How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

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How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby Irenaeus » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:12 pm

Hello,

I have an older (1999) but reliable car. Since I plan to travel a lot in 2013 in the USA and Canada, I may buy a portable navigation system (e.g., Garmin GPS system). I've poked around the archives just a bit here and more on other sites, but I still don't understand what effect such a system may have on my cell phone bill. I have an iPhone 4S with service from Verizon. What do I need to know?

Thanks.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby sscritic » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:16 pm

People who don't own cell phones own Garmins.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby user5027 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:17 pm

There should be none. Your garmin will work independent of your cell phone. My garmin does function as a handsfree speaker/microphone for my cell phone using a bluetooth connection and there is no cell phone fee for that.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby Nummerkins » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:18 pm

A portable GPS has nothing to do with your cell phone service. Are you asking about a standalone device or a navigation app for your phone?
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby Fclevz » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:27 pm

I long ago dumped my GPS unit in favor of my phone, which offered a better overall GPS experience. Have you considered just getting a windshield mount for your iPhone and using that as your GPS?

Cheers,
Fred
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby Irenaeus » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:42 pm

I thought there might be no effect, but thanks to you all for clarifying. I'll think about Fred's suggestion particularly.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby ourbrooks » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:52 pm

Be very careful about how the GPS on your cell phone is set up. If it's dynamically downloading the maps over the cell phone connection, it won't work where there's no cell phone coverage plus it uses up your minutes/megabytes. (Using the phone as a GPS also prevents you from texting while driving, but that's probably a good thing.)

In contrast, the separate GPS unit has all of the maps already inside it; the only signals it needs are from the GPS satellites, which cover the whole world, and there's no charge for receiving them.

You can buy GPS units with lifetime map subscriptions so once you've bought it, there are no further fees. A Garmin 50LTM has a bigger screen than any iPhone and can be found for $100.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby dickenjb » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:28 am

I own an iPhone and a Garmin.

1) As another pointed out, the iPhone is worthless in remote areas with no cell phone coverage

2) It makes no sense to pay the outrageous data charges in Europe

Agree that in populous areas of the US the iPhone as GPS works fine. Then again so does the GPS built into my car.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby Jay69 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:42 am

As for a GPS I would be looking at a last year model from Garmin for 2 reasons.

They are cheap, keep an eye on SlickDeals, see them often. Many under a $100

and

Most of the time they will toss in free maps for life, this is the big one, I would not but another one without free map upgrades!
"Out of clutter, find simplicity” Albert Einstein
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby deanbrew » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:58 am

Fclevz wrote:I long ago dumped my GPS unit in favor of my phone, which offered a better overall GPS experience. Have you considered just getting a windshield mount for your iPhone and using that as your GPS?

Cheers,
Fred


I disagree. I find my Garmin GPS to be easier to use, easier to see (the screen is much larger) and generally superior in almost every way to the nav function in my smartphone. Plus, I don't need to worry about a cell signal, data usage or battery usage in my phone. I use my cell nav on occasions when I don't have my GPS, but much prefer the Garmin GPS. GPS prices have come way down in recent years.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby Aptenodytes » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:10 pm

I use the android phone for driving directions now almost exclusively, and find it far superior to the dedicated navigation devices. I especially like the seamless integration with google maps (all my "starred" locations are readily accessible, and I can add a location from my laptop or desktop and "blam" there it is on the phone when I need driving directions.). I also like the much more rapid refresh rate of the software and data. When google maps comes out with a new feature, it is on my phone that week. The dedicated navigation devices are frozen more or less forever. Finally, I can experiment with alternative software whenever I feel like it. The phone's hardware provides the GPS and the screen; unlike with the dedicated navigators I am not tied to a single piece of software -- I can try out Waze or whatever the newest innovation is and see how I like it. Oh, one more thing. I travel internationally a lot and I like being able to use the same device almost wherever I am. The dedicated devices are much less transportable.

My only major complaint is that the phone's GPS antenna seems unstable. It loses connection with the satellites more often than the dedicated devices do.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby TomatoTomahto » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:59 pm

I like my TomTom GPS with Live traffic updates. We also have iPhones, but I prefer using a single-purpose camera, GPS, laptop, Kindle, TV, etc.

In the case of the GPS, the screen is larger and I find the whole process easier. I barely get cell service near my home, but get GPS everywhere. My kids play ice hockey and we frequently go to rinks in the sticks where I've never been before. What to do if there's no cell service there?
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby TomatoTomahto » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:04 pm

aptenodytes wrote:The dedicated navigation devices are frozen more or less forever.

We get software upgrades as needed, new maps 4 times per year, and user-contributed map corrections more frequently. That's TomTom; I'm sure Garmin is similar.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby DSInvestor » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:09 pm

Some areas may have laws that prohibit use of handheld electronic devices in cars while driving. I have seen lots folks in British Columbia pulled over for grabbing cell phone at red lights. $167 fine. Dedicated GPS may be better than phone GPS app in this case.

We also get map updates from Garmin. We also like the red light and speed camera warnings.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby TomatoTomahto » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:21 pm

DSInvestor wrote:We also like the red light and speed camera warnings.

I like those also. My favorite is the constantly updated traffic info, not just the "official" reportsbut also the traffic flow information provided npby other GOS users (who chose to opt-in to provide anonymous speed inform
Nation).

Bottom line: 2 of my cars came standard with built-in GPS and I have an iPhone. In spite of that, i chose to purchase a standalone purpose-built GPS. 'Nuff said.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby Aptenodytes » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:03 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
aptenodytes wrote:The dedicated navigation devices are frozen more or less forever.

We get software upgrades as needed, new maps 4 times per year, and user-contributed map corrections more frequently. That's TomTom; I'm sure Garmin is similar.

That's much better than what was available to me when I had dedicated navigators. It is still far less frequent than what my phone does; and I can try out any number of alternative software options if it worthwhile (e.g. I've lately switched to Waze).

I definitely see the benefits of a dedicated system -- I'm not knocking them.
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Re: How does a portable NAV system affect cell phone fees?

Postby TomatoTomahto » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:07 pm

Aptenodytes wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
aptenodytes wrote:The dedicated navigation devices are frozen more or less forever.

We get software upgrades as needed, new maps 4 times per year, and user-contributed map corrections more frequently. That's TomTom; I'm sure Garmin is similar.

That's much better than what was available to me when I had dedicated navigators. It is still far less frequent than what my phone does; and I can try out any number of alternative software options if it worthwhile (e.g. I've lately switched to Waze).

I definitely see the benefits of a dedicated system -- I'm not knocking them.

Since so many people have cell phones, the dedicated GPS manufacturers have had to raise their game. I think you might be surprised at how much they've improved. Anyway, as they say: "horses for courses."
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