Some handheld GPS models are usable for vehicle navigation, but they’re usually not best-suited for the job. If your primary use for GPS is vehicle navigation, you should really look at getting a model designed for use in an automobile.

Here are a few of the limitations you’re likely to find when using a handheld model for vehicle navigation:

  • screens are usually smaller and more difficult to read
  • many handheld models lack the auto routing feature, which guides you to your destination along streets rather than just pointing toward the final destination
  • most cannot give you spoken directions, so you need to read instructions from the screen
  • most do not have a touch screen, so entering destination addresses is a tedious process (using buttons to scroll through each letter)
  • route calculation is often slower than on models designed specifically for vehicle navigation, so a handheld model may have troubles getting you back on track after you miss a turn

If you use a handheld GPS mostly for recreational activities, a model with auto routing capability is nice for occasional vehicle navigation but not well suited for every-day use.

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