October 10, 2006

Review: Garmin Nuvi 660 Review by the GPS Lodge

Garmin_Nuvi_660

In the short time I have had the Garmin Nuvi 660, I have to say that it’s the best GPS I have ever used. It has all of the features that make a GPS worth loving, and with its super bright widescreen, it really stands out in the sun. The slim form factor, at less than an inch thick, is great. For those who are familiar with the Garmin interface, this won’t be a huge departure from what you are used to, simplicity and ease of use reign. The integrated traffic TMC traffic receiver is a welcome addition that allows you to be aware of all the traffic issues that you can now avoid with your smart Nuvi 660 doing the navigating.


UPDATE: I have posted my Review of the Nuvi 680 - check out its MSN direct capabilities.

For a full list of my own Hands on Full Reviews of GPS units; Click - GPSLodge.com Hands On Reviews

Update: Nuvi 660 Cost too much but still want a rock solid flat GPS? Want to Compare the Nuvi 350 vs. Nuvi 360 vs Nuvi 660?

Garmin Nuvi 660 Features & Use

mainscreen.jpgAs with all Garmin Automotive products you are greeted with the easy to understand "Where to?", and "View Map" buttons. The Nuvi adds the "Travel Kit options", and with the extra real estate from the widescreen, it throws the configuration buttons over to the right side of the unit. (Top is set-up and bottom is for volume/brightness.)

I have to keep coming back to the screen and it’s 4.3-inch widescreen format. It is super bright, and there is NO ISSUE seeing what’s going on in the sunlight. Below you can see the Garmin Nuvi 660 widescreen screenshot with a screenshot of the Garmin StreetPilot C550 superimposed on top of it (I reviewed the C550 this summer). These are both full size and it should give you an idea of the real world implications of seeing more with the widescreen. Check out all the extra real estate, and you will see why this is a big deal.

screensizesuper.jpg


The SiRF star III chipset allows you to lock onto satellites in tough situations. The flip up antenna is OK, not my favorite, but I can deal with it. The Nuvi 660 also features a built in battery that recharges and keeps you going for several hours (3-7 hours depending on use per Garmin). I ran navigation for more than two hours on one trip when I left the charger at home and had no issues with battery performance; I barely changed the battery charge status icon.

The Nuvi 660 comes with rock solid maps from NAVTEQ, and a sizable Point of Interest (POI) database that is easily searchable. The Nuvi allows you to search POI’s where you are currently, a different city, along your route, and your destination city. The last two are available if you are currently navigating. I took the Nuvi 660 to New Hampshire this past weekend, and needed to stop for food. I was able to search for Food POI’s that were along the route, pull up some fast food, and add it as a via point on my route. I was able to get directions to the restaurant, and then right back on my normal route to my final destination. That was great.

audiotuner.jpgThe Nuvi 660 also comes with MP3 and Audiobook capabilities. You can plug the Nuvi into your computer via a mini-USB plug and load the Nuvi up taking advantage of the approximately 575 MB of free space. You can also stick an SD card in the slot on the right side of the unit if you prefer. The Nuvi can play through its speakers, or through your stereo via its built in FM modulator. Now around Boston, and I would imagine that we are not alone; there is almost no space to find a good empty slot for the Nuvi to play on. So, the performance was OK. One thing that helped find a decent frequency was that the Nuvi has an Auto Tune feature that searches the FM spectrum for the best open slot. It did a good job and found the best possible slot given the crowded dial. When you have songs or books playing through the stereo, the GPS mutes the music to tell you navigation instructions. When the instructions are done, the music comes back on.

Nuvi660Mount.jpgThe windshield mount performs double duty as the mount, and the charging station/traffic receiver feed. It’s easy to mount and dismount the GPS with a small release tab that feels like a natural place to put your thumb when grabbing the Nuvi 660 off the mount. The charging cable and the mount therefore stay together. There is no place to put the charger and traffic feed in the Nuvi 660; potentially a minor design flaw. I might like to take the Nuvi and its charger along for the trip without the mount, but I guess not with this set-up. It’s a minor issue, and nothing that takes the shine off the overall performance and wow factor. In this mount picture you can also see the external antenna hook up located on the side of the flip up antenna if you need to use an external antenna because your windshield has a metallic coating that prevents your unit from getting signals. Along the side of the Nuvi 660 you'll see the SD card slot, the mini-USB slot and finally the audio out (headphone) jack. It is also worth mentioning that there is an audio out jack on the bottom of the mount that can allow you to leave the cable plugged into your stereo if you have an audio in jack on the stereo unit.

