How to Choose a Handheld GPS Unit

Choosing a handheld GPS Unit

GPS Units used to be all the same. They were universal and somewhat bulky. However, as the need and demand for GPS technology has increased, the way GPS Units are made has changed significantly. Hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, and all kinds of other individuals who travel across the wide, open country had a need for a GPS Unit that was easy to travel with, yet still worked in order to assist and prevent getting lost in unfamiliar locations.

Some people may not use handheld GPS Units for such practical purposes. Some people just like to have them on hand. Handheld GPS Units can help in an emergency. Besides, they look nice and make life much easier whenever you are traveling to any location. It may be you just want to purchase your GPS for looks, and that is ok. Whatever your motivation is, you can find an excellent handheld GPS Unit to suit your every need.

Adding a GPS to your Current Handheld Device

Depending on the type of handheld device you have, you may be able to upgrade so GPS technology is included. They make GPS information available to PDAs and even laptops. However, you can also purchase a handheld device with GPS functionality if you do not have one already. This is convenient since your GPS Unit now has multiple capabilities and functions.

For example, the GPS manufacturer Garmin makes several nice PDA models including the Garmin iQue M3 Pocket PC and GPS Navigator.

Getting Around with Handheld GPS Units

Getting around your town, city, or the country becomes easier with a handheld device. There are two main brands of handheld GPS Units. The first is Garmin and the second is Magellan. There are other, lesser-known brands, but these are the two major ones. These brands differ in functionality (Garmin uses WAAS), features, and capabilities.

Depending on where you are, the reception from the satellites sending the location to your handheld GPS Unit may be better or worse. Mountains, skyscrapers, and trees can all obstruct the satellite signal from sending to the GPS unit. This is partly why multiple satellites are used for each receiver. Of course, this can also mean your map image and directions are not as accurate.

The downside to Handheld GPS Units

If you live in, work in, or visit areas that do not allow for GPS signals to read correctly, then you may not want to waste your money on a handheld GPS Unit. However, most areas, even the busiest or most mountainous do allow for access in certain areas, so you will find this is often the least of your problems.

Another potential problem you may find with handheld GPS Units is their size. If you want to use a PDA GPS Unit, expect the GPS to take up the bulk of space on your PDA. You can get PDAÆs with additional space such as the Garmin iQue M3 Bundle w/2gb memory card as opposed to the Garmin iQue M3 Bundle w/1gb memory card.

Of course, you may decide that cutting corners on your PDA just is not worth it. You can keep your PDA with all of the programs you need. Then you can purchase a separate, handheld GPS Unit such as the Magellan eXplorist 500 le or the Garmin GPSMAP 60C.

These systems, while smaller than the portable GPS Units, are easier to transport. However, sacrificing size can be a problem. Often, maps, voice functionality, and other common features of portable GPS Units are considered add-ons for handheld GPS Units. You may be able to purchase the best handheld GPS Unit with all of the add-ons already attached, such as the Garmin GPSMAP 60. However, you will have to add at least one thing on. You are going to have to decide if purchasing a handheld, for this reason, is worth it.

You can read more about the best handheld Gps for fishing here:

The Benefits of Handheld GPS Units

Of course, the benefits do outweigh the annoyances when using a handheld GPS Unit. Depending on why you need a GPS receiver you may find that handheld units suit you better than a portable unit does.

There are many reasons you should buy a handheld GPS Unit. These reasons include:

+ Easily upgradeable on a PDA
+ Able to work with many add-ons offering additional options after you purchase it
+ Easy to transport
+ Excellent for situations when you get lost or emergencies such as broken-down cars (when you need to go for help)
+ Ability to transfer images & maps to and from laptops, PDAs, and more

Ultimately, whether you choose a handheld GPS unit or a portable GPS Unit is up to you. However, just make sure you choose based on your needs and you simply cannot go wrong.


I'm Wayne, owner of I'm a father of 2. I love reviewing products and showcasing the very best in my best of review lists. I want people to make an informative decision by going through these reviews before purchasing their selected products.

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