Best GPS Navigation System Reviews 2022

Looking for the best GPS Navigation System? When doing this review for the top GPS Navigators available on the market, we had to make a decision – do you we show you multiple models from brands that are “well-known” or do we give you a look at 5 different manufacturers? We decided to go with the former because quite frankly, when it comes to the top Nav Systems, some brands simply do it better. This review contains information about 2015 and early 2016 models which while they may not be the most current on the market, still have great features (especially if you want to save some money). For more current models, check out our Garmin, Tom Tom and "latest model" GPS reviews.
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Our Top Choice
Garmin nüviCam™ GPS Nav w/ Camera – Prestige Series
A fantastic dual use GPS system with plenty of added safety features and a built in dash cam.
6 inch screen for easy viewing. Voice-activated navigation. Lane Departure Warning. Front Collision Warning.
Isolated reports of problems with the mount.
Best Value
Garmin nüvi® 58LMT GPS Navigator - Essential Series
A budget choice without missing out on essential and helpful features.
Dual-orientation display. Lifetime map updates free. Use of Foursquare and millions of POI’s.
Doesn’t have voice activated navigation or Bluetooth capabilities.
Garmin nüvi® 2589LMT GPS Navigator - Advanced Series
An excellent GPS system that will do all the essentials plus the added benefit of voice activated navigation.
Clear 5 inch display screen. Voice activated navigation. Free lifetime maps and Garmin Real Directions.
Traffic updates could be more accurate.
TomTom VIA 1535TM GPS Navigation System
An affordable GPS system which includes lifetime updates and voice recognition.
Bright 5 inch screen. IQ Routes. Free lifetime map and traffic updates. 7 million POI’s.
Slow touchscreen.
Magellan RoadMate GPS Navigator
An excellent choice for a large model GPS system which includes all major features at an affordable price.
Large 7” bright touchscreen. Easy to gather information at a glance.
No voice activated navigation.

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What is the Best GPS Navigation System?

Normally when we do our 5 recommendations, we like to provide you information about products from five different brands, but when it comes to the best GPS devices, there are three companies that stand out from the rest, Garmin, TomTom and Magellan. Let’s take a look at some of the best portable navigation devices that they have to offer.
Our Top Choice
With Garmin nüviCam™ LMTHD 6” Display you have the benefits of a number of added safety features and driver awareness features to ensure you have a safe and problem-free journey. If you’re looking for the latest model in the Garmin series they also brought out a 2016 DriveAssist model.

Garmin nüviCam™ Navigator w/ Built-In Dash Cam, Driving Alerts, Lifetime Maps & Traffic

When deciding which Garmin model to feature as our Top Choice we had to decide between this, 2015 model or the 2016 Garmin DriveAssist or DriveLuxe models. Although the newer models have a slightly more up-to-date design we felt the Garmin nüviCam LMTHD offered the best of both worlds, incorporating a dash cam and countless great features. Ultimately, we looked to Amazon and chose this model based on its abundance of customer reviews. The Garmin nüviCam incorporates a built in dash cam for your peace of mind while driving.

There is a reason that we chose the Garmin nüviCam LMTHD as our Top Choice and one is because of all the great features you receive, beyond the standard navigation ones. Some of these we have already spoken about and some are additional but we’re going to go ahead and list all the features included in this model as an easy point of comparison for you when deciding which navigation system is right for you. Here are the features we’ve already discussed:
  • 6 inch high resolution screen
  • Pinch-to-zoom capability
  • Powered magnetic mount which also charges your GPS
  • 30 minutes battery life when not charging
  • Free lifetime maps
  • HD Digital Traffic
  • Voice activated navigation
  • Garmin Real Directions
You might think that with all these great features that is all you get when you purchase Garmin’s nüviCam, however, you would be wrong. Here are some added extra features included in this model GPS which we think sets this navigation system apart from the rest.
  • Garmin Real Vision:This feature helps you when you’re arriving at a destination where the house numbers are hard to read and you’re not quite sure where your final destination is. With Garmin Real Vision they will show you a live image of the street and have a bright arrow that will point to where you need to go.
  • Incorporated Dash Cam: with a dash cam you can rest assured that if you did happen to be in an accident you would have a video record of the event. The dash cam will automatically save video files when you have a collision and also, the GPS system can be removed from your car and used as a normal camera to take photos of damages etc.
  • Lane Departure Warning: This bonus feature will alert you if your car starts to drift across the lane or into oncoming traffic, a superb added safety feature.
  • Forward Collision Warning: This will warn you if you get too close to cars in front of you and could therefore prevent a collision
  • Bluetooth Capable: You can connect your smartphone to your Garmin nüviCam and use it for hands-free calling.
It’s hard to believe you can fit all these functions into a machine that’s just 5.4 x 2.8 inches. With all these great added safety features you are in safe hands when driving with Garmin.
Construction and Design
Garmin’s nüviCam is one of Garmin’s best choices for GPS on the market. The sleek black design would complement any vehicle. It’s large 6 inch screen is the perfect balance; large enough to see clearly without having to strain your eyes but not so large it ruins the design or impairs your vision by taking up too much space on the dash board. Also this high resolution, 800 x 480 pixel display has pinch-to-zoom capabilities, making it quick and easy to get a close look at your route and what’s coming up ahead.

