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Old 11-23-2012, 02:52 AM   #1
Ashlotte
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Car navigation system versus Smart Phone

We are about to enter the smart phone world (finally) and are also looking into getting a navigation system. We are wondering if we will need a car navigation GPS (we are looking at the Garmin) if we also have smart phones. Anyone have any experience to share?
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:28 AM   #2
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We are about to enter the smart phone world (finally) and are also looking into getting a navigation system. We are wondering if we will need a car navigation GPS (we are looking at the Garmin) if we also have smart phones. Anyone have any experience to share?
On Wednesday we were travelling south on 95 and suddenly traffic slowwed to about 5 mph. After 5 minutes of creeping along we plugged in GPS and it told us nothing. The smartphone told us what we needed to know. That said, we had no choice but to sit in traffic for almost 45 minutes as there were no alternate routes or exits prior to the accident. At least we knew we were stuck and just sucked it up and got through eventually.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:35 AM   #3
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Definitely a want vs. a need if you have unlimited data plan and a smart phone. For our recent drive down to FL we purchased a newer Garmin (less than $100) just because we are used to having the large screen sitting on our dashboard. I enjoy seeing if I can beat/knock minutes off the arrival time. It is easier to use if there is just one person, but you would be just fine with a smart phone/maps app.

I agree with the PP that the GPS traffic information was pretty useless for us. Not much better on smart phones though, from our experience.

Also check data coverage in the area you are traveling. Never a problem along major thouroughfares, but in small/rural towns/areas you would be better served with a Garmin/satellite reception vs. smart phone/data reception.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:47 AM   #4
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We are about to enter the smart phone world (finally) and are also looking into getting a navigation system. We are wondering if we will need a car navigation GPS (we are looking at the Garmin) if we also have smart phones. Anyone have any experience to share?
I have iPhone 5 with 6.1 os. SIRI is getting a lot better at giving directions, but improvements are still needed. Having said that, I haven't brought our regular car navigation GPS along on road trips in quite a while.
I used to use the google map function extensively in the previous iPhone OS, but it didn't give turn by turn instructions. For the most part it gave excellent directions, although every once in a while it would really flub up. Siri gives turn by turn instructions, but the destination database doesn't seem to be as extensive as the previous google maps. The phone gps is easy to learn have to use and you don't have to bring another gadget along on trips.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by letsgoreds

Also check data coverage in the area you are traveling. Never a problem along major thouroughfares, but in small/rural towns/areas you would be better served with a Garmin/satellite reception vs. smart phone/data reception.
I travel a lot for work and agree a lot of it depends on where you use it. Also do you ever plan on talking on your phone while needing the map? It is a pain to say let me call you back I need to see where my exit is. The other thing is that the navigation heats up most phones so the can turn themselves off to cool down.

All that being said, I use them both.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:42 AM   #6
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For years I said I don't need a GPS......I've got my phone, but this summer I borrowed a GPS for my drive to FL. That thing was incredibly handy! I mean it was really great! Sometimes the GPS on phones are a little slow, but the Garmin is pretty quick. I actually just got my own Garmin as an early Christmas present and I'm pretty happy with it.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:10 AM   #7
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I use the Google Maps turn by turn navigation and love it much more than Garmin or the navigation systems that come with cars. Google navigation is free and updates all the time.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:31 AM   #8
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There are advantages and disadvantages of each approach. I generally prefer to use my phone because it is always with me and it is always up to date (no need to buy updates). However, the voice is not nearly as clear as our standalone GPS. Also, the standalone GPS chimes right when you are at a turn. This can be a great feature if you are traveling through an area where several roads converge. The phone let's you know when you are about to turn, but seems to not be as exact as the standalone GPS. Lastly, I think all GPS are not 100% exact, so often we will use the standalone as a backup. Most recently on a trip through New Jersey, Google Navigation took us 10 miles in the wrong direction. The program told us to go North when we should have gone South. I think this could happen with any of them though.

One added feature of the phone, has more to do with my car than with the phone itself. My car (KIA Soul) has bluetooth and more specifically, it allows streaming of media audio from my phone in addition to phone audio. I use this feature to play music from Pandora. If I have the navigation turned on, the navigation will interrupt the music when it needs to give me directions and the directions will be played over the stereo. This is great since you do not have to try to hear the directions over the music. Although, DD gets whenever her music is interrupted!
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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If you are getting an iPhone, then you defiantly need a stand along GPS. The Apple map data is horrible.

The Google maps on an Android phone are great though. It give turn by turn voice instructions and reads the road signs. Also, the latest update will allow you to store sections of the maps offline for the areas where coverage is poor.

FYI: Google wants to make the mapping software auto down load the sections in poor coverage areas but you can blame your CARRIER for not providing Google with ACCURATE coverage maps.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:35 PM   #10
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I have a Droid and love the navigation. It works better than my GPS did and it never needs to be updated. Although many GPS devices now come with lifetime updates, you still need to manually update the things. However a dash mounted GPS may be easier to look at than a hand held cell phone.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ashlotte View Post
We are about to enter the smart phone world (finally) and are also looking into getting a navigation system. We are wondering if we will need a car navigation GPS (we are looking at the Garmin) if we also have smart phones. Anyone have any experience to share?
I have Galaxy and use navigation from phone. It got just as many problems as the regular GPS.
Few things I do not like about phone navigation.
1. It often does not recognize one way streets.
2. If there are 2 ways to go and I take another road, it makes countless attempts to return me and does not adjusts right away to alternative way. I t may be useful when you drive on highway and make a mistake but it is extremely annoying and not useful if you drive streets and need it to react fast.

If you do not need to use navigation often, I suggest to try phone and if you do not like it, then invest in real GPS.
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