Phone GPS vs Car GPS Trackers – a Deep Dive into the World of Navigation

Navigation map

When traveling by car it’s paramount to have a clear understanding of your whereabouts and safe shortcuts to the destination. Some drivers say that GPS trackers embedded into cars are the most efficient and helpful solutions for mapping out routes. Other travelers claim that GPS apps for Android and iOS devices are much better. The debates don’t lose their intensity with each side offering arguments in favor of their choice. If you are on the lookout for an unbiased comparison of a car GPS tracker vs a built-in car navigation system, this article is worth reading till the end.

Pros and Cons of an Onboard Tracking Device for Car


GPS technology has become an integral part of our lives. It is especially useful for people who arrive in a new location, hire a car, and want to traverse the territory quickly and accurately. Typically, car hire providers offer vehicles with an extra option of modern GPS integrated into the control system. For instance, has a huge and regularly updated assortment of cars all containing cutting-edge GPS trackers. When choosing this company, you can be sure your car rental with GPS will be safe and hassle-free.

However, it doesn’t mean that such trackers are a one-size-fits-all solution. We recommend learning the advantages and disadvantages of such devices for you to understand whether they will work for you.


  • GPS trackers are created with navigation in mind. They are optimized for driving and usually have user-friendly menus. Travelers can promptly find the needed location using such a tracker without being distracted by bells and whistles.
  • Car GPS systems usually don’t require uninterrupted cellular signals for proper functioning. So, even in regions with weak signal or no-signal, drivers can still receive accurate data. This is extremely important if you are going to visit a new place and don’t want to get lost.
  • The integration with other car features like an audio system or display console is a deal-breaker for some people. Advanced trackers even offer voice guidance, so your traveling experience is likely to be pleasant. 
  • Car GPS harnesses power produced by the vehicle’s electrical system, so travelers are protected from accidental battery run-offs, which is a frequent problem with mobile variants.


  • It is common for companies to offer GPS car hire options, however, many providers charge extra for this feature. Make sure to clarify this point with your supplier.
  • Navigation-focused nature of car GPS may feel limited for some drivers. For instance, people may want to have real-time traffic updates or info on tourist attractions, but it is missing in traditional navigation systems in cars.
  • Sometimes the car navigation system leverages old maps where new roads are not marked. This can pose difficulties for non-locals. 

Pros and Cons of Phone GPS Navigation for Car

Mobile GPS

Phone GPS has gained immense popularity among drivers. There are lots of paid & free apps that are compatible with different mobile operating systems and allow users to find the needed spot even in totally new locations. If you ponder on using a mobile GPS during your next trip, check out its pluses and minuses to figure out whether this technology is suitable for you.


  • When opting for a phone GPS, you don’t need to pay for a separate tracking system. You just have to download and install an app. The variety of FREE apps is stunning and selecting the fitting one is a breeze. 
  • The biggest advantage of a mobile geopositioning system is real-time traffic updates. Thanks to them, it is possible to navigate across crowded areas, find the shortest routes, and just feel confident during journeys. 
  • GPS apps are usually convenient and user-friendly. Besides, they contain guided suggestions, which can be helpful for first-time users. Voice directions are another bragging point.
  • Phone navigation for cars can integrate with other travel-related apps. Therefore, you can find nearby attractions, much-feted restaurants, and gas stations in a jiffy.


  • Since GPS apps on mobiles operate on a cellular signal, they are of little help in remote or sparsely populated areas. When a signal is weak or missing, navigating the terrain is an uphill climb. Of course, a phone GPS that is not working in a car will become a huge problem for inexperienced tourists.
  • Another serious disadvantage is severe battery consumption. The longer you use mobile navigation, the faster the battery depletion is. You need to take care of charging options to ensure your mobile device is always ON.
  • When using a phone for navigation, drivers run the risk of getting distracted, which may lead to accidents. Of course, it is possible to buy a phone GPS car mount but not all drivers are OK with additional expenses or may simply forget to do it before going for a trip.


The choice between a phone’s GPS and a car’s embedded navigation trackers isn’t that simple. In general, it boils down to personal preferences, priorities, and the specifics of a trip. 

Travelers who want something versatile, pocket-friendly, and easy-to-use, should have a closer look at phone GPS. Thanks to the integration with other apps and timely updates, it ensures a smooth and untroubled traveling experience. However, you need to be mindful of constant battery drain and dependence on a cellular signal. 

GPS trackers built into cars stand out with a special focus on navigation and helpful integration with other vehicle’s features. Many users also appreciate accurate functioning regardless of whether a cellular signal is present or absent. Unfortunately, even the latest trackers can’t stay on par with GPS apps in terms of upgradability. Besides, potential extra payments associated with GPS hire may put off some tourists.


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