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Does it still make sense in 2016 to buy a Garmin?

I'm on my 3rd GPS in 9 years. Current GPS is a Garmin Nuvi. I made the mistake of not updating the maps in over 2 years and have since lost the "Free Lifetime Map Updates". CS says I have to purchase a new Lifetime Map Update or a new Garmin. I made the mistake of thinking that Lifetime Map Updates meant at the very least for the lifetime of the GPS unit. I was wrong. :( Last time I updated was in 2013. There have been a few new subdivisions and new roads built in my area in the last 2 to 3 years that currently do not show on my Garmin. We spend two months a year in Florida and have come across some new roads not shown on my Garmin there to. My wife says our android cellphones with Google Maps and Waze is good enough and she doesn't want to spend the money on a new Garmin or new maps updates but in the end is leaving it up to me to decide. Using cellphone data is not an issue since we have unlimited data with Verizon. I also know the HERE and CoPilot apps can store maps offline. But are these apps as good as a Garmin in your opinion?

So I come to you guys the GPS experts. Does it today in 2016 still make sense to buy a new Garmin or any PND? If your current Garmin stopped working today what would you do? Would you use your cellphone gps or go get a new or refurbished Garmin?
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Comments

  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I make my own specialized maps, and most of them are in Garmin's format, so that keeps me in their ecosystem for the time being. But I am transitioning these maps to Android and iOS apps, I have an 8" Android tablet and a 5.5" iPhone 6s Plus. Recently noticed that the iPhone would fit perfectly on my dashboard between the speedometer and tachometer gauges, so I will eventually get around to making a custom mount. That might be about all it takes to get me to switch…

    On iOS there's also the StreetPilot app (aka "Garmin USA") that basically gives you a nuvi with the map stored locally on your phone. The only downside there is that Garmin has crippled it in terms of not allowing any data import/export (you can't add existing favorites from a Nuvi, for example).

    One appeal of the Nuvi is that it is very simple and straightforward however. It can just stay in the car and turn on and off automatically, all ready to use.

    But I think the public has answered your question in the marketplace already. Sales of dedicated GPS devices have plummeted in recent years. I was skeptical for a long while, but now I think we're witnessing their slow death, especially with the growing popularity of phones with very large screens.
  • sussamb 634 Points
    I think for many a phone will suffice, but I've tried it and far prefer my GPS. So yes, for me in 2016 it does still make sense to use a Garmin.
  • AndreyT 104 Points
    edited March 2016
    The primary reasons for buying a standalone GPS are

    1. Permanent and semi-permanent mounting and/or wiring.
    Modern smartphones are, unfortunately, not suited for that. The idea of powered dock for a smartphones died a long time ago. Now wireless charging might revive it, but I don't see it yet.

    2. Offline maps.
    Yes, offline map applications for smartphones do exist, but for some unexplainable reason they are of questionable quality.

    If none of this matters to you, then you might be perfectly happy with a smartphone as GPS device.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    edited March 2016
    It's all just software. Smartphone hardware has far surpassed Garmin's hardware in pretty much every way. I suppose you could argue that the gps chips aren't as robust, but the ability to use cell towers and wifi hotspots for position data can be a big plus in place like Manhattan Island.

    The iPhone StreetPilot app is very close to the Nuvi except for the data exchange limitations and inablility to use multiple maps. Now the app costs almost as much as a Nuvi, but you can install it on all your devices and with Apple's family sharing, that can be extended to even more users. Garmin doesn't seem inclined to go the whole way with apps because it would cut too deep into their hardware sales.

    But I just don't see the dedicated devices winning in the long run. People were reluctant to part with their slide rules and 8-track tapes too. >:)
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    Thanks for your opinions everyone! :) My wife uses Google Maps when she drives. I still use my Garmin Nuvi because its a familiar interface for me (Still mad I lost my Lifetime Maps). I just spoke with my son who gave up his TomTom a few years ago and now uses Waze and Navigon. He says he will never go back to a PND. I'm leaning towards using Google Maps more and seeing how it goes.
  • privet01 144 Points
    edited March 2016
    If you already have a smartphone, then for simply getting around in city and travel highways and interstates between cities, I think a smartphone is now the easiest solution. In fact I find the smartphone more accurate in giving directions in cities. Plus it knows my voice and all I have to do is tell it where I want to go and it will find it quickly and start giving me directions without me having to look at the phone or push anything...... most of the time.

