GPS

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Any recommendations/negative info on GPS devices. Took a ride with some who has a Magellan (sorry I don't have the model #) and I was quite impressed with it. But, that was my first exposure to one.

Thanks in advance.

Eddy
 
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I've had good experiences with a few brands. I honestly think you cant choose wrong if you stick with the more well known names such as magellan, garmin and tom-tom. Personally, I prefer the garmin products. I've just always owned them personally. My best advice is decide what features you find important, and shop around.
 
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I assume you are talking about auto GPS units? I have a Garmin Nuvi, and it is OK. But the main complaints I have with it is that (1) it gives insufficient warning time before a turn and (2) the routes do not take into account a realistic understanding of Mass roads. Regarding (2), it underestimates the time penalty of traffic lights, because in Mass we don't have inductive road sensors or properly phased stoplights like in all other civilized States in the Union. So Garmin will give you a route that hits 100 stop lights without realizing that it will take much longer.

The other problem I have with Garmin is that it routes you through horrible areas like Harvard Square, without realizing that Mass Ave isn't really a highway. I don't know if the competition is any better, but I have been slightly disappointed with Garmin routing algorithms, as they apply to Mass in particular.

Garmin is also easy to use to a fault. They have basically removed every option, setting or customization you would want. Now, I realize the greater market probably appreciates such a thing, but its not to my liking.
 

s4mt3k

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The two I've used are Tom Tom and Garmin and out of the two I think the Tom Tom's user interface is friendlier. The Garmin however has some nice options the Tom Tom doesn't have (for example, food by category). If I were to buy one now, I'd shop for the best deal between these two.
 
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I assume you are talking about auto GPS units? I have a Garmin Nuvi, and it is OK. But the main complaints I have with it is that (1) it gives insufficient warning time before a turn and (2) the routes do not take into account a realistic understanding of Mass roads. Regarding (2), it underestimates the time penalty of traffic lights, because in Mass we don't have inductive road sensors or properly phased stoplights like in all other civilized States in the Union. So Garmin will give you a route that hits 100 stop lights without realizing that it will take much longer.

The other problem I have with Garmin is that it routes you through horrible areas like Harvard Square, without realizing that Mass Ave isn't really a highway. I don't know if the competition is any better, but I have been slightly disappointed with Garmin routing algorithms, as they apply to Mass in particular.

Garmin is also easy to use to a fault. They have basically removed every option, setting or customization you would want. Now, I realize the greater market probably appreciates such a thing, but its not to my liking.
I think you'll find this with most GPS systems. Unfortunately,they don't have stop light or bad traffic patterns programmed into them. Just streets, locations and speed limits for the most part.
 

s4mt3k

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I assume you are talking about auto GPS units? I have a Garmin Nuvi, and it is OK. But the main complaints I have with it is that (1) it gives insufficient warning time before a turn and (2) the routes do not take into account a realistic understanding of Mass roads. Regarding (2), it underestimates the time penalty of traffic lights, because in Mass we don't have inductive road sensors or properly phased stoplights like in all other civilized States in the Union. So Garmin will give you a route that hits 100 stop lights without realizing that it will take much longer.

The other problem I have with Garmin is that it routes you through horrible areas like Harvard Square, without realizing that Mass Ave isn't really a highway. I don't know if the competition is any better, but I have been slightly disappointed with Garmin routing algorithms, as they apply to Mass in particular.

Garmin is also easy to use to a fault. They have basically removed every option, setting or customization you would want. Now, I realize the greater market probably appreciates such a thing, but its not to my liking.
My TomTom loses it's shit in Boston too... I travel all over the US and Canada for work and take it everywhere with me, works fine everywhere. OP, key thing is updates regardless of what GPS you get... keep up with map corrections....
 
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I have had a Garmin Street Pilots for years (2610 from 2000-2005 2620 from 2005 till now) and love it. I paid about a grand for the first one and got the second one as a free replacement on a $99 Bestbuy extended warranty after the screen stopped working after 5 years. We test it against my wifes builtin (chrysler) and my daughters Tom Tom. It gives better routing and exact arival times constanly updating by current speeds and conditions. Also as mentioned earlier it can find almost any location or business by categories or name. Sometimes I just type in Gun in the search and it finds obscur formaer homebased gunshops. I have followed directions to several of them and while the shop is no longer in business you could tell that at one point the proerty could have been set up as a store. I have gone through 2 units and am about to replace the second one. The touch screen has gotten a bit funky on each one after about 5 years each. But I go nowhere without punching in the address and I rarely ever shut it off. so I would say the screen has about 35 - 40,000 hours on it. I dont feel like I have been ripped off. Though the cost of this unit was much more than the $100 Tom Tom.

