In many ways, the smartphone has put the conventional in-car GPS to pasture. Five years ago, dashboard-mounted navigation devices were a dime a dozen, and they were probably your gadget of choice when it came to holiday gift giving. The likes of Garmin and TomTom were rolling in the dough as motorists everywhere realized that a single product could almost always prevent them from winding up in the middle of nowhere.
These days, it's different. Smartphones now include phenomenal mapping systems, the vast majority of which are free. Google Maps is available for Android and iPhone, offering gratis turn-by-turn navigation in almost every developed nation on the planet. (TomTom and Navigon offer apps as well, but those typically cost $30 and up for nearly identical performance.) So, what's a company like Magellan to do? The old saying applies – if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
The SmartGPS is an intricate new spin on the conventional in-car GPS unit: when left alone, it can serve up turn-by-turn guidance to anywhere in the United States. But, when synced with your iPhone or Android smartphone, a flood of new information becomes available on your dashboard.
By using the data connection that your phone already possesses, SmartGPS can display real-time fuel prices of nearby stations, red light camera alerts, ideal parking decks in your vicinity, and even nearby deals sourced from Yelp and Foursquare – the last of which has never been possible on a GPS before. In a nutshell, this information enables you to make quicker decisions about where to fuel up, where to eat, and how to spend your time on the road. Less planning, and more doing.
It's the most connected, intelligent GPS unit yet, and it provides a unique marriage of guidance and localized information. The Magellan SmartGPS is available now for $249.99.