Best GPS Systems

Best GPS Systems

The built-in map features on smartphones have caused a decline in the popularity of standalone GPS systems, but there are still a number of great advantages to buying a dedicated navigational unit.  For starters, they’re easier to read and have built-in voice features which are extremely helpful when you’re alone in the car.  Additionally, there are models which are designed specifically for things such as hiking or riding a motorcycle.  So if you’re in the market for a dedicated-device, here are the best GPS systems on the market today.

Garmin Nuvi – With touchscreens up to 5 inches wide and the promise of free map updates for life, the Garmin Nuvi series provides real-life views of many busy junctions so you know exactly what to expect when you’re approaching an intersection.  The Nuvi also provides real-time traffic updates and information on more than 8 million points of interest.

Magellan Roadmate – The Magellan Roadmate series offers a broad range for nearly any type of vehicle traveler, from a commercial traveler to the weekend road warrior.  Offering a bright 7 inch touchscreen, the Roadmate utilizes partnerships with AAA to provide information and locations for millions of attractions worldwide.  The top-of-the line Roadmate even has a built-in Wi-Fi connection which helps you take advantage of hotspots throughout the country.

TomTom GoLive – The TomTom GoLive series is known for the ability to provide the most-up-to-date traffic information available, with updates every 2 minutes.  There’s also extensive GoLive Apps which provide local gas prices, weather information and more that can all be accessed directly through the Go Live device.  With more than 7 million points of interest, and detailed lane information on highway and freeway interchanges, the GoLive offers enough extra features to make it feel like more than just a dedicated GPS device.

SatMap Active 10 Trek – SatMap offers rugged, waterproof devices for hikers that want to easily find their locations and plan routes based on detailed maps.  Using maps from National Geographic, the Active 10 Trek also features a removable and replaceable touchscreen to help adventurers have some peace of mind should they scratch or crack it during their adventures.  There’s even a night mode which uses special light that won’t detract from your night vision, so you won’t get lost in the GPS and miss out on your surroundings.

Garmin Montana – For the outdoorsman, the Garmin Montana is the perfect GPS, with a 5 inch touchscreen and access to detailed topographic maps which will help navigate even remote terrain.  There’s even a built-in 5 MP camera which you can use to not only take pictures, but also to easily geo-tag them as well.

Garmin Zumo – Because riding a motorcycle is completely different than driving a car, Garmin’s Zumo was built to fill the needs of motorcyclists.  Its touchscreen is designed to work with gloves, it’s waterproof and it’s made of durable plastic.  Bluetooth options allow for clear directions to be transmitted directly to your helmet, and the Zumo is created to be controlled more with your left hand.  If you’re riding on two wheels to get to your destination, the Garmin Zumo is one of the best GPS systems to get you there.

Best MP3 Players and Digital Music Devices

Best MP3 Players and Digital Music Devices

Although it’s been more than 30 years since the Sony Walkman made music mobile, and more than 10 years since the iPod began the revolution on personal electronics, devices dedicated to downloading, storing and, of course, playing music still remain one of the most popular tech items for both youth and adults.  Whether it’s playing songs you have in your own personal collection or streaming music from Internet-based services via a Wi-Fi connection, these five of the best MP3 players and digital music devices (including portable media players) available today are essential for anyone looking to bring the joy of music with them wherever they go.

iPod Touch – The iPod Touch remains the essential portable music player simply because of how easy they are to use and how pervasive the Apple brand has become.  Sure, the iPod Touch is now basically a smartphone without the phone capability (and there are even apps you can download to provide that), but at its heart the iPod Touch is a simple way to sort, play and explore new music in a way that allows you to have even a vast collection of songs right at your fingertips.

SanDisk Sansa Fuze – Available for less than half of what a new iPod Touch will cost you, the Sansa Fuze has a port for SD cards to let you quickly expand or switch your music library.  There’s also a built-in microphone so you can use the Fuze as a voice recorder, and an antenna that allows you to listen to live radio as well.  Although the screen isn’t as big as other devices, it is still a touchscreen and can support video playback from a number of different formats.

Samsung Galaxy Player – The Samsung Galaxy Player is essentially the Android equivalent to the iPod Touch, offering a 5 inch display and access to a wide-variety of apps in addition to its music download capabilities.  It does also have a built-in FM antenna that allows you to listen to live radio, and sports a front-facing camera and microphone so that with a Wi-Fi connection it essentially can function as a phone or video chat device.

Cricket Muve Music – Nearly any Cricket phone can serve as a music player with the company’s Muve Music service that offers access to millions of songs.  Since many are using their devices as texting, chat or even video phones anyway with any number of apps, Cricket’s Muve service offers a way for users to consolidate devices and use a pay-as-you-go phone that has the memory and capability of devices like the Samsung Galaxy or iPod Touch.

Sony W Series Walkman – That’s right, the Walkman brand is still around, and while you’d expect Sony to have ditched the cassette format of the original, you may be surprised that The Sony W Series Walkmans are now self-contained within the headphones, making it perfect for exercising or even carrying anywhere where you just need music and no extra device.  They hold up to 4 GB of music, and are even waterproof.

When To Upgrade To a DSLR Camera

When To Upgrade To a DSLR Camera

You’ve tinkered with your compact point and shoot digital camera, and while it’s great because it can fit in your pocket and even take some basic HD video, you’ve noticed that the pictures don’t contain the same visual quality as those of your friends with a fancier camera.  If you’re ready to take the next step beyond your basic point-and-click camera, here’s information to help answer the question of when you should upgrade to a DSLR camera.

What is a DSLR camera?

SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex, referring to the fact that SLR camera uses only one lens that can be changed for different purposes.  Because of the use of a single lens, the camera doesn’t need to adjust your view to sync it with the camera’s view – you are seeing what the camera sees. This also allows for larger photo sensors and the ability to take many pictures rapidly.

The D simply stands for Digital, meaning that instead of using film, the camera creates digital images.

Why is a DSLR camera considered better?

One of the mainstream appeals to DSLR is the speed with which you can take pictures.  Because there is only one lens in the camera and a physical mechanism to open to open the shutter as soon as you push the button to take a picture, it moves much quicker than cameras that rely on a sequence of electronic events once you push the button.

The other main advantage of DSLR camera is the ability to switch to different lenses.  Here you can see that upgrading to DSLR is going to require a bit of a chance over the standard compact digital camera in which you have to not only buy separate lenses, you also have to have a way to carry and store them.

A third advantage of DSLR camera is that they are built to be able to take better pictures in low light situations, even without the flash.

How much more does a DSLR camera cost?

Although the price of DSLR’s continues to come down, they are still decidedly more expensive than a standard compact camera.  For around $600, you can get an entry-level model from Nikon, Canon or Sony, which provide the camera body and usually one lens.  More feature-rich camera will cost around $1,000 or more, and then you still need to buy lenses which can start at $200 and also be even more expensive.  The move to a DSLR camera is not a cheap one.

When is it time to upgrade to a DSLR camera?

Here are a few times when you may know you’re ready for a DSLR camera.

–          If you find yourself more than just casually taking photo, or are focusing more on specific subjects or action-oriented events, you may want to consider a DSLR camera. 

–          If you’ve ever wished your camera would move faster, both when taking a picture and getting ready for the next one, you may be ready for a DSLR camera.

–          Additionally, if you have ever wanted to get a wider field of view, or zoom in very far to capture a faraway shot, you may ready for a DSLR camera that lets you switch lenses on the fly to accomplish these two very different tasks.