GPS in the car – phone or dedicated device?

GPS in the car – phone or dedicated device?

It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Is it worth investing in a special car navigation, or better to rely on applications that use GPS in the smartphone? We present advantages and disadvantages of both solutions.

Previously a standard paper atlas, today advanced devices using satellite navigation. In the XXI century it is much easier for drivers to find their way to the destination. In principle, all you need is a smartphone with GPS and an appropriate application, but you can also equip your car with a special device designed solely for navigation on the go. Which one will work best?

Multifunctionality versus specialization

Modern phones are multi-tasking devices. They enable communication with the world, provide access to the Internet and allow the use of functional applications. By default, they are also equipped with software for navigation. There are many applications of this kind, so it is easy to install a product that meets the individual needs of a driver. Some of them are available on the web free of charge, for others we will have to pay.

Car navigation is usually equipped with dedicated manufacturer software together with maps. In this case, however, we are talking about programs of very good quality, which work perfectly with the electronics they support – they are fast, reliable and easy to use, which cannot be said about some unoptimized smartphone applications.

The advantages of web accessibility

Many smartphone apps come with functional add-on tools that make driving and navigation easier. Permanent access to the Internet makes the phone screen display not only the map with the route to the destination, but also information about traffic jams, traffic obstructions, the location of speed cameras and places where we can encounter the patrol of the traffic police. With a smartphone you can easily find a way to the nearest gas station or restaurant. In addition, we can use applications that measure, for example, time of parking or fuel consumption.

These facilities are lacking in most of the dedicated GPS devices for cars. Lack of permanent connection to the network also means that the built-in maps can quickly become outdated. Therefore, we have to remember about systematic data updating, which may entail additional costs. On the other hand, car navigation works efficiently in all conditions – it does not need internet access. On the other hand, a smartphone without a network connection can become useless (unless we install offline maps in it).

Convenience of use

Another advantage of navigation on a phone is the fact that it is always at hand – we can use it at any time, not only in the car. Thanks to that, we can easily plan the route before we even sit behind the wheel – e.g. before leaving home or the office. GPS devices are undoubtedly less mobile – it will be rather difficult to keep them in your pocket, and taking them home after the trip may be problematic (although it is advisable because of the risk of theft).

However, the large size of dedicated navigation devices is also their advantage. They are equipped with matrices of much larger size than smartphone screens, which makes the image presented on them clearer and more legible – even in harsh light. A large screen allows you to display more information than on a phone. It also makes planning routes and using the device’s various functions easier than on a smartphone.

Designed for travelling

In order to use a smartphone as a car navigation device, we need to buy a special holder, which will allow us to fix it to the dashboard or the windshield. Car navigations are usually equipped with such accessories. Let us add, that these are usually good quality holders, which enable comfortable adjustment of position, which cannot be said about phone holders. Car GPS navigation also has its own capacious battery, which lasts longer than a heavily charged smartphone battery. Of course, we also have a convenient charger, which provides constant power to the device.


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