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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pricey, high quality, routing software OK.
This is my first GPS unit. Having used and loved the Magellan units in Hertz rental cars, I watched and waited for prices to go down below the $1k mark. These are my first impressions:

The 2730 worked right out of the box -- I just plugged the power cable into the cig lighter, removed the 2730's snap-on screen protector, slid the unit into the weighted base,...
Published on January 30, 2006 by T. Agoston

versus
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An annoying piece
I cannot agree more with Ivan Osipkov's review. Here are his review plus my comments:

A few things that may not be immediately noticeable until one actually buys the device:

1) the device does not have internal battery, i.e. it needs to be continuously plugged in;

This is very annoying. After you programmed your route, you started engine...
Published on January 13, 2007 by W.


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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pricey, high quality, routing software OK., January 30, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
This is my first GPS unit. Having used and loved the Magellan units in Hertz rental cars, I watched and waited for prices to go down below the $1k mark. These are my first impressions:

The 2730 worked right out of the box -- I just plugged the power cable into the cig lighter, removed the 2730's snap-on screen protector, slid the unit into the weighted base, placed it on the dashboard and powered it up. In spite of the car being parked in the shadow of a 10-story high-rise, the unit quickly locked onto multiple satellites and gave an accurate location textual and graphical readout.

The included manual could be better organized and have more detailed explanations, but the 2730's front panel button controls are fairly intuitive for basic tasks. Menu navigation is easy. (Note, I did download and skim the manual from Amazon before purchasing the unit. I suggest you do the same.) Haven't used the included remote control yet, and at first glance there may not be much need for it.

The screen is a bit small (for my middle-aged eyes), but once you learn its layout, a quick glance at appropriate spots on the screen gives you useful reference data: next turn instruction (text), distance to next waypoint (number), speed, ETA, etc. Within the menus the display and choices of data can be modified.

With my wife driving, I entered our travel destination in Tribeca -- lower Manhattan / NYC (40+ miles away). Using the touchscreen was easy and intuitive. The unit's routing calculation was fairly quick. However, we checked the traffic report (on the old fashioned AM radio news station!) and found that the 2730's selected route would take us down the FDR drive which had some congestion. Moreover, the FDR is on the East side, whereas our destination is closer to the West side. The 2730 couldn't be faulted for the congestion, but the East side routing seemed strange. We started off by followed the unit's initial routing instructions (to stay on I-95 south), but soon veered off onto familiar local parkways which we knew would take us over towards the West side of NYC. As soon as we got off-course, the Garmin quickly recalculated, and anticipated the route we intended (which turned out to be a tad longer -- perhaps why it was not chosen in the first place).

The speaker volume (with clearly-spoken instructions) was adjustable to suit our car's noisy interior. Driving down the West Side Highway, the 2730 did not give us sufficient SPOKEN warning to prepare for an upcoming left turn -- however, the left turn instruction was clearly laid out in text on the screen. I got the impression at that particular point that our physical location was a few 100 feet ahead of the GPS coordinates (perhaps due to limited GPS reception from our location in NYCity).

I am sure there is much more to discover about the 2730 (I haven't tried Points Of Interest or the XM Satellite radio options). After the first trip, I would say I like the unit, find it to be very high-quality, and sold in a convenient bundle with all of the accessories needed (at least those that are apparent now). Some critiques are that the 2730:
1) screen is small
2) is very expensive
3) no internal battery for portable operation (needs to be plugged in to 12v source)
4) instruction manual has extremely limited information. Lots of hidden functionality i.e. difficult to find out how to input locations without a specific address (to mark, name and save a current location -- like a camping spot -- in memory).

Bottom line is if you can spend $800 - $1k, it's a very good GPS bundle. (Note: as of 2007, price is about half!)

ADDENDUM from Trips 2 and 3 (commuting to and from work):
The routing software chose the fastest, most direct route, using a combination of highway and back roads -- impressive and efficient. The map accuracy is very good, except for a few quirks like calling a company campus entrance road an "alley."
Mounting on the dashboard is good for a heads-up navigation display. The beanbag-style weighted portable base is suitably heavy, BUT the unit can go flying off the dashboard during a sharp turn.
Turning on the WAAS function (for more accurate location reading) significantly slows down initial satellite capture.
The trip computer offers lots of functionality as well sa quantitative and predictive data.
2007: I still use the unit regularly, find it useful and reliable, although a bit bigger and bulkier thatn some of the newer Garmins (but with smaller screens).
Telephone support by Garmin has been very good.
Have not used the XM Radio option for traffic -- have not heard that traffic info in the NY Metro area is sufficiently real-time or comprehensive.
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81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garmin 2730 is GPS (Great Product 4 Sure)!, February 9, 2006
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
I'm really delighted with the product. Before purchasing, I did as much research as I could regarding the various manufacturers and their product offerings:

Pros:

1. I love it!

2. It works well and if you veer off the calculated course, due to your personal knowledge of the area, it recalculates very quickly and ultimately gets you to where you want to be.

