July 16, 2016

Comparing a Garmin GPS to a Smart Phone GPS

I have two superb qualifications for comparing a Garmin GPS to an iphone GPS.  Since my stroke: (1) I cannot hold a map or an iphone in my right hemiplegic (paralyzed) hand and (2) I have driven 150,000+ miles through 15 states without a passenger to be my navigator. 

Both a Garmin Drive Smart 50 GPS and an iphone can be controlled with voice commands and a touch screen that lets your fingers move the map and zoom in and out.  However, an iphone GPS has problems with reliability, accuracy, spoken instructions, and road selection.

Reliability.  A Garmin GPS I have used for 11 years has always been able to connect with the GPS satellite overhead.  My iphone has repeatedly been unable to connect with a cell tower so I cannot use the GPS program.  These dead zones also make it impossible to pull up my maps history.  Who memorizes addresses any more?  When I am 400 miles from home this is unacceptable.

Accuracy.  In 11 years I have never been given wrong directions by a Garmin GPS.  My iphone occasionally gives me wrong directions.  For example, when I was driving on Route 138 East,
my phone said "stay on 138 West."  When I am 400 miles from home this is unacceptable.

Spoken instructions.  I have learned to ignore my Garmin when it gives me too much information.
If I know I have to drive 300 miles on a road, I do not need to be reminded to stay on that road every time I cross a major highway.  On the other hand, my iphone GPS has repeatedly not provided critical voice instructions.  For example, I saw a fork in the road but my iphone was silent.  Missing a major road change when I am 400 miles from home is unacceptable.  

Road Selection.  My Garmin Smart Drive 50 allows me to choose any route I want by touching the road I prefer.  This is important because suggested roads have the shortest travel time, but are not rated for the number of idiots on that road.  I am talking about people who drive 20+ miles per hour above the speed limit and who squeeze into a one car length opening only because I step on my brake to keep from hitting them.  By comparison, an iphone GPS chooses 2 or 3 alternate routes.
I do not ever want to drive Interstate 95 through Connecticut again.  A Garmin Smart Drive 50 GPS will make sure this never happens for as long as I live.

The 20 year old who scoffed at me for buying a Garmin GPS probably thinks senior citizens are not up on technology.  He had better be a homebody or be resigned to getting lost in Oklahoma.

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