Top critical review
Bad Firmware and Charging Mount Unreliable but only SatNav that Supports Free Maps
5 August 2018
The only reason I bought this SatNav is because it supports free open source maps. And that I cannot complain about. The remainder is a disappointment.
First: The hardware isn't particularly good; it's slow, the charging mount doesn't work for very long and you cannot charge via USB when it's on the mount thanks to the design of it.
Then the firmware is, well, quite horrible. There are way to many nonsensical messages without any option to turn them off. One example: When the SatNav is on and charging via the mount, and that charge is interrupted a message is prompted that the device will auto shut-off, which I have to cancel. This cannot be disabled. I really cannot over-emphasise what a stupid firmware design this is. Given that the mount is unreliable and the charge is dropping out every now and then, I'm further hit by the firmware requiring my attention (and inevitably taking my eyes off the road, which is unsafe). Garmin knows this, as the issue exists for several years and is well reported. The fix would also be incredibly easy. But they just don't fix it. This problem is symptomatic for a whole lot of issues I had with the device and Garmin's attitude towards it.
Another example is routing, which is basically impossible with this device. For this Garmin uses it's TripPlanner. This does only really work with the accompanied software, Basecamp, which is available for free. And here is the catch. Cause it's for free, Garmin basically doesn't take any responsibility for it and all support there is is via a forum that I couldn't even successfully register for. The whole way route planning works in this software is beyond comprehension. Anyone who's able to master it properly, can feel free to enlighten me. But for all I experienced, it's routing capabilities are worse than those of Google maps (which most people resort to for that very reason). Now, once a trip has successfully been created (by whatever means) it can be sent to the device. Theoretically. Practically, the device will get the trip, but the different waypoints have to be imported onto the trip manager on the device. This could be fair enough, since I could import the waypoints for every day (or even multiple days) at once. Could. Cause what actually happens is that the device crashes when trying. And the trips I tried were not complicated (400km mostly motorways with 2 waypoints). So what this all boils down to is that I can tell the device to take me from A to B and pre-set what kind of roads I'd like to take. Everything else is virtually impossible.
I had a TOMTOM Rider before, which worked better. But it doesn't allow for open source maps. And the whole maps business is even more of a ripoff than this. And the Garmin is also off-road capable, which the TOMTOM isn't. These are the only reasons I gave it a second star.
One positive point: When I complained about the charging issue, Garmin's support was very quick sending a new device (which is probably because they are well aware of the issue). Pretty good service!
So PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Garmin, produce quicker and more reliable devices (with designs that would actually be useful to riders) and develop Basecamp into something truly usable. Then your products could be great!