Garmin GPS Reviews

January 11, 2011

Garmin StreetPilot iPhone App Update - Upgrade Now! Ver 6.5.3

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Wow, that was the fastest App upgrade I have ever seen; Garmin released a new version of their StreetPilot App for the iPhone addressing two large concerns that I surfaced in my review of the StreetPilot App and numerous other consumers voiced as feedback for the App.

The Voice is now clearer and a lot less garbled when giving directions on my iPhone 4; seems like a quick adjustment and things are a lot better.

The Map Downloads are to be faster too, and a lot less blotchy. I panned the map tonight looking at the area around Boston and noticed that Garmin now downloads maps more quickly, and in bigger blocks. See the images below; on the left is the original Version launched last week with smaller map segments, and what can't be shown here is the overall slowness of the download. On the right, the map for the same Target store is downloaded much more quickly, but in larger map block sizes.

Garmin claims that the "Map Storage [is] increased - Browse even more maps offline you've previously downloaded" on the App store indicating to me that there were some adjustments made to help remedy the situation. The App size is now 8.4MB (still tiny), versus <8MB for the last version.

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Finally, Garmin also added a volume control to the iPod playback capability. Now the iPod volume controls are offered through the Navigation menu that comes up through the "Page Curl" on the map page. Nice addition.

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Available in the iTunes Store and is still $39.
Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 7, 2011

Review: Garmin StreetPilot App First Impressions

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UPDATE: New Version available of the Garmin StreetPilot App to fix issues with Garbled Voice and slow map downloads - read more!

Garmin announced their StreetPilot App for the iPhone this week at CES, and I wanted to take the opportunity to gather some first impressions of their initial App effort.

It's well known that they are late to the iPhone game given their drive into the Nuvifone strategy that didn't receive the market welcome that they had originally thought it would. Given that failed attempt, it was prudent to get a hold in the marketplace in Smartphones as they continue to be the go-to personal device. I read this morning that Smart Phones are expected to surpass computers in overall numbers in the US within a year or two; simply amazing. With that portable and very personal computing power, people are going to rely on and want to rely on that device for more and more integrated capabilities. It is imperative to play in this area.

Garmin StreetPilot already a Contender

Overall, the Garmin StreetPilot App is a reasonable choice, with some strengths and a few weaknesses that while good enough, represent areas of vulnerability for Garmin. They will need to jump on these to 1) Keep any momentum coming out of their CES launch announcement and 2) Build a superior product. For years, Garmin has had an easy to use interface that continues to grow and evolve; it makes its way to the StreetPilot App. Navigation continues to be solid, with some features that make the StreetPilot App more full-featured than other navigation Apps when they were launched well over a year ago. It of course melds well with the iPhone capabilities - navigating from portrait and landscape modes and navigating to contacts from within the App. So while the weaknesses don't make it superior in the market the $39 price point and the expectation for improvements make it a contender in the App world.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

November 19, 2010

Review: Garmin Nuvi 3790T/3790LMT Review - Impressive Next Generation of GPS Units


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The Garmin Nuvi 3790T brings a fresh physical and interface design to the GPS category that makes using the navigator a pleasure; not overly touted as a major improvement, but clearly tipping the awesomeness scale is the quality of the screen. The new 800x480 pixel WVGA display makes the screen pop that, combined with the 3-D shaded map, make for a richer overall experience. This is the gold standard against which other GPS units will be compared.


I used the Nuvi 3790T across several weeks, on two long trips to the White Mountains, NYC and upstate NY from our house near Boston, and logged a lot of local miles while testing the unit out for over several weeks' time. The navigation is typical Garmin (very good), the overall experience of using the GPS is impressive. It's the best looking, and most refined GPS I have used.


The product design changes that make the difference on the Nuvi 3790T are:

  • Rich multi-touch display - beautiful colors and brightness, with easy zooming and menu navigation
  • Portrait or Landscape orientation - auto-rotating makes use of the Nuvi easy
  • Mount-based amplified speaker - super loud directions with windows down on the highway
  • Super thin design - nice to look at, easy to store

More after the jump....

