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Does iPhone GPS match up to others?

October 6, 2009 12:39:14 AM PDT
In the last 10 years, global positioning system (GPS) devices have revolutionized the way we get around. Then, the capability moved to cell phones, but only recently were iPhone users able to get in on the act.The iPhone has so many great applications that you can add to it, but when Eyewitness News teamed up with Consumer Reports to test out the GPS program you can add to your iPhone, it was a bit disappointing.

When it comes to driving directions, Stacy Nisenson cannot imagine getting around without a GPS.

"We were getting lost and I found MapQuest was a pain to use," explained Nisenson. "You have to get on the computer, you have to log in; it's just easier to have it ready and accessible."

Besides her portable GPS, her BlackBerry also has GPS navigation.

"I don't use the phone; I don't find it easy to use," she says.

Now, iPhone users can get navigation apps for their phones. They include the $100 TomTom app, the $10-per-month AT&T navigator and G-Map regional maps by XROAD starting at $35.

Consumer Reports found these apps convenient and easy to use, but none of the ones tested worked as well as a good portable GPS.

"The accuracy is not as precise, the sound not as crisp and the volume not as high," said Jeff Bartlett of Consumer Reports.

Some of the apps don't name the street where you need to turn, which is a very helpful feature that's common with portable GPS devices. Plus, your directions are interrupted if you make or take a call.

If you need more than occasional directions, Consumer Reports recommends getting a portable GPS.

The Garmin Nuvi 265t is a Consumer Reports "best buy" at $200. It comes with free traffic reports as well as Bluetooth connectivity.

Consumer Reports says another disadvantage to the iPhone navigation apps is they don't come with a charger or a mount, so you'll have to pay extra for those, costing around $50.


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