It can be tempting just to rely on apps for navigation, but there are still lots of reasons to look for a sat nav for your car to help you get around while driving. Many cars still do not come with sat nav technology built-in, and although it is easy just to turn to Google Maps there are some key practical and safety advantages when using sat navs. Brands including Garmin and TomTom make some of the best Sat Navs, and come with features such as speed camera alerts and lane guidance. The best sat navs you can buy TomTom Start 25 £75, Amazon Credit: TomTom Screen size: 5 inches Maps: UK, Ireland and Western Europe Features: Speed camera alerts For a basic level TomTom sat nav the Start 25 will give you all the features you need to get on the road. It features lane guidance to keep you in the right part of the road and comes with a year of free speed camera updates. The design has a simple suction mount small enough to squeeze with the TomTom into a pocket and a battery life of up to two hours. It does, however, lack live traffic updates and voice recognition of more expensive models. Buy now TomTom Via 53 £169, Halfords Credit: TomTom Screen size: 5 inches Maps: UK, Ireland and Europe Features: Speed camera alerts, Siri compatible, voice control, hands-free calls TomTom's latest range of Via sat navs come with plenty of features if you want a mid-range model with a little bit extra. This model comes with hands-free calling and smartphone messages and is also compatible with Siri and Google Now. It features lifetime traffic updates, which need to be accessed via your smartphone on TomTom's app. It also comes with a lifetime of speed camera updates, although it does only have around one hour of disconnected battery life. Buy now Garmin DriveSmart 60 LMT-D £199, Amazon Credit: Garmin Screen size: 6 inches Maps: UK, Ireland and Europe Features: Speed camera alerts, built-in traffic updates, voice control, hands-free calls For full traffic updates without the need for a smartphone connection, Garmin's DriveSmart connects via USB and uses DAB radio to search for live route guidance. It is one of the better value sat navs with a slightly larger six inch screen, making for easy viewing, while it also has Garmin's "Driver Alerts" feature to warn you of upcoming hazards such as sharp bends as well as lane guidance for complex junctions. The downside of this model is Garmin's traffic update system is not quite as comprehensive or accurate as a system using a SIM card or connected to your phone. However, it does save data compared to a smartphone connection, and is cheaper than a model with a built-in SIM. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can lock in to your phone for access to calls and messages. Buy now TomTom Go 5200 £189, Amazon Credit: TomTom Screen size: 5 inches Maps: World maps Features: Speed camera alerts, built-in traffic updates, Siri compatible, voice control, hands-free calls If you want the full package from your sat nav system then TomTom's Go offering provides built-in support for traffic with live updates through an unlimited data SIM card with no roaming charges. With Google Now and Siri it offers unrivaled voice control and can read out your texts so you can keep your eyes on the road. It comes with worldwide maps and speed camera notifications and support this high-end device provides great levels of support and for a little more can be picked up with a large six inch screen. The price has also fallen significantly on this TomTom, down from its initial £299 asking price. Buy now Garmin Zumo 345LM £294, Currys Credit: Garmin Screen size:4.3 inches Maps: UK, Ireland and Western Europe Features: Speed camera alerts, waterproof, hands-free calls Motorcyclists will want their own sat navs for longer journeys with a mount for their bike. With a slightly smaller screen the Zumo is a good fit for bikers and is hardy, weather resistant and waterproofed for protection against the elements. It also comes with all the top of the range features including compatibility for hands free calling from your smartphone, Bluetooth compatibility for a headset and music control. For safety, it has bike specific alerts warning of sharp turns, speed changes and road crossings. Buy now Garmin DriveAssist 51 LMT-D £266, Amazon Credit: Garmin Screen size: 5 inches Maps: UK, Ireland, Europe Features: Speed camera alerts, built-in traffic updates, Siri compatible, voice control, hands-free calls With all the features of a high-end Garmin navigation tool, such as hands-free control and voice-activated navigation, Garmin's DriveAssist adds extra security with an on board dashcam to record footage should you ever get into an accident. Like Garmin's other main sat navs it comes with DAB traffic updates and Driver Alerts to keep you aware of the roads on your journey. It does, however, only feature a 30 minute battery life when unplugged. For more information on all the best Dash Cameras, read our full review. Buy now Why buy a sat nav? Sat navs are sometimes dismissed as old technology, but they do offer substantial advantages over just using your smartphone for directions. Sat navs keep your hands free while driving and removed from any temptation to fiddle with your smartphone even when it is mounted, and prevents apps from interrupting or distracting from route guidance. And the best sat navs will also have added speed camera data and live traffic updates to keep you up to speed on your journey. Almost 50 per cent of people use a sat nav of some kind and new regulation is set to encourage people to learn how to safely use a sat nav as part of their driving test. If you do