Consumers have more options than in the category of products for Smartphone GPS navigation. What’s smarter and more efficient for a driver on the go? What about a city bound driver? Is there a difference?

Jumping in with a full Smartphone navigation bundle package, or going with a independent GPS device backed up by a trusted manufacturer with a known name, such as Garmin or TomTom? There are many things to think on when it comes to each type of technology, and a few things to consider before you make a decision.

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Smartphone GPS vs Dedicated Car GPS

Smartphone GPS vs Dedicated Car GPS

Screens and Readability

Smartphone’s like a Palm, iPhone, or Android has very high resolution display with the high tech capacitive touchscreen. In your hand they are the best deal. Depending on the position of the unit with a windshield or dash mount the small fonts and menus are unable to be read very easily without focusing. This affects GPS when driving and can be very straining to do both. Even with a larger font, they just weren’t made to be read from a distance like a GPS device with a resistive touch screen measuring 4.3 inches compared to 3.5 inches with most Smartphone’s.

Mounting positions

While it may be better than nothing, listening to a Smartphone’s directions while on flat area is nothing like having clear maps and directions mounted at eye level on the windshield or dashboard such as with an iPad. At low light levels this can make quite difference in the quality of your driving experience. If you drive alone it can be very dangerous, or in dense traffic situation where you have to be focused on the road.

Current Maps and Directions

A big no brainer is information, as with the TomTom for iPhone, its downloaded when you purchase the device instead of downloaded when in motion such as with MotionX GPS Drive. This wins out over static information, as it’s more current and can account for traffic and emergencies. It does put you at the mercy of cell tower signals and remote outpost though. If you do a lot of city driving this won’t be an issue, but in remote areas you may not have any information if you have no signal.


Smartphone’s have a big plus of constant connection to the Internet through cellular towers. Smartphone has developed GPS navigation apps that highlight this connectivity with traffic reports, reroutes, and gas prices. With a TomTom or other personal navigation device you do not get a constant connection and may have to pay a monthly fee to download the newest information and traffic updates. This can be a deal breaker if you travel across newly developed territories or where they are building new roads and bridges as you won’t be privy to the changes in the route. Smartphone’s make use of Web browsers for this information.

When deciding between the Smartphone navigation vs. PND devices, there’s a lot to consider as what may suit your lifestyle the best.