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

August 22, 2010

Garmin Nuvi 3790T - Arrives for Review; Unboxing Video

GarminNuvi3750.jpg The Garmin Nuvi 3790T was part of the 3700 series announcement back in the spring, and sits prominently at the top of the Garmin Nuvi line. The Nuvi 3790T offers all of the features you'd expect to have at the top of a GPS line including traffic, text to speech, Bluetooth handsfree capability, advanced lane guidance, as well as a new feature that offers to learn your driving habits to locations you frequent.

The MyTrends feature starts to learn your shortcuts and driving routes so that the Nuvi 3790T becomes smarter the more you drive with it. We'll be testing it out over the coming weeks and get a full review up soon.

The multi-touch screen allows you to zoom and pan like you do on an iPhone, you can name your Nuvi so it will recognize when you are talking to it and issuing a few voice commands, and it will auto-switch from portrait to landscape view depending on your preference. The Nuvi Mount also has an internal amplified speaker to give you louder and clearer commands while driving.

In the meantime, check out our unboxing video for a look at the device and some of the features too.


The Garmin 3700 series is now shipping at Amazon:

More Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series Information

For More Information see the Garmin Nuvi 3700 series mini-site or the compare the Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series at the Garmin website.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 17, 2010

Garminfone - "Worth Checking out"

With the Nuvifone a faint memory, the Garminfone is starting to make waves as early industry insiders are bringing out the positive reviews for the unit. In this quick overview, TheStreet.com takes a look at its features and its navigation capabilities. I like the fact that when you take it out of the windshield mount, it thinks that you just parked the car and automatically remembers how to get you back there. The Garminfone will be on the market in June with T-Mobile at a $199 price point. According to TheStreet.com it "Worked perfectly out of the box."

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 16, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 205/255 Full Review

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The Garmin Nuvi 205/255 were announced earlier this year and are quickly taking their place as solid entry level units in the Garmin line-up. The Nuvi 205/255 offer a series of new features and upgrades that improve on an already top notch interface, making the Nuvi 205/255 my pick for Best Entry Level GPS Navigators. I would urge you to upgrade to the Nuvi 255 for its text to speech (TTS) capabilities, as I feel TTS is one of the best investments to make when purchasing a GPS - it makes the navigation simpler and easier to follow in an ever more complex world of driving.

The Nuvi 205/255 feature several upgraded features:

  • New faster processor, making for a faster routing and map drawing.
  • New shaded elevation maps.
  • Now compatible with optional TMC traffic receivers, or MSN Direct service (Gas prices, traffic, local events, stocks, news, and weather.
  • Garmin HotFix capability to automatically calculate and store satellite locations so that you will be able to turn the unit on and go a lot faster greatly reducing satellite acquisition time.
  • Geolocated Picture capability - Download geotagged photos to the Garmin to be able to navigate to a loaded picture; works with Google's Panoramio photo sharing community and Garmin Connect Photos website.

The subtle changes don't sell themselves in any huge way as breakthrough innovations, but these changes add up to a whole lot more in use than the quick read might lead you to believe. Garmin clearly did some work here to make the interface better and easier to understand. The tweaks are another step on their continuous line of interface changes that make the units simple enough for all to use.

Let's take a look at what's inside and why these are worth the upgrade.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

October 30, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 775T Review


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The Garmin Nuvi 775T is one of the newer widescreen GPS units (Announced in August) in the Nuvi line at this writing and offers several key upgrades over the Nuvi 770 offering that I think are useful and worth consideration when shopping for a GPS. I firmly believe that text to speech and widescreen GPS units are worth paying the additional money for, and being at the high end of the Garmin line, the Nuvi 775T has both. That's not all though, as Garmin has seen their way to adding in a few other goodies to keep people interested and enticed enough to put the Nuvi 775T high on their list. The reason to spend a little more on teh Nuvi 775T is to get both North American AND European maps pre-loaded on the device. If you are heading to Europe and want a GPS, this is a great high end choice.

Let's take a look at the features of the Garmin Nuvi 775T to see what it has to offer....


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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 26, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 205W, 255W Full Review


The Garmin Nuvi 205W/255W were announced earlier this year and are quickly taking their place as solid entry level units in the Garmin line-up. The Nuvi 205W/255W offer a series of new tweaks that I have quickly come to appreciate and enjoy.


The Nuvi 205W/255W feature several upgraded features:



  • New faster processor, making for a faster routing and map drawing.

