Sat Nav Buyer's Guide
A sat nav or GPS device will direct you from A to B, but it can also provide a wide range of features to make driving easier. Check out our guide to the top features to look out for when choosing a sat nav or GPS device.
The built-in software on your sat nav or GPS can work out the easiest route between any two points, and can also combine average road speeds with other data to advise you on arrival times and road conditions en route.
Halfords have a huge range of sat nav and GPS devices to choose from, so read on to decide which features you need to look out for when choosing the sat nav that is right for you.
Sat Nav Basics
Sat navs are often called GPS systems because they use Global Positioning Satellites that orbit the earth to locate their position on the earth's surface. Calculating longitude, latitude and altitude, the position is laid over a digital road map which accurately reveals your driving position to within a few metres.
Sat navs are portable devices that are transferable from one vehicle to another, and can sometimes even be used on foot. Screen sizes vary from 3.5" to 7" to give you the clearest possible view of your route. They are ready to use straight from the box and fit to your windscreen or dashboard with a mounting bracket.
Sat Nav Mapping
When you buy a sat nav the mapping information is built into the software in the unit. There are different mapping levels that you can buy:
- UK Street Level Mapping - covers roads in the UK including motorways, major roads and minor roads.
- Western European mapping (typically 23/24 countries)
- Full European mapping (45 countries)
- World Mapping with 66 countries loaded (North America, South Africa, Australasia and Europe)
- European Major Roads Mapping - covers motorways and major roads in the countries specified. Minor roads and city centres cannot be accessed.
- European Street Level Mapping - covers motorways, major roads, minor roads and city centres in the countries specified.
Your sat nav will have mapping data supplied with it and this will not run out or expire. However, the road network changes up to 15% annually so it is recommended that you update them periodically. Find out how to update your sat nav.
Planning your Route with a Sat Nav
A sat nav is quick and easy to use and can get you going with just a few clicks. Key in your destination using the touch screen, wait a few seconds for the mapping software to create your route and off you go.
The fastest and most accurate way of locating your destination is to key in a postcode or part of an address. You can also select a Point of Interest (POI). POIs alert you to local services such as petrol stations, hotels, restaurants or cash points during your journey.
Some devices include live traffic information to warn you of delays ahead on your journey. These sat navs use a SIM card to receive traffic information through mobile networks. They will then offer to divert you around the delay or let you stay on your original route.
Sat Nav Features
At Halfords our sat navs have a number of features to look out for to help you get to your destination safely:
- Live Traffic Information: Some sat nav units can receive and display live traffic updates to help avoid congestion and traffic jams, and offer an alternative route to avoid the delay.
- Speed Camera Locations : Your sat nav will know where a speed camera is and warn you when a camera is imminent.
- Potential Hazards: Warns you of accident black spots, schools and other potential hazards and alert you if you have exceeded the road's speed limit.
- Emergency Assistance: In the event of an accident, you can access safety and emergency service numbers, directions to the nearest hospital, car repair services and more.
- Track Your Own Car: Perfect for unfamiliar spots and crowded places. The sat nav automatically marks your position when you remove it from the windscreen mount, so you can navigate with the sat nav on foot to find your way back to your vehicle.
- Bluetooth: Some sat nav units are Bluetooth enabled and can be paired with a mobile phone. You can then use the sat nav speaker to make and receive hands-free calls while on the move, staying safe and legal. Read more in the Bluetooth Buyer's Guide.
- Lane Guidance: Provides real life images to guide you into the right lane at junctions.
Synchronise Your Sat Nav with your Phone
If you have a smartphone you can transform it into a fully featured sat nav, making navigation even more portable. Simply load the navigation software and mapping data into your GPS-enabled smartphone and you're ready to navigate on foot or in the car.
You can synchronise with your phone's address book, calculate the fastest or shortest route, get turn-by-turn directions and then send a text to let people know that you're on your way. You can access additional content such as traffic updates, hotel rates, weather and more.
Sat Nav Fitting & Demos at Halfords
Our fully trained advisors understand the features and benefits of all the sat nav units and accessories we sell. We can even set up your sat nav and demonstrate it for free.
We will demonstrate all the features of your new device so that you are ready to drive away with your new device. Even if you bought your sat nav online, just bring your new device into store for any help you need.
Halfords also offer a fully integrated fitting service. We can professionally install your sat nav unit into your vehicle at a competitive price. Find out more about our sat nav fitting service