Smartphone vs. factory GPS navigation?

New cars nowadays are keeping up with the current technology with the offering of and installation of built-in GPS navigation systems. Though these are readily available as an added feature on most newer cars on almost all car brands, they come with an added price tag. Vehicles with and without this feature can be viewed in person at your local car dealership or online where the price for this feature will be displayed based on the selected vehicle model.

In years past, this feature has not been as readily available. Thus consumers may find it difficult to find a pre-owned car meeting this requirement. As a result, it is becoming more common in new vehicles and a must-have feature in the luxury car segment.

With smartphones having the same or better navigation system functions as factory installed devices, there is a lingering argument whether one should buy a navigation system for their vehicle or to simply save their money and utilize smartphone capabilities. To better understand whether you need to invest in the factory installed device or to use your smartphone’s capabilities, here are some considerations when deciding:

Accessibility of the GPS navigation feature

A smartphone usually needs an Internet connection to use its GPS navigation feature entirely. Otherwise, your smartphone will need to access your data plan. Depending on where you drive, your smartphone can lose connection or become spotty in different areas. When this occurs, the interruptions are typically brief and does not usually affect functionality much nowadays. In comparing a car with a factory installed navigation system, the car is more reliable regarding accessibility and its continuity. The same dropped connection or spotty connection does not occur. Mainly due to the navigation maps being downloaded to the unit’s hard drive.


A smartphone only has limited power capabilities as it is battery operated. Unless your car has USB slots, which are currently essential for charging smartphones, a smartphone can only do so much for a set time. Basically, until the battery is dead. The factory installed navigation system for your car can still be used as long as your vehicle has fuel or battery power, which means it lasts longer than your smartphone.

Map access

Though smartphones have access to world maps through downloads, they are not like a car with a factory installed navigation system which has pre-downloaded maps into its hard drive.

All in all, whatever is fitting for you, both navigation systems will ultimately be able to perform and to navigate you to where you want to go.

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