  • New shaded elevation maps.

  • Now compatible with optional TMC traffic receivers, or MSN Direct service (Gas prices, traffic, local events, stocks, news, and weather.

  • Garmin HotFix capability to automatically calculate and store satellite locations so that you will be able to turn the unit on and go a lot faster greatly reducing satellite acquisition time.

  • Geolocated Picture capability - Download geotagged photos to the Garmin to be able to navigate to a loaded picture; works with Google's Panoramio photo sharing community and Garmin Connect Photos website.


The subtle changes don't sell themselves in any huge way as breakthrough innovations, but these changes add up to a whole lot more in use than the quick read might lead you to believe. If these were houses for sale, the 200W/250W and the 205W/255W may look the same from the outside, and offer the same number of bedrooms and baths, but the think of it like the Nuvi 205W and Nuvi 255W just got kitchen, bath and master suite upgrades that make them stand out as easier and more enjoyable to use.


Let's take a look at what's inside and why these are worth the upgrade.


Update: The Nuvi 2x5 series has the ability to use the Garmin ecoRoute program that helps you drive more efficiently. It's not nirvana, but it can help those interested in being a little more gas conscious. See my post "Got ecoRoute?..."


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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (15) | social bookmarking

October 14, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 265WT - Widescreen and Lifetime Traffic

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Garmin has a nice widescreen entry with the Nuvi 265WT, that offers a lot of capability in a lower tier model within reach for most GPS buyers. The Nuvi 265WT was announced in August 2008, along with the Nuvi 265T and Nuvi 275T.

The Nuvi 265WT offers Text to Speech and Lifetime Traffic with a departure from the older 3-month free trial and a monthly subscription after that. This is TMC based traffic service that is served over the FM airwaves. The Nuvi 265WT has the newest Garmin interface that I like a lot - it has subtle changes that make a big difference. The distance to turn is in the upper left corner with the turn indicator next to it - easy to see and quick too. The speed limit indicator is down the left side also making that time glancing at the left side of the screen pretty productive. I used this interface extensively in reviewing the Nuvi 255W, the sister unit to the Nuvi 265WT, and thought that it was a big improvement to the overall system. For more information on the Nuvi 255W, and the new Garmin interface, see My Full Review of the Nuvi 255W.

The new Nuvi 2x5 models come with the enhancements that you get with the rest of the 2x5 line, including:

  • New faster processor, making for a faster routing and map drawing.
  • New shaded elevation maps.
  • Garmin HotFix capability to automatically calculate and store satellite locations so that you will be able to turn the unit on and go a lot faster greatly reducing satellite acquisition time.
  • Geolocated Picture capability - Download geotagged photos to the Garmin to be able to navigate to a loaded picture; works with Google's Panoramio photo sharing community and Garmin Connect Photos website.

With all of these features, the Garmin Nuvi 265T, and 265WT seem to be a very well appointed and well targeted to the masses. The Nuvi 265WT will expand to a 4.3-inch screen, and Bluetooth Handsfree capabilities to work with your compatible Bluetooth phone.

The Nuvi 265WT has text to speech turn directions; "Turn left on Main Street."

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 8, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 765T Review

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The Garmin Nuvi 765T is one of the newer widescreen GPS units (Announced in August) in the Nuvi line at this writing and offers several key upgrades over the Nuvi 760 offering that I think are useful and worth consideration when shopping for a GPS. I firmly believe that text to speech and widescreen GPS units are worth paying the additional money for, and being at the high end of the Garmin line, the Nuvi 765T has both. That's not all though, as Garmin has seen their way to adding in a few other goodies to keep people interested and enticed enough to put the Nuvi 765 high on their list.

Let's take a look at the features of the Garmin Nuvi 765T to see what it has to offer....
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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

September 29, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 755T Full Review

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The Garmin Nuvi 755T, 765T, 775T and 785T were recently announced and will be available on the store shelves here in the coming weeks. I was able to get my hands on a Nuvi 755T unit ahead of their launch for a review of their new offering that includes a nice handful of including an updated interface that I think makes the dead easy interface even easier and more intuitive to understand; kudos to Garmin for this subtle but well done change. It makes understanding where to go and what to do even easier while rocketing down the highway. The unit also offers 3-D buildings as well as Lane Assist, a reality like image that helps you understand what to do in difficult highway interchanges. The Nuvi 755T, 765T, 775T and 785T also offer faster routing calculations and faster map drawing.

