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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

I was thinking of asking for a gps unit for the Jeep for CHRISTMAS and was wondering if anyone knows what the pros and cons are of using a handheld vs laptop gps unit. If I go the laptop route I'll probably get a used one off ebay instead of keeping mine in the Jeep. Also any suggestions on the best, most user friendly models of each. If the only difference is screen size I would probably want a handheld since I won't have to make a rack for it.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 08:40 AM
 
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

My preference is the Garmin III+. that is a small hand held.

[img]images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] easy to carry if I get out of Jeep for a hike (uses the bread crumb screen to track you). Or cycling
[img]images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]Small enough to keep in pocket while running into the store or gas station in open top Jeep, hi theft item.
[img]images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]Easy to use and no programs to load.

The laptop is good but is always in the way,,, I use one to down load pictures from the camera when out on runs,,, well I used to,,, Like I said to large and gets in way now I don't take as many pictures.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 08:56 AM
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

1 I've been pondering this for several years.
2. I'd favor building a ovehead console in the Roll Cage for the LCD display.
3. Mount the Laptop elsewhere.
4. Laptop would be an Omnibook 800 with larger Harddrive.
5. Scan and keep all Jeep material on HD for trail refrence.
6. Problems:
a. Price, never enough money...
b. Space.
c. Tool lazy to build the system.
7. So, in reality I think I'll just buy a hand held... and let it go at that...
8. And always regret never building that laptop system! [img]images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 09:39 AM
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

I use a laptop from work, shhhh... don't tell anyone. It works wonderfully, but does take up a lot of space. I have used it with street atlas USA and Topo USA and it is very detailed. I have also used the search feature on Street Atlas to find the # for a repair shop and called to see if they had parts. The guy was a wheeler and was going to run the same trail later that day, so he brought the parts to us. [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 09:50 AM
 
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

I went through the same decision process about a year ago. I was planning to build a system exactly as LEVE described to put in my CJ (I still may do it).
I decided to get a handheld so that I can take it on hikes with me. That still leaves you the option to hook it to a laptop since most PC mapping programs have the ability to interface with handheld GPS units.
I ended up getting a good deal on a display model Garmin E-map. It has a decent size backlit screen and the ability to import maps and routes from your PC if you have the software.
I have tested my E-Map with both Microsoft MapPoint and Delorme TopoUSA and they both seem to work well for tracking your progress on the screen.
Now that those portable Playstation LCD screens are getting cheap, I may look into building the system for my Jeep again. The only pieces I am missing are the screen, power inverter, and some sort of device to display the laptop output on an LCD screen.
LEVEs idea of having Jeep reference and repair data on the laptop is a GREAT idea.
The laptop GPS units really aren't that much cheaper than a handheld and you are limited to using it only when you have your laptop with you. For that reason I chose the handheld.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

Dan,
Since you've already looked into this is there any more features or benefits to having one over the other, other than size, space, mobility?
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 11:33 AM
 
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

I think the main deciding factor for me was mobility. I like that I can plug the handheld into a laptop and get exactly the same functionality as if a plain laptop reciever was plugged in, AND I can take the handheld with me on hikes or even to a large city to find street intersections or points of interest while wandering around on foot.
When I was researching, I found that the laptop recievers (just the reciever) were around $100 or so and I got my handheld for $200. It just seemed like $100 extra was well worth the ability to use the GPS unit without the laptop.

So to narrow it down, with a laptop plugin, it acts as a reciever that is useless without a laptop and is limited to the functionality of the software package you are using on your laptop.
A handheld will also be limited to the functionality of the software when plugged in to a laptop as a reciever, but you get the option to unplug it and take it with you and use it. Most models also let you draw a route on the PC (laptop) software and upload it to your handheld.
With my E-map, I can choose what counties or regions I want to upload to it before I go on a trip so only the necessary data is installed. This alows you to have very detailed maps of only the places you need. The downside is that you often have to buy GPS brand-specific software to do this. It can be expensive unless you can find someone to "borrow" it from.

I hope that cleared things up a bit. If not ask away and I'll tell ya what I know.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 11:43 AM
 
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

Features I would look for on a handheld:
--Backlit...it's nice to be able to read in the dark if you are lost.
--Expandable memory...most have the ability to accept memory cards.
--Map display...some cheap ones only have "points of interest" and do not actually display a map with roads and streets.
--size...my E-map will fit into a coat pocket or even a pant's pocket.
--Intuitive interface...go to a sporting goods store and test the buttons/menus to find one that is easy to use.
--weatherproof/resistant...if you are going to use it in a wet climate or boat, you may want one that is waterproof/resistant.
--Software availability...Garmin & Magellan both have software packages, not sure of other makers.

That's all I can think of for now.
Check this site for prices and different models:
http://www.gpsnow.com/
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 11:58 AM
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

Newbie to this topic.. I have an older IBM laptop I was thinking about using for just this purpose.
I don't have a GPS unit though. What do I need to use the laptop as a GPS unit then- other then just loading it up with maps & such??
post #10 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 12:39 PM
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Re: handheld GPS vs laptop GPS, any opnions?

1. What you'll need is:
a. The Laptop.
b. The GPS
c. 12 Volt adaptors for each.
2. What you may want to think about:
a. A firm, vibraiton proofed mount for the laptop.
b. A secure area where you can leave the laptop and not have it ripped off.
c. A good viewing angle when mounted.
3. Lots of things I can't remember.
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