Top critical review
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Slightly disappointed Garmin customer.
on 25 June 2013
Pre ordered mine and very pleased that it arrive on day of release. Having previously had years of great service from a basic TomTom One I was a reluctant convert to Garmin but so many bad reviews of latest tomtom products persuaded me to make the change. I really only wanted to add Europe for a long driving holiday and the old tomtom didn't have that.
I have lots of reservations however about this Garmin not least of all was it failure to work properly after a couple of hours down the French motorway on day 1 of the two week drive through Europe for which I had specifically bought it (I had previously done a trip to scotland and the West country and it was fine then) ! The unit froze on us whilst driving and then having switched off would not restart it just kept cycling through a start up screen and then off again, and no amount of button pushing would stop it. Several hours of internet searching that evening and pushing bits of the screen to try to do a master reset seemed to sort it out in the end but I had by then lost all the trip data for that part of the journey, and all my favourites all put in for the trip we were on! I was not happy at all. If we had been on our own on the trip with no web access we would have had a serious issue, fortunately we had friends with us to assist and get us back on track on that day. We had paper maps etc, but not so easy locating hotels in strange town with those is it.!
A few more cons compared to my old and very basic tomtom.
You can't get all the info you need on the main screen. I want to see the current time, the distance and time to my destination all at a glance, tomtom does it, Garmin needs more presses of the screen to get all that. And I can't understand why they don't allow this, as you can customise the sidebar but you simply can't add the info to that I think you need. Very poor that. You should not need to touch the unit to get something as basic as the current time up. UPDATE, this model now has all the info on the screen you need, a software update put that right a few months ago. It makes this a far more friendly unit to use now..
Tomtom warms about toll roads etc when it plans a route, Garmin doesn't. You can add them as "avoidances" but it would be nice to get a warning beforehand.
Tomtom give you options to customise the sound of alerts, no flexibility at all with Garmin, you get what you a given.
The ability to browse and zoom in and out of the maps is a lot better than on my old tomtom. And the overview map that shows mountains etc is a great way to get a feel for your trip and its then possibly to zoom right into the details of the route.
Dodgy in my opinion, but aren't all sat navs! Several times Garmin has tried to take me off motorways for no apparent reason, or cut corners in small villages to take you down bumpy narrow back roads where its way better to carry on through on the main road.
This Garmin also has no option to set a route for walking, my old tomtom did, and so do older Garmins so why not this one? Particular stupid as it will remember where you parked your car if you need to find it but it then gives you driving directions back to it !
Beware if planning to use this somewhere like the Alps as we did. It will lose reception in the numerous tunnels and narrow gorges. OK I would expect it to do that but why then does it often show you miles away on the screen ? It knows you were on the road, it should know you were in a tunnel so why can it not just assume you are traveling along at a set speed on the same road. It can be very tricky when there is a junction just outside the tunnel as all routing is lost once it loses the sat signal and you just hope it gets it back quickly the other side.
And why on earth does it not have toll booths shown on the maps ? A pretty important feature in my opinion, and would be very useful to know ones coming up so you can can get ready but nothing at all is shown.
You can configure the side bar to show what's ahead. Its useful but why not somehow indicate if the petrol station for examlpe up ahead is on your route or off it ? You think one is coming up in a mile or so but in then disappears off the screen is it turns out its a few streets away and not on your actual route, not very helpful. Again tomtom does this better with on route and off route searching.
These seem to work but as is often the case with such things they are usually a bit behind and hold ups and gone before you get there. Several dire warnings driving down through France of 90 min delays were ignored by me and traffic was heavy but moving and any delay was minimal, nothing like that predicted. No doubt not the fault of Garmin that, but just a general warning on taking advice on such route diversions.
A bit disappointed that it will sync with my old Nokia phone but not read the phonebook, so not much use for dialing out. Its strange because my old phone works fine in my Audi with its own bluetooth it reads my phone book with no problem.
Screen and instructions etc.
I like the photo real junctions, lots of them on motorways across UK and Europe, they do help. Lane guidance when you get it also helps. On occasions however especially on some roundabouts the arrow on the screen seems a bit fat and you lose clarity on the actual direction you need to go. It would be great to get an overview map of your route and progress along it with one touch, you can get it but it takes multiples screen touches to do it.
I can't comment much on the voice instructions as most of my use has been in an open top car, and it not easy to hear them with the wind noise, and anyway I tend to rely on the screen by habit
Works fine for the most part but I have noticed you can get vibration through the car that will make the unit vibrate as well for a few seconds, (and that's worse in a sports car with stiff suspension) so mount not that solid, and if you are a bit heavy handed when pressing the screen the unit can move on the ball joint.
I have tried to use this to do routes on the PC but have found it very frustrating and fiddly to use and gave up. Tyre was a lot better and easy to set up waypoints to then create routes using that.
Bought the genuine case as well. Nice and easy to use but does not fully enclose the unit as side are elasticated so i dropped it, and unit still got a dent on the corner, another Garmin disappointment.
So there you go. I did plan to send it back after it let me down but its been fairly good since then. But overall I am a disappointed Garmin customer and wondering if I should have just forked out for new Europe maps for my old faithful tomtom and saved a bit of cash!