    There are pros and cons still, so if you are one that likes to build routes and spend a bunch of other OCD time planning to the n'th degree, then a dedicated gps might still be better. A dedicated unit also comes out better if you are wanting a constant moving map display as a phone will burn through your data plan as it will be constantly downloading the maps for your current location as you drive. You can of course get apps that let you do a download ahead of time when you are on wifi, but then you have to be one of those that like to plan ahead.

    For off road use, a handheld gps is probably going to be around awhile as many smartphones don't have the ideal gps reciever setup in them and some maybe most do poorly when out of cell service.

    What do I do currently...... for traveling within an unfamiliar city I use my smartphone. For traveling between cities, I use my nuvi 205w I got circa 2009 maybe 2008. I have lifetime maps, but I seldom update more than every two years. I've never run into a situation where just reading the signs on the road didn't get me where I needed to when improvements don't agree with the gps.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    privet01 said:

    You can of course get apps that let you do a download ahead of time when you are on wifi, but then you have to be one of those that like to plan ahead.

    That is not really true. There are a variety of apps that install the complete map on your phone, just like a nuvi. And my phone has 128gb internal memory, so devoting two or three of those to a map wouldn't be an issue.

    And even if the map isn't installed on the phone, I'm not sure that using an app would "burn through your data plan". The OP stated that he has an unlimited plan for example. How much data does a GPS app really use? I've got to believe it's pretty small compared to other things people do with their phones today, like watching movies, streaming music or videoconferencing. :)
  • t923347 403 Points
    Been a big Nuvi fan since 2005 but I'm finding I use my phone for navigation more and more these days. After using a bunch of applications on my Galaxy S4 (soon to be a S7) I've really come down to 2 that I use almost exclusively now - Google Maps and HERE.

    My favorite is Google but it does use some data but surprising very little. I have a 10GB annual plan in my WiFI enabled GM vehicle and was always afraid that Google would eat up the data if used for Navigation. What I'm finding is that very little data is used compared to other activities I could be doing on the phone. I'm certainly no longer worried about data use while navigating.

    My other favorite application is HERE, from the map suppliers for Garmin devices. This application uses no data at all as I simply downloaded all the state and province maps I will ever use to the SD card on my phone and can use it all day and use no data.

    Each of these have limitations compared to my Nuvi's as they don't do multipoint routing all that easily for example but if your worried about using data then either of these would be a good choice IMO.
  • Nav units are becoming standard in cars at lower and lower trim levels these days instead of being expensive add-on options. My Mazda 3 came with it, but also showed some of the shortcomings of the built-in units. First off, mine happens to have been done by Tom Tom. I've been using Garmin exclusively since back in the days when they were AA-battery powered and had about a 2" monochrome screen. After a year I am still not used to the different way that the Tom Tom interface works!

    Another serious annoyance is that the touch screen is disabled when you're moving. I realize that this is a safety feature, but on long trips with our Garmin, it's not unusual for the one of us in the passenger seat to grab the Garmin and search ahead on our route for the next restaurants, coffee stops, etc. On the Mazda you can use the knob/joystick on the console to operate it, but that's klutzy, and a friend with a Subaru said that hers can't be operated at all while moving.

