.
Garmin Nuvi 1350T
The slightly upscale 1300 series offers the budget-conscious buyer a lot of value in a sleeker shell, and the Nüvi 1350T is a good option if you don't need the Bluetooth interface. The 1350T also includes Lane Assist, a feature that guides you to the correct lane for an upcoming turn or highway exit.
Garmin Nuvi 265WT
If you want an affordable 4.3-inch GPS device with the Garmin navigation interface, it's hard to miss with the Nüvi 265WT and the current online pricing. And thanks to EcoRoute, a feature introduced in early 2009, the unit even gives you a "less fuel" routing option in addition to the traditional shortest-route and fastest-time profiles.
Magellan RoadMate 2035
Magellan's entry-level 4.3-inch navigator offers most, but not all, of the features of more-expensive RoadMates. For example, it has the same basic features as the RoadMate 2036, but the latter also includes maps for Canada, highway-lane assist, and the AAA TourBook for a list price of only $10 more.
Magellan RoadMate 3065
The RoadMate 3065 GPS unit is designed specifically for business travelers and commuters. Among the functions that are uniquely helpful to people who do a lot of work on the road is the ability to log your miles and label them as a business trip. However, although the 3065's navigation features are good, you may have problems with the Bluetooth, and the keyboard input is sluggish.
Magellan RoadMate 5045
The base RoadMate 5045 includes lifetime subscription-free advertising-supported traffic alerts, as well as a larger than usual 5-inch screen. Other features unique to Magellan products include the AAA Tourbook, highway-exit points-of-interest search, and the ability to compare four routing options when calculating a new route. The 5045 also includes multisegment routing, plus highway-lane assist.
Mio Moov R403
The R403 is a basic GPS navigator with a 4.3-inch screen running on Windows CE 5.0. It features TeleAtlas Maps for all 50 states plus Puerto Rico, and a database of 4 million points of interest from Info Data. If you're looking for a 4.3-inch GPS navigation device at a bargain price, be sure to check online pricing for the R403 this holiday season.
TomTom XL 350-TM
If you're a fan of TomTom navigators and are looking for a standard 4.3-inch screen, one of the new series of XL 350 models might be just what you need. Although the XL 350-TM lacks a Bluetooth phone interface, the subscription-free lifetime traffic and map updates make this product one of the best values on the market.
The TomTom Ease line offers affordable navigation for people willing to use a GPS device with a 3.5-inch screen. The devices in this series provide the right blend of simplicity, features, and cost. Prices range from $86 to $120.
TomTom Go 2505-TM
The TomTom Go 2505-TM has virtually every feature that you could want in a nonconnected navigation device--and the company packs all of that into a striking, slim chassis. It lists for $320.