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lance1

Which Stand-alone GPS Unit to purchase?

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Hello Everyone,

I'm not an RVer but I want to purchase a good Stand-Alone GPS system for car navigation in the next week or so and I would really appreciate some input from those of you that use a Stand-Alone GPS on a regular basis.

I realize that most/many of you will be using RV-Specific or Trucker-Specific units, but most manufacturers have comparable units for cars without the added RV/Trucker specifics .... so I'd still appreciate knowing what you RVers are using as I'm sure it will assist me in making an educated decision.

I emailed the always helpful Emily Fagan of Roads Less Traveled (RLT), and since they do not use any GPS, she recommended 3 Forums of avid & knowledgeable RVers that I should contact and see what all of you are using and are happy with.

  •     rv.net
  •     rvnetwork.com
  •     irv2.com

Note that I will be cross-posting this request to the 3 forums above, so please ignore it on the other forums if you've already replied.

Here are my ideas / wish list .........

Initial thoughts:

  • Stand-alone GPS System. No more than $300.
  • Not interested in any Phone Based GPS.
  • I've used several different stand-alone GPS units several years ago and I found that all were hard to enter destinations, and were just
  • overall difficult to use.
  • I'm interested in the following, but not in any order of priority.


*** I will NOT be connecting a smart phone to the unit for calling or any reason.

  •  Cost - let's say up to $300
  •  Definitely MANUFACTURER SUPPORT, ie, a company that stands by their product IF there is a problem and is easy to contact, ie, answers the phone if necessary.
  •  Prefer a larger screen, but functionality is more important
  •  Easy to enter destinations and easy RE-ROUTE manually when desired
  •  Un-cluttered EASY to view/read map screen while driving
  •  Lifetime FREE map updates
  •  Includes "traffic" or "construction" functionality.   (Unless there is a consensus that it's useless - please advise)
  •  is TOUCH SCREEN useful ?

Thank you in advance to anyone who can take the time to share your
experience and assist me in purchasing a unit that I will find useful.

Regards to all,
Lance

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We have used Garmin for 20 years and they have always stood by their products. Many of their products have lifetime updates and traffic, they also have various size screens. All are touch screens, I have never had a GPS with a keyboard. I haven't bought one in 4 years but I believe Garmin meets a majority of your requirements. I am not sure what you mean be re-route manually.

Our's has traffic and we have turned it off. Maybe the newer ones are better. We travel out west a lot and will get traffic warnings for problems 200 miles away!!! If you could set a distance it would be nice

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I started using a Garmin and had two of those when I changed to one from Rand McNally but went back to Garmin where I will stay unless something major happens. I have found Garmin to have excellent support and I love the program Basecamp that they supply users free as it means that I can plan a route on my computer and then download it to the GPS.

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Thank you SWharton and Kirk W.   Exactly the kind of info I'm looking for.

I've had been considering both Garmin and Rand McNally ... but leaning towards Garmin in the last couple of weeks and talking with some people who've been happy with the Garmin.  But I thought I'd finally post to these forums where you folks to a lot of traveling and surely someone had some feelings one way or the other about various units.  Much appreciated.

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I use the Good Sam one that I got at Camping World about 5 years ago. It was designed for RVs and you enter your info, height etc., and it does a good job. You need to update it now and then. It was about $250. After I plot a trip I always confirm with the Motor Carrier Map book.

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I'm not sure if it is available on all Garmin units but we have a 770RV and it has "voice command". It works well in a quiet environment. If I'm pulling a hill in the truck it doesn't seem to hear your voice correctly because of the engine noise. It works good if you are driving and can't use your hands or eyes for entering data.

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We bought a Garmin years ago and still use it now that we are no longer RVing. I love that traffic will reroute us past major traffic jams. The Lifetime Maps require regular updating or you will lose that free feature then you have to pay for updates. I update ours once or twice a year just to keep it current. 

Linda

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12 minutes ago, jpatrickc said:

I'm not sure if it is available on all Garmin units but we have a 770RV and it has "voice command". It works well in a quiet environment. If I'm pulling a hill in the truck it doesn't seem to hear your voice correctly because of the engine noise. It works good if you are driving and can't use your hands or eyes for entering data.

