Forget maps – there are plenty of high-tech devices that can help you steer the right course from A to B. Here's our pick of the best GPS/Satnav gadgets on the market.
Medion GoPal X345
Medion produces feature-laden satnavs that tend to undercut the big-name competition. But with the Medion GoPal X345, it's come up with a new trick that's so obviously useful we wonder why it's been missing from other satnavs all this time.
The GPSPro module senses which direction you're facing, even if the satellite signal cuts out – a common complaint about satnavs being that it takes a while for them to orientate themselves when you first set off, often resulting in unnecessary U-turns.
Other important features include speech control, clear Navteq maps, 3D points of interest and cycling and pedestrian as well as driving modes.
• £249 inc VAT
TomTom Start 2
TomTom remains king of the road as far as portable navigation devices go. As well as offering its own TomTom Start, TomTom Go and TomTom XL models, TomTom now licenses its IQ Routes software to other navigation-aid companies. This varies the route suggested depending on the day of the week and time of the day when you're travelling, based on traffic-flow data generated by other TomTom owners.
The TomTom Start 2 would make an ideal first satnav for a less techie driver. With a 3.5in touchscreen display, clear maps with Advanced Lane Navigation and a Help Me function, the Start 2 is a model of simplicity.
• £119 inc VAT
TomTom for iPhone
Apple iPhone, Apple iPod touch and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 owners can add satnav functionality to their device. As well as purchasing the TomTom for iPhone app, you need to budget for a dedicated cradle that holds the phone in place and boosts the strength of the GPS signal, making for more accurate positioning. As well as a neat menu system and a clean interface, you get the IQ Routes feature we outline in the TomTom Start 2 review (left), plus an appealing Navigate to Photo function.
Navigon MobileNavigator Europe
Another neat option for iPhone fans is the Navigon MobileNavigator app, available to download from Apple's iTunes App Store.
The app covers all of Europe and features Navteq maps; it can display road signs and information about local businesses and attractions if required. If not, you can simply revert to the clean but realistic-looking road view that, unlike most navigation software, emulates your surroundings rather than showing roads as coloured lines. A live weather feature is also useful. Optional extras include live traffic and 3D views.
• $119 (about £75)
• Apple iTunes App Store
ALK CoPilot Live 8
Sticking with navigation software suitable for smartphones, CoPilot is the longest-established such program. It is almost unique in having been developed specifically for the smaller screens of smartphones and mobile phones, and ALK's experience here shows.
A stripped-back interface with as much extra detail as you care to add, customisable map styles, cycle, walking, motorcycle and ‘recreational vehicle' modes, and detour and quick-stop options are all offered.
All smartphones are supported.
Garmin Asus A10
Turning on its head the idea of a smartphone with GPS capabilities is the A10 from Garmin and Asus: a satnav that can make calls. If you'd like a mobile phone with all the bangs and whistles, but directions are what you really need, the A10 is a great present. Few standalone satnavs take care of navigation as well as this Google Android handset, and with the A10 you get Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth, as well as email, web browsing and microSD card support.
See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?
Christmas gift guide index:
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: all-in-one PCs
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: laptops
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: cameras
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: satnavs and GPS
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: photo printers
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: media players
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: audio accessories
- Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: keyboards & mice
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