    So as far as I'm concerned, the built-in GPSes are OK for some uses around town (I do use mine a lot when driving a new Meals on Wheels route), but we plan on keeping our Nuvi (or a newer replacement) around for quite a while. Just this month, in fact, we had a rental car for a couple of weeks out in Arizona and would not have been able to get around very well at all without having the Nuvi along with us.
  • t923347 403 Points
    We are leaving our winter home in Arizona in early April and heading back to Canada for the summer. I'm planning on using my Nuvi 3597 as well as Google Maps on my phone to give them a good comparison test over 1700 to 1800 miles. At the very least I should get a pretty good idea of how much data I "burn through" on the phone side. I doubt I'd ever completely give up my Nuvi but this trip should let me know if I can actually live with the smartphone's navigation limitations and turn the Nuvi into a very dependable "back up" unit . ;)
  • truckinguy 108 Points
    Dedicated GPS units will not die out.. just evolve more so. Shoot me if I had to use my smartphone...can't imagine dealing with it for real navigating. The Garmin stays in the Vechile..Phone come with me. I'm always looking or loosing the phone's. Not so with the Garmin.. Also Data use. Hoaky power wires.Easy to break screens.Tiny keyboards. Apps for this Apps for that... This app will work for only this phone..etc.All the clutter of apps in it.
    I love Garmins Lane guidance. The new spoken directions. I've used Mapsource for years and still does a great job as well as Basecamp..Love the 7 in screen and being mounted permanently in a perfect spot due to Ram systems. No cell loss as I move about the USA and on Business trips across the Eastern Seaboard. I just wish they still had external antenna jacks. On my RV the overhead cab screws up the signal big time. I have to use a small low powered repeater.. illegal but works and that's what is needed to drive safely.
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    t923347 said:

    We are leaving our winter home in Arizona in early April and heading back to Canada for the summer. I'm planning on using my Nuvi 3597 as well as Google Maps on my phone to give them a good comparison test over 1700 to 1800 miles. At the very least I should get a pretty good idea of how much data I "burn through" on the phone side. I doubt I'd ever completely give up my Nuvi but this trip should let me know if I can actually live with the smartphone's navigation limitations and turn the Nuvi into a very dependable "back up" unit . ;)


    Looking forward to reading your experience of using Google Maps on your long trip home :)
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    edited March 2016
    Went to BestBuy yesterday and checked out some of the Garmin Nuvi's they had on clearance. A couple models were below $120. Didn't purchase any. Gonna hold off until I give Google Maps a fair shot to be my go to navigator.

    edit: To be honest I couldn't justify the expense just to have updated maps. Being retired certainly makes you more frugal.
  • privet01 144 Points
    IMO, too many people place too much importance on updated maps. As far as for all my travels in the USA, the road signage is always more than adequate to get you past any road changes. All you have to do is keep calm, look and think when you find things don't agree. I've got a 10 maybe 15 year old paper atlas in the car that gives accurrate enough information for the highways and interstates between destinations. Sure the interchanges get moved some places, but paying attention to what you see out your windshield clues you in to those.

    Even on the local scale, I've never had to fret too much to find my destination despite new roads or even roads the disappeared. The only people I can see new maps helping are those that can only navigate by "turn left", "turn right" etc. ;)
  • Chris_Sav 58 Points
    Been waiting for ages for a flagship model to replace my battered 3790T flagship model. Tried the 3598LMTD and sent it straight back when I found it did not have enough internal memory to take the then current map without surgery or an SD card.

    I see the new Garmin DriveLuxe™ 50LMT-D has doubled the internal memory with 16gig and all the bells and whistles so am tempted when this appears. I don't have, need or want a smartphone. Still a market for dedicated users like me but I guess I'm in the minority.
  • sussamb 634 Points
    Never seen the problem with adding a sd card given how cheap they are. I've run my GPS with sd cards for years and it's not an issue. Have had to add them to my camera and phone too :)
  • Chris_Sav 58 Points
    sussamb said:

    Never seen the problem with adding a sd card given how cheap they are. I've run my GPS with sd cards for years and it's not an issue. Have had to add them to my camera and phone too :)

    Old ground we've been over before and disagree on, see no point in it being repeated here.

  • Boyd 1735 Points
    FWIW, the 35xx series has 3d terrain and buildings that take something like 1gb additional storage space. I don't believe the new "Drive" models have these features. so they don't need quite as much storage space.

    I would agree that it's ridiculous if a current device doesn't even have enough memory for the current map (if that is really the case). OTOH, adding a card is no big deal. Where did you get the 16gb number for the Drive model? Garmin doesn't publish those specs AFAIK
  • Chris_Sav 58 Points
    Info received from Garmin Europe Support to a direct question.

    Yes the 3598LMTD, out of the box, would not download the then current map without an SD card due to insufficient internal memory.

    The 'real' directions have to be an improvement on the 3790T telling me to turn before I have passed the penultimate junction, so that you are forced to look at the screen to check the distance to the junction.

