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 Garmin nüvi forums
 [TOPIC] Nuvi 500 / 550 Crossover - Reviews - v3.90
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ZX14NINJA

Canada
1010 Posts

Posted - 15 sept. 2008 :  02:03:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
TESTING - GARMIN NUVI 500/550 CROSSOVER
STM Cartesio - IPX7 - Removable 1880mAh battery - 4 Modes - TMC Option - MicroSD
Latest versions : Software/v3.90 - GPS/v2.47b - Service firmware .rgn for nuvi 500/550



Product page on the Garmin site : nüvi 500 - nüvi 550

Ok, so I looked around to see if anyone had reviewed one yet, but to no avail, so here we go...I have been using one for over a week now...very interesting little unit rich with features -- and as solid as a brick!

1) Brightest screen yet on any Garmin to date...too bright to use at night at only 80%. Screen is viewable at very wide side and bottom angles and the only fade you'll see is from the top view down, which no one uses in any case. They did a great job on this one!

2) Map shading looks more like a hand-held than an automotive unit, with green being the major color now. Quite pleasing to the eye. I can't even imagine a Nuvi 7XX with a screen as bright as the 550.

3) GPS very slow to acquire after 24 hours of non-use (3 minutes or longer), although I'm suspecting there will be a firmware update shortly to address this.

4) Map detail in vehicle mode is much less than on the current Nuvi lineup, missing much detail when zoomed out, but all there when you zoom in. Like the 2XX/7XX, no POI detail on the main screen.

5) It uses the new 4MHZ screen rate with smooth screen draws, but seemingly slower than the 2XX when turning corners...which I'm guessing will also be addressed in a further update.

6) A HUGE LI-ON battery with gobs of power and tons of battery life...which almost feels like it outweighs the unit, but the Nuvi 550 has the most solid feel of any GPS I have ever played with; it feels indestructible The battery cover has a very cool release mechanism, something of the likes I've never seen and was obviously designed to keep water way out...LOL

7) Route /screen processing is as fast as the 255 series...the "previously searched" folder is there as well, as on some of the more high end units.

8) UI has not really changed a whole lot, but the map detail screen now only goes up to "More" instead of most and "Less" instead of "Least". They have obviously added the features required to use the 550 in different modes...Vehicle/Walking/etc...but fewer details.

9) Speaker/Voice quality is superb and loud, something I'd love to see on the 8XX.

10) Power button is a push style button and has a very solid/positive tactile feel.

11) Body is a bit larger overall than the 255, but still quite small considering its rugged and waterproof capabilities. This unit will survive a falling-on-a-concrete-floor impact easily, although I'm not going to test that -- LMAO.

12) Full routing capabilities as in the 7xx/8xx/Zumo units.

You actually could use this unit as an inexpensive replacement for a Zumo, with a proper bracket...it's just so cool!

I will post screen shots a bit later on -- stay tuned!

Edited by - ZX14NINJA on 15 sept. 2008 02:31:51

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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 15 sept. 2008 :  11:49:48  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for these first comments, I did some formatting and added pics and links to the Garmin site.

I saw the 500 at Navteq's Navivision event last week in Paris and didn't notice it was particularly bright compared to the 7xx I had next to it but the brightness must have been turned down.

I did find it to be significantly bigger and heavier than the 2x5 (I have some pictures I need to upload), but it remains compact and that was probably the only way to get in a reasonably large removable battery (1800mAh if memory serves). Unlike the car nüvis it's got the IPX7 rating too so that would require some reinforcement.

As you say the software isn't very different other than this new compass (GPS based not a sensor) page. You can easily swith to car/pedestrian/bike modes by tapping on an icon at the top of the screen, but the marine mode only gets activated when it detects Bluechart maps in the memory card (microSD ?) slot.

I asked about the hardware platform, Garmin now use CPU+SiRF, CPU+MTK, STM Cartesio and they weren't sure and the test mode didn't give any specifics either.

Can you check what it offers in terms of track management? I think I only saw track display on/off and trackback, which is a letdown compared to a handheld like the Oregon, but then they can't make one GPS that has it all ;-)

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ZX14NINJA

Canada
1010 Posts

Posted - 15 sept. 2008 :  12:20:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I will later today and let you know, but if memory serves me correctly, that was exactly what it offered for track management...
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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 18 sept. 2008 :  12:51:05  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Here are the pictures I took last week :

1. Next to the 255, quite a bit larger :





2. The removable 1880mAh battery :



3. This is where the microSD card goes :



4. The pedestrian icon at the top of the screen to switch modes :




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Jim1348

USA
551 Posts

Posted - 30 sept. 2008 :  06:36:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been giving some thought to getting one of these for my ATV. Would it be rugged enough for use on an ATV?
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ZX14NINJA

Canada
1010 Posts

Posted - 30 sept. 2008 :  13:17:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
yes it would...easily
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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 04 oct. 2008 :  02:31:41  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just received a test unit and have started putting it through its paces, a few comments :

1. Quite a bit thicker than the nüvi 2x5, but still pocketable, if it's the price to have a powerful removable battery that's fine with me.

