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GPS vs. Cell Phone GPS

Which is the better option for infrequent GPS users?


by Troy Dreier on August 21, 2007

If you need GPS navigation only occasionally and don't want to spend a fortune, you've got two options. You can buy a low-cost dashboard model for as little as $175, or a cell phone application that you pay for only when you need it (with a daily or monthly fee). We pit the Mio DigiWalker C220 against Verizon's VZ Navigator 3.0 running on a Motorola RAZR to see which option makes the most sense for the light traveler.
This contest is free of bells and whistles, as our budget options don't offer the extras common in high-priced GPS devices. We simply want to determine which makes basic navigation easiest. We've applauded Mio's attractive, well-priced GPS units before, and the C220 is a fine basic unit. While it lists for $250, you can easily find it for around $175. VZ Navigator software is available on many Verizon Wireless phones for $2.99 per day or $9.99 per month. We tested it with a suction-cup mount, which we highly recommend.
One feature you won't get with either budget device, however, is live traffic. Although Sprint Navigation (also $2.99 per day or $9.99 per month) provides proactive alerts with one-click rerouting, we chose VZ Navigator because Verizon has many more customers. The Mio C220 doesn't support a traffic add-on antenna, as some higher-priced Mio units do. If you want traffic updates with a dashboard unit, you'll need to look to a midrange unit.

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