    Battery life is pretty poor at 1 hour but my Montana covers most of that scenario.
  • Three issues for me;
    1. I could not handle a phone with a 7 inch screen or a GPS with less than a 7 inch screen.
    2. I am regularly out of phone range so I would need offline mapping and haven't found one yet that equals the Garmin. I am working with the developers of one that is coming along fine but it will not run on my windows phone as yet. We already have a very comprehensive file of over 9000 custom POIs highlighting camping sights etc.
    3. Our local Australian laws preclude the use of a phone whilst driving but no mention of a GPS a yet.

    Kevin H
  • menhir 50 Points
    I agree with with sussamb about the SD cards...a simple and inexpensive solution.

    Regarding the phone apps...I'll admit that I'm finally being won over. I still want to keep my dedicated GPS, but I find myself going to my CoPilot app first when I'm searching for POIs because my Nuvi takes an inconveniently long time and often comes up with nothing, while the CoPilot app will complete the search in seconds with far more accurate results.

    As far as map updates go, I keep my Garmin maps up to date but I also have an old Magellan GPS in my car that hasn't been updated or supported in many years, and I rarely had any significant problems finding my way with it, at least as far as getting me to where I want to be. The search for business POIs such as restaraunts, etc., suffers, of couse, because they change so often.

  • Boyd 1735 Points

    1. I could not handle a phone with a 7 inch screen or a GPS with less than a 7 inch screen.

    An iPad or Android tablet can run the same apps on a large screen. :) I have an 8" Samsung tablet and the screen is far superior to my 7" Garmin Dezl 760. Much more readable in bright sunlight, higher resolution screen. And the tablet will run for about 5 hours on full brightness on battery. My Dezl would run for about 1/2 hour on battery when it was new. Now, after 2-3 years use, the Dezl will only run for a matter of minutes on battery. I paid $200 for the tablet, I think the Dezl was $300.

    This is just another example of how Garmin's hardware lags phones and tablets these days. If they can't compete, I wish they would just release a full featured app so we could have Garmin software on better hardware.
  • truckinguy 108 Points
    I now run a Dezl 760 and 2797..Mounted on a ram cradel and mount below eye level. Hard wired.. it's the cat's meow... Funny how some find using a gps so hard or try to use it for what it isn't made for.
    I load POI's of most anything I might need. Also worst case I use the phone to google a place then enter into the gps. Off I go.. simple..
  • alanb 348 Points
    Boyd said:

    This is just another example of how Garmin's hardware lags phones and tablets these days. If they can't compete, I wish they would just release a full featured app so we could have Garmin software on better hardware.

    I will second that sentiment. I really thought Viago was a good start for a full featured app. It worked on both platforms and was very close to a nuvi in its user interface. It could get map data online (data connection) or could use offline maps, the same maps used on the nuvi. Viago just needed a few more features like custom POIs and GPX file import/export. I was disappointed when Garmin discontinued it.


  • Boyd 1735 Points

    Funny how some find using a gps so hard or try to use it for what it isn't made for.

    Can you provide an example of someone who uses a gps "for what it isn't made for"? :)
    alanb said:

    I really thought Viago was a good start for a full featured app. It worked on both platforms and was very close to a nuvi in its user interface.

    I never used Viago (terrible name, sounds too much like"Viagra") but I do have the StreetPilot app on my iPhone. From what I could tell, they are basically the same thing. The iOS StreetPilot app was around for a long time before Viago existed, and is still available today. Garmin has an Android version of StreetPilot and offers it in some countries, but not North America or the EU. Hacked versions were very popular with Android users the last time I checked though.

    I am convinced that Garmin intentionally left out custom POI and .gpx import/export. I mean, that would be childs play to implement. Garmin has a long history of intentionally crippling the lower priced devices in the Nuvi and handheld lines.

    The StreetPilot app will also only work with a map from the region from which you purchased it. I have the EU version that I bought for a trip a couple years ago. There is no way to add a US map to the app. If I want North America, I need to purchase a separate app ("Garmin USA"). I have not done this, so I don't know what is actually installed, but I'm pretty sure it's another complete version of the app and not just a map that you select within the app.

