Some comments on nav systems - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 09-17-2006, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll bite. I'd like some comments on nav systems. I was able to use a Garman C330 on a recent trip and thought it performed pretty well. I'm able to purchase one for $340, no tax, no shipping, but I really don't need one for another 2 years. I've looked at other Garman models and they all add some bells and whistles, but the basic dataset used in all models seems to be the same.

The only real disappointment was how it reacted to areas with new construction. By that I mean a new freeway replacing an existing route with some of the old route gone. That worked okay out on the open road, but was a little difficult to use in the city when a needed turn for a given destination no longer existed. Of course, we eventually got there, but I was wondering if other units handle the problem a little better, if their maps are updated more frequently, etc.

I believe Garman touts over 2M points of interest, so I'm also wondering if others offer more. Price is a consideration, but I'm willing to pay for something really useful as I plan on doing a lot of traveling throughout North America. For example, the next model up from the C330 offered street names on voice directions, but that added over $100 to the price and that just doesn't seem worth it.

I know I can do a lot of surfing to find some answers, but I'd like some ideas on what I should really be looking for when comparing models. I'd also like to know if any particular unit/dataset keys on forest roads or if they all pretty much keep to major highways, roads, and city streets.

Thanks for any comments.

Cheers, Dave
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post #2 of 31 Old 09-17-2006, 07:34 PM
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This year's CES showcased a lot of GPS manufacturers coming out with models combining GPS, Music and Video in small portable form factors with great 3D maps, and most of the vendors I talked to were planning to enter the US market within the next 1-2 years. These models look so much better than the current models that it would be very hard to resist the urge to upgrade once these models launch.

At this point in time, I wouldn't spend more than $500 on a GPS system, and I would not touch anything that cannot be easily and continuously updated with maps. And I believe there is a new GPS standard coming out that improves the ability of GPS receivers to work in downtown areas and indoors [due to GPS using higher transmit power].
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post #3 of 31 Old 09-17-2006, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, raaj. I wasn't actually talking about the unit not working in downtown areas, just that it was more difficult for it to deal with major highway reconstruction and we had some difficulty following the instructions when off-ramps or streets were no longer were they had been. It was a problem of map data not yet being updated, not reception. It got us to our destination, but I was wondering if some companies are better at updating their maps or if Garman is no better or no worse. I trust the Garman name, but don't know enough yet. Sicne I've really got 2 years, I will probably hold off, but I'd liek to get smarter in the meantime.

Cheers, Dave
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post #4 of 31 Old 09-18-2006, 06:35 AM
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Perhaps its a new post but I got all of them at essentially dealer cost so it was fairly affordable (if there is ever such a thing with hobbies like these) For the price it was hard to refuse and I have gotten great comments about the Polk momo series. Either way its a starting point. If I stayed with my first HD tv I would be way behind the times I assure you :) I am only faithful to my wife but when it comes to upgrades...........well I am a cheater for sure :)
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post #5 of 31 Old 09-18-2006, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ
Thanks, raaj. I wasn't actually talking about the unit not working in downtown areas, just that it was more difficult for it to deal with major highway reconstruction and we had some difficulty following the instructions when off-ramps or streets were no longer were they had been. It was a problem of map data not yet being updated, not reception. It got us to our destination, but I was wondering if some companies are better at updating their maps or if Garman is no better or no worse. I trust the Garman name, but don't know enough yet. Sicne I've really got 2 years, I will probably hold off, but I'd liek to get smarter in the meantime.
I understand. I was just saying that with significant upcoming improvements in GPS, I would not recommend anybody spending more than $500 on a GPS receiver. The upcoming GPS receivers from all major vendors [and a couple of new ones to the US market] will have better ergonomics, better interfaces, better reception and hopefully better software support.

I use Microsoft's Streets and Trips 2006 on a laptop while I am driving out of town, and it cost me all but $130 with complete US maps and a USB GPS receiver. The construction details are updated quite often, it is pretty accurate with the directions, uses the same NAVTEQ software used by many GPS vendors, has millions of points of interest, gives me voice directions, and gives me a 17" screen to boot :D For the money, my needs are pretty much served by this solution.

I would spend money on a dedicated GPS receiver, but only after the next generation has launched.

BTW, check out mp3car.com for some discussions on GPS solutions.
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post #6 of 31 Old 09-18-2006, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks for the info, I never thought of a laptop based solution for interim use. I'll google USB GPS, but can you provide model info on the unit you have?

