A friend gave me a Garmin II+ GPS. It has an internal battery that had failed. I thought about opening it up and replacing the battery. It turns out that Garmin has a 10 year warranty on the battery. I called them, and they gave me a RMA number. I mailed back the GPS. It arrived with a new battery, a revised battery charging circuit, the firmware was updated, the waypoints were saved, and the rubber plug which seals the power/data connector was replaced. They even put a piece of protective plastic over the LCD screen. I am quite impressed with their customer support, as well as with their GPS's.
This is a vehicle GPS. About the size of a wallet, and considerably smaller than my Garmin StreetPilot GPS. It has a color display, it can route, and talk to you. It comes with a street level map of all of the USA. It has an internal Lithium Ion battery that is supposed to be good for several hours. It also has a touchscreen for most of the inputs. I quickly read the owners manual, and started using it. There are a few things I still haven't figured out, but I can see where I am going. Color sure is a nice feature. This uses the SurfSatIII chipset which has 10 times as many correlators as the SurfSatII chipset so it is much quicker to find satellites. It also uses less power, and is more sensitive than the older chipset. It does not speak street names unlike more expensive units. It does not allow you to make a route going through specific points on the way, unlike more expensive units. My old StreetPilot showed altitude, latitude and longitude on the main screen. The Nuvi 200 shows you the speed limit of the road you are on, which is usually accurate, and has a 3d view, and other features the StreetPilot doesn't.
This is my newest GPS. It is a vehicle GPS. About the size of a big wallet, and considerably smaller than my Garmin StreetPilot GPS. It has a color display, it can route, and talk to you. It comes with a street level map of all of the USA. It has an internal Lithium Ion battery that is supposed to be good for several hours. It also has a touchscreen for most of the inputs. I quickly read the owners manual, and started using it. There are a few things I still haven't figured out, but I can see where I am going. Color sure is a nice feature. I bought this unit because it has several features my Garmin 200 does not. It speaks street names. It has real time traffic, and can reroute in case of heavy traffic. It can draw a 3D picture of the street or highway, and let you know which lane to be in.
It does allow you to make a route going through specific points on the way. My old StreetPilot showed altitude, latitude and longitude on the main screen. The Nuvi 1450 shows you the speed limit of the road you are on, which is usually accurate, and has a 3d view, and other features the StreetPilot doesn't.
A friend has a Garmin 765, and so I though the traffic worked the same way. I was quite wrong. His uses a ClearChannel traffic receiver, which simply displays traffic. Mine (along with the Nuvi 1100, 1200, 1210, 1240, 1250, 1245, 1255, 1260, 1300, 1310, 1350, 1370, 1390, 1410, 1440, and 1490) also displays 'offers', which are advertising. You can turn it off, by disabling traffic. There is no documented way to disable the advertising without getting rid of the traffic signal. I think it is quite scummy to have advertisements to subsidize the usage of the traffic signal, without clearly stating it on the box, and in the description. If it would have said 'included lifetime advertisement supported traffic', I would have been ok with it. But having to read the owners manual to find out about it is unreasonable. I recommend buying a different brand unit without the display 'offers'.
Recently the real time traffic stopped working. The only good thing about that, was the advertisements stopped as well. I waited a few days, and contacted Garmin. They suggested there might be a bug in the software, and my lifetime traffic subscription wasn't being treated correctly, but treated as if it had expired. I did a software update, and the real time traffic returned. The problem started Jan 01 2011. Clearly a software issue. No software is bug free, but dealing with new years and subscriptions should be pretty simple stuff to get correct. At least the support person I spoke to knew about the problem and quickly had a likely fix.
I noticed the traffic wasn't working as well as I would have liked. I could drive through a major city downtown section, and one of three things would happen. Either it worked fine, and showed the traffic problems or it stayed green showing no traffic problems even when I was stopped. Or finally, it got no signal. This happened a bunch of times. I called Garmin. They had me load new software, do a master reset, and clear the traffic receiver. Nothing helped. They told me the cigarette cable/FM receiver was likely broken, and they would send a new one. I asked them to cross ship it, which they said they would do, but they would bill me $120 on my credit card in case I kept both cables. I said fine. I waited over a week, and called Garmin. They hadn't shipped it, as they were waiting for my cable. I explained they had made a mistake, and the shipped it out, via 2 day express. I got the box, and the cable said "Newly Overhauled" on it. I tried it out. The led on the plug never turned green (which would indicate it was getting a signal), the traffic icon never showed up, and when I went into the tools->settings, there was no traffic icon. I called Garmin and after about 45 minutes, they agreed they had shipped me a defective cable and after I asked they said they would pay the shipping charges to return it. I am not impressed...