I like the voice command on ours as well, except for the occasional times that something on the radio or in our conversation randomly triggers the "Say A Command" prompt. It always catches us off guard!

One more vote for Garmin. We've had our 760RV for five years now and it has been a solid unit.

 

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May I relate my experience with my Rand McNally  RVND 7730 GPS unit?(BTW, the branded Good Sam 7735 is the exact same unit) I bought it in May 2013 for $379(I think). When I finally got it properly set-up it was very accurate, and complied with my settings preferences. In 2017 it would not download a new issue of map updates, I had to phone RM, talk with a technician and explain the issue. He took control of my computer-with my permission, and forced a map update/download. That is the last update it has ever received or even notified me one was available for download.

I called RM technical support last week about the lack of a map update and was told if one was available the RM Dock software would notify me of such, which it hasn't during the past 2 years. He  then had the gall to ask me how long I think I should receive lifetime map updates; to which I replied "as long as the GPS unit lives". He said "after all, it is going on 7 yrs old, how long do you think it should last?" I replied, "my old Garmin was 12 yrs old and worked fine, downloaded lifetime map update too - until I dropped and broke it".

This will be my last Rand McNally Gps. I now use TruckerPath phone app, it does the same thing, height,weight, length, except no RV stuff, specifically heavy duty OTR truck mapping. It is free, which works fine for my usage, a paid-version has many more features.

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15 minutes ago, Twotoes said:

Most popular manufacturers are Garmin and Rand McNaly.

What is your source for this information?  I would have guessed that Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan were the top three.  I didn't know Rand McNally was even in the top 20.

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Well if you do not have a camper of any sort, why buy a gps? Download Waze, the BEST free gps app out there hands down. But if you are going to get a rig, go Garmin Dezl. It is an awesome gps.

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6 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Kirk... with your link to Consumer Reports you have to be a member to see the article.

OOPS!   They list in order, 6 different models of Garmin, then models of Magellan, and a TomTom as the top models with over 5" screens. 

Quote
CR Recommends
Recommended Only
Brand
All
Garmin
Magellan
TomTom
Overall score
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MIN: 66
MAX: 81
 
Price
MIN:
MAX:
GO
Show More Filters
  • RATINGS
  • FEATURES & SPECS
poorPoor
fairFair
goodGood
very goodVery Good
excellentExcellent
 
1-14 OF 14 RATED MODELS SHOWN
PRINT
SORT: Overall scoreBrand & ModelPrice Low to HighPrice High to LowScreen size (in.)Ease of useRouting optionsDriving guidanceMount designDisplay qualityTraffic interface
 
Test results
SHOW +
5-inches and above screen size
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
OVERALL SCORE
81
Add to Compare
GarminnuviCam LMTHD
Recommended
Price: $300
Garmin  nuviCam LMTHD
 
6.1
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-very-good.svg
OVERALL SCORE
78
Add to Compare
Garminnuvi 68LMT
Recommended
Price: $200
Garmin  nuvi 68LMT
 
6.1
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-very-good.svg
OVERALL SCORE
77
Add to Compare
Garminnuvi 58LMT
Best Buy
Price: $170
Garmin  nuvi 58LMT
 
5
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
OVERALL SCORE
77
Add to Compare
Garminnuvi 67LMT
Recommended
Price: $180
Garmin  nuvi 67LMT
 
6.1
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-very-good.svg
OVERALL SCORE
77
Add to Compare
Garminnuvi 57LMT
Best Buy
Price: $120
Garmin  nuvi 57LMT
 
5
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
OVERALL SCORE
77
Add to Compare
Garminnuvi 57
Best Buy
Price: $100.00
Garmin  nuvi 57
 
5
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
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OVERALL SCORE
73
Add to Compare
MagellanSmartGPS 5390
Best Buy
Price: $170
Magellan  SmartGPS 5390
 
5
blob-excellent.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-good.svg
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OVERALL SCORE
71
Add to Compare
5
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
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blob-good.svg
OVERALL SCORE
71
Add to Compare
MagellanRoadMate 5322-LM
Price: $100.00
Magellan  RoadMate 5322-LM
 
5
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-good.svg
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blob-na.svg
OVERALL SCORE
71
Add to Compare
5
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-good.svg
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blob-good.svg
OVERALL SCORE
68
Add to Compare
 
5
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-good.svg
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OVERALL SCORE
66
Add to Compare
TomTomGO 500
Price: $180
TomTom  GO 500
 
5
blob-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-excellent.svg
blob-very-good.svg
blob-good.svg

 

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17 hours ago, chirakawa said:

What is your source for this information?  I would have guessed that Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan were the top three.  I didn't know Rand McNally was even in the top 20.