decide not to buy a sat nav there are apps such as Waze which can offer an alternative. These have real time traffic updates and notifications such as where to get the best price for petrol, but work best when your phone is online and using data. What should you look for in a sat nav? When buying a sat nav there are two main product lines which dominate the market: models from Garmin and TomTom. Both produce excellent sat navs, but there are some differences in the quality and services on offer depending on price point. When buying, you should check which routes are available and up to date on the sat nav, as some may come with more limited coverage. If you plan to drive in Europe you may want the extra roads built-in. You may also want features such as voice control for hands-free use, ideal if you don’t want to have to stop to enter a new route, or added speedometers to check you are driving at the recommended speed. Other useful additions such as live traffic updates and speed camera information will be sold with some sat navs, but not all. How much should you pay for a sat nav? The very cheapest dedicated sat navs will only set you back around £50, but for a decent model from a major provider you would be expected to pay between £80 and £100. More expensive sat navs, which can cost £200 or more, will offer larger screens and more dedicated features such as handsfree use or traffic camera data. What else to consider: Live traffic updates are built into some sat navs and come as part of the package you buy. However, often the live updates will require an internet connection, which can accessed through your mobile phone's data or through your radio. Speed camera updates are a feature of lots of sat navs, however in some you may need to upgrade. The sat nav will download known speed cameras when it updates and alert you when you are approaching one. SIM cards with unlimited data are present in a few sat navs. These add to the price, but mean you don't have to rely on mobile data when driving. Voice control can allow you to set routes with your voice. Some sat navs can also connect to Siri or Google Now via your smartphone and use their capabilities to perform more advanced tasks. Hands-free calls and texts are available on a lot of sat navs that are linked to your phone via Bluetooth, either by tapping the screen for a call or accepting it through voice control. Best technology you can buy grid Black Friday products disclaimer
U.S. retailers are preparing for a weekend of carefully planned promotions and unique merchandise to bring consumers into stores on Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving, when stores will implement their most ambitious discounting and marketing plans of the year.
Companies held steady inventories in September, even as sales grew, according to the Commerce Department. Now signals are indicating that personal consumption is picking up, quickening to an annualized pace of 2.4% in the third quarter, according to Commerce. Stores have been tightly monitoring their popular items and taking care to manage that customers may easily find them. If your inventories are out of wack, it has shown through,” said independent Wall Street retail analyst Brian Sozzi.
The lower inventory units should work in retailers’ favor as consumers hunt for hot items” writes Caris & Company retail analyst Dorothy Lakner.
Going into the holidays with sharp promotions is one thing, but stores are thinking more creatively to lure shoppers to items like electronics and toys. Wal-Mart will use a staggered sale approach this year, which offers discounts in certain departments at different times of day to encourage continued shopping throughout the day.
The holiday shopping season is an important time for companies and analysts to measure the spending behavior of consumers. Consumer spending, which makes up about 70% of the U.S. gross domestic product, is expected to be about in line with its activity last year, which had more pent-up demand and a larger trough to climb. The National Retail Federation expects retail sales to grow 2.8% this year, slower than last year's 5.2% increase.
Economists are predicting that economic growth will quicken to its fastest pace this year in the fourth quarter. The economy expanded at an annualized pace of 2% in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department. Analysts expect growth to accelerate to 3.2% in the fourth quarter.
While retailers that target higher-end consumers have outperformed those for the middle-range and bargain consumers this year, the landscape may be beginning to improve for all. “As we look out to 2012 and lower product costs, the group should gain broader interest from investors,” Lakner said.
Another strong point is the innovative product, Sozzi says. Apple has been an example for several years, as its iPhone and iPod products have repeatedly outpaced sales estimates. Other retailers with products that are innovative and interesting may have a higher chance of appealing to consumers’ pocketbooks this quarter, Sozzi says.
More consumers, 17% compared with 12% last year, say that intend to start their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving weekend this year, according to NPD Group.
“It seems [stores] are all trying to beat each other by opening earlier and earlier this year,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. Macy’s Kohl’s and Target all will have midnight openings this year. Alongside early openings have been strong store promotions at retailers like Abercrombie, American Eagle and Gap. All added promotions to their stores the weekend before Thanksgiving.