Similar to most GPS systems, Garmin nüviCam LMTHD is mounted onto a fixture that can be attached to your dash or windshield with the suction pad. With this model, the system is held onto the mount using powerful magnets, holding it perfectly in place, but also making it simple to remove if you wish to use one of the other varieties of mounts available by Garmin.

One asset to this mount is that is charges your GPS system as you drive. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery can last up to 30 minutes without charging, a useful tool if you want to take your GPS out for any reason or if the battery system happens to fail. We don’t think this is likely with a quality brand such as Garmin but you can never be too prepared!
Performance and Ease of Use
No matter how many amazing features a product offers, we always refer to customer reviews for our final decision making. It’s the only way to get a truly comprehensive look at how a product performs. On Amazon, the Garmin Prestige Series nüviCam received an impressive 4.1 stars out of 5 and 68% of consumers gave it 4 or 5 stars. With only random isolated complaints for this model there isn’t much to report. All complaints appear to be individual issues that aren’t reiterated by any other customers. Here are some helpful positive reviews which provide a clear overview of what you can expect from this product.

Any GPS system is only as good as its maps. New roads are constantly being built, old ones revamped and traffic diversions put in place therefore if you’re using a system that hasn’t got updated maps this could lead to many problems. Luckily, with the Garmin nüviCam LMTHD model you receive free lifetime map updates ensuring you will never be relying on outdated maps to get you to your destination. Without any extra fees you can download new map updates and also any other maps you might find useful. If you’re planning a trip, Garmin provide free updated maps for a variety of worldwide locations.

There is nothing more frustrating than when you’re in a rush and you get stuck in a huge traffic jam, bound to be late for whatever meeting you were on your way to. You begin to get anxious, irritated and (maybe it’s just me) angry with your current GPS system for not warming you of this huge set back. With Garmin HD Digital Traffic they will track any traffic issues and redirect you accordingly, ensuring you always arrive at your destination in the quickest time possible.

Not only is this GPS model easy to set up, but it is also easy to control once you’re on the road and driving. Garmin nüviCam LMTHD offers voice-activated navigation meaning you can talk to your GPS, tell it where you want to go and it will redirect you there, without ever taking your hands off the wheel. This is a great asset as there is nothing more dangerous than trying to search for a place or even typing an address whilst trying to drive. Also, when looking for points of interest such as toilets, restaurants or gas stations, there is no need to press any buttons at all; all of these things are clearly marked on the map to show which ones are close by in that area.

Finally, one problem many people have with some GPS systems is that the instructions aren’t always clear. With some junctions quite complicated or trying to judge how many feet it is until you need to turn your mind is sometimes distracted from concentrating on the road ahead of you. With Garmin Real Directions the spoken directions will be easy to understand and follow using local landmarks, traffic lights or buildings. You will receive clear instructions such as “Turn left after the gas station” or “Turn right at the traffic lights”. This is a great advancement in GPS systems to make your driving experience as relaxing and stress-free as possible.
Best Value
The Garmin nüvi® 58LMT GPS Navigator is an affordable choice from the Essential Series, providing all the basic functions you need from a GPS system. If you’re looking for a more advanced GPS with all the latest features you might want to look at the new 2016 Garmin Drive line.

