Popular Science: Can You Guide Me Now?


DID YOU KNOW you’re carrying a GPS device in your pocket? Cellphones have, since 2005, had legally mandated GPS chips in them so that 911 calls could be traced. Now carriers are finally letting you in on the tracking action, packing in more powerful receivers and enhancing them with triangulation from cell towers to do what a stand-alone GPS unit does: tell you where you are, guide you somewhere else, and locate a burger along the way.

I tested three of the newest mobile navigators, hitting the highways through the New Jersey ‘burbs and strolling Manhattan on foot. Each had periodic connection problems—GPS, cellular or both—and made minor routing mistakes, and I missed the occasional turn. But they all handled Jersey’s tricky traffic circles better than most drivers do. Just be sure to buy a dash mount: navigating from your lap isn’t so easy, or safe.

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