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GPS (stand alone unit) or Smartphone GPS app - Driving in France

GPS (stand alone unit) or Smartphone GPS app - Driving in France

Old Jul 2nd, 2013, 11:23 AM
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GPS (stand alone unit) or Smartphone GPS app - Driving in France

I'll be on a short road trip in September driving from Paris to Normandy and would like your recommendations on navigation assitance -

- Bring a GPS from home (stand alone unit), e.g. Garmin Nuvi updated with France map

- Use GPS app on Smartphone preloaded with off-line map, to minimize data usage

- Rent a GPS unit from rental car company

The factors/concerns:

- Prefer to travel light; GPS is small but would love to have one fewer thing to bring

- Cell phone data usage while using the smartphone for navigation and cell reception

- A rental GPS unit may take time to learn

- Cost, will need to purchase a new GPS unit and France map (my old GPS doesn't take the new map)

Thanks and please share your experience!
vivace98 is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2013, 11:29 AM
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Hiring a satnav for over a week (sometimes for more than a day or two)from most car hire cos costs more than the gadget would cost to buy, though these things change.

No idea how much it would cost for airtime with your current smartphone: but even with the new European rules, keeping a smartphone permanently downloading data is ruinous if your contract is with a company in the country next door. God knows what it'll cost if you've got a contract with a company that's really foreign.

Personally, I always either take my own standalone or a road atlas. Actually: I always take my standalone AND a road atlas
flanneruk is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2013, 11:58 AM
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This type of consideration depends greatly on the models being considered in addition to which features in each model are of most value to you (not to someone else.) I think the most useful evaluation you can do it to use them side by side at home.
In case of particular smartphone model I use, it loses the GPS signal more frequently than my standalone Nuvi. However, this is not a straight forward choice since my Nuvi and its charger triples the volume of gadgets I need to carry. Additionally, when I operate my smartphone in pure GPS, and not aGPS with data assist, it takes FOREVER, if at all, to lock on to the initial signal.
greg is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2013, 01:09 PM
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Forget the GPS and buy a map of the area. The roads are well marked and it's easy to get around. You can use the mapping feature of your smartphone (iPhone works well), and you can download the free app Waze to check the road conditions when you need to.
Robert2533 is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2013, 02:00 PM
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One piece of warning is it's illegal in France to have GPS device (either standalone or smartphone app) that gives alert for speed camera locations. You have to delete the database completely or disable it, or you can be heavily fined (up to 1500 euro) and the car impounded by the police.
Alec is offline  
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