Garmin nüvi® Portable Vehicle GPS with Lifetime Maps and Traffic Avoidance

The Essential Series is what would be called Garmin’s basic, more affordable line of navigations systems – but trust us, even their “lower end models” offer plenty of great features and in some cases, more than what other brands offer in for their higher end product. GPS systems within this line are available with either a 5” or 6” display.

When we did our research there were 13 “models” within this line, each with little differences such as the size, screen, resolution and battery length. To give you a general idea of the price differences, here’s the range for the “top versions” in Garmin’s Essential Series.
  • nüvi® 55LMT – MSRP $149.99
  • nüvi® 57LMT– MSRP $169.99
  • nüvi® 58LMT – MSRP $179.99
  • nüvi® 67LMT – MSRP $199.99
  • nüvi® 68LMT – MSRP $209.99
We chose to feature the nüvi® 58 model because although it’s from the 2015 line, it still has great features and you can save some money by getting the older model. We will be telling you about all that the top end version of this model has to offer, but if you don’t’ need it all, you can save by going with either the nüvi® 57 (MSRP $139.99) or the nüvi® 57LM (MSRP $159.99). Before we get into the real “nitty gritty” about what you get with this specific navigation system by Garmin, let’s talk about the difference between product versions within a line – you know, what do those letters mean?

First of all, if you purchase any GPS within the essential series, if the model number doesn’t have any letters after it, then you are getting City Navigator® NT that is preloaded with detailed maps of the lower 49 states. When you ad the “LM” it means you are going to get free lifetime maps updates. If a model has “LMT” you get the map updates, plus traffic avoidance without any subscription fees or ads.
The Garmin nüvi 58LMT GPS system has in depth maps of the U.S. and Canada preloaded onto the system and boasts free lifetime map updates.

For a model in the Essential Range you might expect limited features. Although the nüvi 58LMT model certainly does have fewer capabilities than newer models in the 2016 range, it still possesses all essential features as well as bonus extras you probably wouldn’t expect to receive. Here’s an overview of all you can expect from this Garmin GPS system:
  • 5 inch screen
  • Vertical or horizontal orientation
  • Suction cup mount
  • Up to 2 hours battery life when not charging
  • Free lifetime maps
  • GarminTraffic
  • Direct Access (for malls and airports)
  • Up Ahead feature for close-by POI’s
  • Links to information from Foursquare
Some additional functions we haven’t discussed so far include:
  • Garmin Real Directions: Giving you easy to follow friendly instructions using landmarks, traffic lights or notable buildings.
  • Lane Assist: A function to help you stay in the correct lane at all times.
  • Optional Camera Add On: Ability to pair with the BC™ 30 wireless backup camera to help you see any obstacles that might be in your way when reversing or parking.
Considering the great price we cannot believe the amount of functions you receive when purchasing this product. Although it doesn’t include all the same features of the nüviCam model, such as voice activated capabilities and Bluetooth features, it does include more than the essentials for a great price. We think this is a great option for someone who doesn’t particularly want to pay a lot more for all the extra bells and whistles that come with the latest models from Garmin.
Construction and Design
With the Garmin nüvi 58LMT you get a sleek, modern design with either a 5 or 6 inch screen. We’ve chosen to feature the 5 inch version as there is quite a significant price jump in that one inch! If you require a larger screen for any reason you can purchase this model with a 6 inch screen. Whichever size you choose you can enjoy a dual-orientation display that can be used horizontally or vertically. Such a small feature can make a huge difference when it comes to optimizing your car space and ensuring you have the clearest, least obstructed view of the road.

To secure it to your windshield, the 58LMT model comes with a suction cup mount which should hold it firmly in place. One added benefit of choosing an older model GPS system rather than the latest is the battery life. Even though this model features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the same as the previous Garmin nüviCam LMTHD model, it boasts up to 2 hours battery life.
Performance and Ease of Use
Once again we took to Amazon to see how real verified buyers rated the Garmin nüvi 58LMT model GPS system. Considering its competition with the newest models a majority of customers rated this product well. 69% of reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars. With only some isolated complaints of software errors, a majority of customers were satisfied with their 58LMT Garmin GPS. We found a variety of reviews which should be helpful when making a decision about whether or not to buy this item.

