Should You Take Back That GPS You Got For Christmas?

You might have ripped the wrapping paper off a shiny new GPS unit earlier this week, but should you keep it? A well-meaning loved one might have bought you a new one this week, but that doesn’t mean that they chose the best one for your needs or that you should keep it. How do you know whether the unit you have is the best for you? If only there were an entity out there that tested different models side-by-side and published the results…Oh, right, that would be our elder sister publication, Consumer Reports!

They published a guide to picking out the best GPS for gift-giving back before Hanukkah, but you can still use their tips to decide whether you should keep the one you have. Some things to consider:

What’s the mount style? Testers found the ring-style mounts found in the TomTom Start 50 and Start 55 problematic and difficult to use. Mounts in Garmin and Magellan units were much more intuitive, and even other TomTom units were a vast improvement.

How big is the screen? It’s easier to read a 4.3-inch screen and type on the touchscreen, but a 3.5-inch screen is lighter and more portable. For someone who needs to remove their GPS from the vehicle every time they get out, a smaller unit slips into a purse or even a pocket more easily.

Does it have features you’ll want or need? Ongoing subscriptions to map updates and live traffic information can get pricey. Most units sold today include at least the map subscriptions, but if you regularly travel in congested areas, traffic updates will be immensely useful. Similarly, if you do a lot of traveling on bike or on foot, make sure that those modes are available. If you live close to a border, look for a unit that includes maps for Canada and/or Mexico.

Should you keep or return that GPS navigator? [Consumer Reports]
How to choose the best GPS navigator for the holidays [Consumer Reports]