3. I'm learning the name of streets that I never knew before due to the text-to-speech feature!!

4. When traveling alone, one doesn't have to fumble with a map while trying to find streets, etc., and divert attention from driving safely.

Cons:

When I first got it, I had a terrible time trying to acquire satellites. At some point, the unit told me that it could not find any satellites and asked if had I traveled thousands of miles. I thought, no, I've been sitting here all the while and responded accordingly. Again, the same problem. Then, after a while, when it asked me again, I answered yes, and then the unit was off and running within a minute or so with satellite acquisiton. It's a minor point, but it wasn't anything addressed in the user manual.

1. The wire for the external, auxilliary antenna has a mind of its own. It doesn't always stay put in the jack. Having said that, the user manual doesn't show where the antenna jack is. I think it's the same plug for the headset, but I'll never use a headset, and, satellite acquisition seems to be quicker and plentiful when using this jack, so I'll continue to use it.

2. The auxilliary antenna can be mounted via a windshield bracket (with suction cups) OR magnet. "OR" because, you have to do one or the other. The antenna attaches to either via two, miniscule screws that you have to screw in. So, since the bracket is plastic and not with some metal, you have to screw the antenna either to the bracket or the magnet and use accordingly. If you should change your mind, be sure to bring a very small philips head screw driver, nimble fingers and good eyesight. I almost lost one of the screws when first opening the package since I didn't expect the mounting to be of this nature and the screws were in the same bag with the magnet and not separately wrapped. Tear into the plastic too vigorously and the screws may go flying!

3. POIs are touted in the literature, etc., but not readily available for the US. AND, you can't create one on the fly. AND, the documentation doesn't address how to create a file to upload with POI's. And even if you could, it appears you need co-ordinates instead of an address in order to create a POI. So, things like school zones, etc., can't be easily put in on the fly so that you're made aware of these areas the next time you pass through.

4. The unit can play over your FM radio, XM satellite stations, with a subscription. But, the unit has no internal speaker or battery, so you can ONLY play it in the car and not away from the car, unless, you plug in the AC adapter, and place it near a receiver in your home?? I tried the FM receiver in the car for the text-to-speech travel instructions and the sound was weak.

5. The confirmation clicks when programming it are only heard when used in the car, since the speaker is contained in the cigarette lighter power adaptor.

6. The GXM antenna for the XM radio/traffic information has a relatively short wire and it needs a clear line of sight to the sky. So, if you're riding with a passenger, and put the antenna on the roof (antenna has magnetic bottom) through the passenger window, it's going to be right in the passenger's face. There's an extension available, but it's confounding why they wouldn't give you an extra 2-3 feet on the wire for starters. The extension gives another 8-9 feet at about $40 or so.

7. The trip computer provides helpful information. It calculates total trip time, moving time, stopped time, and a couple of speed calculations. The trip computer starts as soon as the trip is calculated by the unit. So, if you create a trip, and then don't leave right away, the total time, stopped time and speeds are going to be off by the amount of time sitting (maybe for reasons of still packing the car or a tardy family member) before getting under way. It would be nice if the unit gave the option when to start the trip computer, i.e., immediately upon calculating a route, OR, when the unit first detects car movement! Using the latter would yield more accurate end-of-trip info.

8. Garmin released an update (ver.4.54) for the software. However, it's a beta version. Their caveat is that it should work but there's always a chance that it doesn't since it's beta and not been released officially yet to the field. (Their disclaimer verbatim: Although this software is believed to be reliable, it has not yet been released for production and should be used at your own risk.) Honestly, I don't want anything that's still in beta and be a tester for software that might freeze the unit, and require more of my time to correct it or have to send it to Garmin (for a fee) to fix it.

9. The XM Traffic feature - according to XM, the coverage is by county and not by roadway. So, if you're on a major roadway such as a turnpike that traverses a large part of the state and cuts through many counties, does that mean that traffic or accidents in those uncovered counties goes unreported to the streetpilot and you find yourself without a traffic alert?? I've opened a subscription, can't answer my question, and will see whether I keep the XMTraffic subscription.