The most important feature of your GPS navigation system is maps. Updated maps are essential to a successful trip and with free lifetime map updates you don’t need to worry about your GPS being outdated; you will always have the most up-to-date road information. Even though this is a basic model GPS system, it still includes a lot of great features such as Direct Access. Direct Access helps navigate complicated areas such as malls and airports, a feature you would expect from a much higher end GPS.

Also included in this model is Lifetime Traffic, giving you traffic updates and alerting you if there is going to be a delay on your route. Garmin nüvi 58LMT will give you specific details on how long the delay is expected to be and if there are any other possible routes you could take. One notable difference between this model and the previous nüviCam LMTHD model we reviewed is that it only updates traffic information every 5 minutes, compared with the LMTHD model which updates every 30 seconds. This could cause an issue if a traffic situation arises suddenly and your GPS hasn’t had time to update yet.

Even in the essential range Garmin has included features to make your driving experience easier and safer. At a glance, on your bright 5 inch display you will see the current road you’re are travelling on, your current speed and the speed limit as well as expected arrival time. Having all this information readily available at a glance reduces you using your hands to search for this information, thereby taking your hands off the wheel.

Another essential feature of any GPS system is being able to locate points of interest easily. With Garmin’s Up Ahead feature you will see all upcoming restaurants, toilets and gas station so there’s no need to search. The nüvi 58LMT model sources information from Foursquare to provide you with the most relevant and popular results in your area. This is combined with the millions of points of interest already integrated in the system.
With voice activated navigation and Garmin Real Directions the nüvi 2589LMT model is a great choice from the 2014 Advanced range by Garmin. However, if you’re looking for the very latest models with the most features you might want to browse the DriveSmart 2016 line.

Garmin nüvi® Portable GPS Voice Activated Navigation System w/ Lifetime Maps & Traffic Avoidance

When looking at the Advanced Series that Garmin has to offer we chose the 2589LMT model to feature in our review. However, if you are looking for something similar but perhaps with a larger screen or slightly different specs, here is some information about the other models in this line and what you can expect to pay for them. There are currently 7 models in this line with 5, 6 or 7 inch screens to choose from.
  • nüvi® 2589LMT 5” Display – MSRP $229.99
  • nüvi® 2689LMT 6” Display – MSRP $249.99
  • nüvi® 2789LMT 7” Display – MSRP $349.99
  • nüvi® 2559LMT 5” Display – MSRP $249.99
  • nüvi® 2699LMTHD 6” Display – MSRP $269.99
These models differ slightly from each other in terms of specs however we chose the nüvi 2589LMT model as it is a good compromise between features and price.

The nüvi 2589LMT model has a bright 5 inch capacitive display which means it has more capabilities than the screen of the nüvi 58LMT model we previously looked at. It features pinch-to-zoom capabilities to allow you to get a closer look at your route and information. Also, the same as the 58LMT model, you can display your GPS system vertically or horizontally depending on your preference.

With a display resolution of 480 x 272 pixels it certainly isn’t HD quality however it’s more than suitable for looking at maps and will give you enough detail to see clearly where you are going. As with the 58LMT model, the nüvi 2589LMT is supported by a suction cup mount and its rechargeable lithium-ion battery will last for up to 2 hours, giving you the chance the charge your other devices without having to worry about losing your map. All of these features are encased in a sleek black case that will blend into any car interior nicely.
Construction and Design
One reason we chose this particular model from the Advanced range at Garmin is the colossal 889 reviews it has received on Amazon. You could expect a lower star rating because of this as there’s a higher chance of complaints with more reviews however the Garmin Advanced Series nüvi® 2589LMT GPS Navigator received 4.2 stars out of 5. A huge majority, 78% of reviewers gave this product 4 or 5 stars.

But this isn’t all you get when you purchase the Garmin nüvi® 2589LMT. You can also expect these great features too.
  • Bluetooth Technology: Using Bluetooth means you can keep your hands on the wheel whilst enjoying hands-free calling.
  • Lane Guidance: This model will also show a clear picture of the different lanes when approaching a junction and show you which lane you need to be in.
  • Smartphone Link: This feature allows you to connect your android or iPhone to the GPS system and share certain information like POI’s, destination and where you parked.
  • Pair with BC 30 Camera: Although this model doesn’t have a built in camera you can buy one separately and enjoy the added benefit of seeing if there are any obstructions when reversing.
If you’re thinking of buying from the Advanced range from Garmin the main upgrade from the Essential range is the Voice activated navigation. This can be a huge asset and is definitely worth spending a little more to receive this function.

