Sat Nav Buyer's Guide
Why Go To Halfords For Sat Navs?
Our fully trained advisors understand the features and benefits of all the sat nav units and accessories we sell. This means we can offer you the best advice anywhere in the UK and match your requirements exactly.
They will take time to explain how our satellite navigation systems work, answer all your questions and demonstrate the products to you. Even if you bought your sat nav online you can come back at any time, or give us a call if you need further information. There is no time limit.
Sat Nav Setup and Demo Free
At Halfords we like to make sure that your car sat nav is set up correctly and you are completely happy with it before you drive away. We check that the GPS satellite navigation is working correctly. We will demonstrate all the features to you so that you are ready to go.
The set up and demonstration is free of charge whether you buy in-store or online.
INTEGRATED Fitting Service
For a streamlined, tidy dashboard, without any wires on view, our integrated fitting service is the answer. Halfords can professionally install your sat nav unit into your vehicle at competitive prices. View our prices and fitting services.
Keeping You Up and Running
At Halfords we do more than simply sell you a sat nav unit - we can help you get the most out of your chosen system and keep you up and running. If you need advice about upgrading any of your features or you feel there may be a problem with your kit we have the staff who can help you.
Latest Sat Nav Features
At Halfords we know how important it is to enjoy your car and get the maximum benefit from it for the whole family. Our technical experts will be happy to demonstrate all the latest sat nav features for your convenience, entertainment and safety.
Sat Nav Basics
The sat nav world can be confusing at first but at your local Halfords store there are experts to guide you through the maze. Here are a few basics to get you started:
What is a Sat Nav?
Sat nav is short for satellite navigation. It is a system you can use to give you directions when you are on the move. It is a machine that talks to you as you go along and tells you exactly where and when to take a turning, ensuring that you never get lost again.
Global Positioning Satellite (GPS)
Sat navs are often called GPS systems because they use the Global Positioning Satellites which orbit the earth. The sat nav sees the position of the orbiting satellites and locates its position on the surface of the earth. Calculating longitude, latitude and altitude, the position is laid over a digital road map which accurately reveals your driving position to within a few metres.
The built-in software can also work out the easiest route between any two points on the map and can combine average road speeds and other data, if necessary, to advise you on arrival times and road conditions on route.
Built into some sat nav units, the FM Transmitter converts the sat nav instructions and other content such as MP3 music into a radio signal, so that music and sound are played through the car speakers, via your car radio.
Bluetooth is the name of the technology, used with mobile phones, that enables hands–free calling.
Some sat nav units are also enabled for Bluetooth and can be paired with a mobile phone. If you have one of these units you can use the sat nav speaker to make and receive hands–free calls while on the move – helping to keep you safe and legal.
Read more in the Bluetooth Buyer’s Guide.
Keeps your unit powered up when you turn off the ignition.
Internal Hard Drive
Stores all the map data you use from each journey, as well as points of interest and addresses.
Built into some units, this enables you to play MP3 files through your sat nav unit.
Sat navs have touch screens, giving you a quick and easy way to navigate - simply touch the screen to enter a destination, view your route, and change settings, for example to zoom in.
The size of the screen depends on the type of sat nav you choose:
- If you decide on a portable unit then you have a choice of two sizes: usually 3.5 " or 4.3" diagonally.
- If you decide to have a unit built in to your dash board then you could have a larger built-in screen or a motorised one that flips out when activated.
Our experts in store will help you decide which type of set-up suits your life-style and your car.
Single or Double DIN
In-dash Screens, where the screen is built into the front panel of the sat nav unit, are called either single or double DIN, where the DIN is the size of the audio slot into which the unit is fitted.
- Single DIN (single stereo slot size is approximately 52x179mm).
- Double DIN (double stereo slot size is approximately 104x179 mm).
Motorised pop-out screens are often used in single DIN units. Screens usually measure on average 7" and often have touch screen facility. They are hidden within the main body of the unit, but flip–out when activated.
Which Sat Nav To Choose?
There are three main types of sat nav to choose from: Portable, in-dash or smartphone and we can help you find the right one for your lifestyle.
Portable Sat Nav
This device is ready for use straight from the box and is transferable to another vehicle and you can swap it from vehicle to vehicle. You fit it to your windscreen or dash board with a mounting bracket. Portable sat navs mainly come in two screen sizes: usually 3.5" or 4.3" measured diagonallly.
You power the sat nav through your vehicle's cigarette lighter, although with some models you can buy a charging unit to use at home.
You key in your destination using full postcode, part of an address or a point of interest and it speaks to you with turn-by-turn directions as you drive.
