Customer Review

142 of 147 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but needs more configuration options., April 10, 2007
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This review is from: Garmin nüvi 670 4.3-Inch Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)
From an ergonomics and hardware perspective, the Nuvi is clearly the class leader. It does cost too much and the simplicty of the interface greatly limits flexibility.

Hardware. The Nuvi makes the TomTom and other units look downright bloated and clunky. The industrial design is not quite in the Apple league but is the best thing available at the moment. The SiRF chipset is far superior to those used in older GPS units (including some current Garmin StreetPilots). It locks signal quickly, the screen is bright, the voice to text is clear, etc.

I have owned many GPS units of all makes and types. Thus, unlike many 1st time GPS owners, I am no longer mesmerized by the fact that GPS can find my street address. The Garmin, like many other brands does a very good job at getting you from point A to point B. Garmin's maps and algorithms do seem slightly better than some others but it will still send you on some routes that a local driver would not use. the fact that the 670 is preloaded with maps of both Europe and the USA is a great feature IF, and only if, you have a need for this.

My biggest frustration with the Nuvi lineup is the limited configuration options. Garmin, in an effort to appeal to soccer Mom's, has really dumbed down the interface compared to years ago when you could configure just about everything including display of MGRS data. The Nuvi has even less flexibility than the StreetPilot series when it comes to configuration options.

Like any brand of GPS, the Garmin will often recommend a route that is simply absurd. This is where the interface falls down because the only place to select from shortest time, shortest distance, etc., is in the system configuration menus. Magellan, for example, asks you every time if you want "shortest time", "shortest distance", "least use of freeways", "most use of freeways", etc. If Magellan suggests a goofy route you simply go back one screen and pick an alternative. This also provides a quick and easy way to compare various routing suggestions. To do so on the Nuvi you have to return all the way back to the system settings and even then you only have shortest time or shortest distance. I do understand that many folks want to keep it as simple as possible but I also think Garmin should include an "advanced settings" menu for those who want more. Yes, the StreetPilots are more configurable but they are dinosaurs from a hardware perspective.

The TMC traffic service is a mixed bag. It is only useful in certain metropolitan areas. Likewise, the information is often not current. It is like listening to the traffic report telling you that Route XYZ is fine when you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on that very road. Quality of data really depends on the geographic area and the road itself. But yes, the way Garmin built the FM receiver into the power cord is a thing of engineering beauty.

Bluetooth may or may not work for you. When I try to pair my Nokia 9300 the Nokia sees the Garmin but the Garmin never sees the Nokia. If this feature is important to you then do check the Garmin site to see if your phone is listed as a compatible unit.

The graphics are good but nothing special. Again, about on par with everyone else.

I have not tried using the Nuvi as an MP3 player. I already own an iPod.

The big question becomes, is it worth the money? This is a tough call considering that some GPS units are now at the $200 mark. If you fly from city to city and want to take your GPS along then the Nuvi is a good choice. It is great to be in a strange city where you jump in a rental car, plug in an address, and away you go. If you want the basics or do not need the slim form factor there are much better deals from Magellan, TomTom, and even Garmin. The Nuvi is a better product but i do not think it is so much better that it justifies the huge price premium. I might feel differently if it had some amazing graphics engine or there were an "advanced configuration" menu that allowed me to tailor it to my own quirks and needs.

I did buy the 670 for the size and the USA/Europe maps. For those specific needs it is the best in class. I do love the Nuvi hardware but I still prefer the software and configuration options on my 4 year old Magellan Roadmate.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 31, 2007 6:05:30 PM PDT
R. Dunbar says:
Nice review; accurate from my 2 day experience with the 670.

The 670 is beautifully designed, but the software seems to be in retrograde motion.

No route tracking, no choice of compass direction, no CD to allow POI planning on a PC in advance.

What is still mysterious to me is what I actually need in addition to what came in the box.

I would like additional POI info, esp. for Europe.

Travel Guides, Audio trip guides enroute ... would be a treat.

Figuring out what to buy from the information available takes far too much time.

Even the 670 itself was purchased with a "15% restocking fee" ... so much for impluse purchases.
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