November 17, 2007

Navigon 2100 Full Review


Navigon has stormed onto the US GPS scene in the past month or so with the launch of their new line of GPS units, the 2100, 5100 and 7100. The Navigon 2100 is especially hot right now as it appears to be one of the big Black Friday Units for 2007. The 2100 and 5100 being standard screen, 3.5-inch units and the 7100 a widescreen unit. Navigon is taking an approach that is in the minority in the GPS world, in that they are offering TMC traffic with the 5100 and 7100 including a lifetime subscription to the service that usually costs around $60 per year. At the heart of the Navigon offering in my opinion is a beautiful design on the exterior and a different approach to design when it comes to the interface. With animated menus and icons, the unit takes on a decidedly "flash based website" feel that is more up to date than other units.

With all of the requests made to me over the last week for a review on this specific model, I went out and grabbed one to see what the Navigon 2100 was made of, and see how it will do in this very competitive market. I will have to say that many of the people writing in for this review of the Navigon 2100 called it the Navicon 2100; so for those folks, this is the Navicon 2100 review!

Also just a note that the Navigon 2100t is a Navigon 2100 with traffic installed. So while I do not have the traffic option turned on for this review, the other attributes will apply. Who knows if I hit Black Friday right, I may be posting more on this as a Navigon 2100t review.

  • Compare the Navigon 2100 vs 5100 vs 7100
  • Software Update Available for the Units

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    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (78) | 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 28, 2007

    Nextar C-3 Full Review

    The Nextar C-3 is an entry level GPS that has a basic feature set and older design features that underline its low price. The unit can be had for some of the best prices around on a GPS, and I got this one for the purposes of this review at about $50 less than a TomTom ONE. The Nextar C-3 has a 3.5-inch screen, a flip up antenna and a forward firing speaker that is reminiscent of the rocker switch on the old Magellan RoadMate 800 series. The Nextar C-3 uses a SiRF star III chipset , Windows CE as an operating system, voice prompted turn indicators (Not Text-to-Speech) and a flip up antenna.

    Overall, the unit navigates well; most GPS units do, but the operating system is not the easiest to navigate, making it a rough overall experience. The concern here is that the operating system is basically ported over to the other Nextar units like the Nextar X3-02, and the Nextar X4B, making me concerned that the line is and will be an issue for many who buy them.

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    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (6) | 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
  • October 16, 2007

    Mio C230 Full Review

    The Mio C230 is a standard screen GPS follow-up to their Mio C220 model that established a solid entry in the GPS market below the $200 price point. The Mio C230 unit adds text-to-speech to the entry level that will quickly set the pace for other makers to add text-to-speech to the low ends of their lines (we hope). I like text-to-speech a lot and will be happy to see more text-to-speech models in this price range.

    With the Mio C230 you still get SiRF star III chipsets, and maps of the US (of course, right?). The unit does not offer some of the higher end features like Bluetooth handsfree phone capability, or video playback.

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

    September 28, 2007

    Nextar C-3 Arrives for Review


    Update: I posted my Full Review of the Nextar C-3, and I can't recommend it; consider a Mio, or if you can afford it a TomTom or Garmin. Specifically, check out a full list of my reviews and see the entry level units there.

    The Nextar C3 GPS is a definite bargain at around $149, which is about the cheapest GPS on the market. I couldn't resist the chance to try one out so I got one in for review. The unit offers 3.5-inch screen, which is a standard size for most GPS systems. The unit offers verbal turn cues, and maps of the US. With 1.6 million Points of interest (POI) the Nextar C3 is a little light on places to navigate to. The Nextar C3 does have SiRF star III chipset for a solid lock on satellites.

    The Nextar C3 includes mounting cradle, suction cup mounting bracket, dashboard mounting disk, remote control, DC adapter, AC adapter, USB Cable, and convenient carrying pouch. If absolute value is the name of the game, try out the Nextar.

    I will run it through its paces to see what it's made of.

    The Nextar C3 GPS at Amazon

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

    September 24, 2007

    Mio C320 Full Review

    The Mio C320 is a widescreen GPS follow-up to their widescreen C520 model that hit the market earlier this year, and has already made a mark on the shelves brining widescreen affordability to the masses. The Mio C320 can be considered an entry model widescreen GPS that offers solid navigation on a widescreen unit without some of the features that are found on mid-tier models. You still get SiRF star III chipsets, a widescreen, maps of the US, as well as MP3 playback capability. The unit hits its price point by shedding the Bluetooth handsfree capability and the maps of Canada along with some POI data. It does maintain the split screen capability that the Mio C520 brought with it (See my review of the Mio C520), which is a user selectable option and one that I personally like.

    The Mio C320 was announced today, but I have had the opportunity to check it out ahead of the launch to put it through its paces over the last couple of weeks before the general public gets its hands on it. The unit I used was a full working model.

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    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (17) | social bookmarking

    September 21, 2007

    TomTom GO 720 Full Review


    The TomTom GO 720 is a solid product introduction that offers not only some feature improvements, but some innovative steps that shows TomTom positioning itself as an innovator in the GPS marketplace. TomTom is not afraid to step up and maintain its position in the upper echelon of GPS manufacturers. With this introduction, it is more obvious that TomTom is willing to develop products and software for the US market, where they previously brought over a nearly unaltered Euro product. The change is welcome and will make them more competitive in the US market where growth rates are still well north of 50% per year.

    The TomTom GO 720 at the base is a widescreen GPS navigation system that has a SiRF star III chipset and text to speech capabilities. The unit comes with North American maps. The unit also offers MapShare, a program to allow users to make minor alterations on their units, submit those changes, and if elected receive changes from other users who use MapShare. The TomTom GO 720 also has a fun feature to make your own recordings for the verbal navigation commands. Finally the unit also features a “Help Me!” button that allows users get access information to quickly get help from police, service stations and hospitals.

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    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (5) | 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

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