    Older versions of the StreetPilot app could be easily hacked (without "jailbreaking" your device) to add your own supplemental maps, like a Nuvi. They removed this capability a couple years ago and I have not seen an posts where people got the newer versions to to work with supplemental maps on iOS.

    Like so many other things, marketing seems to drive Garmin's strategy. They don't want to make an app as good or as convenient as one of the standalone devices.
  • truckinguy 108 Points
    I should of said a Garmin GPS or Nuvi as this is what we are talking about. One thing the Nuvi isn't made for is battery life. The user/poster above complained of low battery life on the Dezl.. We'll they weren't made to run on battery's long.. A Montana is made to run on batteries for a while isn't it? So why use and complain about a Dezl. Thus using a GPS (in this case a Nuvi) for what it's made for. You can fill in the blanks with your knowledge of others who complain about Garmin and Nuvi's.
    I love the Dezel and 2797....And are completely happy with them for the price range and their functions. And as you know I've used GPSR's since 1996 in various forms from Marine to Hiking Snowmobileing,Automotive and trucking. My first GPS was a Northstar 941D that came out in 1995.. Cost me $1000 back then.. that was when maps could not rotate on the screen. A tech at Northstar told me that he was curious how one could make the text etc rotate in the Heads Up mode. We'll a simple Nuvi does so much more and costs 100 times less now.
    Garmin may have to deal with Iphones,etc. but I'm sure they will some how as I can never see everyone using a phone or tab for serious dedicated navigation.
  • Ramaprem 110 Points
    "IMO, too many people place too much importance on updated maps. As far as for all my travels in the USA, the road signage is always more than adequate to get you past any road changes."
    Driving in Europe is another story entirely; your comments don't apply to the driving situation there.
    Updated/current maps are very important.
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    Ramaprem said:

    "IMO, too many people place too much importance on updated maps. As far as for all my travels in the USA, the road signage is always more than adequate to get you past any road changes."
    Driving in Europe is another story entirely; your comments don't apply to the driving situation there.
    Updated/current maps are very important.

    And they don't apply to fast growing areas in the USA like the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states. I just don't like my Garmin Nuvi showing me driving in a field when I'm really driving on a newly built road. Anyway, took Google Maps on a 160 mile round-trip today and it worked great. Lane Guidance was impressive and accurate and live traffic was spot on. I did miss Garmin's Junction Views though. But in the end I think I'll be happy with Google Maps as my main GPS and Garmin as a reliable backup if needed. :)

    Awesome discussions in this thread. I'm learning a lot from you guys :)
  • Boyd 1735 Points

    The user/poster above complained of low battery life on the Dezl..

    That was me, and I wasn't really "complaining". Whether you like it or not, the Nuvi and Dezl are just small tablet computers that run Garmin's custom software. And tablets from Samsung and others tend to have better screens, longer battery run times and they cost less. I wish we could have Garmin's software on this superior hardware, that's all.

    No, I don't need long battery life on the Dezl, I only use the battery for short periods in the house. But I use the Dezl in automotive mode, so I often cancel the shutdown when I'm going into a store for a short while because when it starts up I have to click on two disclaimers otherwise (the Dezl has an extra disclaimer warning that it is in automotive mode).

    I think I understand what these devices were intended for, I also go way back to the 1990's and have spent thousands on Garmin products. I wouldn't have continued to do that unless I liked them. The automotive devices have been designed to work well for their purpose, and I "get" that too - easily mounted, rugged, straightforward user interface. That's all good.

    I just think they are showing their age, and it's quite clear that sales have dropped dramatically in recent years. Now I suspect that most of the people saying they would never give up their nuvi are not in the "millenial" demographic. >:) The unfortunate reality is that one day we will be gone (I'm 66) and I don't think many younger people are going to spend the money on a dedicated GPS when they already carry a a big 6 inch smartphone everywhere.

    I am still using my Dezl - just used it for a trip to NYC last week. But I think the day is coming where I'll make the switch.
  • I too am of the same age demographic with a pre PC days computer history and I mix with many Motorhomers that are also and love their dedicated GPS that does not infringe the law by its use when driving.

    The Garmin friendly/familiar software on a tablet would come close to getting me on a tablet, but my migration is a long way off. An easier to use Base Camp would help though.

