221 of 226 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2007
The latest Garmin is very impressive. However, I don't like the fact that finding some of the accessories is so challenging. For example, I purchased this GPS because I was taking a trip to California. Unfortunately, the laws in California prevent you from attaching the Nuvi directly to the windshild, so you've got to purchase a separate accessory, which I did, the Garmin Portable Friction Mount. It works great in terms of not sliding around the dash. I was on San Francisco streets and if it was going to fly off - it would have, but it was rock steady. The problem is that I didn't know that you need more than just the friction mount. There is another accessory that goes between the Nuvi and the friction mount. Because I found out about the California law just before I left, I had no time to figure out what that extra part is - so I just used a series of rubber bands to affix it to the Friction Mount base.
It would have been easy for Garmin to spell this out, but I could find no information to let me know which part to purchase to go with the "Universal" Friction Mount or even that you needed an extra part. I still don't know what that part is. The rubber bands worked OK, but it's lame.
As far as the MSN Direct, it works pretty well for the Weather & Traffic, and it does let you know about some movie theaters - not even close to a complete list - at least not in the NYC area, and then the gas prices.... At one point, when my rental car gas indicator was on E, I thought No problem - I've got the Nuvi. Well, it took me to a non-existant gas station, which was harrowing considering I was about to run out of gas and didn't know the area. It gave me a ghost gas station two different times and locations. So I'm on the fence about renewing. Also, I know of some local stations that have better gas prices that don't even show up on MSN, so it hasn't got a complete list of stations/prices.
Even though, I purchased this right after it came out - it has come down in price over $160 since I purchased it less than a month ago - I am happy that I bought it. It was invaluable in getting me around S.F. and the Wine country. But, I could have been just as happy with the 660 had I known about the hiccups with MSN Direct. So, I learned that I can't totally trust the MSN, but it does still give some information. It also would have been better if you could download the MSN info without having to plug it into the car cigarette lighter.
A big plus is the Bluetooth. It's invaluable - the only way to make phone calls in the car - it couldn't be easier, and a great connection. Of course, you get that with some of the previous versions of the Nuvi.
All told, the 660 would have been the better purchase for me. You could take a chance that the MSN will get better in accuracy on the 680, now that the price has come down so much from when I purchased it - it might be worth the extra $.
Since I first posted this review in May, Garmin wised up. The only Garmin Portable Friction Mount I could find when I purchased mine, does not go with the 680. At least not without 2 parts. From what I can glean from other reviewers, I could purchase another item to go with what I already have, but my total cost for both would be over $50.
Garmin now has the correct Friction Mount in the accessories section for the 680 on their website. List price: $40.00 (#010-10908)- Amazon price: $28 (at this point).
Don't be fooled by the CUSTOMERS WHO BOUGHT THIS ITEM ALSO BOUGHT section on Amazon.
Check the Garmin website to be sure.
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2007
I have three hand-held GPSs and two cars with factory installed GPS. The Nuvi 680 beats them all.
Once you get hooked on using a GPS, it becomes indispensible.
I like the 3D cartoon-like display on the Nuvi 680. It is much easier to read at a glance. The 2D displays on the other GPS units cannot display the names of all of the cross roads because there is not enough room on the display and they are written along the road at odd angles. The Nuvi 680 gets around the problem by showing the name of every road as you approach it on the banner bar at the top. That way it does not need to show every minor road, only the major ones. This is a great improvement.
The other features on the Nuvi 680 are: Bluetooth hands-free cell phone (my factory-installed GPS units have this also - a great feature), MP3 ( I have over 300 hours of music recorded on the SD card), JPEG ( I have not used this, and I am not sure this is a safe feature anyway), POI ( These are easier to access on the Nuvi than on other units and are very helpful), and MSN Direct( It displays storm warnings automatically- this was helpful in Chicago while I was there), Sound output on the car's speakers (this is good, but you must select an unused frequency and it is is very hard to find one in large cities. I would like to see Garmin extend the frequency range below the FM band like my car is capable of to get highway messages).
If it was not for the fact that GPS is bundled with many other good features in factory-installed cars, I would opt for the Nuvi 680 as the preferred GPS unit.
83 of 91 people found the following review helpful
This is a nice little unit. I used to program GPS applications so I have used a few. The software running this unit is great. The GPS algorithms for finding the shortest or the longest route work excellently. I tested with 4 separate routes. When you deviate from your route the unit is a little slow to pick up on it, 2 or 3 seconds depending on how far you have moved, but then it starts recalculating and gets you back on track.
