Car GPS buying guide: Compare in-car GPS and hybrid dash cams

We'll walk you through the steps to help you select a GPS device that's right for you.

Have you ever jumped in your car and fumbled with the maps app on your phone to get directions to your destination? It wasn't that long ago that most people drove around with a thick, detailed street directory lying on the back seat of their cars.

In 2018, many new vehicles come fitted with a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) to assist with navigation and route planning. However, plenty of people don't have a new car and not all built-in systems are as useful, efficient, advanced or reliable as external in-car GPS devices that you can purchase.

The cost of car GPS devices generally ranges from $100 to $400, although some high-end, sophisticated systems can cost upwards of $1,500. The GPS you select will depend upon your personal requirements and preferences, as well as the device's technical capabilities.

Our guide explains the different types of car GPS currently available so that you can purchase the device that best suits your needs and budget. We'll explain the key features you need to be aware of, plus information on where to buy and what you can expect to pay.

Compare some of the best GPS devices

Data obtained November 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Average Price (AUD) Display size (inches) Display type Internal memory Free lifetime maps Purchase today
Navman MOVE85LM
Navman MOVE85LM
$98
5
LCD touchscreen
4GB
Yes
TomTom Start 42
TomTom Start 42
$149
4.3
Resistive touchscreen
8GB
Yes
Navman EZY450LMT
Navman EZY450LMT
$169
5
LCD Touchscreen
4GB
Yes
Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S
Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S
$247
5,6.95
WSVGA/WQVGA color TFT with white backlight
No
Navman Drive Duo 2
Navman Drive Duo 2
$249
5
LCD Touchscreen
8GB
Yes
TomTom GO 520
TomTom GO 520
$299
5
WVGA Capacitive
16 GB
Yes
Garmin Drive 61 LM
Garmin Drive 61 LM
$299.99
5,6
WVGA/WQVGA color TFT with white backlight
No
TomTom GO 620
TomTom GO 620
$349
6
WVGA Capacitive
16 GB
Yes
Eonon GA2170
Eonon GA2170
$672.71
7
Touchscreen
4GB
No
Rand McNally OverDryve Pro
Rand McNally OverDryve Pro
$926.28
8
IPS Capacitive
2GB
Yes
Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX
Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX
$2,326
7
WVGA Capacitive
16 GB
No

Compare up to 4 providers

What is GPS

The GPS or Global Positioning System is a satellite-based navigation system that uses a network of orbiting satellites to transmit maps and directions directly to your GPS unit. The system is maintained by the United States Department of Defense.

GPS allows you to determine your location from anywhere in the world with a GPS signal to four or more satellites. You can use a GPS device to access up-to-date maps and get accurate directions to your desired location.

What types of car GPS devices are available?

In-car GPS
  • These are basic portable navigation devices that can be affixed to a car's dash or interior windscreen and primarily assist you by providing directions, among various other features.
Hybrid GPS and dash camera
  • These devices include GPS and a front-facing dash camera to capture any accidents (eg a crash) and incidents (eg vandalism) that may occur while you're either driving or stationary.

Cost

A new car GPS typically ranges in price from $100 to $400, although some high-end systems can exceed $1,500. The total cost will depend on the brand, model and technological capabilities. These devices are customarily sturdy, lightweight and portable but these features aren't necessarily guaranteed. Identifying essential attributes will help you determine the cost.

For example, it would be helpful to consider whether or not you will be transporting your GPS device between different vehicles? What size screen will you need to accommodate the driver's vision? How is the device powered? Will you need a device with extensive battery life? Do you plan to use your GPS overseas? You may need a system that allows you to download international maps. Discover all the different features available for car GPS devices below.

Important features to consider

The various features of car GPS devices can affect the capabilities, quality and total cost.

Where to buy car GPS devices in Australia

The most convenient way to buy a car GPS device is to shop online. Regardless of your budget or specific requirements, retailers generally offer the same deals and products online as they do in-store. In some cases, they'll also offer exclusive online-only prices and discounts.

If you're interested in purchasing a car GPS device, you can browse our featured products above.

Top car GPS

There's no one car GPS device to suit everyone's needs and budget. Below, we've compared five popular products and highlighted the pros and cons raised by users in reviews on Amazon, so you can see how well these devices perform in the real world.

TypeThe goodThe bad
Eonon GA2170In-car GPS
  • Amazingly fast and powerful system
  • Easy to install
  • Unmounting flash drive issues
  • Sound volume is a little weak
TomTom Start 42In-car GPS
  • Easy to customise routes
  • Clear screen that's easy to read and view
  • Doesn't announce road names
  • Requires frequent updates
Magellan Roadmate 6630T-LMHybrid GPS and dash camera
  • Great functionality
  • Camera works well
  • No way to label saved locations
  • Not a user-friendly device
Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-SIn-car GPS
  • Constant traffic updates
  • Bluetooth and voice-activated technology
  • Car charger keeps coming loose
  • Owner's manual could be more detailed
Rand McNally OverDryve ProHybrid GPS and dash camera
  • Great satellite radio feature
  • Quality GPS unit
  • Device overheats and shuts down
  • Can't click on POI on map


 

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