Don't Waste Your Money: How do free GPS units compare? - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: How do free GPS units compare?

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(TOLEDO NEWS NOW) - Looking for a great freebie for your car? You can now get a GPS that gives you street-by-street audible directions at no charge. But what is the catch?

GPS units have really changed the way we drive over the past decade. No more fumbling with maps or trying to remember directions.

But now, GPS units are changing. You can get them for free.

The free GPS on an iPhone has one big downside: it does not talk. You have to look at your phone to get directions.

A new free application from MapQuest changes that. The MapQuest 4 Mobile app gives you audible directions for any iPhone, Android, or Blackberry.

How is it for long trips?

Coupon Blogger Heather Tenney has been testing MapQuest's app since the summer of 2011.

"I have been using it since July of last year. We've taken several long road trips," said Tenney.

Tenney loves it.

"It tells me to turn in 50 feet. It says the famous 'recalculating.' It gets you where you need to go the same as a regular GPS unit would," said Tenney.

But Tenney, as well as other reviewers, find some downsides. For one, the screen is small, and without a dashboard phone mount, it can be almost impossible to see. Plus, you are using data the entire trip.

"You want to make sure if you are going to use any GPS app, you are going to have a good data plan because it eats through the data," explained Tenney.

Also, if you drive in rural areas, you can lose the signal. Stand-alone Garmin and TomTom units use a satellite, so they do not drop out.

Still, it is hard to complain when your GPS unit is free.

Bottom line: Do not expect a top quality, free-standing GPS unit for free.

If you dislike spending $100 on average, and you do not plan to use it every day, a free GPS app may be all you need so you don't waste your money.

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