Guide to buying a sat nav

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The Sat Nav has been one of the most significant developments in motoring for many years. Anyone who has spent hours poring over road maps will surely agree. These welcome pieces of technology are now must have gadgets for all motorists and have brought a whole new significance to the humble postcode.

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With a new Sat Nav on your side you're quite unlikely to go astray and you shouldn't have to keep pulling over to go through the maps again. Just plug it in, set up and go.

Whether your journey is part of a holiday or just a local trip your Sat Nav will take the strain when it comes to navigation.

What features are important to you? When you come to buy your Sat Nav you might want to consider what you need most. You can opt for a system that gives you traffic and weather Information, updated continuously. Why not be notified about traffic jam alerts and road condition warnings? It is worth noting though that you may be charged for these features.

Most Sat Nav systems are portable, so you won't have to leave them in the vehicle making them a target for thieves.

Some systems are now touch sensitive screen making them a lot easier to use. Another useful feature is the points and places of interest facility. Brilliant for holidays or days trips, the system will inform you where the main sights are and give you directions of how to get there. This also applies to useful places like petrol stations and car parks.

Make sure you don't spend more than you need to. Keep to a budget and avoid paying for features you know you won't need. Try comparison websites and take advantage of any offers you find.

Once you have chosen your gadget make sure you have a warranty. This should give you cover when it comes to repairs. Compare the warranties available from different retailers and manufacturers.

Five popular Sat Navs

Binatone's budget G350 Sat Nav.
Comes with a decent colour screen and a full postcode search. It has all you need without the frills.
Price: £69.99
Argos.co.uk

Mio Navman Spirit 500
Has a 4.7in screen and groundbreaking features, including Explore Mode, Wcities Travel Books and Walking Mode maps, 3D Junction Views and Lane Guidance as well as places to visit in your vicinity.
Price: £199;
Play.com

Navigon 3310Max
Widescreen display and some cool software. Its MyRoutes technology will calculate your journey taking in to account your style of driving and speed. Also includes European maps.
Price: £149.99;
Amazon.co.uk

TomTom Go 940 Live
A bit pricier but is packed with features. Safety camera database, regular updates and weather information. Careful though as there will be a monthly subscription.
Price: £391.48;
Tomtom.com

Garmin Edge 705
This gadget is designed for cyclists and combines maps and GPS. Also has a heart rate monitor, speedometer and distance tracker. Great for the serious cyclists or fitness fanatics as it records what you've covered for later analyses.
Price: £332.95;
Wiggle.co.uk