From some 1 star reviews we gathered that there were no repeated complaints about anything in particular, only some isolated qualms about mounting structure or speed of the signal. We found these five reviews which seemed to be the most informative.
Performance and Ease of Use
Ok, so now we have looked at a Garmin GPS system from the Prestige, Essential and Advanced ranges, which should give you ample opportunity to find the one that suits your needs perfectly. Let’s look at the specific features included in this Garmin nüvi® 2589LMT that impact performance and ease of use.
  • 5 inch high resolution screen
  • Pinch-to-zoom capability
  • Suction cup mount
  • Up to 2 hours battery life when not charging
  • Free lifetime maps
  • Garmin Traffic
  • Voice activated navigation
  • Garmin Real Directions
There is no need to worry about an outdated traffic route as Garmin offer free Lifetime map updates, keeping your Garmin GPS system up to date and fully functioning. Also included in the Garmin nüvi 2589LMT is Garmin Traffic, a function that assesses the traffic situation on your route. If there appears to be a heavy buildup of traffic ahead the nüvi 2589LMT will redirect you another way to save precious minutes on your journey. Additionally, Lifetime Traffic allows your 2589LMT Garmin GPS to receive traffic updates free for the duration of its life. Don’t worry if you aren’t that tech savvy because these updates are sent directly to your GPS system rather than a smartphone like some GPS models.

The main difference between the Essential series and the Advanced series is the implementation of voice-activated navigation. This is a huge improvement which will allow you to simply say a destination and your Garmin nüvi® Portable GPS Voice Activated Navigation System will take you there. To make your journey even easier, Garmin includes Garmin Real Directions, which gives you easily understandable directions using local landmarks. For example, it might tell you to “Turn left after the traffic lights” or even “Turn right after the post office”. This helps considerably when trying to drive safely as it reduces your need to take your eyes off the road to look at your GPS.

Garmin is the industry leader for POI’s, with around 10 million different points of interest incorporated into their systems. This means you’re bound to find what you are looking for no matter where you are. Like the 58LMT model, this Garmin GPS system using Foursquare as an additional tool for finding popular and highly rated points of interest around you. The Garmin nüvi 2589LMT boasts Bluetooth technology and Smartphone Link for a true hands-free experience.
With TomTom VIA 1535TM GPS Navigation System you can expect all the functionality of a GPS system, including lifetime maps and voice recognition. However, if you’re looking for the very latest features money can buy you might want to take a look at the TomTom GO series which is the most recent series to come onto the market.

TomTom VIA Bluetooth GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic, Maps and Voice Recognition

TomTom is a worldwide recognized GPS brand that’s been providing navigation and travel information for years. The latest series from TomTom is the GO series, providing the most up-to-date features and specs, however, this all comes with a higher price tag. We’ve chosen to feature the TomTom 1535TM model as it possesses all the essential functions of a GPS system and is a very affordable device.
TomTom provides many great features in their VIA 1535TM model such as
  • 5 inch screen
  • Split screen capability
  • EasyPort mount
  • Lifetime maps
  • Lifetime Traffic Updates
  • Daily map changes
  • IQ Routes
  • 7 million POI’s
  • Voice recognition
So far TomTom seems to incorporate many similar features to the Garmin products with some discrepancies. Tom Tom also includes:
  • Bluetooth Capabilities: enjoy hands-free calling with this added feature.
  • Advanced Lane Guidance: >Never panic about whether you’re in the right lane or not with this nifty function
  • Roadside Assistance: If you need help you don’t need to panic. This function means TomTom will connect you to a specialist no matter where you are.
Construction and Design
The TomTom VIA 1535TM’s 5 inch screen has split screen capability ensuring you never have to miss an exit.
Some other models in this series are:
  • TomTom VIA 1505M – MSRP $199 but currently around $110 on Amazon
  • TomTom VIA 1415/1515M 5” screen - $119
  • TomTom VIA 1505M 5” screen - WTE $199
We think the 1535TM model is a great combination of features and high end specs but with an affordable price tag.

