Space is a premium in your car's cabin, even more so when we're discussing your windshield. You don't want to go cluttering up your view of the road with too many devices. It's easy to get out of hand with a navigator, a Bluetooth speakerphone, an audio source, and a fuel economy meter.
That's why we've rounded up five portable GPS devices that do more than just navigate.
Garmin Nuvi 2495 LMT with
With the help of Garmin's ecoRoute HD module, many models in the Nuvi line of GPS navigators can be instantly transformed into fuel economy monitors. The ecoRoute software built into the Nuvi 2495 monitors your driving and assigns a "green driving score" to let you know just how efficiently your driving is and if there's any room for improvement.
You can: Navigate while hands-free calling while saving money at the pump.
Social networking while driving is a no-no, unless you let the TomTom GO Live 1535M do your tweeting for you. This portable navigation device can be set to automatically tweet your destination and ETA to your Twitter account. Changes to your ETA because of traffic can also be tweeted, and, once you arrive, it can also automatically tweet confirmation of your arrival. Take my advice and set up a separate private account for these location tweets to your loved ones; the rest of your followers will thank you for it.
You can: Navigate and make a hands-free call while tweeting your mom.
The massive 7-inch Magellan Roadmate 9055-LM may seem like touch-screen overload, until you pair it with Magellan's Wireless Back-Up Camera. Together, these two devices give you a clear view of the area directly behind your vehicle, which can greatly increase the low-speed safety of large vehicles and aid in tight parking.
You can: Navigate while making a hands-free call without backing over things.
Garmin Nuvi 2455 LMT with Audible.com playback
It's an oft-overlooked feature, but for many years now, select Garmin Nuvi devices have featured the ability to play MP3 audio and Audible.com audiobooks. Choose the right model, such as the Nuvi 2455 LMT, and you'll be able to listen to your favorite literary classics between your turn-by-turn directions.
You can: Navigate while listening to the entire Harry Potter series.
Almost any smartphone and a car cradle
No doubt, many of you have been thinking this from the time you read the headline and are poised over your keyboards ready to point out that your iPhone, Android device, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone already does all of these things -- and you're absolutely right. The average modern smartphone packs more than enough processing power and hardware to navigate from point A to B, play audiobooks, and monitor your vehicle's fuel economy at the same time. You're only limited by the apps and hardware you choose.
You can: Navigate while doing whatever else you want...just don't get distracted.