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Customer Review

295 of 305 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not something to do at the last minute, May 21, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin nüMaps Lifetime North America Map Updates (Wireless Phone Accessory)
3/2012 update to my original review: Garmin has new software called "Lifetime Map Updater" (LMU) for folks with Lifetime Maps, including nuMap subscriptions. I like its interface better than WebUpdater, but highly-experienced Garmin users at GpsPasSion do not give it high marks, so YMMV. I am a very experienced Macintosh user with a broadband connection and several years' experience updating two Nuvis and I dread the process so much that I install no more than one update per device every one-two years. Almost all of my Garmin updates have stalled, requiring me to spend several hours babysitting the download (quitting and restarting whatever updating software Garmin wanted me to use). Once the download was complete, it took Lifetime Map Updater well over an hour to prepare and install the 2012 update on each of my Nuvis (indeed LMU warned me that it'd take over an hour per device). In addition, Garmin Mac instructions are obviously awkwardly adapted (sometimes barely adapted at all) from Windows instructions and because they refer to controls that don't exist or are differently-named on the Mac software, can be difficult to follow. Critical info about Mac software is scattered all over the Garmin site and forums. I've written a Mac tutorial for using LMU, MapInstall and MapManager based on my recent experiences and I'll post an image containing a link to it in the image gallery. As an aside, the 2012 N. America map does not fit on a Nuvi 650 (it's bigger than the unit's hard drive) and when I asked for step-by-step directions for putting part of the map on the unit and part on a card, 1st level internet tech support sent worse-than-useless canned instructions to delete vehicles, voices, photos and mp3 files. If you happened to have liked the extras, you'd have deleted them for no reason.

Original review:
I pretty much agree with Daniel's 5/20 review. If Amazon had 1/2 stars, I'd give this product 3 1/2 stars for ease of the process; doesn't get 4-5 stars because POI's don't include local chain stores that have been around for ages and b/c you can't transfer the update code to a new device. The process is easy (on a Mac running 10.4.11) but lengthy and of course I agree with everyone who says that Garmin really should provide a way to transfer the update to a new device should yours break or get stolen. But if you get even two years' worth of updates, you're doing better than buying the updates individually. Here are a few additional comments:
--as other said, be sure to check the Garmin website (garmin-dot-com/numapslifetime) for compatible models and caveats. Back of package says for example, that nuvi 200 and 205 series owners do not get coverage of Mexico
--"lifetime" = lifetime of your unit or lifetime of Garmin's relationship with Navteq, whichever comes first. Navteq's current agreement with Garmin lasts until 2015. You may recall that in 2007 there was some doubt about that relationship when Garmin got into a bidding war for TeleAtlas, the other major map provider.
--there are computer requirements as well, no doubt available on Garmin's website. Back of the package says Windows XP SP2 and Mac OS X 10.4.11 minimum (+ other requirements). I would not put it past Garmin to suddenly change the computer requirements - another way of shortening the lifespan of your "lifetime" product.
--Garmin says you need a high speed internet connection. Even with my high speed connection (my ISP claims 6630 kpbs at the moment) it took two hours to download the 2.7 GB file and another hour to install the update (during which Garmin recommends you not use your computer for other things)
--as with other "tech" things, read the instructions (on the back of the card). It gives you the address for the map update site and reminds you that you need the scratch-off product key from the card to do the update.
--to get a sense of how the installation process works, search on G--gle for
"map download instructions" site:[type garmin's site name here] and look for a pdf document called "downloading your map update" - this is the pdf file Garmin refers you to for step-by-step installation instructions
--Addendum: well, Garmin just lost their 1/2 star. I purchased a 2nd nuMaps subscription and had a horrendous time downloading the update. The download manager (which helps managed dropped downloads) didn't show up and the download stalled multiple times, forcing me to restart from scratch multiple times until the download finally succeeded - and having my two-hour download stall halfway through the process multiple times made for a very frustrating night. To top it off, the support e-mail form gives no indication that it's been sent after you click the send button (so I sent them several duplicate e-mails, thinking that my request hadn't gone through). The next day Garmin tech support responded and pointed me to a link in my myGarmin account maps tab that allows me to redownload the product should I need to.
--if you are a Mac user, I strongly recommend backing up your device before installing your nuMaps (the nuvi is just a hard drive as far as the computer's concerned and you can make a backup using Disk Utility). The nuMap installer warned me that I might lose some voices, but said I could re-download them from Garmin. Two teensy problems the installer forgot to mention - my particular device is not compatible with Garmin's new web-based voice installer ("Garage") and the .vpm voice files (e.g, American English Jack) that are still available on Garmin's website come in a Windows-only .exe file. I was able to restore my lost voices only because I had previously backed up my device.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 9, 2009, 5:51:45 AM PDT
Brian J says:
you should learn how to make paragraphs. Vertigo set in whilst trying to read your thoughtful piece.

