Someone was asking me what they could do about a car that doesn’t have a $3,000 GPS in it and what if they don’t want to buy a car just to get one. Well, TomTom, Garmin and Magellan are in a fight to the death to offer just such a portable unit. They plug into the car charger and they mount in the middle of the dash. “GPS Review”: seems to be the best unbiased source of reviews. At the top end for $600, you can get just about every bell and whistle although “PC Magazine”:,1759,2213532,00.asp just recently did a quick review. The long and short of it is that if you don’t need real-time traffic (you are lucky!) then get the TomTom GO 720, if you do need it, then the Garmin nuvi 760 is probably the ticket today.

* “TomTom GO 720”: It has a nice user interface and is just $350 street. The traffic data is an additional $130 and is an annual subscription. “PC Magazine”:,1895,2189563,00.asp gave it four stars.
* “TomTom GO 920T”: This is the absolute top of the line for TomTom. It has one feature which is real time traffic data that you really want and another, European maps, which I can’t imagine anyone needing very much. Has a 4GB internal hard drive. The main positive is a really nice user interface. The main drawback is that the real time traffic receiver is a three wires and very unwieldy. Amazingly, it claims that the voice input for an address actually works! TomTom by the way is now the second largest seller of GPS, so user interface does make a diference. It is about $700 becasue the traffic thing is expensive! There is a $100 rebate going, so that drops it to $600 for this christmas.
* “Garmin Nuvi 760”: This model is like the 720, while the 770 has the European maps. The best thing is that the FM TMC traffic antenna is built into the power adapter. Its user interface isn’t as nice as the TomTom, but the traffic integration probably bests that. About $700 street according to “Pricegrabber”: so it ain’t cheap. It also doesn’t have voice input, but frankly none of those systems have ever really worked for me. Garmin is in consumer GPS, but TomTom is probably the ease-of-use leader. “PC Magazine”:,2704,2214144,00.asp rated it 4.5 stars and gave it an editors choice, so it competes well with the TomTom, but it is really expensive, so the 720T is probably the value leader in that respect.

!>! If you want something that looks decent, you might try the “TomTom AVN2210p”: which is a wordful for a double DIN thing that acts like a stereo too. It does cost $800 too and of course once it is in your car, won’t look particularly matched and you can’t move it to another car either, so that’s the big tradeoff.

As a dark horse, you might consider the “Magellan Maestro 4050”: this is the equivalent unit that you can consider. It has voice recognition and also the traffic features. “PC Magazine”:,2704,2180618,00.asp said it was OK with 3.5 stars.

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