There are many types of GPS products available with a wide range of features, prices and benefits. Check out some of the most popular features below — and watch for them when you shop.

GPS units come preloaded with maps for specific geographic areas. In general, the larger the geographic area included, the more expensive the GPS product. Selecting map coverage that works for your intended use is important.
Common map coverage areas include: 
  • Contiguous 48 United States (not including Alaska or Hawaii)
  • North America, including entire United States, Canada and Puerto Rico
  • North America, including entire United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, plus Europe
If your GPS device includes a MicroSD slot, additional maps and updates can be purchased on MicroSD cards — an important feature to consider if you’ll want to upgrade your GPS maps as your travel needs change.

Also called voice guidance, text-to-speech is a feature by which the device “speaks” turn-by-turn directions, including street names, aloud. Text-to-speech is highly important for drivers who want to focus their attention on the road as opposed to having to look over at the GPS while driving. It’s also useful for those who have trouble seeing at night. While this feature is primarily for GPS units designed for use in cars, many hand-held GPS units also include this handy feature for hikers and bikers.

Hands-Free Calling
Many GPS products can enhance your hands-free calling experience with your compatible Bluetooth® enabled cell phone. This is a great feature for people who spend a lot of time in the car, or who are concerned about driving while using a mobile phone.

Display Size
GPS devices are typically available with 3.5” or 4.3” screens. Generally, the larger the display size, the easier it is to view the GPS maps. There are a limited number of GPS models with screen sizes larger than 4.3”. These units are designed for RV drivers or others who want a larger screen for better viewing.

Points of Interest (POI)
A point of interest, or POI, is any place you might want to go — restaurants, schools, movie theaters, museums, hospitals or specific businesses. Most preloaded GPS maps include multiple POI. In general, the more POI included with a GPS device, the more interesting and useful it can be to use. And in addition to pre-loaded POI, third-party products are now supplying POI tailored to particular interests, which you can purchase and download.

Buttons are so uncool. The touchscreen feature lets you use your finger to zoom in on maps, type location names and more. If you’re going to be driving, biking or otherwise occupied when using GPS, touchscreen is something to look for in your ideal unit.