trafficalert.jpg
Traffic feeds come in via TMC traffic channel that is in most major cities across the US. The Garmin system here is the same interface and underlying technology as the StreetPilot C550, which is a good thing. Again, I thought that the traffic in the C550 was great, and the Nuvi 660 traffic system still is. With the FM traffic receiver plugged in, you are warned if there is going to be any traffic along your route. The small yellow diamond icon pops up on the screen and by tapping it you enter into a dialog where you’ll learn exactly where the issue is, and you can decide to route around the issue.

I was happy to see that I can now navigate to a set of latitude and longitude coordinates. This past weekend, we navigated to a cabin that does NOT have an address, but luckily I was able to plug in the coordinates and get delivered right to its front door. Another thing that I have noticed as an improvement is the fact that you can pan the maps. I LOVE this. With the map on the screen, tap the screen to pull up a couple of buttons: Save, and Go. At this point the Nuvi 660 thinks that you are saving a waypoint or a destination; well you can also drag the map to pan across the landscape. This is a big plus and allows you to see what’s up ahead or where you are in relation to something else.

When you are on the main navigation screen there are a couple of easy shortcuts to information that are big helps. The first is to tap the power key once, which brings up the volume and screen brightness adjustments. The second is to tap on the lower left part of the screen to bring up the trip computer that has average speed, max speed, odometer, etc. The third is to tap on the lower right part of the screen which when you are navigating a route, will bring up a list of turns with a map showing you the turn. If you tap on the top bar at the top of the screen when navigating a route, you will bring up a route summary that also give you access to an overview map. All of these are helpful when you are concentrating on something else.

In a run through of other things – the Nuvi has Bluetooth handsfree calling, is light as well as small (190g and 4.9”W x 2.9”H x 0.9” D), Garmin Lock – a way to lock the GPS to make it useless without a password, and preloaded maps of North America (or Europe). You can add other maps in if you want. The text to speech engine is a good one, and makes navigating easy when the voice calls out the name of the upcoming street.

Review Summary Garmin Nuvi 660
The Garmin Nuvi 660 is a great GPS unit, again, the best I have used. The combination of its slim profile, and small form factor, with its great functionality and traffic alerts built in, you can’t go wrong. You’ll pay to get this performance, but if you can afford it, you can’t go wrong. The Garmin Nuvi 660 is an excellent choice for a complete navigation package; put it at the top of your wish-list this year, you won’t regret it. Now a bit on pricing and should you go for the Nuvi 660 or what: If you are at all interested in traffic feeds, buy the Nuvi 660. If you buy the Garmin Nuvi 350 at about $600, then add the optional traffic receiver at another $160, you are right around the current Nuvi 660 price of $750! It's like buying the traffic capabilities and getting the widescreen and the Bluetooth capabilities for free!

More Nuvi 660 information.

  • Also at Amazon


  • Live in California or Minneapolis? Don't forget the dash friction mount if you don't want an adhesive disk stuck to your dashboard. At Portable Friction Mount for Garmin GPS


  • GPSNow, or Compare Nuvi 660 Prices on the web.

  • Receiver: high-sensitivity WAAS-capable GPS receiver by SiRF
  • Display: 4.3 diagonal, 480 x 272 pixels; WQVGA TFT landscape display, with white
    back-light and touch screen
  • Unit dimensions: 4.9”W x 2.9”H x 0.9” D (12.4 x 7.4 x 2.3 cm)
  • Weight: 6.2 oz. (190 g)
  • Battery life: 3 to 7 hours
  • Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free calling
  • FM transmitter (U.S., Australia and New Zealand only)
  • Alerts for traffic, road construction and weather-related tie-ups. Nuvi 660 uses data to suggest alternate routes before problems are encountered
  • Includes Garmin Lock, an anti-theft feature
  • Voice announces streets by name
  • Preloaded maps for all of North America or Europe
  • Fingertip touch-screen interface

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    Posted by Scott Martin at October 10, 2006 7:24 AM
  • Recent Comments

    I have a nuvi 660 that's about a year and a half old. IT lost satellite reception a couple of months ago,about 2 weeks after I downloaded new software updates. A month ago it came back to life, that lasted for about 3 weeks. Its back to no reception again. Does anyone have any ideas.
    Thanks Fraz


    Posted by: Fraz at April 25, 2009 9:19 PM

    I have Nuvi 660, worked fine for 1 yr,then the 12v charger failed without warning and battery went dead.Lucky I had a map. Where can I purchase this charger.

