4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Shopping for Handheld GPS Devices
Handheld GPS units are more high-tech than ever. They have to be to stay ahead of the trends. Yet, you can easily spend a thousand dollars getting all of the coolest features. But, do you really need them? What should you look for when buying a standalone GPS device? The following questions should get you started as you look for the best model for your needs.
Do You Plan on Syncing Your GPS with Your PC?
Combining your device with trip-planning software on your desktop is a smart choice when you like planning your trips in advance. However, you should consider a touchscreen device when you will not be using it with a PC because it is hard to manage and rename trip data and enter in lots of coordinates without a touchscreen. The downside with GPS touchscreens is that they are not always as responsive as smartphone screens. Overall, using your handheld GPS with a PC is easier.
Will Your Device Be Your Main Navigation Option?
We’re not saying it will be your only navigation device. After all, sometimes technology fails. You must have an extra waterproof and accurate map if you plan on going off the grid. Opt for a basic model when all you want is a precise location, and a printed map is your primary means of navigation. All you need is a handheld unit that allows you to load and save waypoints while reading your location. A user-friendly model with additional features is necessary when you want to use your GPS device for navigation.
Are You Going to Add Maps?
It is difficult to judge scale on small GPS screens. Topographic maps come in handy for these circumstances. Extra maps can show you comprehensive location names and give you the lay of the land. If you are willing to pay extra, adding 1:50,000 scale topo maps really helps you get the most out of your unit. If this is important to you, make sure the device you are considering has enough built-in memory or takes a MicroSD card.
Will You Use Your GPS for Long Periods of Time?
Do you plan on using your device for longer hikes over multiple days or just short jaunts? Many models really drain their batteries as they provide illumination or search for satellites. Built-in batteries charged by your computer or car are fine for day hikes. For longer trips, you need to be able to use replaceable AA batteries.