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Handheld GPS Reviews

Global positioning satellite, or GPS, devices are found in numerous devices. Everything from phones to cars has a GPS system available to help keep track of your location and prevent getting lost when you are traveling. While those GPS systems might suit travelers on the road, off-road adventurers who are going for a hike or biking make use of handheld GPS systems.

How GPS Works:

The way any GPS system works is the same, regardless of whether it is a handheld device or part of another system. The GPS works with the Global Navigation Satellite System to triangulate your coordinates based on the location of the receiver. Due to the use of the satellites, navigation becomes simple because the available trails are marked out on the map. In general, the handheld GPS systems are less powerful than other versions, but they are ideal for adventurers who might want help getting through a forest or mountain trail.

Handheld Advantages:

The advantages of the handheld GPS systems are unique to outdoor adventures like hiking, biking or mountain climbing. The GPS is easily portable due to the small size and is more accurate and powerful than the GPS system on a cell phone. While it is not as powerful and accurate as the large GPS systems found in a car, it is lighter and durable so it can handle outdoor use.

Common Features:

Like any electronic device, the handheld GPS systems have many major features in common that make them ideal for use in an outdoor location. While the common features like an antennae are found on all or most GPS systems for outdoor use, several devices will have extra features or might not have all of the common features available.

The two basic features that most handheld systems have are waterproofing and a durable design. Since these systems are made for hiking, tracking and similar navigation needs, the durability and waterproofing are necessary to prevent the GPS from becoming damaged.

All GPS systems will have a screen showing the map and most will have a backlight to make it easier to read at night. The screen features will vary by model, so any consumer looking at a specific handheld device should read the specific screen specifications.

Like the screen, all GPS systems will have some storage or memory for maps. This is a necessary component to the system, though the amount of space will vary depending on the specific GPS.

Before Buying:

Before buying any type of handheld system, it is important that you learn the specifics relating to the system and that you find out about the available accessories that come with the system. Most inexpensive GPS systems will require that you buy the accessories and maps separately while many expensive systems will include many of these considerations. You should also pay attention to the features to determine if the system is what you are looking for.


A handheld GPS system is not designed as a sole navigational tool. Never rely only on the GPS. Instead, use it as an addition to your existing navigational plan.