Which GPS to buy depends on what your primary usage is. Below are the pros and cons of the different types of GPSr.Garmin GPS - referring to most commonly used model Garmin GPSMap 60Cx/CSx.
- All-in-one device
- Batteries lasts more than 20 hours (Alkaline, not rechargeable) - 60C lasts 30 hours
- Sunlight readable, rugged, waterproof and user friendly.
- Turn it on and ready to go.
- Small screen
- No voice prompts
- stuck with Garmin which can be a little expensive
BT GPS Receiver
- If you already own a PDA, it's just another S$200 to convert your PDA into a GPS device
- Most units come with Li-Ion batteries which are used in handphones as well.
- Come with car charger included.
- You have to start up your BT, then GPSProxy or GPSGate (if your BT GPSr is non-Garmin), then Que or other 3rd-party software. More steps than handheld.
- Troublesome to go hiking with, more suitable for car navigation
- You have two batteries to think about instead of one, though with proper researching one car battery charger is sufficient for both.
- Your PDA mostly not so sunlight readable.
PDA Integrated GPS - When choosing there are PDA, there are many choices, eg. integrated camera, cellphone, with BT, WiFi. Also, choice of the newer SiRF III chip and OS (WM 2005). So, make your comparison of several PDA and choose wisely.
- All-in-one ; carry one for all functions (at least PDA+GPS, +camera+cellphone depending on model)
- Bigger screen (compared to average Garmin unit)
- Touch screen (compared to average Garmin unit)
- Nice voice (nRoute) easily changeable to other voice sets (foreign language eg. French male/female voice)
- Form factor - smaller and thinner (compared to average Garmin unit)
- PDA functions (eg. MP3 music) + cellphone (PDA dependent) + camera (PDA dependent)
- Ability to use other maps (eg. MapKing, Agis)
- Ease of manipulating different file/map sets and versions
- Last longer on single battery charge (generally)
- VGA mode (PDA dependent)
- Can have GPS trackable maps for anywhere in the world using OziExplorer(CE), GPS navigation usage is not limited to availability of GPSr device compatible maps.
- Not as rugged - if no external antenna, have to expose to the sun to get good signal - not sure if PDA's were built for this. Think about leaving your PDA exposed to sunlight from say, KL to Singapore.
- If your PDA fries in the sun, all your data on it is fried as well ... the more data you have on your PDA, the greater the loss if this happens!
- Not waterproof (unless enclose in ziplock or use one of those special cases)
- Not as shockproof
- No barometer/altimeter, compass features
- No proximity warning
- Not as user friendly for Geocaching
Other GPS brands (Magellan, Lowrance)
My maps are in Garmin format so they not work with the other GPS brands. Each brand has their own advantages and disadvantages but a GPS is useless without the availablility of maps.
Which Garmin model to buy - this would depend on your budget and your primary use for it.
- Automobile - Quest, StreetPilot, Nuvi series - some have voice prompts and touch screens
- PDA - iQue, Mobile series
- Handheld - eTrex, GPSMAP series