Some cars come complete with their own satnav system, others you will need to buy one. If it is the latter, then what should you look for?
Satnavs (also referred to as GPS) are becoming very popular car gadgets in recent years. We no longer have to rely on (sometimes very outdated) maps to find our way from A to B. Using satnavs, we can easily navigate the roads and find the quickest and easiest way to our destination by simply keying in the ‘set-off’ point and the ‘arrival’ point. A digital road map will then be displayed on a small monitor (attached to the dashboard) and a voice will direct us in the right direction.
Satnavs are a great option for drivers who have to make frequent commutes to places that they haven’t visited before, however; you will need to choose the make and model of your satnav carefully in order to get the very best experience. Very cheap satnavs are available on the market; however, many people have purchased them, only to find that they have a number of faults. To this end, it’s wise to look at satnav reviews and compare the different options offered by them before you make your final purchase.
So, what kind of features can you expect to get with a satnav? Of course, the exact features that you will get on your satnav will largely depend on the model/specification that you buy; however, a few features are fairly consistent with all brands. The first thing to consider is the screen size. The screen size of a satnav is defined in the same way as a television i.e.. it is the diagonal measurement across the screen (usually in mm). If you buy a widescreen satnav, it will usually have a 16:9 aspect ratio, rather than the standard 4:3. Some people find that widescreen satnavs are much clearer to read, due to improved graphics and text display, but naturally they will be more expensive to buy than standard screens.
Some satnavs will also have the option to display two images side by side in a graphic ‘split-screen’ mode. For example; you may be able to view a general map of your overall direction/destination on one side and a close up graphic of your immediate area on the other. The quality of satnav screens will also differ; a good satnav screen should be big enough for you to read clearly while also being highly adaptable; i.e.. it must be bright enough to be seen in strong daylight conditions and preferably it should have an anti-glare feature built in as standard.
The format of Satnav menus also differs widely; many follow a similar format to new computers, phones, iPods and other electronic devices. To this end, some satnav screens may take some time to get used to, and some advanced models may be difficult to navigate for some users. To this end, it’s vital to test a menu before you buy your satnav, as you don’t want to have difficulties while you are driving i.e.. if you are unable to change your route mid-journey because the process is too complex. In short, you will need to shop around and compare features and prices before you purchase your new satnav.