Though I hate to admit it, I am completely obsessed with the navigation system in my Chevrolet. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when I drove a car without one. This was also the before the iPhone era, so I had to solely rely on folding maps. I’m not saying that I’ve completely forgotten how to use a map or that they are completely useless, but navigation systems and smart phone applications are by far superior in my opinion.
If you’re currently relying on your iPhone’s standard GPS application (the maps icon) or you’re still using folding maps, it might be time to jump on board with the latest advancements technology offers us. I know that going out and buying a new Chevrolet Cruze equipped with a navigation system may not be the most economical choice for some of you, but as I mentioned before, there is a wide array of apps available to smart phones users. The question is, how do you choose the right/best one?
I read a really great article from consumer reports this morning describing the two ways to turn your phone into a navigation device: server-based navigation or an all-inclusive app. The server-based navigation is where the map data for your route is sent to your phone as needed. The all-inclusive apps store entire maps on your device. As with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages to both and the best option will vary depending on your personal preferences, needs and budget. Let’s take a look at how Consumer Reports breaks down the two choices.
Some cell-phone service providers, including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, provide GPS navigation and traffic information that customers can access for a daily or monthly subscription fee. With this option, mapping data is not stored on the phone, and is instead accessed wirelessly over the cellular network as needed. Cost is typically either $10 a month or $3 a day. Another server-based solution, Google Maps, provides similar functionality for free, but only for users of Android devices. Compatibility limitations restrict iPhones to Google’s static maps only, without turn-by turn directions.
With the Google and iPhone exception, server-based navigation provides menus and features similar to those of navigation apps or portable systems, including spoken and onscreen turn-by-turn directions, traffic info, and a point-of-interest menu of destinations like restaurants, gas stations, and stores. Advantages of server-based navigation include automatically updated databases for map info, freeing up more phone memory without the need for storing map data on board. But the server-based option does consume bandwidth, something to consider depending on your data plan.
GPS-Capable Smart Phones and Apps
Smart phones have GPS receivers and mapping software, allowing users to download an app that gives them all the functions and features of a dedicated GPS unit.
Navigation apps are available from a variety of smart phone platforms through their online app stores, including Blackberry, Android, and iPhone. Prices vary from free or close to nothing to around $60 dollars. During the holiday season, apps can be found for a discount, making this a great time buy.
Bear in mind that with navigation apps, you tend to get what you pay for. Our testing has found the best apps come from known GPS device makers like Garmin, Magellan, Navigon, and TomTom, all of which provide reliable directions and easy-to-use menus that mimic the look and features of their portable GPS units.
So there are your options, Dallas Ft Worth Chevy owners. Which one seems right for you? Don’t forget, if you are in the market for a new vehicle and are thinking about a built-in navigation system, head down to Classic Chevrolet and check out the systems in the new 2012 Chevrolet models.
Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.