My source is what I see with my own eyes. I don’t know anyone in an RV with a Tom Tom or Magellan nor do I see many posts on RV forums about either. Maybe people use these in a car but the OP asked on a RV Forum what RVers use. 

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18 hours ago, rynosback said:

Well if you do not have a camper of any sort, why buy a gps? Download Waze, the BEST free gps app out there hands down. But if you are going to get a rig, go Garmin Dezl. It is an awesome gps.

Excellent point! Even if one does have an RV, TruckerPath phone app works fine, I have tried the free version a few times while comparing the routes with my Rand McNally RVND on a trip, results are the same. TruckerPath does not have anything for RVing, only large trucks.

 

For anyone concerned, the Magellen 7" RV model is near $500 now.

Edited by Ray,IN

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We've had a Magellan Roadmate RV9145T since 2013, and it has lifetime map updates, and just like many of these, they are only as good as the databases for roads.  Sometimes it takes several years to get new or relocated roads into a new database for these things.  Also, any phone based mapping program is not a GPS (these use a real satellite), lose your phone service and you also lose the directions.  We upgraded to this unit when our non RV GPS led us to a narrow winding road through a little town in Oregon, because it didn't know we were pulling a large 5er.  We have had a number of times when this GPS routed us to a different road than where we would have thought we should go, only to find there was a low bridge or underpass where we thought we should go, and the GPS avoided the problem, which is why the RV/truck GPS is so much better for these large RV's.

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6 hours ago, 57becky said:

Also, any phone based mapping program is not a GPS (these use a real satellite), lose your phone service and you also lose the directions. 

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, but every smart phone I've ever owned had satellite based gps built in.  It's just one of the location methods in the phone, which also uses tower triangulation or wifi to locate if you turn gps off.  On my present phone, I can set it to use all three.

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1 hour ago, chirakawa said:

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, but every smart phone I've ever owned had satellite based gps built in.  It's just one of the location methods in the phone, which also uses tower triangulation or wifi to locate if you turn gps off.  On my present phone, I can set it to use all three.

The issue with phone navigation is the requirement to be online. As soon as you have no internet connection, you have essentially no navigation, other than the cache data stored in the phone for that trip. That is why I use both phone navigation AND free standing, self contained nav units. I almost always have satellite signal, but often lose the internet connection. Redundancy gives me continuous guidance. Jay

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7 minutes ago, Jaydrvr said:

The issue with phone navigation is the requirement to be online. As soon as you have no internet connection, you have essentially no navigation, other than the cache data stored in the phone for that trip. That is why I use both phone navigation AND free standing, self contained nav units. I almost always have satellite signal, but often lose the internet connection. Redundancy gives me continuous guidance. Jay

I wasn't recommending phone mapping usage.  I have had standalone gps devices for 20 years or more, sometimes use two in my vehicle.  I very seldom use my phone for mapping. 

I was just addressing the gps in phone comment.  I still believe that all smartphones today have a built in gps chip.

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We have used Garmin stand alone  for many years can not tell you why we just do. We have the Garmin 465T  .The wife also has a  Garmin trucker GPS in her car as we may be in separate vehicles and would sort of like to  be both on the same route.

Edited by richfaa

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I have a class B. I use and like my TomTom  VIA 1525SE. I had the latest-greatest-most-recommended-expensive Garmen. The screen would freeze making the device worthless for hours. Amazon quickly refunded my money. I recommend the lessor dollar TomTom.

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42 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

All phones may but not all tablets do. When I was shopping for a 8" tablet I discovered this

I think they started putting gps chips in phones after a series of 911 calls that went bad.  The original phones could only be traced to whatever tower they were using, not close enough for emergency purposes.  Not sure about this, just something I read on the internet.

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