The maps are easy to read and the views (2d and 3d) are easily switched and zoomed.
The MP3 player works great. It plays music and when it needs to give a voice command it pauses the music and tells you what it needs to tell you. The FM tuner works well too. Although if you come in range of a station the station takes over.
The hands free calling works great. As soon I as I get in the car it finds my phone. If music is playing, it is puts it on pause until you are done on the phone and then turns it right back on.
The user interface is very intuitive and user friendly. I have hardly needed to use the manual or help.
The MSN direct features work good also. They take some time when you first turn it on to download all the information. The traffic feature has worked well. The data has been up to date so far. If it tells you a road is closed, LISTEN TO IT!!!!! We decided not to and sat in 4 hours of traffic because we thought "No way could the turnpike be closed." We could have totally avoided it.
The movie data in my area have all been up to date and have included some theaters I didn't know existed. The gas feature usually has data (prices) that is a day or 2 old, but it did list all the gas stations in my area.
At first when I used the suction cup mount I thought it was defective because it kept falling off. After reading the directions, I discovered that I need to clean all the dust of the window before trying to use it. Since I have discovered that little trick it has worked great. We have used it in our 2 cars and truck.
We do yard sales on Saturday and my girlfriend had to make maps with MapPoint every week. Now we just put the addresses in as we go.
Having a GPS like this definitely changes the way you travel. Running errands is great. I type in the name of the store I want to go to and go to the closest one. Then type in the next one. I have discovered a lot of store locations I didn't know about.
Over all the purchase was definitely worth it.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2007
Overall very impressed with the Garmin 680. The maps and display are very easy to read, the tts sounds great, and it seems very accurate. So far the MSN Direct has proved valuable, routing us around stopped traffic, helping us find the best gas prices, and accurate weather. Yes, it is pricey, but proves you get what you pay for. If you don't need/want the bluetooth, fm transmitter, msn direct (680) or integrated traffic receiver (660), then just get the Nuvi 650 and save some money. Despite the price, I am really happy with my purchase. I wasn't expecting much from msn based on other review, but in Atlanta it has worked great! Also, I wasn't really anticipating using or being interested in the bluetooth, but I'm hooked, very convenient. Call Garmin tech support, not only do they usually pick right up, they are friendly, helpful, and knowlegeable about their products, unlike some competitors.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2007
I have enjoyed this device greatly in my recent travels. It has been invaluable in business. It has also been wonderful on weekend "leisure" trips. When I take those trips I love to avoid the highways. I can set the avoidances in the navigation menu to try to avoid highways and it'll keep me off the interstates and more on the backroads. I've discovered some great restaurants this way! If I'm on a timetable, though, I just tell it to take the highways and I'm off on the fast track. It can route differently, depending on timetable and situation. In short I would be lost without it now that I own one. The only thing I don't like is the suction cup mount for the windshield. It does not hold that great or long, but there are alternatives.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2007
I passed my Nuvi 350 onto my college bound son and thought that I would "treat" myself to the bells and whistles offered by the 680. I was looking forward to the MSN feature as I live and work in the NY/NJ Metro area and am always concerned about traffic issues. It took almost 1 week to get MSN working - countless call to MSN, who wanted NO responsibility for their product and told me that Garmin would resolve the issue. Garmin ran through the standard Q&A and told me that as soon as I spotted the "green bars" to stop and wait up to 20 minutes while MSN booted itself. The prospect of stopping on the Turnpike or Route 80 for 20 minutes was laughable. Anyway one morning I tuned on the Nuvi and MSN was working!! The coverage on Staten Island and directly west of Manhattan, including NJ Turnpike, Rte 80, Rte 78, Rte 287 and Rte 280 has been very good and 3 days ago it save me a 90 minute wait on Rte 287. However on a trip to Delaware (DE) and yesterday to Boston it was USELESS! Delaware I can maybe get over, but Boston - you have to be kidding me. All the way through Connecticut I was getting nothing; on I90 towards Boston nothing. However when I left Boston and headed back to NY after about 50 miles on I90 all of a sudden dozens of icons appeared in and around Boston. I was still seeing the Boston icons as I was crossing the Whitestone Bridge and seeing NOTHING for NYC - I even turned the unit off and on in the hope that it may help. Also traveling from Staten Island out to Brooklyn, there is never a problem, even though the Belt Parkway is at a standstill all the way to JFK airport.