If you are a hardcore road warrior and don't want to get lost or think about where you are going get the street Pilot. I hope they are still making them. Time to do some Google work. Because I dont think I will get another one for a trade in.
 

DavidC77

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I've got a few Garmins, one old one that was used in my Jeepin Days for the trails (it doesn't have streets or anything just topo) and I just bought a Garmin nuvi 1390T about 6 months ago and I love it. With all the doctor trips to Worchester and Boston it help a lot.

I got the one with the (as they call it) FM Traffic Receiver / Vehicle Power Cable. What it doe's is gets you upto real time traffic alerts and reroutes you from the tie-up, that's sweet. I think the T in the 1390T means the special power cable.

It's not perfect, like coming down 290 there is a new cut off to get you to the MA Pike that is way before the old exit, the unit doesn't no about that cut off (it doe's reroute you if you take the exit though), it's not Garmins flot, that section was added after this "Map" was loaded into my unit, I'm sure if I redo the maps in my unit it would be in there but mine is to new to me to be buying new maps just yet.

So yes if you do travel I think they are worth buying, heck I find myself using it around my local area also, it works that good. Where i have found it usefull is if I am out somewhere and I say "hey lets go here" I just punch it in and go, I don't have to go home and look it up on MapQuest.

Buy one and enjoy !!!

EDIT: Oh ya I forgot mine has Bluetooth also so I can use it with my cell phone to use the phone handsfree. I bought mine through Amazon.com (I buy a lot of stuff through them). It was around Christmas and Amazon.com had some great deals going on then so I got it for short money.
 
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Another_David

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FWIW, I have a Garmin Nuvi purchased at Best Buy. I like it but don't haven't had much exposure to others. I think it's a 700 series and has the "widescreen" format, which is great.

The user interface could be a little better but I've managed to use all the features.
 

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Be aware that you will spend about $100/year for the Garmin map updates. (I have a handheld Garmin that I used to use for Geocaching as well as in my car and on my bike). TomTom is supposed to have the map updates free.
 
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I have a Garmin Nuvi...It's not a bad unit for the price, and it gets me to where I need to go, but I do have some issues:

1. Acquiring satellites can take awhile. Quickest way to get up and running with good reception is to turn it on and stay stationary in your vehicle for approximately 2 minutes. I find that if I turn it on and just go, it takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes to acquire the satellites in motion.

2. Battery life is terrible. It won't make it much past 2 1/2 hours without using the AC adapter.
 

Garys

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The thing I don't like about Garmin is the cost of updates. My Nuvi is about two and half years old and is nagging me to buy the update. The thing is after three years, I can buy a new GPS for not much more than the updates and get the newest features. Garmin is going to find that the Polaroid sales model they use is going to fall victim to falling prices for consumer products. OTOH, you can buy the 2010 update on Amazon for a discount because it's almost time for the 2011 update to come out.

Speaking of Amazon, they often have good sales on GPS units.
 
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We love our Garmin Nuvi--much easier to use than the tomtom and the magellan (imo) --they also offer lifetime updates now. i have never had a problem with acquiring satellites, unless i am in certain areas... right now i am stuck using a tomtom and HATE it. it has sent me to several wrong locations and it sucks to use.

the garmin is also the only GPS that i know of that tells you the names of the names of any body of water you are passing (that was great when it came to getting info on where to take our boat or kayaks, etc)
 
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For me, there's no question: garmin. I've had a Garmin in the car for many years, well before they became as affordable as they are today. I've played with TomTom's, Magellan's and some other off-brands. No one has the simplicity and ease of use down like Garmin does. I've bought several more over the years as gifts for family members. The technology has come a long way as well in terms of GPS receivers and acquisition times. Mine does reasonably well in the city but tall buildings present a very tough challenge and one that really can't be solved by a gps unit.

These days a unit like the 265wt can be had for about $150 is not less and has everything you need. The "w" in the model name is for widesreen and the "t" is for traffic. I will tell you the traffic isn't that useful, even though it is free. There can often be delays with the data depending on where you are.

Last, no matter what unit you get make sure it has "text-to-speech". Text-to-speech basically means that it will say "Turn right on Main Street". Without the feature it just says "Turn right in 500 ft". It's much easier to hear the street name than to try and glance over to see it. Most all units now have text-to-speech except for the very low end garmins, which can be tempting for the money. They do last for a long while and I'll never pay for a map update, just upgrade when needed. I've rarely had an issue where the unit can't find an address. If you live in an area where there's lots of new roads, etc YMMV but I've been many places (including a cross country road trip) and have really never been failed.
 

