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Need help picking a gps system!!

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Old 10-20-09, 01:15 AM   #1
iDomoKun
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Default Need help picking a gps system!!

Hey everyone,

I'm thinking about getting a portable GPS system for my car. Before you guys tell me to google it up and search it up myself, I've done research on it and read plenty of reviews already. Right now, I'm just stuck choosing which Garmin Nuvi I should get. I really like the Garmin Nuvi 1390T because of the 5" widescreen and the fast response, but there's lots of complaints about it freezing up or turning off automatically. Then there's the Garmin 885T which comes with the voice command which is a pretty cool feature and very reliable especially if you're trying to look up directions while driving. Can any of you guys who have knowledge of GPS systems tell me which one is the best choice? I'm looking for a good navi that will match my black interior, and have lane assist, fast response time, accurate directions, and no problems with freezing or shutting off. Any info would be appreciated
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Old 10-20-09, 07:56 AM   #2
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I think you mean the 1490T which has the 5" screen. The 1390T has the regular smaller wide screen. Costco had a 5" Garmin last week -- don't remember the model ... maybe it was a 1490T -- it seemed huge.

After using portable GPS devices for the past few years, I would probably buy a low end Garmin with a narrow screen -- the smallest and thinnist one I could get -- probably something in the 1200 series. All the 1200 series units speak the street names -- the absolutely most important feature of all. I guess the Bluetooth feature in some Garmin units could be useful but none of them will automatically mute your car radio when your phone rings or during a call like any stand-a-lone phone kit will do.

Why a small screen? I don't look at the screen all that much while driving. I rely on the voice commands to tell me which street, highway or exit to turn on. The lane assist feature looks cool but I have had no difficulty hearing which exit to take and I don't need anything else to take my eyes off the road.

The bigger issue with a portable GPS is that (my opinion) they are a complete PITA when attached to the windshield. I was a stretch for me in my LS and it was impossible for my wife to reach hers in her Camry when it was on the windshield. And it is too much trouble to mount and remove a GPS every time you enter and leave your car.

The solution that worked for us was to mount our portable GPS units on brackets and hardwire their power cords into the car accessory circuits to turn on and off automatically. Makes them easy to reach. We bought extra power cords and cradles to use in rental cars when we travel and those are the only times we use windshield mounts.

Attached are photos of our GPS units in our LS and Camry. My GPS is an "old" (2006?) Magellan. I like the Magellan interface more than Garmin but Magellan customer services is shakey and my old unit is very light on POI's. It will be replaced at some point with a narrow screen Garmin. The wife's widescreen Garmin 260W was obtained simply because it was cheap at Costco -- it has an incredible number of POI's though and map updates from Garmin are easy to download and fairly inexpensive. Both our Garmin and Magellan allow using custom POI files. For example, I've got a custom POI file on my Magellan with all U.S. Lexus dealers -- a chime rings when I am within a mile of a Lexus dealer and a different chime rings when I am within a few hundred yards of one.
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Old 10-20-09, 02:29 PM   #3
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haha yes i meant the 1490t!
Thanks for the quick and informative response! I just looked up the 1260t. It's not really what I'm looking for because I want a widescreen gps system. I read a review on the 1260t and it said that it wasn't particularly accurate with the public transportation routes either. It said the nuvi 265t will do the same navigational job as the 1260t but for half the price.
I did more research today and I came across the 755t which is actually almost exactly what I am looking for. It comes with advanced navigation with lane assist, FM lifetime traffic, lane assist with junction view, 3-D building view, widescreen, preloaded street maps for North America, speaks street names, photo navigation, FM transmitter, MP3 player, route planning, etc. Do you think this is a good deal?
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Old 10-21-09, 06:29 AM   #4
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People want different things -- that's why they make so many GPS models.

Maybe I would appreciate some of the 755T's features if I used one. Some don't seem very important. Putting music on a memory card to use the MP3 feature through the FM interface doesn't sound like something I'd want to do -- especially if I had an 09 IS which has far better inexpensive iPod/MP3 interfaces available. And dedicating a car radio to a particular frequency just so I can hear GPS voice commands sound weird -- I'd rather listen to my radio.

Even if you don't use all the features, I doubt if you can go wrong with any Garmin. It's a great company ... and it employs some of my friends at its headquarters next door in Olathe.
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Old 10-21-09, 12:28 PM   #5
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Having been using a Garmin from Costco, I have to feel obliged to give my input. Stay as far away from Garmin as humanly possible. I have had it route me to numerous wrong places (not mind you just wrong side of street but 2-6 miles off). The garmin user interface is horrible and extremely chunky feeling. I have no experience using other systems but nothing can be as bad as Garmin. Oh and I have had these problems in 4 different major cities (Tucson AZ, Phoenix AZ, Dallas TX, and San Antonio TX). I truly don't understand why their car GPS products are such garbage as it's off road/hiking/exercise products are top of the line and I absolutely love them, but stay away from their car GPS systems.
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Old 10-21-09, 01:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azstinger1 View Post
Stay as far away from Garmin as humanly possible.
azstinger1, have you seeked warranty service or tried updating the maps on your Garmin? You could also try taking it back to Costco for an exchange. It can take up to several hours to install the Garmin updater on a PC and download/install the huge update files but it is fairly simple to do. It is possible that your Costco Garmin may qualify for a free map update -- our Costco Garmin 260W did.

Your experience does not seem typical since Garmin is usually comes out on top in reviews and ratings although TomTom seems to have improved to the point of sometimes being equal to Garmin. So far, our Garmin has provided accurate results. My wife has used her Garmin in Dallas and Phoenix, where she is working this week, and hasn't had any problems. She's in a different city every week and her Garmin seems to work well everywhere -- at least she keeps raving about how much she loves it and how she wishes she had bought a GPS sooner.

How can you say "nothing can be as bad as Garmin" if you "have no experience using other systems"?
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Old 10-21-09, 03:46 PM   #7
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I returned the system once to costco, still had problems, sent the 2nd unit into Garmin twice after having the same sort of problems. First time Garmin said they couldn't duplicate the problems and sent it back, 2nd time Garmin said they reinstalled the operating system, loaded the most up to date map file, and replaced the internal antenna and that still didn't fix the problems. While I haven't used any other brand of portable car GPS systems I have used several installed systems and never had any of these problems. I still absolutely love my Garmin eTrex handheld I use for hiking, but have found it equally unsatisfying for use in car navigation. For different reasons than the Garmin car GPS system, largely on its ability to plan routes, for example on a trip from Phoenix to San Antonio only being on interstates for 40 miles. So in fact you are right I can't say that Garmins are the worst portable car navigation systems ever built, I just can not imagine how the others could possibly be any worse.

Edit: In case you are curious mine is the Garmin 260 (so the same one you guys have but not widescreen).

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Old 10-21-09, 06:39 PM   #8
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I have the 1490T and have no issues with it....

I bought it because it has the largest screen and can take 10 via points.

I think I bought off Ebay for about $450
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Old 10-21-09, 07:39 PM   #9
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I went to costco yesterday to check out the car gps systems. They had 2 garmins (260t and 1490t), 1 magellan, and 1 tomtom on display. The 2 garmins were both out of power so I couldn't test them out. I tested out the tomtom and the magellan out and I couldn't find half the restaurants that I was looking for. Now I'm contemplating on whether or not i should get a gps anymore.
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Old 10-21-09, 07:39 PM
 
 
 
 
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