5 Features to Look for in an Automotive GPS

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5 Features to Look for in an Automotive GPS

Transportation has become one of the most important and dominant aspects of modern society. Everyday life would arguably come to a standstill if it were not for the constant movement of trains, airplanes, and cars across the world. Especially in personal vehicles like cars, people sometimes travel in unfamiliar places. With recent technological innovations, paper maps have largely fallen out of use, making room for automotive GPS devices.

An automotive GPS can be purchased from a wide range of places, including brick and mortar stores and online marketplaces such as eBay. When in the market for a GPS, it is useful to look for specific features, such as the device's number of channels, voice activation, lifetime maps, display size, and lane assisting capabilities.

1. Number of Channels

One feature that is often overlooked by those shopping for automotive GPS devices is the number of channels that come in the device. Many buyers do not even understand what the channels do, although it is an important feature to consider. The channels in a GPS control the number of satellites that the GPS is communicating with in space. The satellites, which are typically put in place by a country's government, send signals to the GPS regarding the device's positioning on earth. This can be as specific as which lane a car is in on the road. Typically, the greater the number of channels that the GPS is communicating with, the better the accuracy of the GPS. The following chart shows the most common range of channel numbers in GPS devices.


12 Channels

Considered to be the most common type of GPS

Most high-quality devices correspond with around 12 satellites, creating ideal accuracy

16 Channels

Critics argue that a GPS device with more than 12 channels is unnecessary

Increased channels allow the GPS to work more quickly and accurately

32 Channels

Generally the highest level of channels

Enables the GPS to consume power more effectively and work faster and more accurately

Lessens the risk of losing the signal in rural areas

As long as the number of channels does not drop below 12, the number of channels on a GPS is largely up to the driver's needs. GPS devices with fewer than 12 channels are not recommended, however.

2. Lifetime Maps

As useful as GPS devices are, one downside that was discovered soon after they rose to popularity is that the electronic maps do not always reflect what drivers come across on the road. As most drivers know, construction, weather, and other factors can greatly alter the route a person might take to a particular place. Over time, new roads may be added, and other roads may be eliminated. GPS devices that do not come with lifetime maps to upload these changes need to either be replaced over time or manually updated.

GPS devices that do come with lifetime maps automatically update changes to roads, highways, and bridges. With this feature, drivers can feel confident that the routes they are given accurately reflect any changes that the roads have undergone recently. Although GPS devices with lifetime maps may come with higher initial price tags, buyers can avoid replacing the devices later or having to pay for upgrades. In essence, the lifetime maps feature pays for itself.

3. Voice Activated

A constant critique of many GPS devices is that they are prone to causing car accidents. This typically arises from the fact that many types involve a fair amount of required information that must be entered into the device in order to provide an appropriate route. Drivers can sometimes become distracted while entering this information and pay less attention to the road and other drivers, thus causing accidents. To avoid both dangerous crashes and the tedious task of manually entering information, many recent GPS models come equipped with voice activation. This feature allows the user to simply speak the address or destination, which the GPS can then utilise to determine the necessary route.

Voice activation allows drivers to use the GPS virtually hands free for the entirety of the drive, minimising the risk of distraction-related accidents. As with the lifetime maps feature, GPS devices with voice activation are typically more expensive, but the ease of use makes the higher price tag well worth the cost.

4. Large Display Size

GPS devices come in a variety of display sizes, ranging from just a few inches in width to several inches. In general, the appropriate size for a particular driver varies depending on his or her individual needs and preferences. However, larger devices are much easier to use when driving. Small screens can be difficult to glance at and understand quickly, which is necessary when the driver is in motion on the road. Some of the most common GPS sizes are 3.5 inches, 4.3 inches, and 5 inches wide.

3.5 Inches

Many GPS users claim that the 3.5-inch display on these devices is too small to be used effectively. Although they are much more portable because of their smaller size, these devices are not really doing drivers any favours by utilising a screen size that is difficult to use when driving.

4.3 Inches

This size for a GPS display is often considered the minimum size for successful usage. Just those few extra tenths of an inch from the 3.5-inch screen to the 4.3-inch screen make a significant difference when in use on the road. The device is large enough to use easily, but it is not so large and bulky that it takes up too much space on the car’s dashboard.

5 Inches

GPS devices with a 5-inch display screen are often the largest size that many GPS manufacturers make. The screen is quite clear, and maps are easy to see and use safely while driving. Systems with screens much larger than 5 inches may become distracting or take up too much space on the dashboard. In some cases, extremely large units may not fit at all on some dashboards.

5. Lane Assist

Although it may seem like a minor detail, the lane assist feature available on some high-quality GPS devices is incredibly useful. Although most drivers can get by without having the feature, lane assist helps make driving flawless. It is especially useful for drivers who spend a great amount of time on multi-lane highways, where knowing which lane the driver needs to be in to exit or enter properly is useful. Lane assist makes driving much less stressful and safer, as well.

How to Buy an Automotive GPS on eBay

Automotive GPS devices are quite popular, and shopping for them on eBay is one of the easiest and most stress-free ways to find exactly the right GPS for a driver’s needs. eBay allows shoppers to quickly search for the specific features they might desire for their GPS devices by entering the necessary information into the search bar on any of the eBay pages. This enables them to search through the numerous options that eBay provides. Shoppers can look at both new and used GPS models to find the best equipped devices at the best prices. The ability to contact a seller with any questions or clarifications also enables a shopper to thoroughly review all of a product’s information before deciding to buy it. Alternatively you can search through deals on electronics until you find the right product.


GPS systems are undoubtedly one of the most useful innovations to enhance the automobile market in modern times. Navigation from one point to another, whether the destination is just a few miles away or all the way across the country, is both significantly easier and safer when a simple device on the driver’s dashboard is available to direct him or her with turn-by-turn directions. The wide range of features that are available on GPS devices allows drivers to travel as safely and quickly as possible. By looking for the appropriate number of channels, lifetime maps, voice activation, large display sizes, and lane assist features, any driver can get the most out of the money he or she spends on a GPS.

Automotive GPS|GPS Device|Used GPS|Map|Portable Electronics

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