10. I think the User Manual can be a little more informative than it is. There are messages or symbols that appear on the unit that do not have any mention and therefore no explanation in the manual. Yes, the unit works right out of the box, BUT, we all know that there's more to learn in using something like this and the documentation should be more helpful in accomplishing that. And, like others, I downloaded the user's manual way before I decided to buy the unit. So, I was familiar with some of its functions before I even received it, but still needed the manual to find the info and step through some of the additional features.

In conclusion: I've only had the unit for a short time. I'm sure I'll become more familiar with it as time goes by. If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely still choose this unit. I DO like it and find it very helpful. The 'cons' presented above are according to my tastes and preferences. They may not be issues for others.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great unit with very little to complain about, January 18, 2006
By 
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
This is quite an upgrade from my Streetpilot III. Wonderful screen , intuitive interface, nice backlit remote with a nifty thumbstick, preloaded maps (it actually says the street names), XM radio, MP3/AudioBook player.

My only complaints are:
1) the FM transmitter is pretty weak (I use the audio-out with cassette adapter)
2) Memory is built-in and not expandable. It does have ~750mb of usable space, but it would still be nice if I could use my own memory sticks (CompactFlash, SD, etc...)

So of my measly 2 complaints, only 1 has no workaround. There are tons of little touches/improvements that I don't have the time or energy to go into right now.

It's a 5-star product, no doubt about it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome product--just one thing, February 21, 2006
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
I was in the market to buy my first GPS unit. I researched the web and editorials non-stop to see what would give me the best for my money. It was going to be between the Tom Tom and Garmin, however it was the WAAS feature for Garmin and the XM traffic/weather option that put Garmin over the top for me.

Don't under estimate the WAAS feature. It gets you right up to the turn, I believe as close as 7 feet. Very usable feature, especially when in cities where you go turn after turn. The XM radio functionality is great. I was worried that I would lose some cool XM radio features that I already have with my XM Myfi, however, Garmin put some thought into it and put a ton of features, like favorite artist notifications, and a really cool browse screen that makes me like the GPS over the Myfi!

My biggest complaint with the 2730 is the FM transmitter. I have tried every station and probably only get excellent sound 40% of the time. Unlike other XM radios where you can control the "fm output", you can not with the 2730. All my other devices that I use a transmitter with have no problem in my 4-Runner, but for some reason, it is just a little weak with the Garmin. Don't let this deter you from buying this great product though.

Living in the Washington D.C. area, the traffic, and weather functions are unreal. I'm hooked- I've had my unit for a little over a month now and won't go anywhere without it!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best, March 20, 2006
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
I have used the unit now for about 20 days straight. I an very impressed with the voice guidance. The directions are concise and timely, and it has guided me through some convoluted routes that were the best (fastest)(this feedback came from a client who gave different directions to his office because "everybody gets lost coming the fastest way."

The XM radio and traffic are nothing short of incredible. When the unit choses a route, it automatically takes into account traffic flow speeds, and calculates the fastest route.

A couple of peeves. The unit automatically assigns County Routes a faster speed, even if the limit is lower than other roads. And traffic lights are ignored in the speed calculation. If any roads other than highways are in the route, you can add an easy :10 to the trip. If you know the area, you can just stay on the highway, and the software will quickly recalculate. Also, I do a lot of driving early in the morning (4:30) and I find displays for slow roads and congestion when there may only be 5 cars on the road. I don't know if this is a Garmin, XM, or Traffic Monitoing problem, but faster updates would be helpful.

Overall I am very impressed with this unit. I have used several other GPS units from almost every manufacturer, and this one is hands down the best!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works great but has its warts, February 28, 2007
By 
A. Swain (Coral Gables, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
First off, GPS is no substitute for local knowledge. Ever. GPS units have no idea of the traffic patterns in the area, and what looks like a good idea to the route calculator is not necessarily right.

The good:

- Reception seems to be good, but I am sure this depends on the car you have.

- Complete maps. Useful if you're flying to the other coast or Canada and need to find your way in a rental car.

- Reasonably fast to calculate routes.

- Speaker part of cigarette lighter adapter. Neat idea, it even works.

- XM and MP3 capability that works with almost 500 MB space for MP3s and audio books.

- XM NavTraffic. That works too.

- For things like highway exits, the unit gives a 3D-looking view of the exit ramp and system, making even multi-highway intersections a lot less stressful to navigate.

- In addition, the unit voice prompts lane hints for complicated ramps and intersections, as in "take exit 12 and stay right".

Bad:

- XM and MP3 sound is <u>terrible</u>. It sounds like AM, even at full XM signal strength. This seems to be happening with my Roady2 to a lesser extent as well, but it sucks. Output volume is weak, and when you turn it up it starts the sound starts to clip. No bass, treble poor. I plugged my mp3 player into the same tape adapter and that sounded great, so it's the unit for sure.