They were supposed to email me a return label within a day. They didn't. I called them and asked them when they would send the shipping label. They said "what shipping label?" Though I was assured they would send it within a day, they didn't. I thought having to wait a day was a bit odd, but I said I could wait a day. There was no record they should have sent me a shipping label. They did apologize, and said they would email me one right away. About 15 minutes later, I did get a shipping label in email. Since this is the second time in a month that garmin didn't do what they said they would do, I fear that something is broken with their customer service. It is most unfortunate...
Well, my 1450 finally died. It would turn on and say Garmin and have a blue triangle. Nothing else. I tried doing a factory reset, but I was unable to get that far. I called Garmin, expecting the worst. They told me the unit needed a software update, but it wouldn't communicate with the computer. They said I could exchange it for a new unit, and get 50% off the purchase price of the new unit. I thought that was pretty reasonable, as my 1450 is 3 years old and the battery has less capacity than when new. I am looking forward to my new 2597.
The 2597 has a lot more features than the 1450. It has bluetooth, so you can play phone calls through it. It is far more customizable than the 1450. When you do a search, it does a search throughout the state. With the 1450 you entered the city or the zip code. This took more time, but produced fewer results, which is a good thing.
The spoken directions are clearer and more like complete sentences. When a turn is coming up if there is a traffic light or stop sign, the GPS will mention 'at the light' or 'at the stop sign'. I don't like the main display. In my opinion, the display should be easy to read quickly, because you will generally be driving and have to see and understand things at a glance. The 1450 has a pretty simple display that was easy to quickly understand. The 2597 is far more configurable, but harder to quickly understand. For example, the font for the current speed and the time to arrive is smaller. There is no way to make them bigger. The speed limit display is smaller. These are things I often want to know. The 1450 would always display the real-time traffic conditions, if it could get a signal. If there was a signal, there would be an icon that would be green if there was no delay, or red with a number showing the delay (I think there was also yellow, showing a minor delay). The 2597 does not show anything to let you know that a signal has been detected. This is a bad thing, as there are some locations where there is no traffic signal, but there can be big delays. With the 1450, the traffic signal went away, so you knew there was no signal. With the 2597, it will just show now traffic delay. When there is a delay, there is a pop up window with a wedge that changes color based on the delay. The delay is something like '<5 minutes' or '11 minutes', but it is too small for me to read and doesn't always show the exact delay. With the 1450, when I was going faster than the posted speed limit, the current speed would change from black to red. I didn't have to read it to know that I was speeding. The 2597 doesn't do that. I thought it was a bug, and called Garmin. After a few phone calls and running the simulator, it became clear that there were red bars that surrounded the current speed when you go faster than the posted speed. They are not as obvious as the speed changing colors. They are also hard to notice at night.
I think that some people got excited and wanted to show as much as possible on the display. The delay information takes up much more screen space, but is harder to read. The current speed makes it harder to tell if you are speeding. All of these features are likely really cool and useful if you are a passenger. However, when you are driving, you have to take your eyes off of the road to see the GPS. The shorter time you take your eyes off of the road, the better. The quicker you can get the information you want from the GPS, the better. The 2597 takes more time to get the information you need. Garmin now has different style displays that you can select. They need a display like my 1450 that is simple and quick to read. I suspect that most people looking at the GPS are drivers and would appreciate a good, simple display. For the passengers, there are the super fancy displays that they can stare at.
I bought this used a few years ago. It is designed to be used in a vehicle. It has a nice backlight display. It has all the features you would expect in a basic vehicle GPS. It does not route or talk. It does display direction with a compass display. It displays altitude and speed. It has a basic map of the USA. You can add street level maps using their add-on memory. This was before standard flash cards, so it uses special expensive Garmin plug in memory. To program the memory you have to hook up the GPS to a computer via a serial cable. I don't mean a USB cable, I mean a 9 pin subminiature serial plug. Needless to say, downloading maps into it takes quite a while. It does not display UTM coordinates, which I use for off-road driving and hiking. The newer StreetPilots have USB and/or standard flash drives so downloading maps is much faster. They also often have color displays, route directions, and can talk to you. I still use it, as a basic vehicle GPS.
I bought this on sale in 2006. It is a vehicle GPS. About the size of a wallet, and considerably smaller than my Garmin StreetPilot GPS. It has a color display, it can route, and talk to you. It also can play mp3 files. It comes with a street level map of all of the USA. You can download other maps into its 1gb flash memory. You can add more memory with a standard SD slot. There are a variety of hacks on the net to make this also play video files, change the voice that talks to you, and more. It runs Microsoft Windows CE. It has an internal Lithium Ion battery that is supposed to be good for 5 hours. It also has a touchscreen for most of the inputs. I quickly read the owners manual, and started using it. There are a few things I still haven't figured out, but I can see where I am going, and the altitude and time. Color sure is a nice feature. This uses the SurfSatIII chipset which has 10 times as many correlators as the SurfSatII chipset so it is much quicker to find satellites. It also uses less power, and is more sensitive than the older chipset.
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both have significant security issues.