Top critical review
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Still Recommended (but with reservations on this unit).
on November 29, 2011
Over the years, I've used several GPS units which have included Garmin, Magellan, and Mio brands. Overall Garmin is typically the best and most accurate which is why I took advantage of the recent Black Friday sales to upgrade to this unit due to the map update feature included with it.
New Garmin units no longer say "recalculating route" when you deviate from the set course it lays out for you. They supposedly just begin to give you new directs based on the direction you're then heading in, to steer you back to your destination. In the case of this model however, I've found the "quiet recalculating" feature to be less accurate than Garmins I've used in the past. In my well-established Atlanta neighborhood when I deviated from the planned course, it said nothing. I could see the purple route to follow, went in the opposite direction, and the Garmin remained silent with no new route shown on the screen as well, until I was perhaps nearly half a mile off course. At that point, it finally kicked in and started to take me back on course. On the flip-side however, my Android phone using Google Maps, and my older Mio brand GPS immediately recalculated the route once I deviated, and steered me back. While in a different section of town, when I deviated from a main route, it tried to get me to drive through a subdivision of homes and do a U-turn to go back, instead of recalculating a new route forward (even though I had the U-turn option turned "off"). The Android and Mio units rerouted me forward without trying the U-turn. This I'll point out, is after a system reset and update via the computer (which was recommended by a Garmin employee via support email).
The point is this: You're most likely NOT going to get lost (well, badly) if you use this unit. It will eventually get you to your destination correctly, but it might make some quirky choices along the way compared to older/other models, especially if/when you deviate from it's planned routing. On the plus side, the screen is bright, the voice loud, it locks on to the GPS signal quickly, and the graphics are clear and easy to see when you're driving. Side-note: You can download a couple of other voice options via your computer into the unit if you like. I would give the unit 3 1/2 stars if that were an option, but will settle for 3, because in a city like Atlanta, the ability to keep driving straight-on and having a unit recalculate is very valuable as opposed to having to TRY to turn around in this city's traffic (this is why Magellans do poorly here - they're notorious for trying to force U-turns on you!). If you can get it for the Black Friday level of pricing ($79-$84) it would still not be the worst gift at all - but at the suggested normal retail price of $149.00, other units might be better at the recalculating bit than this one, so research before you buy.
ADDED: Someone on here sent me a note saying that if you download the other voices and change them, that this somehow alters the accuracy of the maps. Now, this sounds odd to me, as a simple voice chance shouldn't have any effect on map accuracy - but I tried it. Picked the male British voice and indeed, one of the glitches I mentioned above stopped happening (??), but when I chose the female British voice, suddenly the Garmin stopped recognizing a major 4 lane road in my area and started calling it by the name of a small arterial road two miles away! (repeat...???). Perhaps my unit is just defective, but if this is the latest map source they're using at Garmin - I might avoid any of the newest models. Yikes. I'm updating my star rating from 3 to 2 as a result. Sorry.