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remember not to use your real home address as "home" in the GPS. Use a house a couple away. That way if they steal your car and keys they don't know where you live
 

FPrice

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Any recommendations/negative info on GPS devices.
Eddy
Yes. Learn how to use a map (and compass for when it is applicable). I have heard more than a few people complain about trying to follow a GPS and winding up somewhere else.
 
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Bah, I just use my iPhone, works like a champ and the reception is way better than my Nuvi was. If I was buying another dedicated GPS, I'd buy a nicer model that I could attach an external antenna to, that will solve all the problems I had with my Nuvi not finding satellites.
 

ochmude

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I've owned both a TomTom and a Garmin. I think the TomTom had better features and better navigation routing. The major difference I noticed was the TomTom took FOREVER to acquire a signal. The Garmin connects within seconds of turning it on.
 
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I used to be a big Magellan fan for land nav - I still have my Map410 from a decade ago and it works like a charm. I think however, they have fallen off. This weekend, I was giving an address for a town in NH to someone with a Magellan and it didn't even recognize the existence of the town...I have both a Tom-Tom and a Garmin. I like the screen on the Garmin better, but the Tom-Tom interface is more intuitive to me.
 

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The major difference I noticed was the TomTom took FOREVER to acquire a signal. The Garmin connects within seconds of turning it on.
Really?? That's the opposite of my experience. I've had a Garmin GPS III+ and a GPSMap 60CX - they can take up to 5 or 10 minutes to lock on. Call Garmin and they'll give you the song & dance about how even if it's in warranty, they'll charge you if they don't find anything wrong and maybe you should reboot it. (They got that from Microsoft, I'm sure).

I borrowed a Tomtom to evaluate it and I've noticed it locks on much faster. The routing, though... used it to try and route me home from Monadnock and whaddaya know? It tries to take me by a much longer route, even though it's set to try and pick the shortest time. [thinking] Great screen, though.
 

FiremanBob

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I find the proliferation of models and features bewildering, and the Garmin website totally sucks at explaining them. I want:

1. spoken street names
2. give directions via bluetooth to a headset in my bike helmet
3. download routes created in Google Maps.

Anyone know which Garmin does all of these?
 

ochmude

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Really?? That's the opposite of my experience. I've had a Garmin GPS III+ and a GPSMap 60CX - they can take up to 5 or 10 minutes to lock on. Call Garmin and they'll give you the song & dance about how even if it's in warranty, they'll charge you if they don't find anything wrong and maybe you should reboot it. (They got that from Microsoft, I'm sure).

I borrowed a Tomtom to evaluate it and I've noticed it locks on much faster. The routing, though... used it to try and route me home from Monadnock and whaddaya know? It tries to take me by a much longer route, even though it's set to try and pick the shortest time. [thinking] Great screen, though.
Yup, I've found that my Nuvi 265 locks on to a signal much faster than my previous TomTom. I actually did a side-by-side comparison with my wife's TomTom and the Garmin was ready to navigate in less than 30 seconds. Her TomTom took nearly 5 minutes to figure out where it was so it could start navigating.
 

wahsben

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I have a Garmin Nuvi and am very pleased with it overall. It is not perfect but it has been about 97% and even when it is off it gets me in the ballpark. It has saved me alot of stops to check maps and alot of turning around etc.
 

center442

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I have a Garmin Nuvi...It's not a bad unit for the price, and it gets me to where I need to go, but I do have some issues:

1. Acquiring satellites can take awhile. Quickest way to get up and running with good reception is to turn it on and stay stationary in your vehicle for approximately 2 minutes. I find that if I turn it on and just go, it takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes to acquire the satellites in motion.

2. Battery life is terrible. It won't make it much past 2 1/2 hours without using the AC adapter.
I'll give a vote for the Garmin. I have two of them. I'll also add that Garmin's customer support is superb. I'll also have to partially agree with Lawman's two points. My older Street Pilot has excellent battery life and locks onto the satellites fairly quickly, but because it's an older model it has the small square screen. My newer Nuvi is much thinner and has a larger screen so it's easier to see, but it suffers from the two things Lawman describes. Battery life sucks, and sometimes it can take several minutes to acquire the birds. Other times it does it in serconds. I have no idea why there's such variations.

Any brand/model will usually get you where you want to go. [wink]
 
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