Cheers, Dave
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post #7 of 31 Old 09-18-2006, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ
Hey, thanks for the info, I never thought of a laptop based solution for interim use. I'll google USB GPS, but can you provide model info on the unit you have?
I have this:

Microsoft Streets and Trips 2006 with GPS Locator

Learn about it from Microsoft's website: http://www.microsoft.com/streets/default.mspx

There is an upcoming version of this product up for pre-order on Amazon.com for $110 shipped on Oct12.

Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007 with GPS Locator
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post #8 of 31 Old 09-18-2006, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch and thanks to David for starting this thread.

I checked out the links and did a quick google. I was wondering if it includes Forest Roads, it sounds like it's limited to highways, county roads, city streets, etc.

Also, it looks like it's main competitor is Street Atlas, any experience with that? It has over 4M points of interest vs S&Ts 1.8M, but I couldn't find a video tour like S&Ts website had.

Cheers, Dave
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post #9 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ
Thanks a bunch and thanks to David for starting this thread.

I checked out the links and did a quick google. I was wondering if it includes Forest Roads, it sounds like it's limited to highways, county roads, city streets, etc.

Also, it looks like it's main competitor is Street Atlas, any experience with that? It has over 4M points of interest vs S&Ts 1.8M, but I couldn't find a video tour like S&Ts website had.
Sorry.. to be honest, I've needed the GPS only for commute in the urban areas, and I've never had to venture into the woods.. :) One good way to find out is if you could find the forest routes in google or yahoo maps or any other mapping service that uses NAVTEQ's software, chances are that MS S&T would have it - given that it uses the same software.

I haven't tried any other laptop based GPS solutions, but I've heard that they have more problems than MS S&T. And the thing to remember about PoI is that they need to be accurate, and I haven't seen well documented comparisons of the accuracy of PoI. I've had bad experiences of wrongly documented PoI while using Magellan and Garmin's software on their $$$ GPS too, FWIW.

In any case, I don't claim that MS S&T is the panacea of GPS, but I do find it to be the best value for money.

P.S: Oh, when I bought my MS S&T for the first time (in 2005) MS had a 30-day satisfaction guarantee or full refund of money offer. It's not a bad idea to try it out on one of your trips, if they still have it on their 2007 release.
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post #10 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, raaj, that's pretty much what I'm getting from reading the reviews, etc. I'll give the google maps a try and see, good suggestion.

Cheers, Dave
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post #11 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 08:13 AM
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I have an Athlon XP-64 2800+ based system in my trunk that includes, among other things, a BU-353 USB GPS receiver and use it with iGuidance.

The receiver is here:
http://www.usglobalsat.com/item.asp?itemid=60&catid=17

iGuidance is here:
http://www.inavcorp.com/
(d'oh! just found out now there's a new version of iGuidance... I'm going to have to upgrade)

Because I've got a full PC system, I can download the updates whenever I want or as they're available. I can also integrate it with googlemaps, frapper or whatever (I have both WiFi and EVDO tethered over bluetooth). So I wouldn't bother with one of those standalone units. I built this system that includes Sirius, GPS, DVD/MP3 playback, browsing, integrated phone through the speakers, and a bunch of other stuff (voice control is next) for like $1500 total. Much as I love AVS Forum (and I've been here for a while), if this is something that interests you, www.mp3car.com is pretty much the definitive resource for all things car-tech related.
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post #12 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 08:53 AM
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John,

Have you compared iG3 with MS S&T? They both use NAVTEQ software, and both have voice prompts and dynamic re-routing etc. It'd be interesting to compare both.
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post #13 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 09:04 AM
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I didn't even know iG3 was out until just now when I googled it to post the URL. My system has been rock solid since this past spring so I haven't been keeping up with the latest and greatest. And I guess iG3 was just announced this month. I definitely preferred iG2 over whatever version of S&T was available around this time last year when I purchased.

Again, though, if there's a comparison between those products, it'll be at mp3car
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post #14 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Jeez, I'm learning a lot. I had no idea there were so many options and I will definitely check out mp3car. One thing I note when checking specs is the number of POIs; 1.4M in iG3, 1.8M in S&T, 2M+ in SA, though I'm not sure what the realities of these numbers are. The last thing I want to do is research an area on the internet, find some things I'd like to do, and then not have them in the POI database. I assume that most programs let you add data.

Also, since you have laptop or PC in the car, I'd like to know how you arrange thigns so you can see the screen and access the keyboard. Obviously, a computer display is a lot larger than the Garmin, Magellan, etc., standalone units that mount to the windshield or dash. I suppose there are mounts for laptops that are similar to what police use in their patrol cars. Hopefully mp3car will have that kind of info too.