We offer a free set-up and demo service to show you how your sat nav works.
Motorbike users can buy a specially designed sat nav which is waterproof and more durable.
In-Dash Sat Nav
This device is hard-wired into the car and incorporates either a motorised pop-out or built-in screen. We can install it for you, in place of your vehicle's factory-fitted car radio.
We supply the in-dash sat nav with a GPS receiver, normally placed on the dash board in order for the unit to pick up the satellite’s signal.
It also gives you the functionality of a normal car CD player, and you may choose additional functions like MP3 connectivity.
Smartphone Sat Nav
This is sat nav software that you load on to your compatible GPS-enabled smartphone in order to use the handset as a sat nav. You can then hold the sat nav in your hand or fix it into the car with a suitable holder.
You’re ready then to navigate on foot or in the car and it comes complete with street level mapping. You can synchronise with your phone’s address book, calculate the fastest or shortest route, get turn-by-turn directions and even text ahead to say you’re on your way.
When you buy a sat nav the mapping information is built into the software in the unit.
There are different levels of mapping that you can buy:
- UK Street Level Mapping - gives you access to roads in the UK, including motorways, major roads and minor roads.
- European Street Level Mapping - gives you access to roads in the European countries specified, including motorways, major roads, minor roads and city centres.
- European Major Roads Mapping - gives you access to motorways and major roads only in the European countries specified. Minor roads and city centres cannot be accessed.
Your sat nav will have mapping data supplied with it and this will not run out or expire. However, around 15% of the road network changes annually so, although you can keep on using your maps for as long as you want, there is definitely a benefit in updating them periodically. The two main suppliers of mapping software in Europe, Teleatlas and Navteq, both update their data quarterly.
You can purchase updates from Halfords online, for the area you are interested in. If you have a Navsure sat nav then you can buy your updates in store.
A sat nav is quick, easy and fun to use and is designed to get you going with a few clicks. You key in your destination, using the touch screen, wait a few seconds for the mapping software to create your route and off you go.
Or, you can use your sat nav to search and plan your route beforehand. If the sat nav is portable you could do this in the comfort of your home.
The fastest and most accurate way of locating your destination is to key in a post code or part of an address.
Points of Interest
You can also key in or select a Point of Interest (POI). POIs alert you to local services such as petrol stations, hotels, restaurants, cash-points, cinemas etc. during your journey. You can set proximity alerts to warn you of upcoming POIs.
In the event of an accident or breakdown, on some units, provided you have a compatible mobile phone connected via hands–free/Bluetooth, you can locate the nearest hospital, garage, police station or phone for an emergency service.
You can also plan your route based on a combination of features. For example the desired arrival time, points of interest database, and fastest, shortest or avoidance route planning. You can make it as easy or complicated as you wish.
You can have fun on your holidays by searching for the nearest theme park, National Trust home or zoo for example. If you know the name of the tourist attraction just type it in the name.
Safety On The Move
At Halfords our sat navs have a number of features to help you to get to your destination safely:
Live Traffic Information
You can set some sat nav units to receive and display live traffic updates to help avoid conjestion, jams and accidents - some units provide this for free, and others require a subscription service.
This offers you an alternative route when an incident or hazard has been identified. A useful time saver.
Speed Camera Locations
Ask for a sat nav where the camera data has been pre-loaded with the location of known fixed speed detectors sites. As you drive along you will be warned when a camera is imminent.
Some sat navs can warn you of accident black spots, schools and other potential hazards and it can alert you if you have exceeded the road’s speed limit.
In the event of an accident, on some devices, you can access safety and emergency service numbers, directions to the nearest hospital and car repair services and more.
Track Your Own Car
Some sat navs can keep track of your own car when you park so that you never lose it again. This is perfect for unfamiliar spots and crowded places. The sat nav automatically marks your position when you remove it from the windscreen mount, so you can navigate with the sat nav on foot and then find your way back to your vehicle.
With some devices you can now make hands–free calls from your Bluetooth mobile phone via the speaker of the unit – helping to keep you safe and legal.
Synchronise With Your Phone
If you have a smartphone you can now transform it into a fully featured sat nav, making navigation even more portable. Simply load the navigation software and mapping data into your GPS-enabled smartphone and you’re ready to navigate on foot or in the car.
You can synchronise with your phone’s address book, calculate the fastest or shortest route, get turn-by-turn directions and then send a text to let people know that you’re on your way.
You can access additional content such as traffic updates, hotel rates, weather and more. The easy to use sat nav software will automatically install and connect to your phone; all you need to do is get on with your journey.