Finally, Garmin offers free traffic updates with an ad-supported model that I was a little hesitant about. After a couple of weeks of using the unit, I can offer that it's not a terrible thing. Read on for more details and the full review...

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (15) | social bookmarking

August 18, 2008

Garmin Oregon 400t Handheld GPS Full Review

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The Garmin Oregon family of Touchscreen handlheld GPS devices were announced just a few weeks ago, and I have been fortunate enough to be playing before they were available to the public (The Oregon line is expected to ship in the 3rd quarter of 2008). The unit offers the breakthrough of a touchscreen interface on a rugged handheld that can be taken into the woods, rained on and still give you directions to the cabin, the geocache or just back to the car. The Oregon line sits firmly at the top of the Garmin handheld series with a set of features that are pretty strong, and for some units, wireless capabilities to make it possible to communicate between units and accessories (Heart rate monitor for instance). The base model, the Garmin Oregon 200 offers the same touchscreen interface, a smaller amount of memory, and no preloaded maps. The Garmin Oregon 300 adds the wireless features, and electronic compass, a barometric altimeter as well as some more memory onboard. Finally when you get into the Garmin Oregon 400t, 400i, and 400c, you keep the wireless capabilities, but also add either Topo, Inland water ways, or Coastal waterway maps respectively; hence the t/i/c designator.

The Oregon line uses a high sensitivity GPS chipset, has a 3-inch touchscreen and is HotFix capable, which is to say that it can remember where satellites SHOULD be in the future, so start up time (the time it usually spends looking for those same satellites) is minimized. The interface, while touchscreen enabled, is very much a carry-over from the recently released Colorado series (See my review: Garmin Colorado 400t Full Review). I already have a pretty good idea of the functionality from using my Colorado 400t. The Oregon is also an inch shorter than the Colorado due to the antenna sticking out the top of the Colorado.

The big questions in my mind were going to be around visibility of the touchscreen, and the overall usability of the touchscreen interface.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

July 2, 2008

Garmin Edge 605/705 Full Review

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The Garmin Edge 705 is a great little Bike computer/GPS unit that brings data capture to a new level. With the ability to capture not only bike computer information, but to combine it with location specifics, wrapping in the wireless data capture of a heart rate monitor and a cadence meter, the Edge 705 rocks. By GPS standards, the unit is small, maybe not small in the bike computer world, but unless you are climbing the Alp d'Huez during July, you won't notice the added weight. The Garmin Cycling Team must think they are great - the Tour de France starts Saturday for them - Good Luck!

The Edge series has been around for a couple of years, but the Edge 605/705 series made two huge leaps in capability. The Edge 605/705 now offers mapping and in my mind this was a big disadvantage of the original 205/305; something that is worth paying up for in the 605/705. I think it makes all the difference. The Edge is also now in color, which as a veteran of the original Garmin eTrex monochrome days, I can say that without a doubt, the change makes a huge difference in the readability of the screen. It makes a difference on the trail with an eTrex and makes a difference on the road with a color Edge. Finally, the Edge 705 offers wireless sharing; an innovative feature that I think is a total luxury, and one that I have been wanting for a long time across a lot of Garmin models. When you are hiking or biking, being able to show up and immediately share what the route plan is with everybody there is a huge deal. In this case though it means that you need a lot of like-minded friends who also see the value of dropping a few hundred bucks on a GPS enabled bike computer. For those of us here at GPS Lodge, we think it's totally justified.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

May 29, 2008

Garmin Edge 705 Review - "Holy Grail"


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I like the Garmin Edge 705 that I have in for review right now, and it appears that I am not alone. Wired Mag has a review up of the Edge 705 calling it the Holy Grail for cycling enthusiasts, and for good reason. The thing grabs a signal, dumps a ton of information your way, tells you where to go and when you are done, allows you to analyze the data collected from the heart rate monitor, the cadence sensor and if you are really into it, you can get power readouts if you add a compatible powermeter. The sensors are all wireless and the edge is smaller than a deck of cards.

At Amazon - Garmin Edge 705

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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