2. Each mode (car, pedestrian, bike) uses its own preferences, (type of map display, type of navigation, etc...) so you don't need to change them when switching modes, a bit like the profiles on the Oregon.

3. The track recording feature is either locked to road or actual track depending on wether you choose the road or off-road navigation modes.

4. I was told by Garmin that they use the same STM Cartesio platform as the nüvi 2x5...

5. ...unfortunately the map refreshing is not the smooth 4Hz (4FPS) of the 2x5 but the "choppy" 1Hz instead, how disappointing !

@ZX14NINJA - just noticed your comment that 4Hz was there but "slower" than on the 2x5, can you clarify ?

6. GTM25 traffic receiver works out of the box.

7. Quick access to brightness settings by a brief "press" on the power button, very handy.

7. Will be testing speedcam alerts and geoaching tomorrow.UPDATE : can't seem to get it to recognize the caches transferred using the https://my.garmin.com/geocaching/geoSearch.htm service, it tells me to register with geocaching.com for a free 30 day trial...

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Boyd

USA
1838 Posts

Posted - 04 oct. 2008 :  03:08:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gpspassion3. The track recording feature is either locked to road or actual track depending on wether you choose the road or off-road navigation modes.


This is the behavior I see on my Nuvi 5000 when I switch between the City Navigator and US Topo maps. I think track recording (on any Nuvi which supports it) is governed by whether road-lock is supported on the map you're using.
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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 04 oct. 2008 :  03:11:47  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good point, but I have the NT 2009 maps loaded and I could alternate between both modes using the type of navigation, will see if it works the same on the 760.

Still no luck transferring caches to the 550 using the https://my.garmin.com/geocaching/geoSearch.htm site, they transfer fine to the Oregon 300. To make matters even more confusing, I'm seeing more caches on geocaching.com than on mygarmin.com in the Chateaux de Versailles araea.

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NanaimoRick

Canada
7865 Posts

Posted - 04 oct. 2008 :  05:44:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gpspassion


7. Quick access to brightness settings by a brief "press" on the power button, very handy.



Just like the old 3xx series. What goes around comes around :)

Rick James - Nuvi Forum Moderator
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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 11 oct. 2008 :  20:39:38  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, found it very handy again last night.

Still putting the 550 through its paces, quite a "happy camper" overall although the route creation process is a bit of a hassle as I found out first hand the other day when I was visiting the gardens of the Versailles castle and needed to create a route on the fly. It was a much smoother process on the Oregon I also had with me, as you it kept the position of the previous route point on the map, the 550 resets the map to your current position forcing to scroll back to the latest route point and make sure you remember it...maybe a better strategy on the 550 would be to memorize waypoints and then create a route (for those familiar with it, it's the same route creation menu as on the 7x0 or 8x0).

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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 16 oct. 2008 :  22:33:00  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks to SergZak for pointing out that v3.00 was now available http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=118595

Unfortunately I still can't get the geocaching feature to work, has anyone ? It says no caches are loaded and that you need to sign up at geocaching.com for a free trial, hum...

UPDATE - ok, got it figured out, you need to use "send to to GPS" from a cache page on geocaching.com and then they appear with full detail, hopefully now you can also transfer caches without a premium membership using the free mygarmin.com like you can with say the Colorado, let's see...

UPDATE #2- ouch, I did transfer 5 new caches from mygarmin.com https://my.garmin.com/geocaching/cacheList.htm and now the nüvi550 is stuck in a loop, starts loading the maps then turns itself off, starts loading again, then off, etc...can't see it from my computer so it seems I'm SOL ! USER BEWARE - maybe something else went wrong on my unit but if you have loaded caches from geocaching.com do not load new ones from mygarmin.com !

UPDATE #3 - Just heard back from Garmin France (they work late!) and they are aware of issues with geocaches...let's see if they have a fix for me!

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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 17 oct. 2008 :  20:57:48  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good news, thanks to Neoadrenalin's expertise, my 550 test unit is back up and running : Service firmware .rgn for nuvi 500/550 !

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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 26 oct. 2008 :  16:48:47  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
New v3.10 software :
quote:
Changes from version 3.00 to version 3.10:
Corrected an issue that caused incorrect translations to be used.
no GPS FW update to v2.55b though as on the Oregon that shares the STMicro Cartesio platform.

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Jim1348

USA
551 Posts

Posted - 23 nov. 2008 :  23:18:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I picked up a Garmin Nuvi 500 today since REI has a good price. One of the first things I did was change the coordinate format to decimal degrees, since that is what my county property records uses. I do miss not having the TTS like the Garmin StreetPilot 2730 has, but I knew that it was not a feature. Is there a way to set it so that it always displays the map at either 80 feet or 120 feet? I don't recall if any Nuvis allow that, but I thought that I would ask. Also, I do really miss the address approximations of the Garmin StreetPilot 2730. I do miss the wide screen that say a Nuvi 750 has. I will put it through the paces for the rest of the features.
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gpspassion

94603 Posts

Posted - 24 nov. 2008 :  01:48:41  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good to have some more 5x0 users joining in the fun ! Yes DD.ddddd for me too ;-)
As to setting the zoom level at a fixed level, this setting has come and gone on the 3x0 series, but I haven't seen it on the 5x0.

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