This model has a 5 inch screen with a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. This is the same as the last Garmin GPS systems we looked at which suggests it really is enough for what you’ll use it for. Perhaps a slight downfall with this model TomTom is the resistive screen. Unlike the capacitive screen of the Garmin nüvi® 2589LMT, this screen will not be as responsive and definitely won’t compare to the graphic display of a high end Smartphone. This being said it will function well enough for the needs of a GPS as once you have input the address, you shouldn’t need to press many buttons after that.

One unique function the TomTom 1535TM has is split screen capabilities. This will allow you to see a bird’s eye view of your route as well as a 3D image of signs with arrows showing you which exit or turn to take. This could be a huge help as some systems can be confusing and lead you to make a wrong turn somewhere. This particular model has a folding mount on the back of the device which should easily connect to the windshield. There is an optional disk if you wish to mount your GPS on the dashboard.
Performance and Ease of Use
The TomTom VIA Bluetooth GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic, Maps and Voice Recognition has already received 1, 581 reviews on Amazon, with 55% giving it 4 or 5 stars. Some users complained that the TomTom website where you update the maps wasn’t working with their login details and there were some isolated signal complaints. We chose some useful reviews from verified buyers to give you a good overview of this product. As with the Garmin series, TomTom provides free Lifetime maps of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This means you don’t have to worry about outdated maps and also the latest versions are already set up and ready to go. As with any journey, circumstances can change overnight with roads being closed or maintenance being done. With TomTom you get Daily Map Changes which will update to include any blocked roads or speed limit changes.

TomTom’s Unique IQ Routes means that your map accuracy and arrival times will become more and more accurate over time. TomTom will collect information from subscribers about their journey and their actual arrival time which will be collated and used to provide you with a more accurate service.

It has been said that the graphics of the maps are an improvement from the previous series, making it easier to see and follow. Also the text along the bottom of the screen is larger meaning in just one glance you can see your speed, the speed limit and how far until the next turn. Using TomTom’s extensive settings you can alter this to show whichever stats you want.

Setting up your TomTom to get to your destination is made easier with voice recognition software. This will also make it a lot easier to change your destination whilst driving. The pre-installed POI’s include restaurants, gas stations and hotels from TomTom’s 7 million points of interest. Although this might seem few compared with Garmin’s 10 million, it’s still more than enough to find what you need. You can download more POI’s from TomTom HOME and also create your own folders to organize frequently visited POI’s. Some users suggested that the way to initially find POI’s is flawed as there aren’t may sub-categories so you end up searching through a lot of places to find what you need. However, with their search bar you should be able to simply type the place your looking for and find the nearest one.
With the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM you can expect all the usual functions of a GPS system, however, if you’re looking for a dual purpose GPS, Magellan also offers a model with built in dashcam.

Magellan RoadMate 7-Inch GPS Navigator w/ Lifetime Map Updates, Speed and Traffic Alerts

The Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM GPS Navigator was released late in 2014. It is the largest GPS system we are reviewing with an impressive 7 inch screen. However, if you prefer a more compact model, Magellan also offers GPS’ with smaller screens at a smaller priceThe large 7” touchscreen display of the Magellan RoadMate is perfect for a bright, clear view of your route.

For a mid-range GPS system under $200 you get quite a lot for your money. Let’s look at the full list of features you can expect with the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM 7 inch GPS navigator.
  • 7 inch screen
  • Variety of mounts to choose from (purchase separately)
  • Lifetime maps
  • PhantomALERT
  • Speed Limit Warnings
  • Automatic Re-route
  • 7 million POI’s
  • Customized route
  • Landmark guidance
  • Best Parking
  • QuickSpell with SmartCity Search: find what you’re looking for after only typing the first few letters with this function.
  • Multi-destination Routing: plan a route that stops by multiple locations in whatever order suits you.
With all these amazing features there’s just one thing missing. This model doesn’t include voice recognition. If this is something important to you then you may want to consider another model. If this isn’t a big concern of yours and you are just looking to buy an all-round good GPS then the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM is perfect.
Construction and Design
One obvious benefit of using the 9400-LM model is that the large screen makes it easy to view your route, see how fast you’re travelling and how far to go until your next turn or exit. Being able to see these things clearly at first glance is important because it keeps your eyes on the road for longer. The vibrant display has day and night settings to ensure high visibility no matter what time of day. The map is shown in 3D and from a bird’s-eye view to ensure you have a clear view of your surroundings.

