I'm not going to repeat all the praises others have had for this. It's a great unit - until you go to check for map updates. Before you go to buy this, or any Garmin unit, check their forum and any other forum related to GPS navigation. The software Garmin recommends using to update and backup your data simply doesn't work. I thought it could be that I'm on Windows XP (there's no mention of system requirements anywhere on their website) but considering the amount of complaints about the software, I doubt it's an operating system issue. Trying to update through the website is no better. It runs you around in circles, taking you back to previous screens instead of proceeding to find any updates. I tried Firefox, Opera, Chrome and IE to rule out browser issues. No luck with any of them.
This is my second go round with Garmin. A few years back, I paid $100 or so for lifetime map updates for a Nuvi200. The ID number they gave me wasn't recognized. Calling customer support ended with them telling me that that ID number was the only one they could give me because it was already registered to my unit. I asked if I could get a refund. "No - you've been issued an ID. How do we know it isn't working and you're just trying to get your money back?" I told them to check their records for my serial number to see if any updates had been downloaded. "That's not possible, sir." End of story. They have my money, I have an outdated unit that can't be updated.
Having sworn to never buy another Garmin again, imagine the thoughts that went through my head when I received the 52LM as a gift. While I was really grateful for getting it, in the back of my mind I was already thinking about how to break it to my friend that I'd probably want to return it. Garmin didn't let me down. They are definitely consistent in their lack of support and concern for customer satisfaction.
I sent this same story to Garmin and got the typical automated response that included this: "We appreciate your support of Garmin products and look forward to serving you." I actually flipped off the monitor. Hello, Magellan and TomTom!
Not surprisingly, the response I got by email said to try the very software that I'd said doesn't work. Compare that with Garmin's opinion of what they are about:
To be an enduring company by creating superior products for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor, and sports that are an essential part of our customers' lives.
We will be the global leader in every market we serve, and our products will be sought after for their compelling design, superior quality, and best value.
The foundation of our culture is honesty, integrity, and respect for associates, customers, and business partners. Each associate is fully committed to serving customers and fellow associates through outstanding performance and accomplishing what we say we will do.
Built to Last:
These 3 simple words describe our products, our company, our culture ... our future. As a leading worldwide provider of navigation, we are committed to making superior products for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor and sports that are an essential part of our customers' lives.
Our "vertical integration" business model keeps all design, manufacturing, marketing and warehouse processes in-house, giving us more control over timelines, quality and service. Our user-friendly products are not only sought after for their compelling design, superior quality and best value, but they also have innovative features that enhance the lives of our customers.
Honesty? User friendly? Service? When are companies going to stop publishing mission statements that don't have anything to do with reality? Probably never. But it'll never change until people demand better. Call 'em out, people! When you see something seriously wrong, call 'em out!
To be fair, I've upped the rating to three because the unit itself is really good out of the box. But the inability to update it basically makes this a throwaway as roads change.