    I found an easy way around the battery life out of the car by using an small lithium USB battery ($20).
  • We avoid interstates and big cities. Cells phones mostly don't work were we go. I dont own or have a use for a smart phone.The gps on the other hand does work where we go. The routes I want to drive can be done in Mapsource or Base Camp and uploaded to the gps. Many small towns have poor road signage. Many bypasses we have come across in our travels are poorly signed. We also carry a box full of paper maps. So we will stick with the GPS
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    Quick Update:Today we took a 260+mile round-trip thru Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Was really impressed with Google Map's Live Traffic. Blows Garmin Nuvi's HD Traffic out of the water. I had traffic info in areas where Garmin's HD Traffic never worked.
  • alokeprasad 102 Points
    edited March 2016
    I have rational and irrational reasons for not buying Garmin PND's.

    Rational: With my larger screen and resolution iPhone 6+ and a car lightning cable, I have a high res device with free software like Google Maps and Here maps that have all the features and off-line map storage. I dare say that Google Maps, with Waze-reported incidents and traffic, is always current and provides better updated information and search.. sharing the device playback volume with music playback, etc etc.

    The Smartphone eco-system, with its competitive environment engenders constant enhancements that staid hardware based devices cannot.

    Irrational reason: I spent more than $80 in the early days the iPhone on Garmin Viago, trying to replicate the Nuvi UI on the iPhone. Garmin dropped the product (no app updates, no map updates). The product has disappeared from the App Store. After owning 3 Nuvi's I will never knowingly give a red cent to Garmin, on principle.

    Aloke
    PS: I think that Garmin should have given a free (or highly discounted upgrade path) to purchasers of Viago for the equivalent StreetPilot software. Although, I would probably be using Google Maps and/or Waze now anyway.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    edited March 2016

    The Smartphone eco-system, with its competitive environment engenders constant enhancements that staid hardware based devices cannot.

    I think this is a really important point. Smartphone apps are constantly updated, or you can switch to a different app to get the latest and greatest features. We all know that Garmin doesn't ever add new features to existing Nuvi models, you have to buy a whole new device if you want them.

    Regarding Viago, Garmin really pulled a fast one there and I'm sure they alienated a lot of people. The irony is, for the same $80 you could have bought the Garmin StreetPilot app that is vitually identical, and it is still available. It would have been nice gesture if Garmin gave existing Viago users a free upgrade to Streetpilot.

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-go/apps/garmin-streetpilot-onboard/prod98479.html
  • truckinguy 108 Points
    I still don't agree with Boyd. And never will.. Garmin won't go away or dedicated GPS for the road. Garmin knows exactly what they want or don't want. And they can have anything they'd like. They are ...well are Garmin. World best. I know lot's and lot's of "millenniums' that I wouldn't count on getting from Point A to B on any occasion with a tab or phone if it was an important route. I deal with them all the time... won't hike with them and there phone gps or tab's at all either They are so scattered on their after market non reliable APPS . They ( wrecking company) just tore down the wrong home using Google Maps.
    I think this is why Garmin dumbed down the GPSR's. To cater to these users. Most of the users don't have a clue how to do a serious navigate. The market will just change as it always does for Garmin.
  • alokeprasad 102 Points
    edited March 2016
    Boyd said:


    ...Smartphone apps are constantly updated, or you can switch to a different app to get the latest and greatest features. We all know that Garmin doesn't ever add new features to existing Nuvi models, you have to buy a whole new device if you want them.

    The hardware of Smartphones improves as well. Most of us update our devices once every 2 years.. getting better screens, more memory, faster CPU (which encourages better, faster, more capable software). Integration with voice control, calendars, address books, emails, navigation ....

    Game, set, match!
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    Yes, my iPhone 6s Plus has a laptop class CPU with 2gb RAM and very fast 128gb SSD. They are packing a lot of power in these little things! Downside is, of course, it also cost as much as a laptop. $-)
  • alokeprasad 102 Points
    But you (and I) are going to get the next one anyway!!

    Another + for using smartphones is that we have one with us at (almost) all times. So, I have used my iPhone 6+ when riding with my spouse, friends, and have one less item to take w me on travels.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    edited April 2016
    t923347 said:

    My other favorite application is HERE, from the map suppliers for Garmin devices.