You can choose from a variety of mounting options so you can make sure your GPS system is in the best place for you and your viewing. It should be somewhere easy to see but without obstructing too much of the windscreen, which can easily happen with a large 7” model like this one. As with the first product we looked at here, the Magellan RoadMate 9400-LM only has a 30 minute battery life, however, as your GPS will be plugged in to the in-car charger a majority of the time this shouldn’t be an issue.

The main decision to make with regards to design is how large do you want the screen to be? If you have problems with your eyesight or you just prefer a larger display then you should consider the RoadMate 9400-LM 7 inch display model.
Performance and Ease of Use
We took to Amazon to find out what real buyers thought of this GPS system. A majority of consumers rated the RoadMate 9400 highly with 69% giving it 4 or 5 stars. Within the poorer reviews there seemed to be many isolated cases and no complaints reiterated by several users. One reviewer did point out that they had to pay for updated maps, however, this was a unique complaint therefore may be a user error.
As with all GPS models featured here, the RM 9400-LM comes equipped with free lifetime map updates. This is an essential asset unless you are expecting to replace your GPS system once the maps are outdated. There is nothing worse than cruising along enjoying your drive in an unfamiliar area and suddenly you notice a speed camera you hadn’t seen before. To prevent this from happening, Magellan uses PhantomALERT which will visually and audibly notify you of any red lights or speed cameras coming up.

Additional features included for your ease of use are:
  • Junction View: See realistic views of junctions that guide you into the correct lane for your turn or exit.
  • Automatic Re-Route: Inevitably, no matter how advanced the GPS system, sometimes we will still make a wrong turn or take the wrong exit. With the RoadMate 9400, you will be automatically re-routed back on track.
  • Customized Route Method: Each driver prefers driving a different way and with this model GPS you can choose to take the fastest route, shortest route, use the most freeways possible or don’t use any freeways.
  • Landmark Guidance: Similar to the Garmin models, the Magellan GPS will use certain landmarks to direct you, rather than just road names which, in an unfamiliar city, is pretty useless.
  • One Touch Favorites Menu: Making it easier to get to frequently visited places, you can set them as favorites and return there at the touch of a button.
An important part of your GPS system is its ability to adapt and take you to the nearest point of interest. With the 9400-LM Magellan model you have 7 million POI’s to choose from meaning you will never be far from the nearest rest room, restaurant or gas station. Also included in this model that we haven’t seen before is Best Parking, a function which will give you the location and information about all the nearest parking garages.

How Do I Choose the Best GPS Navigation System?

Before we get to the discussion about what’s important to look for in a personal navigation device (PND), we need to address the reasons it makes sense to have one. In today’s world, the smart phone has become a truly multi-functional device and there are many free, or almost free GPS and directional apps available so you may be wondering why it still makes sense to spend money on a standalone GPS system.

Truthfully, if you are someone who doesn’t need directions a lot, or doesn’t plan on using your phone while the navigation app is running, you may not need a portable GPS, however there are many things that make a PND a better option.

