Finding your way around GPS gizmos

We help you choose between three standalone navigation gadgets. Tech queries

| Updated on: Jun 18 2012, 21:26 IST

Having a GPS (geographical positioning system) in your phone is a great idea, but your incoming calls can hinder your drives or it can drain your battery. Let us take a look this week at three independent geographical positioning system devices. Please remember, each player has a number of models. Screen size and features may vary. Though there are 4-inch screen models, I would advise 5 inches or above.

MapMyIndia Zx 250 - 15,990

The same 3D maps that are available for your phone that use MapMyIndia's app are also available on this dedicated device that feels solid in your hand with a nice 5-inch screen. Compared to the Garmin and the Tom Tom devices, the Zx250 takes slightly longer to lock into the GPS satellites, but once locked in, gives you some great features, with maps that are accurate to the address in 30 cities in India. A 3D look and feel of the map, a friendly interface, and even 3D models of the buildings around you help you navigate better. The sound output is clear. There is also a Bluetooth hands-free capability, but sadly that did not work for me as well as I would have wanted. The Zx250 can also be integrated with a reverse camera at an additional cost, and can be taken out of the car and used as a media player to play movies, watch photos, or even read text documents.

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This is the cheapest model in the line-up. The Nuvi has a unique feature: when you approach a turn or a flyover, the screen splits into two parts and lets you see if you have to go over the flyover or go under it. The 'Lane Assist' feature compared to the MapMyIndia and Via may seem like outdated, but is more in tune with road signs, and understanding which lane you should stick to. I liked customised displays on whether you want speed or distance to destination. The navigation data entry is simple, though Garmin also has house number details, but MapMyIndia seems to have a higher density of this data right now on their devices.

Tom Tom VIA 125 - 15,999

Though Via, a Tom Tom product, also has a 4.3-inch screen version of this device, personally I prefer the 5-inch variant (the 4.3, costs 12,999). I found the Via screen the most pleasing among the devices I tested, thanks to the matte finish and the muted colour scheme. It can use voice commands, though it takes some time getting used to. But entering the address you are seeking is easier on the Garmin and MapMyIndia devices. Overall I loved the voice feedback on the Via most, though the map detailing could have been slightly better. The Via does not have 3D navigation, but has the clearest way of presenting road navigation.

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First Published Date: 18 Jun, 20:13 IST