    Thanks Mustapha


    Posted by: Mustapha at April 14, 2009 9:58 PM

    I have been using Garmin Nuvi 660 just by marking the POI. Could anybody help me by guiding me the place or person, whom I could procure the maps of India. At present I am residing permanently at Bangalore and traveling all across India. I am unable to use the system to its full capacity.


    Posted by: Jayanth at February 23, 2009 11:41 AM

    Good review of the Garmin 660. I need a unit that I can attach to my MacBook and use with an external antenna (In an antique car without a dashboard and with a steel roof).
    Is there a system that consists merely of an external antenna and software for my Mac? Using a 660 seems like overkill.
    It would be nice to be able to enter the full tour route into the system and then access it each day of the tour.
    Thanks for any advice.


    Posted by: Frank Jameson at December 15, 2008 7:58 PM

    I have the C550 with traffic, and so far, I can't say I am as enthused. I also live in the Boston area and more often than not, find the traffic data no more current or helpful than listening to the radio's traffic updates. Too often I am told there is a delay, and I'm driving through it at 70 MPH, or less often, there's no delay, and I'm sitting in traffic. I won't be renewing my subscription, and feel I probably threw out $60 (more than it should be) on this one.


    Posted by: Davd at April 28, 2008 7:57 AM

    Can I listen to my i-tunes on the Garmin nuvi 660? How do I download the music onto my Garmin?


    Posted by: debbie at January 18, 2008 5:37 PM

    Garmins fail on really basic functionality!

    I don’t get it! This GPS (and for that matter all Garmin GPSes) fail miserably on the very basic thing a GPS is supposed to do and all these reviewers go ga-ga over them! Are they biased/paid/whatever?

    Don’t believe me or like what I am saying?

    Ok tell me this:
    You have told the Garmin to navigate to somewhere. It has plotted a route and you are on your way. How do you know which way you have to turn next, right or left?
    You look at the screen….nothing! Yeah it says turn in xx miles. But which way?

    Sure you can click the top of the screen to get full details but why omit this essential arrow? The screen has plenty of space!

    Another scenario which exposes a fatal flaw – Voice prompts are way too late!

    You are barreling down a crowded 6 lane highway at 70MPH and a split is coming up. You wanna know which side of the road you should stay on so that you take the correct turn. You look at the screen…of course nothing! (see above) Then you calm yourself by thinking, “ok this thing is going to tell me”….you wait. The turn is 2 miles away…………silence………now the turn is 1.5 miles away…….everyone around you is changing lanes and trying to get into the correct lane……but you?.....listening to silence………you start sweating……..1 mile!........nothing…… silence!!....you are really frustrated now……..0.7 miles before the damn GPS FINALLY says “left turn in 0.7 miles”. Ooops ! But you are in the right lane. The split is coming up fast. You have seconds to go to the correct lane, but there are 8 lanes on the highway now. You have to go across 3 or 4 lanes in seconds. Man! You are toast! This can easily get you in an accident, I know because I almost got into an accident the other day.

    Here is a similar situation:
    You are in a 40mph 4 lane suburban road ….your turn is coming up. This thing will tell you like, 0.5 miles before the turn! And then right at the turn! That night I almost skidded off the road when this thing told me at the last moment that the turn is here.

    Of course people will say this is user error but I’m not a novice. I am a power user of GPS. I have been using them for 5-6 years now. Most other GPSes tell you the next turn right on the screen with a simple arrow. Good ones start alerting you 2 miles before the turn comes. Then once at 1 mile, then again at 500 yards and then once again at the turn. But this one…only once before the turn and that too ……way too late!

    Yeah some reviewers call this good feature “Too chatty”, yeah right!

    I talked to Garmin about this flaw and basically the answer I got was the same answer others get…..they don’t care. Needless to say My Garmin 660 is going back to the store.


