Mac compatible GPS?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Kwill, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Kwill macrumors 68000

    Kwill

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #1
    I have a new car with in-dash iPod steering wheel control but no GPS. Though I have a 16GB iPhone, Google Maps is not very practical while driving. Enhanced GPS capability is rumored to be included with the next round of faster iPhones. I am not inclined to replace my current one until 2009 (every other model).

    However, this brings up an interesting dilemma. Since a good GPS with large screen could cost as much as an iPhone, would it make more sense to upgrade iPhones this year than purchase a separate GPS unit? On the other hand, assuming the iPhone implementation is not much better than what we have today (perhaps more accurate dynamic current location indicator), what is a good GPS for use in the U.S. that perhaps includes real-time traffic alerts, audible directions, and automatic detour routing?
     
  2. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #2
    I have a Garmin Nuvi 660 that does everything you mentioned (you need to pay for traffic, I think it's 60 bucks a year) and is Mac compatible. I don't think it will automatically route you around traffic or construction, but it will prompt you if it's ahead on your route. You just have to tell it yes or no.....I'm not sure how automatic you're looking for. I don't use the real time traffic myself (I spend most of my time in a small town in bumf**k Missouri that's not covered by the traffic service) so I can't tell you a whole lot about that. But overall, it's a great GPS. I'd definitely recommend it.

    The problem with GPS on phones is they rely on the data network to download maps as you move along. So if you're out in the middle of nowhere without cellular service (probably the one place you'd definitely need a GPS) you would be SOL as your phone couldn't download the map for where you are. Or if you decide to cross the border and drive into Canada or Mexico, you will get hit with EXPENSIVE international data roaming charges to use GPS on your phone. We're talking rates that can easily reach into the thousands of dollars if you use it enough.


    I would stick with an actual GPS for navigation. They're much more practical than a cell phone.
     
  3. Kwill thread starter macrumors 68000

    Kwill

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #3
    This would be my first GPS so I am depending on the recommendations of others. Apparently Nuvi 660 can connect via FM to announce traffic over the car speakers (an option I had not previously considered). The downside is that I could not simultaneously listen to my music.

    The Garmin Nuvi 660 receives high ranks from users on the Amazon website so is a good candidate with a 4.3" screen. Some features overlap those included in my car/iPod/iPhone setup (mp3, Bluetooth dialing, speaker integration). As you indicate, traffic reports are $60/yr with annual map updates costing $150 or more.

    A new device on the market is the Dash Express with 2-way Internet connect. It also has a 4.3" screen. Monthly service is as little as $10, which includes software updates, live traffic reports, internet searches, and ability to send addresses or interface elements via the Internet. Since it is so new, users report room for feature improvement but are confident that software updates will remedy most.
     
  4. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #4


    Yes you can. The Nuvi has a built in speaker where all sound comes out of. You do have the option of using the built-in FM transmitter instead to listen to it over your car stereo (and in that case, you wouldn't be able to listen to music at the same time unless you use the Nuvi's built in MP3 player). But if you just use the internal speaker, it's plenty loud to hear it.
     
  5. Kwill thread starter macrumors 68000

    Kwill

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #5
    Thanks for your suggestion. I also discovered the Nuvi 660 has an aux output as an alternative to FM. Such can be controlled from my steering wheel.

    In California it is unlawful to attach anything to the windshield (though some people do anyway). To avoid blocking windshield visibility, I prefer to mount the GPS unit on a smooth surface between the two bucket seats. (The wood grain console lifts up to reveal two additional cup holders so is rarely used for anything.)

    Does the hardware included with the device allow for mounting on this horizontal surface?
     

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  6. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #6
    Mine came with the suction cup mount, but it also came with this little plastic circle thingy with adhesive on the back so you can stick that somewhere on your interior and then attach the suction cup to that.
     