- Integrated FM transmitter is impossibly weak. If you have a rear-mounted antenna, forget it.

- The unit shipped with somewhat outdated map data, and in particular, some store locations are either not there or plain wrong. Not sure if the $120 update is worth it.

Irritating:

- Telling the unit to ignore HOV roads causes it to ignore the roads in both directions, even if HOV is only one way at the given time.

- The unit would rather route you over a road it has NavTraffic info for (even if the traffic is bad) than over a road it has no info for. That can be annoying.

- the XM puck comes with a really short and fat cable. Running it through weather stripping can cause a leak. The included extension cable is no improvement, and you end up with something like 8 or 10 feet of cable with the extension, which is still too short. The good news is that it's a mini-usb connector, so if an extension for that can be found, that will likely work.

- the XM puck is what your XM radio ID is keyed on, and is obvious to see when mounted. If someone steals that, it's $110 to replace, and when replacing it you have to go through the registration update process with XM.

- the XM puck is not a GPS receiver or antenna, so if you use both, you're running two cables to their mounting points.

- NavTraffic is only as good as the reporting agency. Fair enough, not the unit's fault. You're still better off tuning into the XM traffic station and listening to that.

- Text input on the unit is non-qwerty but has the letters in order. Not a problem, just a hassle.

Tips:

- When looking for an address in a city that you're familiar with, have the unit calculate the route and only use the route legs you know are good. At least then you don't have to look at house numbers and park close enough to walk.

Summary:

A good GPS, but a poor XM radio.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garwin 2730 is great, January 18, 2007
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
This GPS is great. I am a Realtor and use it every day. I especially like the feature that broadcasts the directions through my car radio. It is crystal clear and my clients enjoy it.Also, I really like the traffic and weather feature. It has saved me many hours of waiting in Houston traffic jams.

I highly recommend the 2730 GPS unit. It is far superior to the TOMTOM I had for less than 30 days.

Don
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Motorcycle friendly GPS, August 17, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
I had been searching the various GPS manufacturers for awhile before settling on the 2730. I recently took a motorcycle trip to Wyoming from NY and had this GPS mounted on the handlebars. Very well made unit that made my trip much more enjoyable. I purchased this particular unit over others by TomTom and Garmin because I liked the XM weather/traffic/radio combination more than the bluetooth capability of the 'rider' and the 2820 (although the 2820 offers XM also, it does not supply the antenna as the 2730 does). Being able to answer the phone on my bike doesn't seem the safest option, and I had heard that the bluetooth headsets don't have quite the sound quality I would want for traffic/music.

I had to purchase the motorcycle mount kit PLUS a separate mounting bracket arrangement to get this unit on the motorcycle itself. The Garmin kit only includes a way to 'clip' the unit to an existing bracket. After wiring the unit to my bikes battery (there is no internal battery - the 2730 must be wired to an external source), and mounting it to the TechMount bracket I bought, I was ready to go.

After playing around with the unit for awhile, I found that:

Unless the sun was directly at my back - the screen was easily readible in all light (it automatically adjusts, or you can manually do it).

I rarely used a headset on the bike - the XM traffic and weather are 'readable' on screen and don't need speakers. (an extra charge for traffic/weather over and above the standard XM fee)

When I did use a headset, the XM radio and direction instructions were clear and distinct - but no options for fine tuning audio besides volume.

Unlike a previous review states, there IS a way - while the 2730 is in use - to save a place/point/area not already in the database quickly and easily. the manual clearly states how to do this.

You can make multiple point destinations, or even add points during a current trip and the GPS will sort and optimize your travel.

The XM antenna receiver fit into the pouch of my windshield bag and had good reception throughout my trip. The 2730 does not require an external antenna for the GPS portion, the XM receiver is only for traffic/weather/XM. I used it only a few times.

The 2730 gave lots of info that was useful - accurate speed, time to next turn, time to arrive at location, etc... - and some that was not so useful - average speed, average total speed - stuff that was interesting, but I didn't need it cluttering up the screen.

The size of the maps and color clarity were exceptional.

The touch screen worked well with gloves.

Quick acquisition of satellites - until you turn on WAAS. I recommend you don't bother with WAAS unless there is some overwhelming need for it.

Good voices to choose from: clear, non-robotic, instuctions. Several accents and languages.

Easily download points of interest, and able to alert you to their proximity based on parameters you supply.

If you don't input a specific destination, the 2730 will - as it traces your path/route - list all the points of interest you are close to. It's worth a glance now and then to see if you are near anything interesting.