    Posted by: rajdude at January 16, 2008 2:24 PM

    I BUY GPS 660 FROM SAMS CLUB IAM TRAVELING INDIA
    I LIKE TO BUY INDIAN MAP


    Posted by: roy john at September 20, 2007 7:39 AM

    The only way to get traffic feeds is to use the window mount? The review said there is no charging/feed port on the 660 itself. Does the traffic charger plug into any other mounting devices?


    Posted by: GE at September 5, 2007 10:25 AM

    Great product!

    The only let down is the section cup mechanism to fix it to the windshield. This just does not work. We were on a trip and did not have a lint free cloth mind you, but I bought a wipe to clean windshields and cleaned the area thoroughly. Still no change, it kept falling after a few minutes at most. Is there an easy way to set this up so it stays there?


    Posted by: Luc at August 23, 2007 5:27 PM

    Garman makes an easy to use swivel dash mount for the 660. This mount includes temporary and permanent adhesive disks that adhere the mount base to the dash. I've been using it for a couple of months and prefer it to the windshield mount.

    I ordered the mount directly from Garmin on their web site. Garmins info:

    Part Number: 010-10823-02
    Suggested Retail Price: $ 39.36 USD


    Posted by: Ed at July 15, 2007 8:13 AM

    Mounting options seem limited. In California it is against the law to mount anything on your windshield. what options are there? will a bean bag work??


    Posted by: TOM at July 14, 2007 2:47 PM

    I really appreciate you review here. I too just bought my 660 from Costco (gotta love the return policy).

    I am concerned with the fact you can't save routes in the 660. This DOES seem like a step back-wards as it would be very nice to plan a long trip with mapsource and load it into the 660 for the road. As this seems like a software limitation, does anyone know if Garmin will update the firmware in the 660 to support this? Did the 330 support this?

    Any workarounds that folks have come up with for this problem would be greatly appreciated.


    Posted by: Jayman at June 15, 2007 4:54 AM

    I bought a Nuvi 660 from Costco, great deal! I'm looking for a 12v usb car charger. I'm not crazy about the car charger that came w/the unit that requires the mounting bracket. Does anyone have any experience, or have, a usb 12v car charger?

    thanks, Robert


    Posted by: Robert B at June 14, 2007 8:33 AM

    FYI, the Nuvi 660 is on sale, online only, at Costco.com for $499. Price is good through Monday, June 11 only. I ordered one and it arrived via UPS in less than a week.


    Posted by: Gordy at June 9, 2007 12:48 AM

    on the Garmin 660, is there any chance of changein the voices on them? as you can put celebrity one's on other sat nav's


    Posted by: leighto at June 6, 2007 7:26 AM

    How current are POI's.. especially restaurants?


    Posted by: Zak at June 5, 2007 9:16 AM

    On my (European) Nuvi 660, the jack on the mount is for the optional external microphone and not for plugging into the Aux socket in the car. The external microphone makes quite a bit of difference to the call quality by the way :-)


    Posted by: Steve at May 30, 2007 11:12 AM

    Hi,

    I thought your review was very thorough. There is one question that I still haven't found an answer for. I have the Nuvi 360, but the built-in speaker is not very good for phone conversations via bluetooth. My question is, does the 660 allow the transmission of phone conversations through the FM Transmitter to the car's speakers? If so, have you tried this and does it work better than a conversation through the built-in speakers?

    Actually, one other question: The 360 allows the car charger to connect and charge through the USB connector on the unit (without the docking mount). Can you not do the same think with the 660 and a compatible Garmin USB charger?

    Thanks. BTW, I do love the 360 otherwise.


    Posted by: Raul Wong at May 18, 2007 12:12 PM

    Hi,

    I thought your review was very thorough. There is one question that I still haven't found an answer for. I have the Nuvi 360, but the built-in speaker is not very good for phone conversations via bluetooth. My question is, does the 660 allow the transmission of phone conversations through the FM Transmitter to the car's speakers? If so, have you tried this and does it work better than a conversation through the built-in speakers?

    Actually, one other question: The 360 allows the car charger to connect and charge through the USB connector on the unit (without the docking mount). Can you not do the same think with the 660 and a compatible Garmin USB charger?

    Thanks. BTW, I do love the 360 otherwise.


    Posted by: Raul Wong at May 18, 2007 11:57 AM

    So I just spent the afternoon ripping open my dash (2006 Honda Odyssey) in order to mount a special bracket and wire power. After soldering a fused car charger to a usb cable I realized what Rob posted on February 26, 2007 12:01 AM above.

