GPS Devices Buying Guide

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GPS Devices Buying Guide
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GPS Devices Buying Guide

A map can help you find your way, but Global Positioning System (GPS) devices provide an even more convenient way to accurately pinpoint your location. Start your journey and locate a GPS device on eBay that fits your needs.

Explore the Benefits of GPS

GPS devices from companies such as Garmin, Magellan, TomTom, Navman, Cobra, and Lowrance work anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, in any weather condition. Once you buy a GPS device, you only need an unobstructed view of the sky to use it; you don't even need to subscribe to a service.

A GPS device receives data from a network of satellites in geosynchronous orbit around the Earth and uses the information to calculate your precise position. By locking into three satellites, GPS can tell you your latitude and longitude. With a fourth satellite in view, GPS calculates latitude, longitude, and altitude.

Use GPS anywhere you need accurate data to help you navigate.

  • GPS at work: Rescue crews, firefighters, archeologists, geologists, surveyors, mappers, boat captains, pilots, dispatchers, tour guides, and military personnel use GPS devices to perform their jobs.
  • GPS at play: Take your GPS device hiking, camping, mountain climbing, biking, snowmobiling, skiing, hunting, boating, fishing, touring, and flying so that you can find your way on land, at sea, or in flight.
  • GPS on the road: Recycle all the maps in your glove box and put a GPS device in your car. A GPS device equipped with mapping software gives you street-level directions, which can prevent you from getting lost in a bustling city. It can also select an optimum route from point to point and help you make informed choices about where to stop along the way.

Determine Which GPS Device You Need

GPS devices fall into four categories:

  • Automotive GPS: Automotive GPS devices built expressly for car use often include built-in maps or allow you to download mapping data. Many provide voice directions so you can keep your eyes on the road, and also include touch screens, and mounting options.
  • Marine GPS: Marine GPS devices designed for use aboard marine vessels and watercrafts boast a rugged waterproof design and may also float. They often include onshore and offshore maps, chart-plotting functions, and a screen that's clearly visible in sunlight. Some even have the ability to predict tides or locate fish.
  • Cell Phone GPS: The latest innovation in GPS technology is GPS-enabled cell phones. Many of these cell phones offer turn-by-turn directions like most GPS devices, and generally have a smaller form factor. This technology is developing rapidly, and web-enabled applications like friend finders, and local business reviews are just some of the possibilities.

Find the Right GPS Features

GPS devices have a variety of features and options.

  • Accuracy: Most GPS devices will pinpoint your location within 15 meters (about 49.21 feet). If you need greater accuracy, look for differential GPS (DGPS), which calculates your location within 1 to 3 meters.
  • Interface options: GPS devices come in a variety of screen sizes and may be monochrome or color. Expect larger color screens to cost a bit more than devices with a monochrome screen. Color screens provide more detail, but use more battery power. When you look at item listings, evaluate the image the seller provides and make sure the screen looks like it works for you. When shopping for an automotive GPS device, look for touch-screen navigation, audible voice prompts for driving directions, and a trip computer. They will help you keep your eyes on the road, and the trip computer will let you know how much further you need to go when driving from point A to point B.
  • Maps: Most GPS devices include built-in software such as U.S. street maps. You can also buy additional software, such as European maps.
  • Data storage: Many GPS devices come with built-in maps, but you can store even more if your device supports removable Secure Digital or CompactFlash memory cards. Mapping data doesn't take up a lot of space and many units even come with a 128MB card.
  • Combination GPS units: Standalone GPS devices work great for most people, but some personal digital assistants (PDAs) and two-way radios come with the functionality built in. If you need a PDA or two-way radio, consider one of these hybrids.
  • Weather resistance: Like all electronics, you'll want to keep your GPS device out of the water and try not to drop it. Look for a GPS device with a rugged design and weather-resistant features if you plan to use it outdoors

Accessorize Your GPS Device

Get the most out of your GPS device with these add-ons:

  • GPS software: Download GPS software for detailed maps, topographic data, and points of interest to your GPS device.
  • GPS holders: Stabilize your handheld GPS device on your dashboard or laptop with GPS holders.
  • GPS antennas: GPS antennas amplify your GPS signal and make it more effective. Read item listings for details about device compatibility and email the seller by clicking "Ask seller a question” under the seller's profile if you have any questions.
  • GPS chargers & cables: Equip yourself with GPS chargers and cables to keep your device powered.
  • Bluetooth: Short-range wireless networking helps your Bluetooth GPS device communicate with your Bluetooth-enabled computer, PDA, or cell phone from up to 30 feet away.
  • Memory cards: Expand the capacity of your GPS device with an extra memory card.
  • Adapters: A cigarette lighter adapter provides a convenient source of power on the road. 

Find GPS Devices on eBay

Once you know what type of GPS device you want, go to the Consumer Electronics portal, click GPS Devices, and start searching for items on eBay.

Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Accessories & Cables, Automotive GPS Devices, Marine GPS Devices, Recreational GPS Devices, Maps, Software, and Tracking Devices . As you dig deeper into the site, you'll also be able to narrow down your choice by brand.

Keyword Search: Search eBay title listings for specific words. For example, if you want to find a GPS device with a color screen, type "color" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Many sellers also list the model number of the GPS device they are selling. If you are looking for a specific model, simply type the model number into the Search box. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

Buy GPS Devices With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to $2,000.
  • eBay Security & Resolution Center: Visit the Security & Resolution Center to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.
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