Comparison – Smartphone Navigation App vs Standalone GPS Device
  • Screen Size and Mounting – Yes, smartphones screens are getting bigger and bigger, but the average size of a portable GPS is about 5 inches, making viewing much easier. With a small smart screen you will spend more time trying to “see where you are going” rather than with your eye on the road. Also, unless you already have a mounting device, with a smartphone you’re most likely going to have it propped up down low, another serious driving hazard. Dedicated GPS devices almost always come with either a fitted windshield or dashboard mount, or both, providing clear visibility at a glance.
  • Battery Life – Navigation apps, especially the ones that you keep running for turn-by-turn directions are processor intensive and will drain your battery fast. Even if you have the phone connected to the charger while driving, this will cause your phone to run hot. PND’s on the other hand are designed with a dedicated processor built for a single function.
  • Multi-Tasking – If you are using your phone for directions, if you need to take a phone call the screen will change and you will have to press some buttons to go back to it, even if you are using a Bluetooth or speaker phone. Also, if you are using the voice directions, they will interrupt both your phone call and music. Finally, and this is for your co-pilot, not the driver, when you are using the phone for any other purpose such as texting, playing games or searching the internet, the directional screen goes away.
As you can see, even though there are free options available for directions, there are many benefits to owning a GPS navigation system Now let’s take a look at what factors are important in choosing the one that’s right for you.
At the core level, all PNDs are designed to serve one function -- you enter your destination, the system will determine the best route, provide you turn-by-turn directions (both visually and spoken) and let you see your progress on a map along the way. What distinguishes one portable GPS device from another is the level of features that it offers it provides you that improve your user experience. As with all things, the better the features the more you can expect to pay however, there is a distinction for portable navigation systems with regards to features – many are not “bonus extras” but rather things that are necessary to ensure that the PND does the best job it can.

When you are using a navigation system, in many ways your life is in its hands – and we mean this both metaphorically and literally. First of all, you are putting your trust in a machine to make sure you get where you are going in the least amount of time possible and this means current maps and local traffic information (something that costs extra). On top of this, every time a drive takes his eyes of the road, even if it’s just to change a radio station, you increase your chance of an accident. Yes, you can get cheap GPS systems for around $50, but our research shows that not only do these have smaller screens, shorter battery life and not as many functions, but they also have poor user reviews.

A really good, top of the line GPS with the ultimate in features could cost about $500 or more, but the average for a high quality GPS that has the features that most people need and will use most is around $150.
Apart of the features of a portable GPS device mentioned above, there are some that add some touches that go above and beyond. For example, some have Bluetooth connectivity or built-in dash cameras that not only record your trip, but give you a real visual of what’s in front of you. There are also some that have GPS antennas that amplify the signal which is fantastic for driving through rural areas (where a phone app GPS often loses its signal) or for when you are hiking or driving off the beaten path.
Construction and Design
When choosing a GPS device, in terms of the actual construction of the device without a doubt you need to take a look at the size and how it’s mounted. If you are looking for a GPS for your car, minimally you want screen size that is 5 inches, and some people actually prefer the larger 7 inch size. For this review, we only reviewed mobile GPS devices, but we will add that if you are looking for a portable handheld GPS for things like hiking, walking or trail running, then you are obviously going to want something smaller, maybe even one that is integrated into a watch.

In terms of size, for every one of the models we reviewed, there are multiple size options so you can choose the one that has the features that you are looking for, and then pick your size.

Other important things to consider in terms of physical design is how it’s mounted (on top of the dashboard, window mounted or even depending upon your vehicle mounted right into the front of your dash), the battery life if not connected to the charger, how you actually charge the device (for example, do you have the option of both charging while driving or can it only be charged while connected to an outlet).
Performance and Ease of Use
In terms of performance of a GPS, this is where you get what you pay for. A PND is only as good as the directions that it gives you and this makes mapping vital. Most GPS systems start with map data based upon the time the device was released but things change so you need to be able to update it. But that’s not the only information that you need to be kept up-to-date about. Good quality navigation systems will not only modify the original route based upon current construction and traffic patterns at the start, but as you are driving they will let you know if something has changed – and give you a choice of an alternate route.

Another factor related to performance is how easy a system is to set up as well as the functionality of the user interface. Obviously the maps and directions need to be clearly visible, but what happens if while you are driving and you want to find a gas station, place to eat or restaurant? User-friendly interfaces will make finding these things simple – either with a quick push of a button leading you to a menu (absolutely no typing words while you are driving) or better yet, by voice activation.

Get the Best GPS Navigation System of 2022!

We hope the information that we have provided you about portable navigation systems has been helpful in bringing you closer to a decision. Based upon our research, and the voice of other users, we can strongly recommend any of these 5 great GPS devices.

Our Top Choice
Garmin nüviCam™ GPS Nav w/ Camera – Prestige Series
Best Value
Garmin nüvi® 58LMT GPS Navigator - Essential Series
Garmin nüvi® 2589LMT GPS Navigator - Advanced Series
TomTom VIA 1535TM GPS Navigation System
Magellan RoadMate GPS Navigator