    Does anyone know if this is a software issue or if there just isn't a power connection with the usb wiring in the 660?

    Besides that though, I love the unit!


    Posted by: RCS at May 6, 2007 9:37 PM

    Could a current owner comment on the quality of the sound coming out of that unit speaker. While I understand there is a fm transmitter to have the voice sent to the radio, my experience is that it is not working usually due to interferences, so the only choices are (1) to listen to the sound coming out of the unit or (2) plug the line out cable to an input in the car radio, which not too many cars have presently unless brand new. My second question is whether the microphone in the unit is truly useable for bluetooth connection with the cellular telephone.


    Posted by: Jean-Piere at April 9, 2007 11:03 PM

    I ended up purchasing this unit at http://www.gps-store.net/garminnuvi.html for $719 and got it within a day, I love the unit compared to the nuvi 350 I bought a couple of years ago.


    Posted by: Mark Renny at April 9, 2007 10:18 PM

    Nice review. I've been using a StreetPilot III for years. I'd love to upgrade to a Nuvi 660, but the main thing stopping me is the inability to save routes, and the limitation of only one waypoint per route. That seems a ridiculous limitation.

    With my StreetPilot III, I'd plan my whole cross-country vacation ahead of time in Mapsource, upload the routes to the GPS, and load each route as I progressed on the trip. I assume with the Nuvi and it’s one-waypoint limitation, I'd have to plan shorter routes (my desired routes are often not what the GPS would pick), and keep picking new destinations and waypoints along the way. That sure seems like a giant step backwards.

    Have you found that to be a frustration? I’d appreciate any feedback on this issue.


    Posted by: John at April 6, 2007 2:12 AM

    Does anyone know when City Nav V9 NT for North America is due out? I am considering buying the Nuvi 660 but I want to wait for the new map update. Also; if you purchase the gps after the map update comes out but the unit is off the shelf and has V8 on board, are you eligible to update the unit for free?

    Thank you.


    Posted by: Howard Leeming at March 20, 2007 12:39 AM

    Hi thank you for the review on the 660, I just bought one to-day and was wondering if you can back-up the map's on your pc, as I have read that the can get deleated when up-dating the 660 from a computer


    Posted by: johnny at March 16, 2007 3:47 PM

    Answering Sharp's question.

    I got the Nuvi 660 for the purpose of using it in rental cars. I do not want to take a suction mount along, but the small USB carpower supply from Garmin was the right size. And it comes with a USB AC adapter, so power via USB seems a designed function.

    Now the BAD surprise: with the USB powerfeed, the Nuvi either goes into:

    - file transfer mode (even when there is no computer attached to the USB), or
    - when you press the powerbutton quickly enough, it goes into charging mode, or
    - when you attach the 12V carpower unit (010-10563-00) it LOCKS into file transfer mode, i.e. when you unplug the cable it does not restart. You have to press the RESET button on the back.

    You wonder if it would have been so hard to operate the navigation functions with power coming in from the USB cable.


    Posted by: Rob at February 26, 2007 12:01 AM

    I purchased a different gps unit made by initial, which is a great unit i have no problems with this unit. It has a 5 inch screen and bluetooth. Also has a av input to hook up a ps2. The question i had about the 660 was if you are using the bluetooth does that play through the fm modulator, or is it the speakers on the unit? Because with my unit it is using the speaker on the unit which is not very loud.

    Thanks


    Posted by: steve at January 8, 2007 11:03 PM

    Does anyone know if you can use a car charger that plugs directly into the unit? I want to bypass the suction mount and just use a charger from the cig lighter to the USB port on the unit. The AC adaptor goes directly into the unit via the USB. Or could I use a standad USB cord from my cell phone to charge the Unit. I love the 660 but do not want to use the mount and the charging cable plugs in to the mount instead of the unit.

    Thanks.


    Posted by: Kevin at January 8, 2007 1:26 PM

    The 660 is supposed to come with maps for North America or Europe. I purchased one in North America and it only seems to have North American maps on it. The salesman said that when I take it to Europe, it will download the maps there.

    Has anyone tried that? Are there additional maps that need to be purchased?

    It looks like there are seperate FM reciever units -- the GTM 20 and the GTM 21 that need to be purchased for Europe and North America?