Contrary to what was written in another review, the maps are not only current (within a year old) on my 2730, but Garmin has a policy where they will allow you to download an update for free if your maps are outside of a particular date range when you purchased the unit.

An extremely good unit that is a little pricy, but don't forget that you get the XM antenna thrown in (although it only has a 3 foot cable, my unit came with a 6~8 ft. extension in the box) and it can be easily adapted to motorcycle, ATV, etc... with an inexpensive kit. I've used it in my truck with great results also. The unit has an audio jack built in for headphones or auxiliary output (I think someone wrote that it doesn't - it does)

There are many, many options on the menus - I suggest you take a look at Garmins website and see what it can do before making a purchase of this magnitude.

If you don't need the XM capabilities, Take a look at the other Garmin units. they (Garmin) make quite a few GPS systems tailored to different applications. I chose the 2730 because of space considerations and my feature list.

Anyway, just my opinion. 4 stars (minus a star because 5 would be perfect and I don't believe any device is perfect.)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait!, February 18, 2006
By 
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
I saw this unit on Garmin's website a few months ago when I was looking at GPS units, and was attracted by the combination of XM and the Nav system. Buying these two features in one package makes this unit a pretty good value, even though this is a little pricey for a GPS unit. I bought it a few weeks ago and have been pleased since day one.

It worked right out of the box, with no hiccups. The user interface is intuitive enought that you don't need to read the manual. There are several features that I found after reading the manual, but I consider most of that stuff to be nice bonus material. The FM transmitter won't drown out anything more than a weak station, but you can find empty channels on this site ([...] I have used the unit in three different cars (Subaru Impreza, Pontiac G6, and Mazda 3). The FM strength was worst in the Mazda, but still workable. Both of the other cars didn't have any trouble. I found that it helped to retract the antenna in the Subaru.

I have used the unit in Chicago, on a trip to Grand Rapids, MI, and in Connecticut. The directions are consistantly good and the unit found routes that Hertz's Neverlost failed to. The XM subscription is great. The NavTraffic service is very cool in Chicago, as it gives a great view of all the major arteries.

I have only one and a half (minor) complaints with the device. It takes several screen buttons to switch between the map and the XM radio. I feel like that should be easier. I would also like to see an option to more permanently install the device in my car.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent purchase, June 19, 2006
This review is from: Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
I have had this StreetPilot 2730 for a little over a week now. It is my first GPS/XM unit and I love it. Since it's pretty useless to write what I like about it (you can see what features it has from it's description and you can see that I like it since I gave it 5 stars) so I'll write what I don't like about it.

1)The FM Modulator: Don't get me wrong it **works** but it just doesn't work to the level that I desire. I live in an area where there are many open frequencies (right outside of a military base) and the sound still isn't very good. The sound is somewhere between cassette quality and radio station quality with intermittent bursts of static. INFACT, the sound from the FM Modulator was so terrible that I had the head-unit in my car replaced just to get clear sound! My car head-unit was stock and didn't offer an auxiliary stereo input - so I had a new Sony head-unit installed that has a front auxiliary input. Some people would say that is frivolous - but when you spend $800 on a unit, why not spend $250 more to make it sound good!

2)The Speaker: If you don't get XM radio I guess the speaker is O.K. .. but if you get XM radio the speaker is pointless. I mean, you wouldn't use that thing to listen to music! I don't even like looking at it. I hate how the power cable has a speaker on the end that is big (like 2.5") and ugly. It's so ugly I plugged it in inside my center counsels power supply and used Velcro straps to hold the wire down (looks a lot better now).

3)There is no 3! Everything else is amazing. The screen is great, the remote is great, the XM radio is amazing, the auto-re-routing is amazing, and on and on.

AND! Have you seen the 2820 - it doesn't even come with the antenna for XM radio. You have to fork out another $250 for it - and it's the NEWER model! What a rip off... all that to make phone calls. Get a $100 blue tooth earpiece, lol. It's what I did!

----------------------------------------------------------
ADDITION (A few months after the fact):
Well the unit is still as lovely as it was the day I bought it. I have logged a few thousand miles and trips
1) A few states away
2) To the beach
3) To bars, restaurants, friends houses, etc
are all mapped out flawlessly.

One new 'problem' that I found:
If the area that you're going to is 'new' (built AFTER the map software was loaded on to the GPS) then it will not be able to take you there. This is particularly frustrating when I visit a friends house which was recently built... I have to drive to a major road that has existed for a couple years before the GPS can give me valid directions.
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Garmin StreetPilot 2730 3.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator
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