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Sat nav: a buyers' guide

Sat navWhen it comes to buying a sat nav then there are cheap deals and offers available on every kind of model, from the cheapest low-end products through to the complex devices that come complete with high prices to match their beefy specifications. If you're looking to buy one of the many different sat navs on offer online in the UK during 2012 then there are rich pickings to be had.

The secret to securing the best sat nav for your needs is to ensure that you carry out a comparison before you buy, simply because there are so many different products with a variety of technical specifications. Alongside comparing the various prices and capabilities of your prospective sat nav deals, it's also worth reading some of the many consumer reviews of the devices too, in order to ensure that you're going to buy a model that's worthy of the asking price.

Armed with the information garnered from these sat nav reviews and, after a careful comparison of the best deals and offers currently available here in the UK, you'll subsequently be able to enjoy seamless satellite navigation when you go on your travels. The great thing is that even the cheapest GPS navigation these days is generally going to be fine to get you to your chosen destinations, although its also worth remembering that more expensive models will come with a wider range of features and functionality.

Which sat nav to buy?

Satellite navigation aids come in all manner of shapes, sizes and have technical specifications that cover the whole spectrum, from simple but cheap sat navs with only the basic tools, through to premium models that have all the bells and whistles built-in. When you carry out your sat nav comparison you'll probably have an idea of the sort of money that you want to spend, but looking out for special deals and offers can ensure that you get the best package for your requirements.

There's not much point in paying top prices for things if they're not going to deliver maximum value back so, when you compare, make sure that the sat nav that you're looking at has all the features that you can really use. You might look at premium models that have extra features, but if you only need one of the cheapest sat navs with the basic feature set then keep your comparison to just those models in the marketplace.

Satellite navigation is a definitive aid for any kind of driver, so keeping tabs on the latest deals and offers when you compare models will ensure that you get the best option for your money. However, it's worth bearing in mind that new models and updates come along all the time, so if you're the type of person who prefers to buy a sat nav, get a years use out of it and then upgrade to a newer model then there are also plenty of bargains to be had on that front too.

Sat nav: the features

You might think that a sat nav or GPS navigation device might be a pretty standard piece of electronic gadgetry, but now that they've been around for a while these items are sophisticated bits of kit. Even the cheap sat navs that are found everywhere can certainly get you to your destination without much in the way of fuss and bother. However, the cheapest models do also have less functionality than the premium models, so be sure to carry out a thorough comparison of features before you buy.

Perhaps the main thing about choosing the right satellite navigation system for many people is just how easy it's going to be to use, along with what sort of set-up procedure is involved. Most people want a GPS system that they can effectively plug and play, meaning that it requires the minimum of configuration and also promises little in the way of fuss when you're using it on a day to day basis.

Central to how well your sat nav works will be the mapping system that it uses to get the job done. Even cheap and cheerful sat navs often come with sophisticated mapping systems, meaning that they can offer you guidance to your destination. However, the more expensive models also offer up plenty of ways to customise the system to suit your own requirements, along with tweaking settings such as adding quirky voice controls that direct you using the entertaining strains of a TV celebrity or pop star.

Keeping sat navs up to date

Another important criterion when doing a comparison of different satellite navigation models is to check that you are able to update the map system being used by your device. Things change with road systems and other transportation networks all the time, so you need to be able to update the maps and other system options when you buy your device and also further down the line.

Remember also that GPS navigation can, in some cases, be limited to working in specific countries or territories, so if you head overseas frequently than you may wish to upgrade your comparison to take that into account. You'll also want to be sure that you're getting the latest software updates with your chosen sat nav too, because buying one that doesn't give you reliable information on potential new hazards or speed cameras might mean that, even if it's cheap to buy, the device might not deliver good value in the long run.

It's worth thinking about the right sat nav for your requirements too, because they come in different packages, so while generally speaking most people tend to opt for the in-car option, it is also possible to get a sat can that works with your mobile phone too. This can be a handy way to go if you also want to use your GPS navigation kit when you're out walking or using an alternative mode of transport to the car. This kind of sat nav is becoming increasingly popular with consumers and there are also great deals and offers to be had on this front too.

Sat nav compatibility

When carrying out your comparison of the many and different sat navs that are in the market, you'll also want to check that your preferred model will work with your vehicle. However, most sat navs, from the cheapest to the most expensive, usually come with similar kits for fixing to the screen of your car and plugging in the device, so there's really not much to keep an eye on. Nevertheless, its worth double-checking that the sat nav comes with everything you need to get started, including all relevant cables and fittings.

Sat nav jargon

When you're carrying out your comparison of sat nav devices you'll probably also want to familiarise yourself with the jargon that's associated with this highly useful kit. Satellite navigation offers up a world of hands-free route guidance so you'll probably come across the likes of Bluetooth connectivity mentioned in the technical specifications along with on-the-go jargon such as ETA, or Estimated Time of Arrival, and other such phrases that are part and parcel of sat nav systems.

While it's tempting to get swept along with all of that stuff, the bottom line is that you want to focus on the best deals and offers on a sat nav that fulfils what you want it to do. If price if the main consideration then there will be plenty of cheap deals and offers on sat navy's out there that will provide you with the perfect device for finding any kind of location.

Remember that sat navs aren't just used for getting from A to B either, because they can provide you with the perfect tool for navigating to points of interest, hotels, ATMs and anything else that could and should be included on the sat nav device that you buy. And, even if you think that spending money on a sat nav is unnecessary, you could actually find that it more than pays for itself if you're out on an unknown road and run low on petrol.

Sat navs can save you money

Sat navAfter all, Sat navs can point you to the nearest petrol station, which could mean a much cheaper alternative than having to call out a garage or recovery service if you run out of fuel. Similarly, another money-saving scenario where a sat nav comes into its own is if you need mechanical assistance but require specialist attention rather than a run of the mill mechanic. A decent sat nav can point you in the right direction down to the exact geographic coordinates.

All in all then, a sat nav might mean additional expenditure on face value, but if you compare and contrast the many different models on the market then buying yourself the right model could just mean that you end up saving money in the long run. What's more, if you carry out a comparison online of the best deals and offers on the cheapest but best sat navs for your needs then you'll probably carry on saving money in the future long after you buy the unit.