    Finally built my custom mount and am going to see how I like the iPhone 6s plus for navigation. Downloaded the free version of HERE. Surprised to see that it doesn't work in landscape view (maybe you need to purchase for that feature?) That's a deal breaker, my custom mount places the phone in landscape view right below the speedometer. The other odd thing about HERE is that night mode only changes the menu colors and not the map, which is very bright. Ended up deletiing the app.

    Almost purchased StreetPilot for $50, but the reviews scared me away. Apparently it has a lot of issues on newer iPhones.

    I bought the Navigon app when it first came out, but deleted it long ago. Was able to restore it through iCloud and it looks pretty good. Works in landscape and portrait modes, has day and night map colors and a fair amount of customization. So I'll put it through its paces and see what I think.

    My custom mount uses a spring-loaded Bracketron cradle that also fits my Nuvi 3550, so that will be a good backup device. :)
  • t923347 403 Points
    Boyd said:

    t923347 said:

    My other favorite application is HERE, from the map suppliers for Garmin devices.

    Finally built my custom mount and am going to see how I like the iPhone 6s plus for navigation. Downloaded the free version of HERE. Surprised to see that it doesn't work in landscape view (maybe you need to purchase for that feature?) That's a deal breaker, my custom mount places the phone in landscape view right below the speedometer. The other odd thing about HERE is that night mode only changes the menu colors and not the map, which is very bright. Ended up deletiing the app.
    As they say it takes all kinds. :)

    Although I'm finding I prefer Google Maps, I'm still fooling around with HERE and I find, like with many things in life, no 2 people would use their navigation software and there phones the same way. You are using an iPhone and I use a Samsung Galaxy android phone for starters but that's like many millions of other people. I have never noticed that HERE doesn't work in landscape mode as I always use my phone in portrait mode as it stores much better in my vehicle that way, but on the other hand I use my Nuvi in landscape mode almost all the time. Also I've never used HERE to navigate at night as I rarely drive at night since I've had laser work done on both my eyes to repair retina damage and driving at night is dangerous for both me, my passengers, and anyone else out on the road at the same time.

    As always it all comes down to what works best for each individual user. ;)
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    edited April 2016
    t923347 said:

    As always it all comes down to what works best for each individual user. ;)

    Very true. And after all these years, I'm still trying to find what works best for me. :) Here's Navigon on my iPhone with the new mount. It blocks a few of the instruments, but the reality isn't as bad as the picture might imply. Just moving my head lets me see the blocked gauges. Have never tried mounting a GPS in this location before, but I like having it with the other instruments. Never liked having a GPS on the windshield.

    image


    The landscape home screen on the iPhone 6s plus is perfect for this kind of setup. :)

    image


    Here's the Nuvi 3550 in the same mount

    image


    Here's the Bracketron cradle. The phone and nuvi pop in and out of it easily. The "lightning" cable plugs into the right side of the phone. If you haven't used an iPhone, this is a much nicer system than a USB cable. Easily inserted with one hand, there isn't a top/bottom, it's reversible. The Nuvi will be more of an issue in this mount. It can be powered with a USB cable, but the connector sticks out from the bottom too far. Is there such a thing as a right-angled micro USB cable? No big deal, I doubt I will use the Nuvi much in this location.

    image


    The cradle slides off the mount and is easily stashed.

    image


    As an alternative, I have another mount with a swivel that plugs into a slot on the dashboard for a more "traditional" location.

    image


    I built this mount for the Nuvi awhile ago, so I can still use it with the orignal Garmin cradle in either landscape or portrait mode. It pops in and out of the slot in the dashboard quickly for storage.

    image

    image


    Will see how it goes. Will be making several trips to NYC over the next month, so that should be a good test. :)
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    Wow pretty cool ideas, Boyd! :) I bought one of those smartphone mounts that goes into the CD slot of your vehicle. Works great. But pretty cool to see how other people place their smartphones and GPS devices.
  • privet01 144 Points
    edited April 2016
    So does the navigation screen go away when you have an incoming call or text/email alert? Although I have used my android phone for navigation, I've never had the chance to see how it behaves for such events.