Cheers, Dave
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post #15 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ
Jeez, I'm learning a lot. I had no idea there were so many options and I will definitely check out mp3car. One thing I note when checking specs is the number of POIs; 1.4M in iG3, 1.8M in S&T, 2M+ in SA, though I'm not sure what the realities of these numbers are. The last thing I want to do is research an area on the internet, find some things I'd like to do, and then not have them in the POI database. I assume that most programs let you add data.

Also, since you have laptop or PC in the car, I'd like to know how you arrange thigns so you can see the screen and access the keyboard. Obviously, a computer display is a lot larger than the Garmin, Magellan, etc., standalone units that mount to the windshield or dash. I suppose there are mounts for laptops that are similar to what police use in their patrol cars. Hopefully mp3car will have that kind of info too.
I have a modded version of iguidance that's specific for the software frontend I run. You can add whatever POIs you want. As for keyboard, I rarely use one. I have a 7" touchscreen mounted in the dash above my stereo headunit. The monitor pops out and folds up (so it looks like a generic stereo component when it's closed up). I use a frontend called roadrunner that's specifically built for incar use, so it's all touchscreen enabled. If I have to type something it has a built in popup onscreen keyboard. I also have a wireless usb keyboard under my seat but I haven't touched it in months.
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post #16 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 09:16 AM
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I bought my 2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L with Navigation System last April. The nav is so easy to use and extremely accurate. Well worth the price and upgrade. My wife and I used it a lot when we were out house hunting. We both can't drive without it now. I had to buy a portable one (Navman ICN510) for my old Mitsubishi Montero Sport because of it.
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post #17 of 31 Old 09-24-2006, 05:25 AM
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I use a laptop for my gps needs also. I have a Sharp that I use only in my car.
The Actius AL27 features a Double Bright (approx. 400 cd/m2) 15" XGA LCD that is two times brighter than a typical notebook display. Sharp's Advanced Super-V technology with extremely wide viewing angles (160° horizontal and 130° vertical) deliver a crisp and clear viewing experience under any lighting conditions. I also have mobile internet from T-Moble, its a little slow, just over 100k but nice to pull over any where and check e-mail or weather maps.

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post #18 of 31 Old 10-02-2006, 03:49 PM
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I have been considering a job where I would be driving to different locations almost daily. Thus I am considering a GPS unit. I believe Bluetooth phone intergration and the FM live Traffic updates would be benefitial. This is mind I have looked into many models and found that the c550 would fit my needs.

Problem is I agree with raaj's comments and logic. Is there any information on when the "next generation" major leap in quality GPS units will hit the US market for sale? This timeline would weigh in heavily for my decision.

It could be hard to decide between:

a) Waiting and not having a GPS that would be greatly benefitial in the mean time just to have "next gen" on what I consider an expensive item.

b) Spending a good deal of cash (c550 retail) on something that is at the end of a generation with the very next models being a next gen jump in quality but having it to use.

Any thoughts? (NOTE: I am only considering standalone small GPS units like the c550)
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post #19 of 31 Old 10-04-2006, 11:13 AM
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DASH (www.dash.net) recently unveiled their own navigation concept. apparently, they are planning to update the receivers in real-time, taking into consideration current traffic conditions/road repairs/accidents and how fast other DASH users are actually going. i'm not quite sure yet which network they're gonna use... i also believe that they can focus on POI searches. Q1'07 is the expected release...
i believe that the GPS add-on to the PSP will also focus on POIs, but i'm not really sure if it will be released in the US.
i am currently interested in the new Magellan Roadmate receivers, particularly the 2200T. i believe it's a great value for the features, especially the 8-hour battery life. however, the white color will just not "fit" in my car... the 2000T's color works fine but it has lesser features. i just bought the Cobra NavOne 2500 so we'll see how that will work...
for those using laptops in their cars, are you using some type of mount or do you just place the laptop in the passenger seat? where do you place the bluetooth gps?
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post #20 of 31 Old 10-06-2006, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ
The only real disappointment was how it reacted to areas with new construction. By that I mean a new freeway replacing an existing route with some of the old route gone. .
I don't know whether any gps will do this. I've heard that the maps used are about 2 years old when they send them to you. I think there are units that give you real time traffic, but I don't know it that includes construction. Only certain cities have this feature.

I've had a Magellan GPS for about a year. We've found it indispensable when travelling. I don't think I would ever buy a car with a built in unit. Our gps is relatively small so we can pack it when we travel by air and use it in a rental car. I can also switch it between our vehicles or put it into someone elses car when they are the drivers.
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post #21 of 31 Old 10-07-2006, 06:50 AM
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I would agree with RonKr,

I've owned my Garman c330 for about 6 months.Moving it from my own car to rental cars in others states is well worth the purchase price.

