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Why a stand-alone GPS device is still the smarter choice

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TomTom’s GO series features four, five and six-inch screen size options to choose from, with resolutions rivalling some of the best smart phones available.  (image: TomTom)
TomTom’s GO series features four, five and six-inch screen size options to choose from, with resolutions rivalling some of the best smart phones available. (image: TomTom)

While smart phones offer convenience of using a single device to make calls, text and navigate your way around town, there’s still a lot to appreciate about stand-alone GPS devices – especially some of the models now on the market. Apart from being safer to use while driving and a lot easier to handle when you’re in a hurry, most GPS devices pack in all the cutting-edge tech and nifty features you’ve grown accustomed to in smart phones – all in one simple package.

TomTom has compiled a few reasons why GPS unit is still your best bet.


Screen size

One of the more obvious reasons to opt for a GPS device is the size of the screen. While smart phones are often favoured for being more compact, GPS devices offer bigger screens that allow you to view maps and evaluate directions at a glance, which is a great deal more practical while driving or even while riding a motorcycle. Of course, there are many smart phones on the market that boast considerably larger screens than the average handheld device, but the on-screen controls available on phone apps are often minute in size and tend to be trickier to select, especially while you’re on the go.

Most GPS devices offer touch screens and user-friendly interfaces, not to mention high-definition colour displays – TomTom’s GO series features four, five and six-inch screen size options to choose from, with resolutions rivalling some of the best smart phones available.

Cell signal and mobile data

While GPS devices receive signals from satellites to provide navigation services, smart phones require cellphone reception to do this, with a great deal of mobile data typically used to power the app. This makes travelling through remote and rural areas quite challenging, particularly when signal is limited or virtually non-existent.

Along with depleting your precious data bundles, navigation apps on smart phones are also known to drain battery life quickly, with prolonged use found to have damaging effects on the life span of a smart phone battery.

Safety

Probably the most convincing case for GPS devices of all is how much safer it is to use than a smart phone while driving or riding. Fiddling with a cell phone behind the wheel is a major distraction and one of the biggest causes of road fatalities in South Africa. However, GPS devices come with a special mounting apparatus that allows you to easily dock your device on the dashboard or anywhere else within reach – a much safer choice than holding your smart phone in the palm of their hand or cradling it in your lap while driving.

Checking a text or making a ‘quick’ call is also far too tempting with your smart phone within easy reach. Devices like the TomTom GO 6200 can be synced with your smart phone, allowing you to make calls and have text messages read aloud to you while your phone is safely tucked away in the boot or in your handbag.

Technology

If you think your smart phone maps app is as sophisticated as it gets, think again. GPS devices boast some incredibly innovative features, like destination prediction, Wi-Fi capability and traffic updates in real-time. The new TomTom GO devices even offer intuitive navigation features, providing alternate routes to follow instead of your habitual ones, avoiding congestion on one particular route.

You’ll be glad to hear that TomTom is one of the first to do away with those cumbersome computer cables – updating your device’s software is now as easy as connecting to a secure Wi-Fi profile and tapping a few buttons on the device.

Smart phones may offer a great deal of convenience in one small package, but GPS devices offer just as much in the way of innovation, practicality and safety. Visit www.tomtom.com to explore more of TomTom’s newly-developed devices with out-of-this world features, including Lifetime World Maps and TomTom’s integrated smart phone apps and services.

Staff Writer

1 COMMENT

  1. “However, GPS devices come with a special mounting apparatus that allows you to easily dock your device on the dashboard or anywhere else within reach – a much safer choice than holding your smart phone in the palm of their hand or cradling it in your lap while driving.”

    Shucks, I just realized I could invent something that does exactly the same, except for cellphones!
    I’ll call it the “GPS-mounting-apparatus-but-for-cellphones”.
    I’ll be rich!

    Oh.
    Wait…

    Alright then.
    “Along with depleting your precious data bundles, navigation apps on smart phones are also known to drain battery life quickly, with prolonged use found to have damaging effects on the life span of a smart phone battery.”

    Ah, got it!
    I’ll get rich by making a cellphone that uses whatever the GPS uses that lets it avoid the “damaging effects on the life span of the phone battery.”

    Oh.
    Wait….
    GPS systems also use batteries…

    Sarcasm aside, the reasons provided here don’t mention the one real reason why a GPS is better than a phone.

    90 of people who have a smartphone don’t need GPS, except for going away from stable networks.
    They are better than smartphones in that they are much more accurate – this is why indoor navigation has remained so elusive for smart phones, simply because +-50m in an urban area is a difficult tolerance to meet, maybe better augmented with network locating.

    For commercial and logistics, for military, for recreation, a handheld GPS is great. For the rest of consumers (or in other words: everybody), the question asked is why they need to buy a dedicated electronic device to do something that their all-in-one mobile phone already does, and does extremely well?

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