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Getting started with your new GPS

So you've unwrapped a shiny new GPS device over the holiday. Now what?

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 6 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Get locked on

What to do: Most portable navigation devices will take a bit longer to make the initial satellite lock the first time out of the box. Help it out by letting the device sit--powered on, of course--stationary with a clear, unobstructed view of the sky for a few moments while it figures out where in the world it is.
Years ago, this process could take up to half an hour, but these days a few minutes is usually enough.
The benefit: Subsequent restarts will be faster, because the GPS device knows what satellites to look for first.
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2 of 6 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Find your way home

What to do: Set the Home location on your GPS device to, well, your home. On some devices, this is as easy as saving a favorite called home.
The benefit: At the end of the day, you can hit one button and be on your way home without having to input a long address every time.
Safety tip: Consider programming only the street or an intersection near your home instead of the complete address. That way, if your GPS device is lost, would-be thieves won't be led straight to your doorstep.
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3 of 6 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Add your favorites

What to do: Search for and save your work address, favorite restaurants, or other frequented establishments in your GPS device's favorites list.
The Magellan Roadmate's OneTouch menu can keep your favorites within just one (or two) taps.

The benefit: Just like saving your home address, saving frequently accessed destinations can save a lot of time, allowing you to embark more quickly.
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4 of 6 Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Update your maps

What to do: Connect your GPS device to a PC and use the included software to download updated map data. Many manufacturers will give you one free update out-of-the box; subsequent updates may cost money.
The benefit: Having the most updated maps keeps your GPS device's directions as accurate as they can be. This is particularly important when buying older GPS models, as old roads may not exist anymore and new roads may have opened since your device was built.
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5 of 6 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Decide where to mount

What to do: Most portable GPS devices these days come with a suction cup mount, but before you go and slap it in the middle of your dashboard, check your local laws to see what mounting locations are legal in your area. Also consider the adhesive disk that came with your GPS device or an aftermarket friction mount for dashboard mounting.
The benefit: Knowing where you can and can't mount your device could save you from an obstruction of vision ticket. Dashboard mounting can bring the GPS device closer to you for easier destination input and more clearly audible directions.
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6 of 6 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Have some fun

When you're not heading from point A to B, your GPS device can also be the source of fun.
Check out our list of nine fun things to do with your GPS for more info.

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