I will admit that I am one of the guys that still like the In-Dash GPS units. In-Dash units generally will give you a better signal and approximate location. Albeit when it comes to price and technological enhancements, the portable units have left their in-dash cousins behind. When looking at In-Dash units, you need to consider sound quality, DVD playback ability and picture clarity. These are some things that none of the little cousins do at all. Because of my career and leisure travels, I have not only had experience with the models that I have put in my vehicles, but also many in rental car units as well. Here is a quick summary of my top 5 In-Dash GPS systems based off of my combined research and experience…
Features – Touch Screen Technology, plays all format of CD’s and DVD’s, Bluetooth technology, etc.
My Experience – First off, this thing is hard to find in stores. I read about it on the internet and had to try it out. When I did find it, it did hold up to the hype of being one of the more advanced In-Dash units available. The one I experimented with was set up in a local auto-stores testing room, so I was able to play with all the features. The touch screen worked better than I expected. Usually first generation touch screen products are somewhat clunky, but the Boyo did nicely. The Bluetooth synchronization was cumbersome and seeing as how it took the sales guy and me about 15 minutes to synch an Iphone, it more than likely would not be used except by the most persistent and tech savvy of users, but once synched, it worked flawlessly. There was no voice recognition as found in many of the hand held units. Price was about $450. I would give the Boyo a solid B-plus.
Features – Touch Screen, plays most format of discs, USB, stereo system, Bluetooth
My Experience – I had this GPS installed in a Mustang and I can say it is definitely a JVC product. As a stereo system it was top notch. You can connect your Ipod or Iphone rather easily and had no sound loss. As a GPS, I was quite pleased. No voice recognition system was in the unitwhich, I like the feeling of being on the bridge of the Enterprise, so not a biggy. It was always clear in the direction and the display was like a Christmas tree. This one was about $750. The higher price drops the grade to a B.
Features – Touch Screen, DVD playback, Easy to use Bluetooth
My Experience – I loved this unit, but let me start with the bad thing because there is a lot of good. My friend has this in her Escalade and had problems programming it as the car had to be stopped to do it. It is not the job of the manufacturer to dictate when you program your GPS. That aside, this is my favorite. It has a massive 30GB memory which means; put your CD in, rip it and you never have to carry it again. It gives clear audible instructions while driving and traffic warnings. It plays anything you put in it and has excellent sound clarity. It is a bit limited in its voice recognition, but at least it does have it. The price on this one was about $850 and because of that I can only give it a B.
Features – Touch Screen, voice command, Bluetooth, Ipod connections
My Experience – I find that all the historically audio companies just know how to get it right. I know someone who has this in their Unlimited and it looks great. I’m big on what does it look like in the car and Kenwood got it right. Sound is superb. Try playing some classical in it for great sound clarity. We have yet to find a navigation problem. It always seems to get it right. The Bluetooth isn’t exactly plug_and_play, but it’s not overly difficult to use. This unit was about $650 and it gave me my starship feeling so I had to give it an A.
Features – DVD Playback, touch screen, optional Bluetooth, optional ipod
My Experience – If you have the options (Bluetooth & Remote), it’s a great system.My problem is for $1,000 those options should be standard. It does have one of the most clear and precise display screens out there. I usually won’t watch the DVD’s in them, but this one plays incredibly well. The sound is crisp! Navigation features are unmistakable. I would have like a big internal memory in this as well since you pay $1,000 for it, but aside from that this is a good unit. If this unit were $300 cheaper, it would have gotten an A+, but because of that and the extra money you have to pay for the options on top of the $1,000, I have to give it an overall B-minus do to price alone.