March 30, 2008

Review: Garmin Colorado 400t Full Review


The Colorado 400t recently launched into an ever expanding category of handheld GPS units, where Garmin has had a long track record of offering solid handheld capabilities in a package that suits customers well. I have been using a Garmin handheld for close to 10 years, and in that time, I have used them to navigate up mountains on hikes, navigate to geocaches around the country and navigate across New England on week-long bike rides. Over that time, I've assembled a wish list that pretty much got erased with the release of the Colorado series. The Colorado 400T comes with a lot of key features that make using it a pleasure.

There are a few big features that make the Colorado 400t a hot handheld: Big color screen, shaded Topo maps, easy access to features with the Rock n Roller wheel, wireless sharing of information with other Colorado users, advanced geocaching features, and the ability to set up profiles allowing you to set up preferences for different uses.

There were a couple of key questions in my mind going into this review: Is the Rock n Roller wheel really something that is easy to use, are the interface changes usable and intuitive for a longtime user, will the interface give me any new advantages over what I already have, and is the screen size and overall size of the unit an issue versus my trusted eTrex Vista unit.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (12) | social bookmarking

February 24, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 780 Full Review - MSN Direct 2


UPDATE: MSN Direct will stop service January 1, 2012 - buyer beware that the traffic and other information services will not work after that date.

Just announced at CES 2008, the Garmin Nuvi 780 is the new widescreen navigator from Garmin that has the MSN Direct version services built in. Being part of the 700 series, it includes a lot of the high end extras that you'd expect including text-to-speech, maps of North America, 5+ Million POI, Bluetooth Handsfree and the ability to do optimized routing. This Nuvi 780 was equipped with the SiRF chipset.

As you start to get into higher end GPS units, you start to add features that are certainly advanced and can make life great if you are an intensive user of the GPS. For instance, the Nuvi 780 has advanced routing features that allows you to input several locations and allow the Nuvi to optimize the route. Something road warriors will appreciate. For me, the MSN Direct services make it pretty obvious that gas prices are going to be a must have capability going forward for any connected GPS.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (13) | social bookmarking

January 28, 2008

GPS Market Share Changes - Big Moves Through Discounting

According to NPD, market share of the GPS market moved around a bit in the last three months of the year. The same big names were there, but the percentages moved. Sure the big loser in share is Garmin - they had the market share to lose.

Unit Share Oct - Dec 2007

Garmin - 37%

TomTom - 27%

Magellan - 19%

Dollar Share Oct - Dec 2007

Garmin - 45%

TomTom - 24%

Magellan - 15%

So What?

Since Garmin's dollar share is higher than its unit share, that says that they held higher average prices across the holidays. TomTom with their low prices on the TomTom ONE ($129 - $149) had temporary price reductions to gain market share during the quarter. Pretty shrewd. Garmin on the other hand discounted steadily, but now can afford a lower priced option (the Nuvi 200) that is selling online for about $185. Clearly their fuller high end sold well also.

Magellan was in a similar place to TomTom, discounts and lower priced units going through the sales channel.

The big deal for TomTom is that once they have the consumers in their brand, they may just see their consumers trade up to more expensive devices down the road, as they stay competitive with new innovations and smart marketing.

In the end, the earnings are coming out later in February; we'll see how the strategies paid off in terms of near-term profits. Did the expanding market lead to better profits for all? Long-term, the market will just get more competitive and better prices for better units.... stay tuned.

From 2006 - the numbers were a little different...

Dollar Share Oct - Dec 2006

Garmin - 57%

TomTom - 15%

Magellan - 12%

Unit Share Oct - Dec 2006

Garmin - 51%

Magellan - 15%

TomTom - 14%

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

November 13, 2007

Garmin Nuvi 760 Review - Editor's Choice PC Mag


Another review posted on the Garmin Nuvi 760 and again it gets high ratings. I think that it was great, and clearly the best Nuvi that Garmin has put out yet.

With the new slim design, and the lack of a flip up antenna, the Nuvi 760 looks like a good place to start, and on top of that it maintains all the great features you enjoyed in the Nuvi 600 series.

The multi-segment routing AND optimization is a good feature, as well as the Bluetooth phone interface.

