Choosing a GPS - The technical specifications and criteria

Choosing a GPS - The technical specifications and criteria

The technical specifications

  • The quality of the GPS signal (reception) is obviously paramount. Opt for a device using the SiRF Star III standard.
  • The screen quality and graphics. You will need to check the following features: screen size, brightness, image quality and anti-glare effect. Choose a GPS that can be used in different situations (in broad daylight, at night...).Opt for a model with a customizable interface (night mode, adjust brightness/contrast level of the screen...)
  • Sound and voice quality. This voice will accompany you during all your travels ...its better to have one you like. Some models allows you to download a voices from the internet (check the manufacturer's website).
  • The GPS mounts or cradles. This may seem incidental, but there is nothing more annoying than a GPS that "falls" when exposed to vibrations.

Autonomy, power and connectivity. Most GPS come with a cigarette lighter connector for use in a car. If you intend to use the GPS out of your vehicle, opt for a model with a good battery autonomy.


  • The quality of the information. Are the maps up-to-date ? Which area is being covered (country, Europe, worldwide)?
  • The ability to update maps. Today, most brands offer the possibility to update the maps. Some services require a subscription or purchase.
  • Radar and traffic info. Real time information about traffic are delivered using the RDS/TMC technology. Several options are available. RDS/TMC is either built in GPS or takes the form of an external antenna. Subscription to traffic information may be included (or not).
  • Points of interest. This is information related to gas stations, hotels, restaurants,....

Usability and Navigation

  • The ergonomics of the interface. Allows even a 6-7 years old child to map a route.
  • Processor. In the event that you have not complied with the given instructions, modern GPS can re-calculate your route in real time. The calculation time will of course depend on the processor.
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