The Bluetooth feature is first rate and I like the Audio Books feature - BUT - I can get these features on cheaper models.
I will be returning the unit to Amazon this week as I cannot justify almost $700 for a device that doesn't deliver what is most important to me, the traffic in and around NJ and NYC - basically it's no better than my XM-Radio standard coverage on the NY Traffic Channel.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Purchased in May, 2007, have used the Garmin Nuvi 680 for short and long trips, near home and across the country. It is an expensive, top-of-the-line GPS, but mostly justifies this cost with its slew of helpful features.
The Screen is bright, colorful and crisp. It's large touch screen is easy to view when driving and even automatically switches to display differently for night and day. The touch screen is accurate, though users with big fingers may hit a couple wrong keys on the touch keyboard, especially when the car is moving. Menus are easy to navigate and most items appear in the logical, intuitive place. The included mount works well, but has fallen off a few times. There are many voices to select from and all sound clear and easy to understand. The leather case included is nice for stowing or carrying the GPS without worry of scratching. Overall, very polished product with little oversight.
The Nuvi 680 is loaded with features. Some features are common to most GPS - Points of Interest Database, travel related software tools, multiple stops en route, option to take a detour at any time, preview of route, zooming in/out & changing view of map. I cannot compare to other devices, but these features all work quite well. Though the POI database can be slow to find a particular place by spelling and occasionally a place is found in an incorrect sub-category. Anyway, the main feature that sets this GPS apart is the MSN Direct Service...
MSN Direct - Traffic:
Traffic reporting is the big draw here above other models. However, it can take 15 minutes or longer (around 20-25% of the time not working at all) for the traffic information to update when you plug in the GPS. If you keep in plugged into your car, often your wait time will be less, but you will still occassionally be left in the dark. When traffic reporting is functioning, you will get a semi-realistic estimate of the time delay and acess to brief details regarding all delays in the area. It's tough to say for sure, but I believe the rerouting usually saved me a good 10-30 minutes at least half a dozen times. Yet, it seems like there were as many times or more where I should have been rerouted and was not. Hopefully the firmware update I just received will fix these issues. One simple suggestion I'd have is to let the user know when they've been automatically rerouted and to show both routes and ETA's on the map screen.
To illustrate - On a normally 3 hour trip we hit 2 hours of traffic, while 30 minutes were predicted by MSN and only after an hour into the trip (but before the traffic jam). We were rerouted around some of the traffic (maybe 30 minutes time saved), but if the correct delay had been predicted, we probably would have been shown a detour shaving off even more time. So while certainly better than a regular GPS, left some room for improvement.
MSN Direct - Weather, Gas, Movies:
Unlike traffic reporting, Weather, Gas and Movies information is useful even if it is several hours or even a day or two old. Usually gas prices are correct or within a few cents. Movie showtimes I haven't used much, but seem correct. The weather, I've tried the most, and is probably 90% accurate, maybe more. These features can be pretty helpful, though I rarely drive out of the way for gas.
Ease of Use:
The startup time (to acquire satelites) is a fairly quick, almost always under 5 minutes, usually under 2 minutes. The route calculation is even faster, almost always under 1 minute, usually under 20 seconds. GPS is highly accurate, despite my regular driving through crowded criss-crossing streets. Once in a while, it may take a few seconds for the GPS to register a turn, but hasn't caused me any problems. Recalculating of route is very quick when you miss a turn, enough to make the next turn. Guidance through directions are easy to pay attention to, with well placed reminders and clear graphical presentation when there are many places to turn off or road splits. It certainly beats mapquest!
I'm glad I bought this GPS. While I would highly recommend it, I believe for some, the much cheaper Nuvi 350 is a better buy. The traffic reporting is currently hit or miss and so you may find yourself listening to the radio for traffic anyway. However, if you can't stand traffic and are planning to use this for many years to come, you'll eventually get your money's worth. And hopefully some time in the future the firmware will be optimized and MSN Direct will have a comprehensive reporting system.
109 of 134 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2007
I've had four Garmin GPS units over the years (1 aviation, 2 auto, 1 marine). Each unit has been terrific and Garmin's after sales support is, without question, the very best I've received from any company. Garmin has always proven to be the "ideal model" in my customer experiences with the company. Given my wonderful experiences with Garmin products and support, I was excited to use the Nuvi 680 in my extensive travels.