PC Mag clearly thought these were compelling features too in giving the unit an Editor's Choice rating. The only big downside that they talked about was the quality of the traffic updates. I think that they were a great start, and I recommend them to anyone who regularly drives in traffic, but there is a lot of room for improvement in the entire traffic reporting area, not just on Garmin. I personally look forward to that coming change.

See More Product Info on the Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770, and see My Review of the Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 here at GPSLodge.

ReadMore on the Review of the Nuvi 760 at PCMag

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

November 5, 2007

Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 Full Review

-A Hands On Review by

Also, I have posted my Full Review of the Nuvi 755T the new addition to the Nuvi 700 series.

The Garmin Nuvi 700 series was launched at the top of the Garmin line to make steps forward in both design and functionality. The Nuvi 750/760/770 units are a change vs. the Nuvi 650/660/670 units with a thin design losing the flip up patch antenna of the Nuvi 600 series, and adding some functionality that is nicely useful.

"I would rate it a Top Pick for GPS buyers"
The Nuvi 750/760/770 is a widescreen unit with a bright screen, not marginally bright, but plenty bright for sunny days. The 760/770 series also comes with a TMC traffic receiver that is integrated into the 12V plug. It has maps of North America pre-loaded.

I have been driving with the Garmin Nuvi 760 for about two weeks now, including a trip to New Jersey that had me navigating in unfamiliar territory, from the Philadelphia airport, up to the Princeton area, and back. The Nuvi 760 did a very good job of getting me to where I was going with comfort and confidence. I of course expected this; it's a Garmin.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (96) | social bookmarking

October 19, 2007

Garmin Nuvi 760 Arrives for Review


Update: I have posted my Full Review of the Nuvi 750/760/770.

A Garmin Nuvi 760 arrived for review today at the GPSLodge, and as always we are happy to try out new models before they hit the street. The Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 line was announced at the end of August, and is setting itself up to be a high end performer just in time for the big holiday shopping season. Gone is the old flip up antenna from the legacy Nuvi line-up, and in is the sleek and slim form factor from the Nuvi 200W genre.

All the info, including Product Review information about the Garmin Nuvi 750/760/700 Line, here at GPSLodge.

Building on the Nuvi 660, a very capable unit, Garmin has come out with a more full featured upgrade with a Help! Button, a traffic receiver, as well as the capability to navigate back to your car when you via the Pedestrian Mode, and the Nuvi’s built in ability to waypoint your car so you can find it after a long stroll in the city.

One thing that I am excited about is the Route Planning. This isn’t supposed to be just stringing together a list of stops, but a capability that optimizes your route so that it spits back the shortest route to all of your destinations. So, pop in several garage sales, sales call locations or shops and let it give you back the optimized route. Looking forward to trying this out to see how well it works.

Finally, the shell of the operating system has changed, reflecting a more sophisticated look and feel of the high end line; subtle changes. The basis is mainly a better use of the widescreen, so that buttons have a double row layout, but again I think it's worth noting and certainly easier to work through given more options and more configuration that accompanies a full-featured unit. The first image is of the Nuvi 760 sub-menu with a double row layout, giving you plenty of information without scrolling. Below is the same menu for the Nuvi 200W series, with a vertical layout.


What's in the Nuvi 750/760/770 Box:

  • Nuvi 750/760/770
  • Preloaded City Navigator NT for North America and Europe for the Nuvi 770
  • FM traffic receiver with vehicle power cable
  • Real-time traffic services (3 month trial subscription)
  • Vehicle suction cup mount
  • USB cable
  • Dashboard disc
  • Quick start manual

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
  • September 6, 2007

    Garmin Nuvi 200W/250W Review


    Update: See my Garmin Nuvi 205W/255W Full Review - better interface and hardware than the Nuvi 200W/250W - I recommend moving up to the 205W/255W if possible.

    The Nuvi 200W and Nuvi 250W are logical extensions to the still relatively new Garmin Nuvi 200 series line that is starting to take its place as a solid entry level performer from Garmin for those folks who want a less expensive GPS navigation unit with a rock solid reputation. I reviewed the regular screen sized Nuvi 200/250/270 unit back in March of this year right after it was announced and thought that while the unit might be marked for entry level, it was a Garmin through and through. Since that time the Nuvi 200 line has dropped in price to a very reasonable level, and I expect that the Nuvi 200 line will be one of the hottest sellers come the holiday season. I fully expect to see a Nuvi 200 for $199 or less on Black Friday.

