Basic auto GPS
How useful is a basic auto GPS when driving backroads? There are some refurbished and clearance ones in the <$150 range (Mag. 2000, 3100, etc). These have the standard NAVTEQ base map, route finding capabilities, POI etc.
So far I've been using a handheld (IFINDER). Mostly I use it to record my route, since its base map only has roads down to the state highway level (the river and lake database is better). On occasion my own track record has been useful while backtracking, or for finding myself on a paper map. For sections of BC, Canada, I've found a road database, and downloaded those as tracks.
Apparently most auto oriented units don't have the track (breadcrumb) capability. I don't think I need the route finding abilities (with voice prompt), since I'm pretty good at doing that myself. But it would be nice to have a larger visible screen.
There are times when the voice prompts are very handy and I would recommended them. As with any GPS; keep in mind the errors found with the maps are not problems with the GPS manufacturer but rather the map providers to the the manufacturers. Tom Tom recently bought out a map company in Denmark to have their own and Garmin uses another company that is now owned by Nokia. Most other companies will use one of these two companies or maybe another. I personally recommend Garmin for their Customer service and accessories and for being based here in the US even though their consumer products are made in Taiwan by Garmin owned Factories. Tom Tom is from Denmark and everyone else...who knows where and by whom.
P.S. For a good do it all basic unit try the NUVI 350 or for an older one the streetpilot C550 is good.
I can see where the voice prompts would be handy when looking for a restaurant in a town like Boise, but I'm more concerned about whether it would be of much use on forest service roads. I don't think I want its route finding abilities or voice prompts on these roads, but I would like to keep track of where I am. If the roads are shown, fine. But if there are not (too minor to be in the database), it would be nice to see my track to this point.
The latest low cost model that I found is the Nextar P3, with prices as low as $110. The reviews aren't prefect, but suggest it may be worth the price.