My enthusiasm was short lived and was quickly replaced with frustration. The 680 was continually lost, directed me to a hotel it thought was located on the median of a major interstate (1/2 mile from the actual hotel), wouldn't find major cities or close restaurants and hotels. It wasted far more time than it saved. While the MSN Direct was interesting, in the end the information it provided was marginally helpful at best.
Things I liked in the 680: beautiful screen was easy to read in all light conditions; touch screen worked very well; menus were easy to use; all the pieces fit together nicely; the unit is thin which is what initially attracted me to the Nuvi--very nice for travel.
Cons: the 680 was totally lost and I used it in several states over many hundreds of miles of driving. I flew into Memphis and when I typed in "Jackson," the 680 gave me cities named Jackson all over the US, but wouldn't list Jackson, MS (200 miles away--and the state capital of MS, for heavens sake!).
When I typed in "Hilton" it gave me a list of Hilton hotels 250 miles away from my current location. I gave the unit plenty of time to acquire satellites and know where it was. I tried all the menu options, e.g. "from current location," etc. to no avail. I hit "GO" to a BBQ restaurant and the 680 took me 15 miles to a large public park without a restaurant anywhere to be found in or near the park.
I'm a Garmin fanatic, but I regrettably returned the unit as it was completely unusable and sent me on wild rides. Perhaps I received a bad unit--I hope so! Now I'm out shopping again, . . .
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2007
MSN traffic is very inaccurate for New York City and takes a long time to load. Signal also seems to be very sporadic in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It always gives erroneous information for inbound Holland Tunnel due to some MSN mapping issues. Four times it took me to Holland Tunnel only to find myself stuck in worse traffic than GWB or Lincoln. I gave it a good try for 2 months and I gave up. The gas price, movie, and weather info are also inaccurate or out of date.
I ended up buying the GTM 20 receiver and was able to hook the Nuvi 680 to use TMC Clear channel traffic. The traffic info on TMC is MUCH more accurate. The FM signal for TMC is much stronger.
If you live in NYC, you would be wise to get the Nuvi 660 instead (it uses the TMC Clear channel traffic info). I have no issue with the GPS itself.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2007
I upgraded from a c330 streetpilot model after the 2008 maps were released on the 680. I live and work in NW Atlanta where there is alot of traffic, and was intrigued by the traffic feature. I also wanted a handsfree bluetooth speaker for calls in the car.
Navigation- 4/5-noticable improvements with the upgraded maps, however still somewhat lacking for areas with frequent construction (i.e. Atlanta). The Garmin has difficulty with large shopping malls and strips with long paved roads leading away from an intersection. Example is a Costco that has been present for a few years listed on the map as being right off a large street; this is not true however, as the store is situated a quarter mile up the road among several other stores/resturants. It also occasionally recommends long routes instead of simply turning at an intersection; this typically happened on 4-lane streets/state highways. Unit doesn't have a feature letting you program a favorite route. Points of interest not very reliable for shops less than two years old or been closed within the past two years. For locations that are not experiencing rapid urban sprawl it is very reliable.
Bluetooth-5/5-required a firmware update to my treo 650, however afterwards worked flawlessly. You can dial and receive calls through the GPS. Much safer than fumbling with the phone.
MP3-5/5-works fine as a podcast or MP3 player through the built-in speaker or FM transmitter to your car stereo.
Traffic-2/5-most disappointing part. The feature is limited strictly to the basic interstate highways. That's not too bad except the time estimates are also way off in my opinion. As an example the unit displayed road construction causing an estimated 1 min delay with the highway listed in green (green for light, yellow medium, red heavy) so I decided not to detour. This resulted in 15 minutes of sitting in stop and go traffic for 3 miles. Another major goof is the lack of traffic coverage for I-575, a major 6 lane highway in NW Atlanta used by thousands of commuters but not covered. Forget traffic coverage of major secondary roads used as alternates for commuters. So your stuck being unable to compare the traffic conditions to let you pick your poison each day. I guess it's better than nothing and would be useful if there was a major accident, however in its current form it is minimally useful in avoiding stop and go traffic. Take the 6 months additional discounted MSN service for $10 when you first sign up and pass on the lifetime service as it is tied to the unit and not the owner.
My suggestion to Garmin for future updates is for the unit to display two routes whenever you select a location. This should be incoporated with the traffic function which needs to include at least major side roads used by morning/afternoon commutes. It gets annoying when I select a route to work and the unit every single time picks the same route that goes through the heart of traffic which I always ignore. Better yet how about the unit remembering and updating trip times based on time and day of the week? You could at least teach the unit of how silly some of its suggested routes are in real life.