on December 23, 2013
... even asked a trucker friend what brand GPS she uses. She gave me the model number of hers, which she really likes, and when I looked it up, the Garmin nuvi 42LM 4.3" was the updated version. Read the reviews, which were somewhat mixed of course, weighed out the pros and cons, and chose this model. Could not have made a better choice for what we needed! I think we paid $90 (the price had just been lowered on Amazon, and it's been lowered since I bought ours, but we needed ours delivered before leaving on our trip.)
When first delivered in the original box, you'll see the GPS, a cigarette lighter car charger, a USB cord, and the suction cup doo-dad to put it up on the inside of your windshield. The only directions that came with mine were for how to set that up physically on the windshield. Using the USB cord plugged into your computer, you need to go first to the Garmin website for more info. DOWNLOAD THE SOFTWARE UPDATES FIRST! Register your GPS, then you're ready to download map updates, then the rest of what's available to you, such as different voices. It's very easy to do all that. After using British James' voice for a few days, we ended up turning off the voice option, and just kept an eye on the GPS for next turn, etc. As the main driver, I got used to glancing at the GPS for that info. It's just like how you got used to taking your eyes off the road to look at your rear view mirror every seven seconds. What?? You don't do that? Or you can have person in passenger seat give you the directions off the GPS. Whatever floats your boat.
Took it with us to Denver last week, and it never let us down. If we chose to turn on to a different street or highway, mid-trip, "James" as I called it, just recalculated the new route to the final destination. I'm not sure, but the very cold weather in CO (except on Weds Dec 18 when a new record high temp of 68 degrees F for Denver was set!), may or may not have slowed the GPS down when setting up, or re-calculating routes. I'm talking 15 degrees F, sometimes with snow. Don't take my word on that, perhaps it just had difficulty reaching the satellite(s), or there was too much static electricity in the air? Which there is, my hair went wild at times! ha ha! My son lives 13 floors up in an apt building in the Capital District in Denver; wide open view from there, yet often there is no cell phone reception, so there are definitely communications issues in Denver, despite the wide open sprawl of the Denver Metro Area. I'll let the experts decide what the real issue(s) are! Worked very well up in the mountains, I guess to be expected as closer to the satellites, right?
Another thing we found is that it doesn't hold a charge very well, hubby said probably due to cold air, so we kept it plugged in to the charger the whole time we were using it. We'll see if that changes as the weather warms up here in Portland, OR. I had read that top battery time was about two hours, but often less. So always take the car charger with you! Also, ours had a small issue with the plug in for the charger that goes into the back of the GPS; it fits rather loosely into the port, which may have played a role in diminished battery power, but it always worked while driving and plugged in, and never cut in and out.
You can change the settings to show the elevation, posted speed limit (which was sometimes incorrect, e.g., the speed limit is actually 65 MPH, but the GPS says 55 (or vice versa, so always pay attention to posted speed signs), ETA, and how many miles to destination (instead of just how many miles to next turn.) These items show up on the right side of the screen. Map still shows up to the left when in that mode. Also, you can use the map view of the highways, or if you touch the "street name" or "destination" bar on top of the screen, it switches to turn-by-turn directions, w/ miles to go til next turn, instead.
If you don't know the area very well, you can select "Places of Interest" to find stores, restaurants by type of food, parks, museums, and other named buildings, etc. One small issue we had was that I needed to find a shoe store nearby, found one on the GPS, but when we arrived at destination, it was no longer there. The service provider for maps and points of interest evidently doesn't keep track of changes if a particular store has shut down or moved away. Just always give yourself plenty of time to get to final destination if you know you'll be stopping somewhere, in case that happens to you.
VERY EASY LEARNING CURVE! And I loved having the GPS available to use on the trip, as we drove all over Colorado, and didn't just stay in Denver. I highly recommend this model, the 4.3" is an adequate screen size, but go for the 5" screen if you feel you need or want that size. Happy Trails to You!