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GPS Recommendations

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Leroy, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    I'm looking into getting a GPS unit for my vehichle. I've sort of narrowed it down to the Garmin 2610, Garmin Streetpilot III Deluxe, Garmin Ique PDA/GPS and the new one from Delphi (NA10000-11B1).

    The only experience I've had was with a Megellan unit in a Hertz rental car. I don't recall the model but it featured voice prompts and a color LCD screen similar to the units above. I've wanted on ever since.

    Anyone have any opinions on the units I'm looking into or can recommend other options? I'm leaning towards the Delphi as it's overall features and looks are very appealing, but I've not been able to find much other info on it.
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I've owned a Garmin StreetPilot III Deluxe for a couple of years now. It's a great unit. The routing software works very well, and the unit is easy to operate. My wife has no problem using the Garmin as long as I perform all the loading of maps and defining waypoints. A couple of co-workers own the same model and love them -- one co-worker owns two so that her and her husband can have one in each vehicle.

    I have not shopped for a GPS since, but at the time the Garmin units received the highest recommendations from reviews and users. I have seen a newer "touchscreen" model advertised recently, but do not know how it compares to the StreetPilot III.

    Here are a few sites to check out for further information, reviews, pricing, etc. GPSCity has discussion forums dedicated to the brands they carry.

    www.gpsinformation.net
    www.gpscity.com
    www.gpsdiscount.com
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    A quick check at GPSCity reveals that the new "touchscreen" Garmin is the StreetPilot 2610. One big advantage of this model is that it uses standard CompactFlash cards instead of the more expensive flash memory cards on the SPIII to store mapping information. The unit is supposed to be quicker in calculating routes, and has a remote control, too.

    If you decide on a Garmin, you may want to look at this model instead of the SPIII if it's within your budget.
     
  4. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    Well, I've seen all 3 in person, and the Delphi is the nicest, sleekest unit. I like the idea of a touch screen on the 2610, but the price difference($300-$350) may enough to discourage me from buying it over the Street Pilot.

    I may end up going with a Garmin simply on the quality behind the name.

    Anyone know for sure if Garmin now gives you all regions unlocked or do they still restrict you to 1 region (as far as detail maps). Delphi doesn't have any region lockouts (I called them) so that might make a difference. I know in the past it was anywhere from $75-100+ to unlock additional regions for download on Garmins.
     
  5. Mark Romero

    Mark Romero Second Unit

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    Streetpilot III Deluxe rocks.
     
  6. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I replaced my old Streetpilot with Streetpilot III Deluxe a few months ago. It was a big difference going from monochrome to color, from 8MB to 128MB (i.e. from 1/8 of a state to 2+ states), autorouting, and voice prompts. I've also found that it locks onto the satellite signals quicker and is better at staying locked to the signals as you drive around.

    At least with the Streetpilot III, it now has all regions unlocked. The Streetpilot III used to allow only one map region and you'd have to pay more to get more, but the "Deluxe" means that it now includes the 128MB cartridge, USB programmer, both permanent and beanbag mounts, and a full unlock on all regions. In other words, you get just about everything except an external antenna, which shouldn't be necessary if it's mounted on top of the dashboard. Also, there's a free map upgrade CD (v5.0) you can order at the website.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Yes, the Deluxe package includes unlock codes for all their U.S. and Canadian maps. The newer 2610 also comes with all regions unlocked, so it appears that Garmin has discontinued the practice of selling single region maps.

    FYI, another co-worker of mine has a different Garmin model that he uses on his boat. His unit failed after the warranty period, yet Garmin still repaired/replaced the unit as a warranty item. Based on this experience, he'll only consider Garmin products now.
     
  8. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    Well, I after much deliberation and research, I ended up with the Delphi unit. The deciding factors were ease of use,the better looking screen, overall look of the unit and the fact the the speaker was built onto the unit.

    I'm not sure why Garmin has that UGLY speaker dongle that hangs from your 12v power socket. It's fairly large and obtrusive, depending on the location of your power supply.

    I was acutally able to get it at nearly the same price as the Street Pilot ($650 range, it sells for anywhere from $749-899).

    As soon as I got home I loaded my maps and went drivnig around. I set a destination for a buddies house and purposely drove off route. It recalcualted within seconds and prompted me to get back on course. So far I'm reallu liking it. I'll put it through further testing tomorrow. So far the only thing I don't like is the sparse hard copy docs you get. The manual is in PDF format.
     
  9. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    The reason is that the Streetpilot III uses the same case as some other Garmin units, and there's no room for a decent voice-quality speaker inside. Even though the included speaker is part of the 12v power plug, it connects to the GPS by a standard headphone jack, so it is possible to use an alternative speaker.

    I too play around with the GPS by purposely driving off route, or sometimes it calculates a route that, while technically optimal, is not my usual route due to intangibles such as traffic lights. Like the Delphi, the Streetpilot recalculates a new course and tells me when and where to turn. I call it my "nagivator", or sometimes when the sythesized female voice gets a little too talkative, I call it "Bitch".

    Anyway, enjoy your Delphi.
     
  10. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    Can anyone recommend a place to get SD or MMC memory cards for cheap? I need a 256mb so I can load all the maps I need.

    It's too bad that none of the GPS makers (as far as I know) allow state by state detail map loading. I wonder why they go by regions? Other than the new Magellen Roadmate 700(with 10gb HD with all of the US and most of Caanada already loaded)all other GPS options require a pick and choose region of mapping.
     
  11. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    The Streetpilot's City Navigator software has map zones at the major city or sub-state level. For example I'm in Georgia and it has about 10-12 zones I had to load to get the entire state. The size of each zone varies with the number of streets and points of interest (i.e. restaurants) database for the zone. Atlanta had multiple smaller zones compared to other less populated parts of the state. Some of the zones overlap into the next state, for example I had to include parts of east Alabama to get the adjacent portions of west Georgia. Each zone is only a few megabytes, and with 128MB to work with, I could load 20-30 zones reaching into several states.

    The neat thing about such granular zones is that if you're going on a trip, you can load every zone along the planned route without having to include a lot of data for parts of those states you won't even go near. But you don't even have to do that much, since a map of the interstate and other major highways is built-in, so all you really need to load are the zones for the origin, destination, and maybe each place you intend to stop along the way. The Streetpilot can generate a route which will seamlessly switch from the detailed map to the built-in highway map and then back to the detailed map at the destination.

    Anyway, that's how the Streetpilot does it. I have no idea about the Delphi.
     
  12. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    In addition to Wayne's comments, having multiple smaller zones allows a lot more flexibility in how you use your available memory for mapping info. Using a 128MB card, I was able to load 100% of the regions of data for a 5,000 mile trip we took from Michigan to Glacier National Park in northwest Montana, including alternate routes through South Dakota, North Dakota and Canada. Since I didn't have to load all the data for Chicago, for example, when our route went south of there, it saved a lot of space.
     
  13. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    Thanks for that info guys. None of the websites seem to go into much detail about how their maps are broken down.Good thing is, I just found out the new map/data upgrade (which will be free) from Delphi/Navman will include state by state selectable maps (may even include the zones within the states).

    Plus, they are adding this nifty 3-D view (along with POI routing and some other improvements)as you can see below on the Navman on the left (Delphi's unit is a rebadged iCN630)

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    The 3-D view looks neat. It would be great if Garmin would add something like that to their existing models.
     

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