January 16, 2007

Garmin Nuvi: Compare the Nuvi 350 vs. 360 vs. 370 vs. 660 vs. 670 vs. 680

So a lot of readers are interested in the Garmin Nuvi, and asking what's right for them. "Should I get the Nuvi 350?" "What's the advantage of the Nuvi 360?" "What's the difference between the new Nuvi 680 and the Nuvi 660?" "Is the Nuvi 660 the best GPS for me?" Well, let's look at a quick review of the capabilities of the North American models of the Garmin Nuvi.

First a little background: The Garmin Nuvi was launched with the Nuvi 350 as a travel companion, most likely figuring that only a business traveler would pay the $900 for the flat pocketable model. Well, a year later, Flat is in, the Nuvi has dropped significantly in price, and the idea that these are for travelers alone, is absurd. Anyone who owns a GPS would benefit from the flat form factor.

The Nuvi 660 was launched in the late summer of 2006, and as their first widescreened GPS, it got some pretty good reviews; mine included.

The Nuvi 370, 670 and nuvi 680 were recently announced at CES 2007, with added capabilities, the most noteable being the MSN Direct connectedness for the Nuvi 680.

Jan 17th Update: We have the Garmin Nuvi 680 in for review.

The Nuvi 660 was launched in the late summer of 2006, and as their first widescreened GPS, it got some pretty good reviews; mine included.

The Nuvi 370, 670 and nuvi 680 were recently announced at CES 2007, with added capabilities, the most notable being the MSN Direct connectedness for the Nuvi 680.

As a traveler's assistant, the Nuvi 350, 360, 370, 660, 670 and the 680 navigation systems have extra capabilities that step towards PDA-world: language translators, travel guides (Fodor's type guides to restaurants, etc.), calculators and currency converters. The language translators and travel guides are available for purchase as an additional option.

The Garmin Nuvi 350 GPS is the most "basic" navigator in the line, with a SiRF star III chipset(so does the entire line), a regular (not widescreen) touchscreen, pre-loaded maps and points of interest, and the ability to speak the road names ahead. It is capable of getting TMC Traffic signals, but you would need to buy the additional antenna. You can play MP3's and audiobooks through the speaker, or through a headphone jack. These can be loaded via the SD card slot on the side.

The Garmin Nuvi 360 offers all the features that the Nuvi 350 has, and adds on Bluetooth capability. This allows you to make handsfree calls through your Bluetooth mobile phone without touching the phone itself. With a quick set-up, you can call and receive calls through the Nuvi 360 while traveling down the road.

The Garmin Nuvi 370 is also a 3.5 inch screened unit that has added Bluetooth capability and comes pre-loaded with maps of the US and Europe. It has Bluetooth handsfree calling capabilities and will come with integrated TMC traffic capabilities. These services are usually free in Europe, but tend to cost $60 per year in the US. Expect the Nuvi 370 in Feb/March 2007; list price is $899.

The Garmin Nuvi 660 is a widescreen format GPS system. The Nuvi 660 also features a very bright screen that in my use stands up to direct sunlight so that you can see what the GPS has to tell you in the brightest conditions. The Nuvi 660 also has Bluetooth capabilities, as well as all the features of the Nuvi 360, and also comes with TMC Traffic standard, with a great little receiver built right into the 12 volt power plug. This GTM-20 receiver is not what is available for the other Nuvis; they use a bulkier system of a second plug in antenna in addition to the power plug. For more on the Nuvi 660 - See our Review. Read up on a whole lot more information on the Nuvi 660.

The Garmin Nuvi 670 is similar to the Nuvi 370, in that it comes with North American and European maps pre-loaded. It is Bluetooth handsfree and TMC traffic capable. It comes with the beautiful widescreen that is on the Nuvi 660.

The Garmin Nuvi 680 is a widescreened wonder with the added capability to subscribe to MSN Direct for traffic, weather, movies and dynamic gasoline pricing. This walks away from TMC traffic and adds some ability to let you know of delays in your route as a result of the traffic congestion. We’ll see if that format is pulled into the TMC based units or not. List price is $999, and should be available in “Early 2007”, according to Garmin. Get a whole lot more information on the Garmin Nuvi 680.

KEY THOUGHT: If you want traffic capabilities in the Nuvi 350, it will cost you about the same (or pretty close to) the current cost of the Nuvi 660. So, for the same price as a Nuvi 350 + the optional traffic antenna, you get the Nuvi 660 and its Bluetooth and the super-bright widescreen Free! You should do the math, as prices are changing all the time.

Which Nuvi to buy?
Well you have to decide your budget. If you don't have a Bluetooth Phone and don't plan on getting one, then the handsfree capability is not helpful; look at the Nuvi 350. If you have some more bucks to spend, the Nuvi 660 and its wide screen is great. The three big advantages are the widescreen, the brightness of the screen and the traffic antenna included. So if you find that valuable, trade up. If not, the Nuvi 350 or the 360 (if you have a Bluetooth phone) are great. Obviously if you don’t travel to Europe, you don’t need the Nuvi 370 or 670; if you do, consider them. It’s very convenient to carry all the maps and all of your own points of interest with you. Finally, the Nuvi 680; the MSN Direct features look enticing, and I would imagine that these capabilities would expand as time goes on.

Compare Garmin Nuvi Prices on the web.

Here's the compatibility list for the FM TMC system. It will cost $60 per year. My belief is that this will save you time in traffic if you travel traffic clogged roads in these bigger cities, and $60 is a cheap investment in your time. It has already saved me time on the road, and I am happy to fork over the money in exchange for a few hours not caught in traffic.

Read More in: Garmin GPS News

Share this Article with others: social bookmarking

Related Articles:

Came straight to this page? Visit GPS Lodge for all the latest news.

Posted by Scott Martin at January 16, 2007 7:27 AM

Recent Comments

I am about to purchase a GPS for an inexpensive but new car, which I should have bought with GPS. Now I am faced with the choice of adding an in-dash system, for more expense, but otherwise I think that portables look horrible when stuck on the windshield, and I have no idea how to mount a unit such as the Nuvi 350, 360, or 660 low enough to be useful, but out of the way and not on the window-and, if I do that, will the antenna work well? I am also concerned that the small size of these units will invite theft and breaking into my car to steal the unit, and I don't want to be constantly worrying every time I stop into a store for a few minutes... I am also concerned that these small Nuvi units may not have enough memory to put directions in for all of North America, including the POI data--can it be stored and kept in the machine, without downloading disks? Finally, I thought that maybe the special rearview mirrors with the display screens built in could be a good alternative to an in-dash unit, keeping a clean look while putting the display in a good position--but where, then, would i have to put the actual unit, which is actually what you have to use the touchscreen on? I appreciated your review, and I've read a few website forums, but nobody seems to discuss using a unit such as a Nuvi with one of these rearview mirrors with the display built in ...Is there any direction that you could give, or any article or forum that you could point me to? Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Tom at January 19, 2007 2:39 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please enter the letter "w" in the field below:
Please press Post only once. Submission of comments takes up to 20 seconds because of Spam Filtering.
Join the Mailing List Mailing List
Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz

facebook_badge.jpg twitter_badge.jpg

Subscribe - RSS
Site Navigation

Visit our other properties at Blogpire.com!



This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered by
Movable Type 6.3.6
All items Copyright © 1999-2017 Blogpire Productions. Please read our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy