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Where Are the In Deprh Professional Reviews?

LostAgain 81 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
A few years ago, when looking to buy a gps for auto navigation, there were several websites doing in depth reviews of various brand gps products. I'm talking about professional reviews by people with experience and the time and resource to do side by side comparisons using consistent and repeatable testing methods. Here is one example of what I am talking about:

Today I have found reviews like that almost non existent for current gps products and am wondering why.

Have the manufacturers flooded the market with so many models reviewers have given up keeping up?

Have manufacturers stopped loaning their products for review?

Are today's consumers not interested in researching product info before buying?

With the huge number of retailers offering "customer review ratings" it would not seem consumers are not interested. But the problem with customer reviews of course is they often have little or no experience with other products to base their opinion on.

Anyway, just curious if I'm the only one who has noticed the lack of quality professional reviews for the current automotive gps market.


  • I have found the same results in checking review websites. Case in Point is C-net, who covers all the bells and whistles of GPS units, but little or no review of the navigation ability of these devices. I have had thousands some 10,000 miles of experience with the Garmin nuvi 660 GPS until it stopped working. It had fewer bells and whistles then today's units and harder to understand cyber language, but its navigation skills were better and more dependable then the brand new Garmin 1390 model I just purchased that made mistakes almost every time out. I finally returned it to Costco in disgust and am trying a different brand. Not one word mentioned in C-Net about this disfunctional piece of junk!!! Also I reported a map error one year ago to Garmin who admitted their mistake. One year latter they have not changed their mapping and the mistake is still there. There is no excuse for this.

    Portland, OR
  • Boyd 1980 Points
    I have had thousands some 10,000 miles of experience with the Garmin nuvi 660 GPS until it stopped working. It had fewer bells and whistles then today's units and harder to understand cyber language
    I drove over 100,000 miles with my own Nuvi 650 and gave it to my kids who continued to use it after that. Maybe you just don't drive very much? What was the "hard to understand cyber language" on your 660? I think it was quite simplistic and no harder to understand than any of the newer models.

    I've owned a Nuvi 650, 5000, 205, 1350t and 3790t and driven several hundred thousand miles combined. Before that I had a Streetpilot 2620 and also eTrex Legend C, GPSMap 60csx andcurrently a Montana 600 handheld. No problems with any of these, ever.

    Is there room for improvement? Of course! But I've found they met my needs and did what they were supposed to do reliably.

    I do agree that in depth reviews can be hard to find. But that's why we're here at GPSReview. :D

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
  • I think the biggest fault with Garmin is their map provider. Navteq does not seem to offer as good as a product as we expect it to be.

    Would the Nuvi's route better with more accurate maps? I think or *I* do want to think so.
    I also agree that the time elapsed between a map report and actually showing on the map is completely unacceptable in this day and age.
    I said it before, the Achilles heel of Garmin is the map provider.

    As for reviews I agree that they seem to alot less.
    I really enjoy reading them but maybe thats because every new models bring little new worth talking about.
    The new Nuvies with their guidance 1, 2 and 3 are just a reash of a compilation of whats was already available. The only new thing to talk about was the interface. Is that worth a review??
  • What I miss with in-depth reviews is bringing to light what has changed with new products, aside from what's in the marketing announcements or website product literature. I have come to expect electronic technology products to typically improve with each new announcement (i.e. TV's, computers, etc.), both in price and performance. That's not always the case with Garmin. Often what we get are "trade off of features" apparently to achieve a price point or maybe to appeal to a certain market segment. Things like deleting the convenience of a powered mount (which is not mentioned in product literature), but adding a software "My Trends" feature. Same with lack of audio or the inability to import routes on a newer model that was available on similar price point older models. And of course there's a plethora of performance and user interface issues that cannot be gleaned from reading product specs.

    Forums such as this are a step up from reading customer reviews in Amazon, etc., but still, what gets posted is often a bitter experience from a frustrated user, while another person posts glowing accolades and is upset someone else complained about the same model he has. Unless a reader has knowledge of the poster's background and experience, he has little confidence in which to believe. This is why I miss the pro reviews that are not very prevalent today. At least in the past what was reviewed was often written by a professional that had a history of evaluating many gps models and thus could more accurately explain meaningful differences between them.
  • Boyd,
    You sound like a Garmin Salesman!
    Let me address your comments one by one: (1) You don't have to drive 100,000 miles to find out whether a GPS is navigating properly or if the mapping is correct. All you need to do is drive the streets of your own city that you already know before you take it out on the open road, and you will know if it is taking the shortest or the fastest route that you've programmed in. It's easy to measure distances on roads in your town or city, and you already know which routes are quickest or shortest.

    (2) I wasn't complaining about the NUVI 660 I owned. It's navigation skills and mapping were better than the new Garmin 1390 model I bought, and returned.

    (3) There has been a huge difference in the speech quality between the Nuvi 660 and the new models. If you don't know that, then maybe you need to get your ears checked. The newer models are all better by far.

    (4) I would like you to explain why a map error agreed to by Garmin went uncorrected for a full year and is still uncorrected upon report just a few days ago again by me, and they have not responded!!!

    (5) YOUR STATEMENT: I've owned a Nuvi 650, 5000, 205, 1350t, and 3790t, and driven several hundred thousand miles combined. Before that I had a Streetpilot 2620 and also etrex Legend C, GPSMap 60csx and currently a Montana 600 handheld. No problems with any of these, ever.

    Boyd. anyone that believes that, I got a bridge in Brooklyn, I'd like to sell you!!!

    I took my Garmin 1390 back to Costco and bought a Magellan 5120LMTX. The Magellan doesn't have all the bells an whistles of the Garmin 1390 but in navigation and map performance the new Magellan runs circles around the Garmin 1390 unit.

    Mark Hardy
  • Boyd 1980 Points

    1. I don't really disagree with that

    2. You missed my point. A nuvi 660 that fails after 10,000 miles implies that either you drive very little or there was an usual problem since mine went well over 100,000 miles.

    3. I always keep my Nuvi's muted so I have no idea how the speech quality compares. When you said "hard to understand cyber language" I thought you meant it was necessary to understand some kind of computer language to program it. Now I see that you were talking about the quality of the speech synthesizer.

    4. How could I explain that? You should ask Garmin. Maybe you would do better to report the errors to Navteq?

    5. Well, it's true and honestly I could care less if you believe it. When I said "no problems" I was talking about hardware problems that would require repair or replacement - like your 660 that "stopped working" after only 10,000 miles.
  • Boyd,

    The GPS mileage I put down is only approximate. I drive 20,000 miles per year but only about 4000 of that is trip miles. The total miles using the Nuvi 660 could easily have been 15000 or 20,000 on trips. I use it on and off around town for short runs. It suddenly announced one morning that there was no software. I may yet try to get it working if I can reload the software.

    My real concern is that the new 1390 model's performance was far below the older model I owned. Maybe I just got a lemon or something. I would hate to think that the quality of Garmin's mapping and nav properties have been slipping downward over the years. I wouldn't mind spending more money for a pricier model if that's what it takes, but if the mapping and navigation are the same on every model, why bother? I don't need a lot of bells and whistles like recorded music, photos, blue tooth, etc.. I just want the mapping and navigation to work well. That's all.

    Sorry I got a bit insulting on my last email. There was no call for that.

    Mark Hardy
    Portland, OR
  • Boyd 1980 Points
    No problem Art. I had a 1350 for awhile, and frankly it wasn't my favorite Nuvi either although the hardware itself was more attractive and less "plasticky" feeling than my 650. Both of those devices got handed down to my daughter and they loved them, but they live in the NYC area on only use them occasionally in rented cars.

    There is a lot of room for improvement in Garmin's automotive units, as I said above. However, at least from a hardware reliability point of view, mine have been trouble free.

    Enjoy the holidays.
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