    Posted by: sharp at December 26, 2006 12:34 PM

    Scott,
    Great review..Thanks!
    Quick question...I'm looking for a gps unit for both the car and for running. Would the 660 be a good fit?
    Thanks,
    John


    Posted by: John at December 16, 2006 10:07 PM

    I've been considering a SP 2820 due to the XM Radio and Traffic, MP3 player, Bluetooth, etc. Any comparisons between this and the 660? Thanks for the reviews.


    Posted by: Deeta at November 24, 2006 10:23 PM

    I've been considering a SP 2820 due to the XM Radio and Traffic, MP3 player, Bluetooth, etc. Any comparisons between this and the 660? Thanks for the reviews.


    Posted by: Deeta at November 24, 2006 3:55 PM

    Hi, I currently have a SP2620 and love it but I am thinking of upgrading to one of the new Garmin devices. I would love to get a comparison of the Nuvi 660 vs the SP26xx or the SP27xx. Specifically, I am interested in feature/performance differences. My SP2620 performs superbly in both urban and the remotest rural areas. How would the Nuvi 660 compare?
    Thanks, Alan


    Posted by: Alan at November 18, 2006 10:00 AM

    Thanks for the in-depth response - you must keep very busy running this site. I found the article about the "Dust Network" very interesting - looks like the FM receiver is a better way to go compared to XM.

    I found your comment that Amazon.com priced the Nuvi at $739.00 a bit funny - Amazon had the unit at $749.00 for days - when I went to order it, about ten minutes after last looking at their site, I discovered the price had just dropped $10.00 to $739.00. I placed my order. I checked back later that day to find the price at $759.00. Today, the price is $849.00. Amazon.com appears to be adjusting the price automatically - I wonder if it happens based on their inventory. They show "in-stock" but maybe FIFO is affecting the price. I fully expect to find the unit at Amazon for about $650.00 later this year.

    Regarding Mark Banks' question, which you responded to with a recommendation of Delorme StreetAtlas... I just played around with a 2002 ed. of Microsoft Streets and the CE counterpart. Nice maps and easy to find POI and addresses. Amazon.com has "Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007 with GPS Locator [DVD]" for only $109.65 with free shiping. I understand the routing isn't as good as a dedicated GPS, but it looks like a great way to do it. I cannot, however, find a traffic receiver for Microsoft Mobile based devices or Palm devices - I haven't looked for PC traffic solutions.

    No reply necessary.


    Posted by: Steven at October 21, 2006 8:25 PM

    Steven,

    Glad you liked the review. I really hope that you’re happy with the Nuvi 660; I think that it’s great. In looking at price, you could go down to a C340 to keep traffic, but its not as elegantly designed (the traffic receiver is a separate cord that you buy for another $160+ in addition to the power cord), and is short on some other features that are offered in the Nuvi 660: Flat form factor in the Nuvi, SiRF star III chipset, Widescreen, travel and media software, etc. While I still think the C340 is a good product, I think that the Nuvi 660 is the best GPS I have used.

    Traffic: You can go to Yahoo maps – the new beta ones, and check the live traffic box to see the traffic coverage for Dallas. I would imagine that it covers quite a bit of the city, and will be powered by Inrix and its integration of road sensors and its Dust Network. For more information, read this article on my interview with the CEO of Inrix and how its system can be better than the road sensor only traffic feeds.

    http://www.gpslodge.com/archives/007574.php

    Keep in mind that this system isn’t all that old, (around a year), but as you start to learn what is worth routing around, and what isn’t, I think you’ll benefit from having the traffic feature. One criticism is that the colorcoding (green, yellow, red) is a little too liberal. Red is essentially stopped, whereas I want red to signify significant slowdowns. So for me, commuting around Boston, I see slowdowns and bottlenecks for 1-5 miles running 10-15 MPH in stop and go traffic on the interstate. This often gets coded yellow. My impression is that it should be a red to avoid, as you’ll see a significant time delay.

    Mounts – I think you’re just going to have to try it out. The total weight of the two GPS’s are about the same: i5 with batteries is about 7 ounces, whereas the Nuvi 660 is 6.3 ounces. One would imagine that both suction mounts would need to hold similar loads. The only issue is that the Nuvi has a bulkier mount; it has the electronics of the traffic/power cord input and the electronic connection to the GPS, and seems to have a longer arm. This might up the load on the suction cup and therefore the diameter. So, you’ll just have to see how things work out for you. I can say that they aren’t dramatically different – i.e. 2 inches vs. 4 inches in diameter. I say this recalling the i3 that I reviewed last year, vs the Nuvi 660 that I just had.

