GPS Best Buys

6/28/2008 More and more drivers consider their GPS a necessity.

Consumer Reports' Frank Spinelli just tested the 400-dollar dash express, one of the newest and most unique. It promises to give you real-time traffic conditions by communicating with other dash users on the road.

"Here's how it works. Let's say you're driving to work and a dash express user ahead of you encounters a traffic problem. That information will be displayed on the screen, and at the touch of a button you can reroute around the traffic problem."

It sounds like a great idea. But here's the problem says Spinelli, "There are simply not enough dash drivers on the road right now to relay this kind of real-time traffic information back to each other."

And the dash's traffic information costs about twice what other GPS companies charge: 10 to 13 dollars a month. Consumer Reports has now tested almost 50 GPS units.

Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports, says "We look at how easy it is to enter the destination and how helpful the directions are."

Telling you the name of the street you're going to turn on is really useful. Consumer Reports named two GPS systems best buys that offer this helpful feature - both made by Garmin.

The Nuvi 260 costs 300 dollars. For 50 dollars more the Garmin Nuvi 350 gives you the option to subscribe to standard traffic information. And both even offer helpful walking routes so you can leave your wheels behind.

Consumer Reports named a third best buy. It only tells you to turn right or left, rather than naming the street. But at 200 dollars, it's still a good deal. It's the Tom-Tom One third edition.

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