I wouldnt leave home without it :)

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post #22 of 31 Old 10-07-2006, 04:10 PM
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It's my B-Day coming up and the kids are wanting to get me home on time for dinner without getting lost. I just looked at the C550 Garmin. I just do not have enough info to make a purchase yet. I am not toally sure which one is the best bang for my buck? Anybody care to chime in on models currently being used. I would hopefully get a response or two that are negative. It would be nice to know which ones to stay waay from. So far, I've searched out online the Magellan, Garmin, Sony, & Tom Tom. I program Crestron so I have a laptop for software like the microsoft program, but I do not want my 17" Sony flying when I get sombody in front of me that can't drive. You know?

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post #23 of 31 Old 10-07-2006, 04:38 PM
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Try the web site:
www.gpsinformation.net

They have a great comparison of screen readability in different lighting conditions. Check that out too.

I have a Magellan 800 that I bought at Costco that I'm happy with. I orginally bought a Magellan 360 that worked well, but I started to have problems with it so I returned it to Costco and got the 800. Those first 6 months convinced my wife and I that gps was really useful.
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post #24 of 31 Old 10-07-2006, 04:59 PM
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Thanks.

I'll check it out!

BNC
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post #25 of 31 Old 10-09-2006, 05:12 PM
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The solution I'm currently using is a PDA with built-in GPS receiver. There are a few of these out there. The nice thing about this solution is that you also get the additional functionality of a PDA - such as sync with Outlook (or your business' Exchange server), MS Media player (along with a 4gb SD card, I don't have any need to carry CD's anymore). The PDA hooks right into my car stereo and I can play music and navigate at the same time. Also, this solution allows me to try a variety of navigation software. Each type of nav. software has it's advantages and disadvantages, and I can decide for myself which one works best for me. With the stand-alone units, you're kind of forced to use their software without any real choice.

Also, I'm a pilot, so I need a completely different type of nav software when flying, but since I'm using a PDA solution, I can also install aviation nav software along with car nav software and don't have to buy yet another device.

I travel a lot for work, so the PDA/GPS works great when I have to use it in different cars. Since the PDA and GPS are one device, it also saves me from having to carry extra gear.

So, for portability and flexibility, the PDA/GPS combo is a pretty good choice.

Right now, I'm using the Pharos GPS Traveler 525 PDA (with Windows Mobile 5) and CoPilot 6 as the nav software.

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post #26 of 31 Old 10-14-2006, 05:06 PM
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I have a 2005 Hummer H2 with the GM GPS navigation unit. It works easily and perfectly. It also is integrated with the radio, cell phone, and Onstar. Only downside is it doesn't have real time traffic capability.

FWIW, based on my experience, I would be hesitant to get anything but the factory unit whenever I buy a GM car.

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post #27 of 31 Old 10-19-2006, 04:21 AM
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I got the Garmin Nuvi 660 two weeks ago and it's easily the best GPS I have used yet....and I've been through a lot of 'em! It can be purchased online for about $730.

You can find a review at GPS Lodge:

GPS Lodge's Garmin 660 Review

If you have any questions on the 660 or how it compares to previous Garmin units (I previously had a C340, and briefly had a C550), just let me know.
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post #28 of 31 Old 10-19-2006, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
FWIW, based on my experience, I would be hesitant to get anything but the factory unit whenever I buy a GM car.
I've used a number of in-car units in rental cars and none came close to the Garmin Nuvi 660 in terms of performance and usability.
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post #29 of 31 Old 10-25-2006, 11:11 AM
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how is the glare on the nuvi 660? AFAIK, nuvi's are not really designed for in-car use like the C-series models...
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post #30 of 31 Old 10-25-2006, 05:11 PM
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The Garmin C330 and C340 were useless in the sun. The C550 added the same anti-glare screen used on the 27x0 and 28x0 series. The Nuvi 660 has Garmin's best screen yet. It's absurdly bright with significantly higher resolution.

From the GPSLodge.com Nuvi 660 review:
Quote:
I have to keep coming back to the screen and it’s 4.3-inch widescreen format. It is super bright, and there is NO ISSUE seeing what’s going on in the sunlight. Below you can see the Garmin Nuvi 660 widescreen screenshot with a screenshot of the Garmin StreetPilot C550 superimposed on top of it (I reviewed the C550 this summer). These are both full size and it should give you an idea of the real world implications of seeing more with the widescreen. Check out all the extra real estate, and you will see why this is a big deal.

http://www.gpslodge.com/images/screensizesuper.jpg
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