    When you get it, drop me a line and let me know what you think. Drop a line in the News/Tips area or just scott@gpslodge.com. It all comes to me.

    -Scott


    Posted by: Scott Martin at October 21, 2006 3:46 PM

    Your review was a great help. I've been shopping, and testing - first a Magellan unit, with a really clumsy mounting; next a Garmin i5 - the mounting is perfect and allowed me to place the unit on the dash, out of view - I just couldn't learn to like the scroll wheel.

    I ordered the 660, and while waiting, I wondered if I went overboard. Your comments help me feel better about spending the additional cash - I am most interested in the traffic feature, and wonder how well it works in the D/FW area.

    Now a question - do you know if the suction cup on the 660 bracket is larger than that of the i5? I can't go too much larger on this and still be able to mount it out of view. I understand the performance may not be as great, but I don't want the gadget in the window, nor do I want to install a "permanent" disk.

    Thanks again for your work!


    Posted by: Steven at October 21, 2006 12:06 PM

    Arthur,

    Glad you liked the review; I liked writing it, as the unit was easy to write about and fun to use.

    Specifically about mounts, I do pay attention to mounts a lot because I think that designers miss this opportunity to create a good experience for consumers by undervaluing the importance of a good mount. They may be caught up in making the GPS itself a good product, or they can't envision what the experience would be like when you are in a car, trying to operate the unit with one hand and you can't see the mount (to fit the GPS into small holes on the mount for example). Net I just think that it's an area that doesn't get a lot of attention sometimes, but can be a major factor in your day to day satisfaction in using the GPS.

    To be clear, I liked the mount on the Nuvi 660, and I am not referring to Garmin's designers here. The Nuvi 660 mount was easy to use, and had an above average "feel" when trying to lock the unit onto the mount.

    For the Nuvi 660 mount, it would be very easy to move the mount and charging/traffic receiver cord to another vehicle. If you look at the mount picture above, you can see a little tab on the bottom of the suction cup housing. You simply flip that lever up to remove the mount and you are on your way to another car. Sorry if I caused any confusion above.

    What I would have expected is the ability to use the charger/traffic feed cable without the mount. You can only plug the traffic receiver into the mount. On the StreetPilot C550, the same traffic receiver and power cable plugs into the GPS itself. In restrospect, maybe for the Nuvi, the "travel assistant", this is a better set up so you can dismount and go!

    Another note here is that the Nuvi comes with a travel charger that plugs into the mini USB plug. The travel charger is small and allows you to use household outlets to charge the unit while away from a car. In a nice touch, the designers opted for a set of prongs that fold into the charger to make it easier to pack and store.

    Hope this helps,
    Scott


    Posted by: Scott at October 18, 2006 8:10 AM

    Very helpful review.

    One remaining question though. I currently have a Magellan Roadmate that we have mounted on a stand and we can therefore move the unit between cars as needed in a few seconds.

    With a window mount required on this unit is that not possible? Or can you do it if you get a second mount? Or is there some other way to be able to easily move the Nuvi between cars without too much difficulty? For some of us this is an important feature.

    Thanks,

    Arthur


    Posted by: Arthur at October 17, 2006 11:16 PM

    What you may be wishing for is to use something like Delorme StreetAtlas and hook up a GPS module. With a Laptop, a gps receiver and the software, you can have the laptop speak out the directions while showing you the route on a 15" screen. A lot of friends opt for this on long road trips when they have a co-pilot. This allows the co-pilot to look ahead for places to stop (gas or food), while operating the laptop.
    See this story:
    http://www.gpslodge.com/archives/007485.php


    Posted by: Scott at October 15, 2006 12:12 PM

    Is there a GPS unit with a display that can be put onto a laptop? That would be my ideal: If I could turn on my GPS and have my laptop display on its 15' screen what is displayed on the much smaller screen on the GPS. I would make a stand for the laptop that would rest in the passenger seat of my car. I would use an adapter for the power and I could drive and see where I am going by glancing at the passeger seat.

    Is this a reality or a pipe dream?


    Posted by: Mark Banks at October 14, 2006 9:38 PM
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