UPDATE: Since several years have passed, I decided it was time for an updated version of this post!
GPS receivers are becoming more feature-rich every year. But what works and what doesn't? Here are five features that you just don't need.
- Traffic – I recently saw that 50% of people with live traffic on their GPS don't use it. Great idea, but it ain't ready for primetime yet. You'll get plenty of erroneous reports, and you'll also come across lots of bottlenecks that go unreported.
- FM transmitter – Useless in urban areas where the FM band is crowded, but of possible interest to the 0.1% of the population living in rural, mountainous areas.
- MP3 player – As much as I like seeing the track and artist name on my GPS screen, the tinny speakers aren't made for listening to music. If your GPS has an audio out jack, and your receiver an audio in, you could connect them, but then you'd have cables strung everywhere. TomTom has an iPod control cable for their GO units, but there's that cable thing again. A car stereo with Bluetooth and a nuvi 7x5T unit might give you a better option, but lacking the former I haven't tried it.
- Bluetooth – When it does work, it generally sounds horrible for the person on the other end of the call. Exceptions — my experience with the TomTom GO 730 was better than most, but what I'm really impressed by is the nuvi 7x5T I've been testing. It won't do everything I wanted it to, but the sound quality in early use has been great. Stay tuned for a full report. UPDATE: Bluetooth that works.
- 3D buildings – Useless eye candy.
There you have it. Save your money. In an upcoming post I'll look at features that are worth paying for.