Do I need a cellphone plan to use GPS in car?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by hajime, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. hajime macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #1
    Hello, this is not related to Apple Car.

    I am considering to buy a car and install a GPS. It seems that there are two options: 1) Use google map or other app from cell phone as a GPS. 2) get a GPS specifically for car

    I guess in case one, it is better to get unlimited data. Am I right?

    In case 2, do I have to subscribe to some kind of monthly mobile plane like the cell phone in order to use the GPS?
     
  2. BernyMac macrumors regular

    BernyMac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    A regular GPS for the car is a one time expense with no subscription necessary. You can choose to update maps every few years or months at your leisure and you don't have to worry about any subscriptions nor monthly payments.
     
  3. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #3
    Abit confusing from your original post.

    Option 1: cell phone - google maps. You need some data but it won't use that much, so unlimited data is not necessary. Has live traffic.

    Option 2: one of those Tom Tom $200 GPS you can get from Amazon. Has option to connect to your smartphone data for live traffic or you can use it as is with no monthly subscription.

    Option 3: In-car gps for $1,000 or more depending on the car. No monthly subscription if you don't need live traffic. Some cars can connect to your smartphone data for live traffic.
     
  4. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #4
    Is it good to have live traffic feature?

    Which option do you recommend.

    I suppose if I choose Option 1 or 2, I better use a mobile wireless company that provides reliable good internet connection. Am I right? I am using Wind in Ontario Canada. Data connection sucks.
     
  5. BernyMac macrumors regular

    BernyMac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Live traffic feature is useful if you are travelling in a set route on a daily basis with a high risk of traffic jams and it gives you an alternative.

    However, knowing there is a traffic jam in your daily travel only gives you notice of delay and people usually take the chance anyway since the alternative is also going to be packed and there is no time saved (my experience).

    The local radio also gives you live traffic reports, though, they are not at the most convenient times.

    Keep in mind, GPS is great if you are in unfamiliar territory. They are usually ignored if you already know the city you are currently travelling. And of course, if you are already familiar with your city, you will know the ins and outs anyway...traffic nuances and all, so live traffic is probably useless.
     
  6. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #6
    I think live traffic is useful since I'm in Toronto, traffic is really bad here. Even though I have a dedicated GPS system in my car, I use the iPhone app Waze majority of the time and just have the car GPS as a backup incase I missed a turn.
     
  7. Plutonius, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016

    Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #7
    Go with a GPS for your car. They are now very cheap, you don't need a mobile plan, and many (if not all) have free map updates for life.

    Note - I believe that @heehee was referring to an in dash GPS built into a car when you buy it. You should be able to get a GPS for under $100 at amazon. If you need live traffic, you can get a GPS for under $130.00.
     
  8. A.Goldberg, Jun 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    It depends on the car... But generally no.

    Generally GPS does not require a monthly fee in a vehicle. Older systems used CD or DVD-based map storage so you just buy a disc. Other models require special tools. All depends on the brand.

    For live traffic I believe some brands offer it free for life. Others will charge you monthly or yearly. I think some include it as part of a yearly HD radio/traffic subscription.

    Some cars have built in standard navigator but also use google maps (i.e. Audi) which uses an onboard cellular receiver and service plan (~$10/month). Without this function the nav still works, it's just not nearly as good since you don't have he power of Google.

    Other companies like Toyota use something like Toyota Entune, that uses an app on your phone to siphon the data connection and provide enhanced infotainment including traffic. They were charging subscriptions for the software last I remember, which is a little crazy IMO.

    If you don't think you'll be using a GPS often and don't have much interest in the infotainment features of the car, you're better off saving yourself he $1000-3000+... It's not really worth it IMO. Google maps on your cellphone is still better than most systems out there.

    A lot of the traffic programs out there in OEM Nav systems are not very good. I have yet to find anything that routes as well as Google Maps, especially considering the amount of data they draw from people using their apps.

    I have a BMW with iDrive Navigation (albeit an older version - 2009). I seldom use the Nav on it around the city. Google Maps on my iPhone is far more accurate, far easier to key in, and gets me there faster.
     
  9. Tech198, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    Tech198 macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #9
    You need a phone plan or prepaid somewhat just for data usage...

    If u don't want a plan, the only option would be TomTom apps or others which have the data locally.

    Even offline use is possible on iOS, BUT u still need to download them, and how can u do that if u don't have data ? and u won't get updates. (e.g traffic updates, road blocks etc..)

    standalone GPS's are still useful, but u'd need to buy updated maps just for new developments.

    The only thing about Google maps is is convenient, always updated, but u need a data connection.

    It doesn't pull in that much data with a "data pack that u only pay for what u use" unless u do allot of traveling.
     

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