  7. Kwill thread starter macrumors 68000

    Kwill

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #7
    :eek: Perish the thought!!! :eek:

    Did I mention this is a NEW car? :p

    I am wondering if the windshield suction mount can be used on the horizontal surface and angled up for viewing.
     
  8. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #8

    Yeah, it can be angled and has a wide range of motion. I have no idea how well it will stick to non-glass surfaces
     
  9. jackc macrumors 65816

    jackc

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    #9
    I just bought one of the low-end models, the Garmin nuvi 200w, it's quite good if you just want the basics. I haven't used the software, I hear the Mac version isn't that great though.

    I also bought a "friction mount", basically a little bean bag thing that sits on your dashboard. It's a little big but I don't mind and it works surprisingly well.

    (Pic with a different model)

    [​IMG]
     
  10. InfiniteWill macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    #10
    Garmin and the Mac

    I too have a nuvi 660 and although it has been great it is NOT compatible with Audible on the Macinstosh. I upgraded from a StreetPilot c550 specifically for the ability to listen to my Audible books and NOWHERE on the Garmin nor Audible nor Apple web site (under system requirements) is there a disclosure about this. It isn't until after you run into a problem that you will discover there is no solution other than using BootCamp or the like. Garmin makes great stuff but they have sure been lacking in their Mac support (I guess half is better than none).
     
  11. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #11
    Ah, the fools in Sacramento looking out for us again. Minnesota has a similar law on the books, and I ignore both of them.

    Considering that the (mandated) rear-view mirror blocks more of one's vision, and that looking down at a GPS on the console is more hazardous than a glance ahead, they can kiss my hind end. Or I suppose they'd rather we just hold a map, unfolded, in front of us while we drive.

    BTW, I use a Garmin Zumo 550. Absolutely wonderful unit, and is designed for use on the bike as well.
     
  12. InfiniteWill macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    #12
    WI as well

    I was stopped just outside of Madison, WI and they passsed the same law last year. At least the officer didn't ticket me.
     
  13. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #13

    Guess I'm glad I didn't get that job I applied for in Madison then, I don't know what I'd do with my GPS and radar detector :D
     
  14. Kwill thread starter macrumors 68000

    Kwill

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
  15. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #15
    I also got one of these. I use it with my Garmin 760 in my M3, where the dash is somewhat sloped downward. It works great, only creeping down about an inch every couple hundred miles on the highway. Even though I can use the windows suction cup legally, I like this better.
     
  16. Kwill thread starter macrumors 68000

    Kwill

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #16
    Options

    Each option has advantages. Few, favor the Mac. Interface on Navigon is drop-dead gorgeous.

    Garmin Nuvi 660 - PROS: 4.3" screen; most popular; highest rated GPS; easy to use; compact size; long battery charge (up to 7 hr); text-to-speech turn-by-turn directions; POI, traffic camera and other extensions; Bluetooth; FM traffic option; AUX output can play through car speakers; MP3; low price before pending map update. CONS: Beta Mac compatibility; questionable 3rd-party traffic results ($60/15 mos); extra cost for periodic map updates

    Dash Express - PROS: 4.3" screen; nice graphics; 2-way Internet provides real-time feedback; text-to-speech turn-by-turn directions; traffic reports included in monthly subscription; add POI and interface enhancements via MyDash Web browser; up to 3 routes offered per destination. CONS: New technology with limited number of users; bulky; few mounting options; higher initial cost; monthly subscription required $10-13 (includes map updates and traffic); up to 2-hr battery charge

    Navigon 7100 - PROS: 4.3" screen; 3-D reality view graphics with lane assist; text-to-speech turn-by-turn directions; attractive design; lifetime traffic data included at no extra cost; US & Canada maps included; Bluetooth; Zagat rated POIs. CONS: Limited mounting options with proprietary connector; North America maps only; Windows-only software for map data; mixed reviews

    Others - Magellan Maestro 4040, TomTom ONE XL-S (or GO 720), Harman Kardon GPS-300, future iPhone?
     

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