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The Latest in Laptop Computer GPS

Turn your laptop computer into a GPS navigator

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You can turn your laptop computer into a GPS navigation device with the installation of a relatively inexpensive and compact receiver, and companion mapping software. The disadvantage is the lack of portability compared to most other types of GPS. Advantages include a very big screen showing a lot of map information, and the ability to do detailed route planning and analysis, if the software is good. Below, you'll find overviews of the best laptop GPS products on the market.

Garmin GPS 18x USB ($67 - $85)

Garmin Laptop GPS
Photo © Garmin

Garmin's GPS 18x "puck" type sensor connects to your laptop via USB and is a "plug-n-play" option for those seeking to add GPS capability. The GPS 18x is rated as highly accurate, and is WAAS-enabled. It comes with an integrated magnetic base, and is less than three inches in diameter.

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USGlobalSat USB GPS Receiver ($36 - $40)

USGlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS Receiver
USGlobalSat

Modern laptop GPS devices have been stripped down to the basics: In this case, the USGlobalSat BU-353 provides terrific GPS service at a budget price. The BU-353 has a SIRF Star III GPS chipset, is WAAS-enabled for accuracy, and is waterproof as well. The compact USGlobalSat GPS receiver plugs into your laptop's USB port. 

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DeLorme Earthmate GPS LT-40 & Street Atlas USA, on DVD Bundle ($60 - $70)

Street Atlas USA 2009 Laptop GPS
Photo © DeLorme

DeLorme – a company that made its name in paper maps but has moved into digital in a big way – offers a laptop-compatible GPS receiver and accompanying Street Atlas USA mapping software.

DeLorme has made major improvements in its new receiver and software. The Earthmate GPS LT-40 (plugs into laptop via USB cable) features a high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, and the Street Atlas USA software has an abundance of upgraded and updated information, and a sharp new interface. Highlights of the interface (shown in photo) include a "cockpit view" of airplane-inspired navigation cues, and a wide, 3D perspective of your route. This edition also features an E-Z Nav Wizard, and navigate-from-search results.

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Microsoft Streets & Trips $49 (without GPS receiver) - $69 (with GPS)

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2010 Laptop GPS
Photo © Microsoft
Microsoft's Streets & Trips is available with a USB-compatible GPS receiver, or without a receiver, in case you want to use another brand. The package comes with software that includes automatic re-routing, a perspective map to simulate what you see ahead of you on the road, day-night backlight modes, voice-prompted directions, auto-zoom to give you a better view of your next turn, and a large database of points of interest.Additional features include: text-to-speech directions; a GPS task pane that includes speed, altitude, coordinates and travel direction.
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