How do I choose the right car navigation?
Type of vehicle, size, and map coverage
Type of vehicle
Navigation systems are suitable for a certain type of vehicle. A system for caravans, campers, or trucks offers an extra function to indicate how big your vehicle is. As a result, the system doesn't guide you along small, winding roads, or tunnels your vehicle doesn't fit through. Often, these systems offer an extra option for passenger cars.
4.3, 5, 6, or 7 inches
There are 4 sizes of car navigation. On a larger 6 or 7-inch device, you can see details on the screen better, but with a smaller 4.3 or 5-inch device, you can more of your windshield. Do you have a small car? A 4.3 or 5-inch navigation system will fit nicely. Do you drive a big car, camper, or truck? A 6 or 7-inch display is more common.
Map coverage and map updates
Consider what you'll use the navigation system for beforehand. Different maps are often pre-installed. Usually these are maps of Western Europe, Central Europe, or all of Europe. Are you driving outside of Europe? Make sure you choose a navigation system with global map coverage, or a system that lets you expand the map. Pay attention to map updates, as the road network is always changing. Sometimes these updates are free, sometimes you can subscribe.
Voice control and hands-free calls
You operate some navigation systems via voice control. While driving, you can say what you're looking for and the navigation system responds will respond. That way, you can easily make changes and keep both hands on the wheel. Hands-free calls don't require you to use your hands either. Your mobile phone connects to the navigation system via Bluetooth, so your calls are made via the device's loudspeaker.
Points of interest and uploading routes
Some systems show points of interest, like gas stations, restaurants, or parking spots. Sometimes, you can even see the TripAdvisor reviews. There's also a function that lets you upload a route beforehand. You can enter points via your PC and set the route on your device. This way, you can know the route you are going to drive in advance.
Integrated dash cam
A built-in dash cam is a fairly unique feature, and can only be found on more luxurious navigation systems. A dash cam captures what happens during the car ride. Are you involved in a traffic accident? The dash cam will record it, so you can see what happened afterwards.
Receiving traffic updates
Many navigation systems provide traffic updates, so you won't run into unexpected traffic jams. There are 4 different ways to receive traffic updates; via digital radio (DAB + TMC), via radio (RDS-TMC), via an integrated SIM card (GPRS), or via your smartphone (GPRS). You can find all the pros and cons of the different receivers in the next article.