    Although I do consider many aspects of using your smartphone superior to using a dedicated "on the road" gps, It would be annoying to loose the navigation screen and audio right at the moment you need them most due to an incoming call.

    That might be the one issue that keeps the dedicated gps in my car for long trips. Without it, Murphy would insist that calls and text come in at the most inopportune time to be without the map.

    No I don't take the calls or read them while I'm driving, my wife or passenger next to me does that for me! <<grin>>
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    I just now started using this setup, so I don't know what happens when a call comes in. It would be easy enough to dismiss if needed though. Could also set the phone for "do not disturb" if you don't want to know about incoming calls. I use the car's bluetooth handsfree phone system, and that can be annoying because it blanks out the car's audio and data screens, even if the phone itself is on mute.
  • sussamb 634 Points
    I guess one advantage for those of us this side of the pond is that my nuvi works throughout Europe. If I used a phone while that wouldn't be an issue in the UK data roaming charges would kick in elsewhere in Europe. Now I'm travelling in the US and again no issues using my Garmin here. So for me I can't see myself switching to a phone based system.
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    edited April 2016
    Well of course you had to buy a map of the US for your Nuvi at some point. I suspect an app with onboard maps would be cheaper today, for example the US version of Streetpilot is $50 and I think the Garmin Lower 49 map for the Nuvi is $60. Some other apps are probably cheaper. Then there is OSM, which is free and could be used either with an app or a Nuvi. Also, I don't believe an EU traffic receiver works in the US.

    Hey, if you don't like using a phone that is fine with me. I felt this way for many years, but think the game is starting to change, due to better smartphone hardware with better screens, etc.

    Played briefly with Navigon today and wasn't crazy about it. You can't disable autozoom and it zooms way in, not showing much of the surroundings. You can manually zoom out, but then the GPS stops scrolling/rotating the screen. Also, there are no zoom buttons, just pinch/spread which can be a bit awkward while driving.

    So I took a chance and downloaded the StreetPilot North America app for $60. Downloading the map took a crazy long time - about 5 hours for 1.5gb (I only downloaded the Eastern region). Now my DSL line is slow but that's absurd. But it's similar to what I see when doing a Nuvi map update. I can download a 2GB movie on iTunes in about half that time.

    Download just now finished and I'm running out on an errand, so I'll see how it works. Looks good, just like a Nuvi, pretty much all the menus are there: map detail, color mode, vehicle icon… you can even turn off autozoom. :) And there's one setting not available on the Nuvi - you can turn off the stupid warning/disclaimer screen that is shown at startup.
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    Everyone has to find what's best for them. I have learned one size doesn't fit best for everyone in life or in terms of GPS preference. I fought the move to Google Maps and smartphone GPS apps in general with everything I had until my wife showed me how outdated my 2013 Garmin maps were. I called Garmin and they told me I was crap out of luck with downloading new maps because I had waited 28+ months to update. They wanted more money for Lifetime Maps because my other Lifetime Maps had "expired". What kind of BS company does that to their customers? I will never do business with them again.

    I am lucky enough to still have unlimited data with Verizon. Verizon has great coverage in the lower 48. Google Maps is awesome for me. No more Robotic GPS voice from an outdated Garmin device or outdated POI info. Great Lane Guidance in more areas than Garmin ever had. And Traffic coverage that blows Garmin HD traffic away. I have found that Google Maps doesn't use anywhere near the data usage as naysayers claim. In fact a 5 GB data plan would suffice for most people with everyday GPS and other internet data usage.



  • sussamb 634 Points
    Boyd said:

    Also, I don't believe an EU traffic receiver works in the US.

    No it doesn't :)
  • jimmy52 9 Points
    edited April 2016
    By the way...How come Garmin doesn't have an Android GPS smartphone app? A Garmin Nuvi like smartphone app could change my mind about Garmin. Just sayin'...
  • Boyd 1735 Points
    edited April 2016
    They do have one, but it is not available in North America

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.garmin.android.obn.client&hl=en

    They also had Viago, which looks identical to StreetPilot from the screenshots I've seen. It ran on both iOS and Android, but they discontinued it, as discussed earlier in this thread.
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