Garmin Area 500

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    Expert Review

    Garmin's Aera 500 can do double duty overhead and down the road, providing detailed mapping and navigation capability both in the sky and on terra firma. Portability offers easy transition from flying to motoring with a fast-updating, moving-map display and intuitive, menu-driven touchscreen control. For an average retail price that's only a fraction of just about every other pick on our list, the Aera 500 offers detailed maps, terrain topography and the latest aviation databases to keep your flight plan free of obstacles, restricted airspace areas, and any other interference. These pre-loaded maps also offer navigational landmark locations for airports, airfields, landing pads and alternative landing choices for putting the bird down in case of emergency. The unit's 4.3" wide-format touch-screen display uses color coding and pop up alerts for approaching terrain and obstacle avoidance, while refresh rates at five times per second keep your map and flight data uninterrupted and continuous. Once you land, the Aera 500 offers full automotive GPS capability with wide-ranging and thorough road mapping with City Navigator, which is pre-installed and offers voice-guided, turn by turn directions. There's also a Bluetooth link up so you can make or receive phone calls through any Bluetooth enabled cell phone...and aren't they all these days?Rating: 4.25/5

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