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New to GPS, How do I pick one? Help me narrow my search.

Beanie 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
Hello,
I've traveled for years across the US and Canada for my job without one of these GPS things and now I see many in cars, wondering are these people that dumb they can't read a map or are the GPS's that good? I recently traveled with someone that just purchased a Garmin C340, and now I'm the dumb one for not knowing and not having one of these Great GPS devices. Welcome to the 21 Century I guess. So I need one Now! :D

A couple things I noticed about the C340 I liked: Very Easy to use without ever seeing a manual, located gas staions, motels with minimal keystrokes. Entering an address was just as easy and amazingly accurate.

Dislikes: Not loud enough(Maybe my hearing). Couldn't add multiple stops, only the destination and 1 stop. And the Price vs features.

Now after reviewing for just this weekend, this is what I think I need:
Multiple Stops, MP3 player with earphone jack(assuming it stops playing for directions. and I'll plug this into my stereo for better hearing), Maps of US and Canada, with ability to add Europe and China, as many POI as possible loaded( I never know where I may end up while traveling, so everything needs to be preloaded) and very intuitive so I don't have to memorize a manual I want to be able to input a street address and keep moving. Also options as which to routes are available.

With that in mind the units I been mostly lead to are the: Magellan 6000T, TomTom910, maybe the Nuvi 660. But the 660 doesn't appear to have the multiple stops, for that matter Garmin seems awfull high priced compared to everyone elses feature set, are they that much better?? Total price isn't much of a concern at this point, but price vs. features is.

Please help me decide, I traveled for many years without, now I don't think I can go on. :P

Comments

  • Tim 1480 Points
    edited February 2007
    Hi Beanie, and welcome!

    You are off to a good start by identifying the features you think you would be most interested in and utilize. Here are some thoughts about the features you've mentioned.

    As you saw, most of the Garmin devices will only allow you to add one "via" point to a route. This works fine for most people, and doesn't prevent you from entering multiple destinations ahead of time as favorites, then navigating to each favorite one at a time. However there are certainly lots of times (examples here) where building a full route with lots of stops can be handy.

    While many of the devices have an MP3 player, I wouldn't count on it as something to seriously listen to while in a car. So far I haven't seen the MP3 player from any GPS that had an acceptable sound quality. However if you pipe it directly to your car stereo, or use it in place of an iPod, then it could come in handy.

    Some of the GPS manufacturers don't provide a specific number of POIs installed and say "Millions" rather than something more specific like 4.5 million. Still, the Nuvi 660 and the RM 6000T have more than most installed at around 6 million.

    When looking at prices, make sure to look at local street prices versus just the retail price. There is often a big difference.

    You haven't mentioned other features that can add to the price like Bluetooth, live traffic reporting, etc. So I'll assume for now that those are not important features to you.

    If you decide multiple destination routing isn't mandatory, you could save some money from the Nuvi 660 by going for the Nuvi 350 (no fm transmitter, traffic receiver, Bluetooth, or widescreen) or the StreetPilot c550 (no widescreen, not as thin/portable).

    From Magellan in addition to the 6000t you could consider the 3000T or the 2200t both of which still have MP3 players but no traffic receivers or Bluetooth. The 2200T don't have as many POIs though. (thanks for the correction, grey.)

    From TomTom the 910 is your best match, the 510 can be configured with an ipod connector but doesn't have any MP3 player and the ONE doesn't have either of those functions. But TomTom is known for their great feature/interface combination. Plus you get maps of the USA, Canada, and Europe preinstalled on the 910 which will save some cash if you end up purchasing those additional maps for the other devices.

    Keep in mind too that Magellan hasn't released European map upgrades for many (most) of their US devices. So if having the ability to load maps of Europe is a priority, you might need to steer away from several of the Magellan devices. (Some offer it, but not most of the newer models).

    So based on the features you've mentioned so far, the TomTom 910 could be your best match since it has an MP3 player, multi-destination routing, and European maps come with it.

    You can also compare some devices side by side with this tool. (Still partially in development.) Here is another tool where you can compare street prices on gps devices. Just enter the device you want to check out in the center (not top right) search box.
  • Thanks for the quick reply, Tim.

    Is the Magellan or TomTom as easy to put in addresses from the screen as easy as a Garmin? And do you need a PC to use the Itinerary features of the TomTom? Europe will definitely be a must, so I'm down to the TomTom or Garmin, I guess.

    Any other comments or suggestions greatly appreciated. The so called sales associates at the local retail stores are not much help, so I won't feel bad for ordering online to get the best price.

    Thank-You
  • Another question: How often do the manufactures release new products? Every spring, summer, fall or winter or isn't there any pattern? And how long has the TT 910 been available and how likely are they to release a new one soon?
  • grey 0 Points
    From Magellan in addition to the 6000t you could consider the 3000T or the 2200t both of which still have MP3 players but no traffic receivers or Bluetooth. They don't have as many POIs though
    Don't the 6000T and 3000T have the same amount of POIs about 6 million? The 2200T has less than that.
  • Tim 1480 Points
    Beanie, it depends on the manufacturer. None of the bigger manufacturers have been consistent on when or how often they release new models. The GPS market is exploding so fast that they are releasing new models as quickly as they can get them developed and the old models off store shelves. I would expect to see something new from TomTom before summer, but who knows what it will be or if any of the features might be of interest. It is a guessing game.

    There have been some recent price cuts on the 910, so even if something new does come out it will likely be more expensive than what is currently available.

    After working in technology for a number of years and trying to figure out when to buy.... now I just buy whenever I need something and always know in a few months something else will probably be released.... but what can you do. :?
  • Tim 1480 Points
    Yup, you are correct grey. I had it listed correctly in the Magellan specifications but didn't type it out properly. I need to stop working on Sundays. ;)
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