Posted on Aug 28, 2009, 12:10:53 AM PDT
Shannon C. says:
You saying, "I would not put it past Garmin to suddenly change the computer requirements," is a completely ignorant statement on your part. Because of that statement I discount everything else you said. The reason Garmin lists operating system requirements is because of the drivers that are included with an operating system. You should just be glad that your Mac had the drivers already because you obviously would have been completely lost if you had to install a driver on your own.

Posted on Aug 28, 2009, 12:13:26 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 28, 2009, 12:13:41 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2009, 9:11:58 AM PDT
Sam says:
I suppose it would have been more accurate to say "I would not put it past Garmin to stop making their software compatible with newer OS's so that your 'lifetime' product isn't actually 'lifetime', forcing you to buy a new Garmin product." In a Mac, drivers (if you mean device drivers) are not everything. When Apple changes the OS, they often change the architecture within the core of the system. If the software company does not provide the bits and pieces (e.g., kernel extensions) necessary to interact with the new architecture, the software won't work. I just hacked an old version of an important piece of software I own to restore functionality I lost when I upgraded my OS, but I was lucky to be able to take the package apart, find the critical components on the internet and swap them out.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2009, 10:11:52 AM PDT
Sam, I think you jumped in too quickly when you bought two updates. With technology evolving so quickly, lifetime really means nothing when gadgets get outdated the moment they come out. The fact that you didn't like it the first time and that you made the purchase again just doesn't make sense other than revealing weakness in your decision-making process. For the amount of time you spent trying to get the update to work is mind-boggling. I would just purchase a new unit with more updated feature and updated map, all out of the box. To "listen" to all your complaints not once, but twice, is actually quite entertaining, but adds very little educational value.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2010, 12:36:36 PM PST
Dan Lebryk says:
Sam thank you for the kind words about my review. I agree 100% with you, Garmin did a lot of moving around on this product, and some of it is complicated. Comments I've read show exactly that.

Yes you are absolutely correct about the lifetime part of this - as long as the software continues to run on your computer to actually do the update. Dropping or adding Mac support is a constant challenge with almost all software companies. I can see your frustration there, and it is a very good warning.

I had a really nice experience with Garmin on a new GPS. My 765T broke under warranty - the thing died at 11 months and 15 days within the one year warranty. Garmin shipped me a new one. There was absolutely no problems transferring my old GPS and subscriptions to the new one. The codes worked perfectly including the European map set I had purchased (I had to find my original disc). I had a heck of a time with my favorites / POI's - that was not easy or intuitive to migrate. It turns out there's only one file you have to copy.

My advice would be to contact Garmin, tell them that your old unit was destroyed, lost, or whatever; and could they transfer the subscription to the replacement? I would guess they will do that, in the case where you are being honest and not trying to put this code on two different units to avoid buying a second license. Like I said, when Garmin did the replacing under warranty, they had no trouble moving the codes over.

And for Gift - I don't see that Sam did not like this product. In fact he rated the product as OK. He doesn't like the poor Mac support (he's probably right). I don't see that he took an inordinate amount of time to do this upgrade - it's an almost 3Gb file to download, not much anyone can do about an ISP's download speed. The map rebuild can take a while on the GPS, but it's not really the full hour.

And Gift, I seriously disagree with your advice about buying a new GPS. No those are not necessarily map updated out of the box. It depends on when the unit was built, how long it sat on the shelf, and a world of other things. I don't think Garmin offers the 1 year of free updates anymore. So you get what is installed. It might not be newer than what is already on Sam's GPS. And new features - hmmmm, the newer units are thinner and cheaper, but not really anything new feature-wise. My 4 year old Nuvi 670 works almost exactly the same as my 1 year old 765T - there haven't been that many new features in the past several years. Oh, yeah, OK lane assist. But that's about it. Basic GPS is still basic GPS.

Posted on Feb 13, 2010, 11:44:03 AM PST
Stempien says:
good thing I don't have a mac... with windows there are no issues... isn't there a program that lets mac users run windows based programs so that you could actually find software and updates out there...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2010, 11:23:02 AM PDT
Angelo says:
two letters for ya that will make it easy for your product's lifetime updates a lifetime and that is PC...I have XP and Vista on a USB HD to boot on old unsupported devices in case of updates that are no longer compatible with new OS

Posted on Sep 24, 2010, 6:27:22 AM PDT
NewNew says:
I think your review is thorough and useful. Thank you for taking the time to write it .

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010, 11:31:13 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 13, 2011, 8:42:37 AM PDT]
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