GPS on cell phones put to the test

Testing showed cell phone /*GPS*/ is comparable to that of portable GPS devices. Many carriers offer traffic information, too.

If your cell phone has a GPS feature, you may need to pay a fee to use it, which can cost about $3 a day or $10 a month.

Most cell phone screens and controls are small compared to a portable device. But like portable units, many GPS-enabled cell phones give spoken turn-by-turn directions, so you don't need to look at the screen.

However, a couple of the most popular cell phones, like the Google phone and the /*iPhone*/, don't offer spoken directions.

"If you're an occasional GPS user, say using it for business purposes or on vacation, cell phone-based GPS can be a good alternative," said Consumer Reports' Jeff Bartlett.

You want to look for a phone with a large screen and an easy-to-use keyboard, like ones on the /*Samsung Instinct*/ or the /*Glyde*/.

But paying for a monthly GPS subscription for your cell phone can cost as much as buying a dedicated GPS device. If you're a heavy GPS user, /*Consumer Reports*/ says you're better off getting a low-cost portable unit.

Consumer Reports says a good basic GPS unit is the /*Garmin Nuvi 200*/. It's easy to use and costs about $150.

If you buy a GPS system, you could pay an annual subscription of about $60. But, some of the newest portable GPS units by Garmin and /*Navigon*/ provide this service free of charge.



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