Just a few quarters ago, most full-featured GPS units were anchored to cars. Now, tourists, backpackers, and business travelers can use them almost anywhere.
The combo craze continues with the recent nuptials between a Windows Mobile Pocket PC and a GPS navigation system. The result is the Mio 168RS. Get point-to-point driving directions issued verbally and visually, and enjoy quick access to two million points of interest, including restaurants, hotels, parks, ATMs, and more. Once you reach your destination, you can stay productive with Microsoft’s Pocket Outlook, Word, Excel, and other programs. $599. www.miogps.com/where2buy.htm
This ingenious device can sub as a personal trainer, a workout buddy, and even a conscience, if yours isn’t strict enough. The Garmin Forerunner 301 uses an embedded GPS sensor to show how far you’ve gone and can provide electronic bread crumbs to lead you back through unfamiliar terrain. The unit comes with three modes — biking, running, and “other” — and constantly records your location, speed, and heart rate. Different screens can be customized to deliver info on terrain grade, calories burned (watch those power smoothies), and more. After you cool down, dump the data onto a PC to find out where you peaked and where you need improvement. About $300. www.garmin.com
We’re beating the drums for the oddly named but nifty TomTom GO 700, a new portable GPS device that not only maps out the fastest, shortest routes from A to Z but also gives you the directions in your choice of language and voice. We also like the included Bluetooth hands-free car kit. With a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, you can use the TomTom screen to make and accept calls. And, as if that weren’t enough, this 11-ounce gem delivers real-time traffic and weather info. Don’t leave home without it. $899. Available at Circuit City.