Make us your home page
Instagram

Take these Christmas gift ideas on the road

DETROIT — Car lovers view their rides as their castles. If someone like that is on your holiday gift list, here are a few gadgets, all under $200, that will add to their quality time on the road. They range from GPS navigation systems to a wide assortment of in-car DVD players. Dee-ann Durbin, Associated Press

Navigation systems:

GPS (global positioning system) devices have been around for a while, but they keep getting cheaper and more accurate. Among the most popular brands are Garmin, Magellan and TomTom. Handheld GPS devices now start around $100, although souped-up systems that can give live traffic updates or play music from an MP3 player cost closer to $700.

Basic GPS devices provide driving directions and can point you toward services like gas stations or hospitals. Mid-range devices have additional features such as spoken street names or a lane assistant that tells you which lane to get in on the freeway.

Some units may require extra payments for map updates, live traffic updates and other services. Service plans vary widely, from a $40 annual fee for a $200 Magellan Maestro 3250 to free traffic — with ads — for the $240 Garmin Nuvi 265T, according to Consumer Reports. Other models include traffic and other services in the original cost.

Also, consider whether you prefer a window or dash-mounted unit.

Bluetooth car kits

Some of the more expensive GPS devices include Bluetooth, which uses short-range wireless signals to enable you to talk on your phone hands-free while driving. Portable Bluetooth speakers are also sold separately. The Miccus Inc.'s BBAT-01 BluBridge Auto-Talk, introduced in September, attaches to the windshield and is solar-powered, eliminating the need to change batteries. It sells for $59.99 on Amazon.com.

Vehicle DVD players

There are a range of options for DVD players. They can be mounted in headrests and sun visors, on the dashboard and on the ceiling. Screens can be as small as 5 inches and as large as 17 inches. Prices can climb to more than $1,000.

Still there are more affordable options.

• The Boss BV9990 has a 7-inch, dash-mounted touch screen and can play DVDs, CDs, AM/FM radio and MP3 audio. It's $199.99 on Amazon.com.

• Roadview offers a 9-inch headrest with a built-in DVD player and screen for $201.93.

• XOVision has an overhead 9-inch monitor with built-in DVD player that feeds sound through the radio for $147. Don't want to hear the SpongeBob DVD while you're driving? Headphones are extra.

Satellite radio

Some cars, including models from Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Hyundai and Nissan, are already equipped with radios that offer XM Satellite radio, which has 170 digital channels. For those that aren't, XM Satellite radio offers a $79.99 unit you can plug into your car. Subscriptions start at $9.99 per month.

Take these Christmas gift ideas on the road 12/10/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena to host job fair today

    Business

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning and its home, Amalie Arena, are hosting a part-time job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. today on the Promenade Level of the arena. Available positions include platinum services, parking attendants, event security, housekeeping, retail and many other departments.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning and AMALIE Arena is hosting a part-time job fair on Thursday, Aug. 17 on the Promenade level of the arena.
  2. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  3. The FHP trooper behind quota on speeding tickets will retire Sept. 5

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Florida Highway Patrol official's call for troopers to meet ticket quotas has cost him his job.

    Major Mark D. Welch, Troop Commander of Troop H, wrote an email asking his employees that he wants them to write two citations each hour. "This is not a quota," he wrote. His resignation is effective Sept. 5. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  4. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  5. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}