September 1, 2005

Review: Garmin V GPS Review

We wanted to review some of the other GPS receivers in the Garmin line and today we are looking at the Garmin V GPS, a versitile GPS receiver that is right at home either as a hand held device out on the trail, or on the dashboard of your car.

While the Garmin V GPS is a little bit older than a lot of the newer automotive targeted GPS units (Like the Garmin c320/c330/c340), it still holds its own with a low price point and some decent features. The low price point is also a watchout if you are demanding about refresh rates and fast results from your GPS. This will do fine in less demanding situations (hiking, highway driving with few turns, relatively slow paced navigation), but the slow updates can be devastating in a fast paced urban setting when turns come up quickly and the world is filled with traffic and one way streets

It's got a quirky feature that allows you to use it horozontally or vertically...... not so terrible if you are trying to use it in a tight space; so maybe a decent customizable feature then.

The big thing that sets the Garmin V GPS apart from its smaller brothers in the (monochrome) eTrex line is the fact that it has the ability to autoroute. In other words, you find a location, and let it find a route for you to take. It gives you turn by turn (non-voice) directions, with a beep for upcoming turns. It's easy to use big buttons help when driving down the road. no more fumbling with small buttons that are hard to press when you are distracted.

Downloadable Maps
The Garmin V GPS comes with the Garmin City select CD that allows you to download detailed maps and points of interest onto the Garmin V through a serial connection (S-L-O-W) from your computer. I could go off on the serial connection but I won't - just too slow. The serial connection leads you to NOT want to update maps due to the slow nature of the connection and the fact that it will take about an hour to load the thing with maps to its 19MB capacity. If you generally stay put in one region, then you won't be swapping maps a lot and you'll be fine.

The Garmin City Select Map CD is a good one, and is usable with many of the handheld Garmin devices that accept downloadable maps. They have a decent set of Points of Interest, and have saved me when out on the roads looking for a place to eat; dial up the GPS and hit Find POI - there you go, it leads you right there.

Another plus for the Garmin V is that it has a stable of accessories available for it. Namely, there are a lot of antenna options and mounts. There are remote mount auto antennas, surface mount marine antennas, and low profile remote marine antennas. Need to mount the GPS to something, they have that covered too, from a simple bean bag mountto a friction mount.

Overall, the Garmin V GPS is an older model that was once a very good autorouting model filling in a nice space in the Garmin line. It's still around because it does fill that space between the automotive and handheld GPS receivers fairly well. If you can work around the slower processor and the slow serial cable updates, this may just be a good model for you. It won't dazzle with color screen, voice promted commands or live traffic updates, but its low $200's price is relatively cheap these days to get into an autorouting GPS.

* 12 parallel channel GPS receiver continuously tracks and uses up to 12 satellites to compute and update your position
* multi-level backlit display measures 2-1/4" x 1-1/2"
* selectable vertical/horizontal screen orientation
* DGPS and WAAS capability
* turn-by-turn guidance
* preloaded with Americas Autoroute basemap
* includes Garmin's MapSource® City Select CD-ROM
* built-in celestial tables for best times to fish and hunt, sun and moon rise/set based on date and location
* trip computer with resettable odometer, timers, average and maximum speeds
* proximity waypoints
* detachable GPS antenna
* stores 50 routes, with up to 264 waypoints per route
* 12-volt DC power adapter
* wrist strap
* waterproof design (can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes)
* requires 4 "AA" batteries (not included)
* weight: 9 oz.
* 5-1/16"W x 1-15/16"H (3-9/16"H with antenna extended) x 2-11/16"D

Read More in: Automotive GPS | GPS Reviews | Garmin GPS News | Garmin GPS Reviews | Handheld GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at September 1, 2005 8:52 PM

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