"Great Service"4.5 starson by travelsalot
Pros: accurate, easy to use, up-to-date information
Cons: only available in digital areas
Summary: I travel for my job and use GPS systems both in my personal car and in rental cars. I am on the road at least four of five days per week.
First, let me address the cost. VZ Navigator is a $10 per month subscription. In comparison, the nav system in my car was $1000.00 - this is a stand alone Magellen, not integrated by the car manufacturer, and was purchased about 8 months ago. This model has similiar graphics to VZ Navigator, but does not announce the street names, it only tells you when a turn is coming up. So, I would need to pay for VZ Navigator for a little over 8 years to hit a thousand bucks. If you want an integrated gps system, you are looking at $2000.00 and up (now we're talking 16 years of VZ Navigator). Rental car companies (I use Hertz)charge a standard DAILY rate of $9-10 for GPS systems. In this sense, paying $10.00 per month is a deal. I believe Verizon also offers a per use charge of around $4 for the service if you do not opt for a subscription. So, I guess it depends on how frequently you use GPS. For business travel, the $10.00 per month is a deal.
Of course, regardless of the price, if it's not easy to use and reliable, why get it? This is where I am very impressed with this technology. I live in Chicago and travel through out the US - everywhere from NYC to LA. I have used VZ Navigator for about 4 months in various locations and these are my impressions:
- Accurate. I've always gotten to where I need to go using VZ Navigator. With every system I've used, the route chosen may not be the route I would choose if I knew the area, but it does get you there. I also saw a comment about it not announcing that it is recalculating the route - I don't know if the reviewer was using an earlier version, but mine does announce when a reroute is being calculated. It also says it on the screen.
- Doesn't get hung up in parking decks and in large cities like traditional GPS. If you've used traditional GPS systems in cars, you know that parking structures and areas with a lot of buildings can make for a difficult start to your trip (the satellites cannot find you). With VZ Navigator, these issues are not there. They must use a combination of cell tower and satellite to determine your location because it will find your location even when you are in a building. I've used this system in downtown Chicago and Manhatten with great results.
- "Local Search" is rich in categories. You can find everything from restaurants to antique stores within your immediate location. I find that compared to other GPS systems, this one has more available and it is more accurate. That's not to say that I haven't been led to a location that's been closed or the building is being torn down, but in general, I've had very few issues.
- "Follow Me Map". This feature is great if you are walking. It will find you using GPS and as you walk, the GPS will show where you are on the map. From that point, you can choose to do a "local search" as described above. This is a great way to find a bite to eat when you are in a city you are not familiar with.
- Server based mapping. It is obvious that the mapping software is on a centralized server (you can tell when the maps are downloading to your phone) which, theoretically, means that the maps and locations should be more up to date than a stand alone unit.
- Only available in digital coverage areas. According to Verizon, the feature only works in the digital areas with enhanced services. While I have not encountered too many areas where it's not available, it is a short coming that Verizon should address - it would be nice to have GPS when you are lost in the middle of BFE!
- Lack of Traffic Alerts. Since this is server based, it would be nice to see real-time traffic information available. Since you have the ability to see "local" attractions along your route, it seems like adding traffic alerts along the route would be easy.
Some have said that the screen size is an issue. I don't agree - the screen is easy to see and the voice prompts are very easy to understand; so much so, that you really don't need to look at the screen once you get used to it. I think the voice prompts are just right - any less of them would make it confusing and would cause you to have to look at the screen.