March 8, 2006

Garmin StreetPilot C510, C530, & C550


Update: See our Review of the Garmin StreetPilot C550 - "GPS Review: Garmin Streetpilot C550 Review by GPS Lodge" - (We thought it was excellent).

Garmin International Inc., today announced that it has expanded its best-selling line of StreetPilot c-series automotive navigators with offerings that include exciting new features. The StreetPilot c500 series was formally unveiled at CeBIT, Europe’s premier electronics trade show in Hannover, Germany, from March 9-15, 2006. Based on Garmin’s phenomenally popular c300 series, the StreetPilot C510, StreetPilot C530, and StreetPilot C550 are destined to become the new benchmark in easy-to-use, affordable, attractive, and functional navigation.

With enhancements like Bluetooth Wireless Technology with a hands-free calling interface for over 200 applicable mobile phones, integrated traffic capabilities, a high bright display, and a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, the c500 series again solidifies Garmin as the world’s leading innovator of location technology. Wow, this is going right at the TomTom GO line with the handsfree calling!

“These new features are designed to make GPS navigation even more functional and easy-to-use, particularly in the rapidly-expanding European marketplace,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s vice president of marketing. “These added capabilities demonstrate our worldwide commitment to providing customers with integrated navigation devices that exceed anything else available today.”

All versions of the new StreetPilot c500 series are equipped with a new high-sensitivity GPS receiver, which acquires a GPS signal quickly and is capable of maintaining a signal in heavy foliage or “urban canyons” created by city skyscrapers. (Yes - that's SiRF in there.) The c500 series also features a brighter, sunlight readable touchscreen display and a slimmer, more refined shape and suction cup mounting bracket over previous versions.

Map data for all units is provided by NAVTEQ – the world leader in premium-quality mapping. All StreetPilot c500 series units also feature configurable vehicle icons, which allow the user to select a fun, customized car-shaped icon – instead of a simple wedge shape graphic.

For added security, Garmin has developed a theft prevention system for the c500 series. The Garmin Lock disables the unit from performing any functions until the user types in a specific 4-digit PIN or takes the unit to a predetermined secure location code. If the user does not know the PIN or secure location, the StreetPilot will be inoperative. this is a plus, as GPS unit thefts are on the rise.

Garmin StreetPilot C550

Specific features of the new C550 include Bluetooth capability with an integrated microphone and dual speakers (with external mic and stereo output jack) that allow users to place hands-free mobile phone calls when connected to a compatible Bluetooth phone. Customers may also retrieve and dial numbers from their personalized phone book or from the phone’s call history log. A user can also make a call from the StreetPilot c550’s huge points of interest database – which includes hotels, restaurants, stores, and much more.

The StreetPilot c550 includes an innovative new traffic receiver integrated into the power cable which provides real-time traffic services. The traffic service notifies drivers of traffic, construction, and weather delays (where available) and automatically suggests alternative routes. In Europe, traffic service for 14 countries is included at no additional charge. In the United States, three months of free Total Traffic NetworkTM service is included, after which the customer may subscribe to 15 months of service for $60.00.

The C550 comes with pre-loaded maps of Europe or North America, along with the ability to audibly announce the name of upcoming streets and points of interest – letting drivers keep their eyes on the road while navigating through busy traffic and convoluted roadways. The unit also features an MP3 player, as well as the optional Garmin Travel Guide functionality – giving users helpful and thorough reviews and recommendations for restaurants, hotels, shopping, nightlife, sporting events, and tourist attractions. The unit is compatible with the Garmin Savers Guide as well, the first geo-coded “coupon book” that notifies users of nearby discounts on restaurants, hotels, dry cleaners, auto repair shops, and much more. Subscribers receive over 45,000 discounts from participating businesses in 160 markets across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Users can save 20% off dining, shopping, and services (up to $25) and up to 50% off at participating hotels. (Travel Guide and Savers Guide sold separately on SD card).

Garmin Streetpilot C510D
The StreetPilot c510D “deluxe” package includes one of nine pre-programmed European map regions and a DVD-ROM with fully unlocked European map coverage. The “deluxe” version also includes the same integrated traffic receiver and services as the C550. European customers looking for a streamlined version can opt for the StreetPilot c510, which includes a pre-programmed regional European map data and no traffic receiver. Garmin will also offer a StreetPilot c530 model, which is sold exclusively in North America, with all maps pre-loaded. Garmin Travel Guide and Savers Guide are also optional capabilities on the StreetPilot c530.

We reviewed the garmin Streetpilot C340 and loved it (read our review), so we are looking forward to trying one out in the coming months to see how the new functionality works and enjoy the Garmin C-series again.

All models are sold with a carrying case, suction cup mount, adhesive dash mount, 12-volt adapter, PC/USB cable, and quick reference guide. All models are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2006. Visit for more information and pricing.

Whew! that's a lot! Looking forward to trying one out.

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Posted by Scott Martin at March 8, 2006 7:38 PM

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