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Portable global positioning system (GPS) units have come down in price and have become easier to use. One device introduced by Mio Technology offers motorists the choice of following turn-by-turn directions using touch-screen maps or by listening to voice instructions through a built-in speaker.

The goods: Mio 269

The price: $799

The lowdown: Preloaded with maps, the small GPS unit can be used immediately; there's no need to install software or make use of a computer. Initial setup does take a bit of time while the unit locates a satellite signal and loads up the correct regional maps. Once this is accomplished, however, the system works fast. Information entered through the touch screen can be quickly turned into voice instructions, which lets you keep both hands on the wheel and concentrate on driving. A pedestrian function enables you to take the unit along with you on foot.

The Mio 269 also serves as an MP3 player and can store 500 MB (close to eight hours) of music. An SD card reader slot allows for expansion of memory. The provided battery offers 4.5 hours of navigation on a single charge, according to Mio.

To order: For a list of resellers, visit

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