Navigation Systems: Weighing a Professionally Installed Car GPS Against a Store-Bought Model

Maps are quickly becoming a thing of the past as we rely more and more on GPS navigation systems in our cars. While some die-hard fans of paper navigation may be sad to see the good old atlas go, many of us welcome the new age of the mobile navigation system. For those of us […]

Navigation Systems: Weighing a Professionally Installed Car GPS Against a Store-Bought Model

Maps are quickly becoming a thing of the past as we rely more and more on GPS navigation systems in our cars. While some die-hard fans of paper navigation may be sad to see the good old atlas go, many of us welcome the new age of the mobile navigation system. For those of us who have cars that did not come off the lot with a navigation system installed, though, there remains the question of what type of system to get. Should we buy a portable device that we plug in and position ourselves each time we get in the car? Or should we get an auto navigation system installed permanently in our vehicle? While both choices have their fans, permanent installation of a car GPS system offers a number of practical and aesthetic benefits over removable systems.

Looking first at the physical nature of these two types of systems, consider how much easier it is to use a mobile navigation system that is in a consistent, fixed location than it is to use one that you have to fiddle with and adjust during each trip. With a portable model, you usually have to mount the device on the windshield or dash using a mount provided by the manufacturer. While these mounts work most of the time, they can fall off or get knocked accidentally, leaving you scrambling to hear and see vital directions. Navigation systems that are permanently installed don’t come with that risk. You’ll never have to worry about an integrated system falling down or getting jostled, and you’ll be able to use the touch-screen features without fear of pressing too hard and dislodging the device. Prior to installation, you can also work with your mobile electronics professional to optimally place your GPS screen exactly where you need it for maximum convenience and visibility, instead of having to position and adjust it every time you get in the car as with portable models.

Apart from these practical considerations, there are also aesthetic elements to consider when weighing a portable GPS against a fixed one. A portable device will usually have to be connected to the in-dash power source via an external cord (much like an car cellphone charger). This cord, taken along with a stand-alone navigation screen that is mounted incongruously somewhere on the dash, definitely impacts the look of your car interior and creates a sense of clutter. Overall, a portable GPS device communicates an “unfinished” look. An in-dash GPS navigation system, on the other hand, creates a streamlined appearance. Automotive electronics professionals can integrate an in-dash car navigation GPS with your vehicle’s structure so that it looks like it was part of the original design. For anyone who cares about the appearance of their car or truck and likes to cultivate a sense of professionalism in their life, an integrated navigation system definitely beats the portable option when it comes to looks.

As car GPS devices become more and more a part of modern life, we’re faced with various choices regarding what type of system to opt for in our cars. While mobile systems can work fine for some people, a fixed navigation system offers a level of practical convenience and polish that makes it stand out from the crowd.

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