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

    August 26, 2007

    Garmin RINO 530HCx Full Review

    The Garmin RINO series is a long standing part of the Garmin line up that takes their core GPS capability and extends it by paying attention to the needs of the consumer out in the field. GPS answers the “Where are you” question and help you get to where you are going, but when you are outdoors you may also want to know where your friends are too.
    "The Garmin RINO 530HCx is a great tool for the outdoors that can not only get you there but also get you there, along with the rest of your party while being fully informed and in constant contact. "

    The unit combines a fully functioning GPS with an FRS/GMRS radio allowing you to not only talk to your hiking or biking partners but with the special polling features, it will show you the GPS location them too. In concept it’s a great premise for the RINO series, and I will say that in practice, it’s like Instant Messaging for the outdoors enthusiast. I wish I had the current capabilities when I first started using the first FRS radios years ago. For this review I was able to take the new RINO 530HCx and the older RINO 520 for a trip to the White Mountains and for several general “playing around” hikes and walks. They performed well, and gave added confidence and convenience to our travels.

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

    August 17, 2007

    Garmin Nuvi 200W/250W Arrives for Review


    Update: I have posted my Review of the Nuvi 200W/250W

    The Garmin Nuvi 200W/250W has arrived for review at, and we’re pretty happy to check out the latest unit from Garmin to hit the stores. The Nuvi 200W/250W were announced back in June just as the Summer driving season was beginning. I would expect that the Nuvi 200W/250W will start gathering steam right before the Holidays when the next wave of GPS buying takes place.

    The Nuvi 200W/250W extends the line of Nuvi 200 series units that are designed to be easy to use and easier on the wallet. The Nuvi 200 and Nuvi 250 standard screen models are starting to really settle in and take up their place among the entry-level units a few months after introduction, and are really starting to create a buzz. A year ago, who would have thought that you could have gotten a flat model Garmin for under $300 with maps pre-loaded and ready to go? You can with the Garmin Nuvi 200 standard screen right now for less than $300.

    The Nuvi 200W and Nuvi 250W are well poised to offer widescreen usability at the entry-level end of the market, while bringing the confidence of the Garmin interface to the marketplace. The Nuvi 200W and Nuvi 250W are based on their standard screen siblings as far as design cues and interface go. The same thin design elements with slate gray mark the new widescreen models, with the same slider switch.

    Over the coming weeks, we’ll check the Nuvi 200W/250W out to see what it is made of and let you know our thoughts.

    What’s the Difference between the Nuvi 200W vs. the Nuvi 250W?
    Maps; that’s it. The Nuvi 200W has all the features of the Nuvi 250W.

  • Nuvi 200W - Maps of continental U.S., Hawaii, and Puerto Rico
  • Nuvi 250W - Maps of U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico

    What’s in the Nuvi 200W/250W box?

  • Nuvi 200W or 250W GPS Navigation Unit
  • Suction cup Mount with cam lever action
  • Car Power Plug – 12V
  • Adhesive Dash disk
  • Set-up and Go guide


    The Garmin Nuvi 200W and Nuvi 250W are available at Amazon.

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
  • June 4, 2007

    Garmin Nuvi 200 Review


    CNet has posted a Garmin Nuvi 200 review, and overall they are giving it high marks for its featureset. The well known Nuvi series is well represented by the Nuvi 200, without any critical corners cut to lower the price.

    I liked the Nuvi 250 when I reviewed it before it was publicly available. I thought that it navigated well, offered a sharp set of features all wrapped in a more friendly nuanced interface that was familiar and solid. It seems that I am not alone and that the CNet staff saw that the Nuvi 200 brings a lot of the great functionality of the Nuvi 350 in a simpler package.

    I think that we are collectively hoping for lower pricing on the Nuvi 200 series because the Nuvi 350 in all of its many many units sold, has a rock bottom price (in the $370 range online right now), which is also about what the Nuvi 250 is running.

    See my article on pricing this summer for key GPS models.

    ReadMore at CNet

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

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