Is It Better To Use A GPS With A Back Up Camera Or a Smartphone During Long Road Trips?

Q: This summer we are planning a rather long road vacation. Is getting a dedicated GPS required, or are our cell phones good enough?

A: Navigation applications are as accurate as they are user-friendly, but there are a variety of circumstances when you might consider a specialised GPS device.

Spending additional money depends on how and where you intend to go.

Basic Differences

When people are going to regions where there is no cellular service, specialised GPS devices link to the satellite network to get more precise information. More specialised GPS devices are more accurate as a consequence (to within 15 feet).

Smartphone mapping improves your odds of accurate data if you remember to download the map region while you’re offline, but you may not have the time to do so if you’re on the go. Downloading huge numbers of maps may also be problematic if your smartphone storage is already almost full.

While specialised GPS devices provided more accurate real-time traffic information, the gap between both systems has narrowed considerably with crowd-sourcing applications like Waze. Although Waze works well in rural regions, because of the limited user base, you won’t get current information if no one else is on the same route.

Even if you are not within cellular range, recalculating routes tends to be quicker with a dedicated GPS, particularly if you use one that can track GPS satellites when disconnected from the cellular network.

In order to prevent overuse of the limited data on your smartphone, you may want to consider getting a separate GPS device so you won’t continuously be downloading map sections as you drive.

Battery consumption is another thing to consider while using real-time navigation applications. Typically, dedicated GPS devices connect to your vehicle’s lighter socket, so you can power your smartphone with the vehicle’s battery.

Make sure you have a power adapter in your vehicle to charge your smartphone so you can use it as a navigation device.

When it comes to the location of the device when you are driving, it’s best to keep it out of sight, so you don’t accidentally fumble with your smartphone while you’re driving. Additionally, suction cup attachment brackets are available for smartphones as well, and they come with dedicated GPS devices.

Make sure to keep your smartphone in your range of view while you’re driving no matter which direction you travel.

As long as your smartphone is in range of your vehicle’s built-in wireless CarPlay or Android Auto connection, you can mirror your smartphone’s navigation screen to the car display. However, your smartphone will still be your primary navigation tool, so keep that in mind.

Special Factors

Backcountry hikers who want to enjoy the outdoors should definitely consider a portable GPS device that they may use in their cars and on their treks.

When you travel in an RV, you may purchase add-ons such as warnings for low clearance bridges from Low Clearances or you may want to consider an RV-specific gadget like a GPS from firms like Garmin and Rand McNally, which can help you avoid certain routes depending on your vehicle’s length and height.

For the safety of drivers, benefits of GPS with backup cameras

Have a clear plan of action

Backup cameras are often included in GPS devices with both front and rear cameras, which means you can check your surroundings while also monitoring what is behind you. You’ll use the GPS to go where you need to go, and if you need to turn around, the backup camera will assist you.

Apply one unit to two uses

GPS units are easily installed in cars, and most individuals only buy backup cameras after installing their GPS device. As you combine two systems, you only have to deal with the installation process once.

Your existing system may be upgraded

For older luxury vehicles, the latest GPS technology was included by default, but over the last several years, a lot of progress has been made. To keep up with the newest updates in both technologies, you should instal a GPS and backup camera in your car.

Increase the value of your car

Navigation and camera capability makes it a lot simpler to operate a car. GPS units with backup cameras improve the vehicle’s attractiveness to prospective buyers.

Add to your vehicle’s safety features

Be sure to include elements that increase your vehicle’s safety. A lot of safety measures make one model stand out from the others. Installing a GPS device and a backup camera will make your vehicle safer. Your backup camera keeps an eye on the road behind you while your GPS helps you arrive home.

Backup camera versions of GPS units

Mirror Dash Cam

For GPS devices with a built-in backup camera, mirror dash cameras are the most common kind you will find. Most dash cameras have a built-in front camera attached by straps or another mounting mechanism. To provide a better perspective, some are broader than conventional rearview mirrors. When in GPS mode, these mirror dash cameras can also show maps.

Dash Cam

Regular dash cams attach to your dashboard instead of your rearview mirror. They vary in screen size and are usually constructed of heavy-duty materials. Some of these dash-mounted cameras seem like what you’d find in a built-in GPS and pop-up screen on a more expensive car. The Dashcam GPS may be attached to the dashboard in any location, and a backup camera unit can be attached to the windshield.

Car Stereo

There are GPS devices with backup camera installations that take up less space than the original radio in your vehicle. Most older vehicles will have GPS devices that have radio and/or auxiliary connection in them, since older vehicles are almost always equipped with such features. The size of your vehicle’s centre dash cluster dictates whether a car stereo GPS device is single or double DIN.

Premium Brands


Garmin, founded in 1989, is well-known for GPS devices. Check out the Garmin Drive 50 USA Navigator System if you’re not a fan of the aforementioned goods, but you do not want a backup camera. This is a wonderful present for the adventurous kind of person you know.


Magellan, which is based in California, was established in 1986. As one of the many GPS devices and accessories that the business offers, the Magellan TR5 Street and GPS Navigator are both offered. This GPS may save your life if you’re someone who regularly treks, camps, or spends time off the usual route.

Affordable, GPS with backup camera

$50-$190: There is no need to spend more than $200 to purchase and enjoy a GPS device with a backup camera. Investing in things you use often is an excellent long-term strategy. In this price range, devices with displays and resolutions that are not as sharp or crisp as those in the $200+ price range are more common.

$200 and up: Approximately $200-$400, For an additional cost, you’ll get a lot of additional capabilities with GPS devices that include backup cameras. A touch screen is almost always available, and the screen’s quality, functionality, and other attributes have also improved.

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