Garmin has their holiday commercial running, and are reprising the catchy Give a Garmin jingle with a fresh take on a holiday elf. The Holiday Elf shows up in clutch ways to help rescue wayward citizens. Pretty cute; not quite as awesome as the dated monobrow version from years ago, but you get the idea...... Buy a Garmin
Garmin's Street Pilot App with Onboard Maps is being upgraded with Traffic camera capability. For an additional annual fee of $10, you can get the ability to see real time traffic still images from 10,000 traffic cameras all over the country. So, while this could help you on the road to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving, you may want to also pick it up for $50 off on Black Friday. That's a lot of navigation for just $25 (USA Version and $29 for North American Version). The recent upgrade includes several UI updates and this ability to add in the traffic photos. The App also has the ability to add ($19) Live traffic updates.
Today there are a handful of pretty good deals on GPS units at Amazon. The unit range from handheld Garmins to popular brands of Automotive Navigation. The prices on the auto models are pretty good, some as good as the already mentioned BlackFriday GPS Deals that are out at other retailers.
Yes, it's that time of year - Black Friday is upon us, and here's the Black Friday GPS Shopping Wrap-up. All the sales, all the prices, and if you scroll the the bottom, you'll see a guide to which GPS units are worth fighting for and which are not.
Some prices are great, and some aren't worth it. Buy a recent model, and a name brand and whatever you do, don't pick up a crap-co brand that is sitting next to the candy at the check-out. GPS unit are pretty inexpensive now and it's worth getting a great brand name product. They can be had easily for under $100. Gone this year are the smaller 3.5-inch units, replaced by the 4.3-inch units as the mainline deals.
TomTom VIA 1505M - $89 - 5-inch screen, lifetime maps - note this is a great price but is an "Earlybird" item.
Magellan RoadMate - "4.7-inch GPS" - not sure on the model but you can grab one for $69
Here are a couple of tips for picking a GPS.
If you are going out for a GPS alone, consider shopping online, a lot of these outlets have the same pricing online starting on Thanksgiving.
Consider how it will be used before buying - daily commuter who fights traffic, occasional user, or someone older who needs a bigger screen to see the maps.
Spend a few extra bucks for lifetime map upgrades as long as you don't mind hooking up your GPS to your computer to download those maps. This feature is the most competitive one that has been added over the years, and adds a bit more confidence to your regular travels.
Lifetime traffic on most models is of marginal assistance; they will highlight major messes, are not state-of-the-art. The only exception is the TomTom LIVE model.
Basic GPS Unit
I would point you towards a basic unit that has a 4.3-inch screen and potentially lifetime map updates - Consider Garmin Nuvi 40's, which are the most recent models from Garmin in this class. The 1300's are another one to consider from Garmin that is a year older, but still reliable.
TomTom's XL 350 fits the bill here. While not necessarily a low end unit, the prices are good on the TomTom "XXL" units, which are a bit older, but still good. Think of the "XXL550" or "550" as good sub-$100 units at select stores above. They are competitive with the prices for the Garmin units mentioned here.
Larger Screen 5-Inch Models
Great for those who have a long way to the windshield, or who need a little extra help seeing the maps.
Garmin Nuvi 50's are a good choice here; latest "2012 models" and offer good features. The Garmin 1400's are models to consider, but I need to call out that $149 for a Nuvi 1490LMT is not a great deal at Sam's Club - it adds Bluetooth handsfree but is hardly worth the extra money IMHO. Look to the Nuvi 1450LMT at Office Depot.
TomTom has plenty of offers in the mix this year - the Via series is a good choice with solid basic features and a 5-inch screen; look to the VIA 1505's, or the TomTom 1535 unit at BJ's Club.
If you have access, and can fight the onslaught at BestBuy, go for the TomTom 1535 LIVE unit. The Live services provide best in class traffic capabilities and can truly ease a commuter's headaches.
Navigon, a long time GPS maker (now owned by Garmin), and longtime navigation App producer is moving into their 2.0 version with an updated Map Management. The changes clean up the interface (a bit) and makes it more "Map Centric" which is a good thing. While I loved the Navigon flexibility, it bowed under the weight of all of that flexibility; I think that the change is a good thing.
Map Management - download the App, then download your maps by state separately. Some might not like this, or be surprised by it, but let's face it, you don't need all of the states, and if you eventually go there, you can simply get a connection and download the maps. A full set of maps is about 1.7 GB of space, so the state by state idea can save valuable space on your phone.
When you start up the new Navigon 2.0 app, it brings you right to the map management screen, and gives you the option to download maps. I downloaded a total of about 194MB for states I usually visit (Mainly in the Northeast), and saved about 1.5GB on my phone; definitely a big help. The 194MB of map files downloaded over my WiFi in a couple of minutes.
If you hurry, you can get $25 off the regular price through November 30, 2011. The Navigon 2.0 upgrade is free for current users.
NAVIGON for iPhone North America: $39.99 instead of $59.99
NAVIGON for iPhone USA: $29.99 instead of $49.99
NAVIGON for iPhone Canada: $29.99 instead of $49.99
NAVIGON for iPhone East, Central or West: $19.99 instead of $29.99
In App Purchases
North America: $14.99 instead of $19.99
USA (upgrades to maps of North America): $19.99 instead of $39.99
Canada (upgrades to maps of North America): $19.99 instead of $39.99
MyRegion (upgrades to maps of North America): $24.99 instead of $49.99
DeLorme has won another accolade for its InReach satellite communicator, the InReach two way GPS communicator. This is the piece of equipment that connects you no matter where on Earth you are. It works be sending text messages up to the Iridium satellites and also receives them back. The system also allows you to broadcast your remote location and send SOS signals.
The latest honors are from Popular Science, who named it as one of the many cool things that hit the market this year in their "Best of What's New" awards.
The unit can be paired with an Android phone or a DeLorme PN-60W GPS. Cost of the INReach is $249.