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 Euro 670 review
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euro670

4 Posts

Posted - 27 juin 2007 :  22:57:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi folks,

Great forum here. (Thanks!)

Just wanted to give some impressions from my first trip with the euro version of the nuvi 670. I just drove 4000+ km between Scandinavia and the German speaking Alps and points between with 3.7 firmware and V8 maps on this device.

First off, my impressions are very positive. That said there are some less well thought out issues around the interface and features of the device I comment on below.

The good:
* IT WORKS, I never looked at a map in 15 days! (I'm laughing a bit at myself that I spent about 25 times the price of the maps to avoid having to deal with them!)
* Bluetooth call functionalit integration with my SE 990i is flawless. I really enjoyed being able to make and receive calls via the 670 interface.
* The maps are very very good. Almost everything I wanted to locate on my trip was in the device as a POI. Road names are right, exit markings are close enough, if not exact. [Two errors though: one 100 meters from my home (road route does not exist), the other placing a B&B address 100 meters down the road in a remote Austrian village, where I happened to have a reservation!]
* Built in "speedometer" function confirms my suspicions about the low calibration of my dashboard speedometer. (I know that we're dealing with some complicated deviation factors in the GPS device.)
* The trafic alert function was pretty good. I saw serious delay accuracy issues, but I take that to be the fault of the signal source and not the device. (But more on delay calcuation below.)
* Night screen function is really effective.
* Anticipated arrival is scarily accurate. Assuming no traffic alert calculation issues (see below), we're really talking minutes of deviation from INITIAL arrival time calculation over long distances and variable road types. Which, when dealing with the highly variable rates of progress one can experience on German highways, (without speed limits and serious traffic jams) this is truely impressive. I had a number of 4 to 5 hour streches that were within a few minutes of initial anticipated arrival calculation.
* I'm used to nautical waypoint navigation and didn't miss this concept in the 670. In contrast to some other people's comments, I found the simple "set as waypoint" feature sufficient. (But see below about some comments concerning route planning functionality.)
* Next turn and turn list call-ups are very useful, (given that you have time to do this before the next event).
* Dynamic rerouting for missed turns and spontaneous inspirations are very good. (But see more on dynamic routing below ...)

"Needs improvement" (Garmin, I hope you're listening!)
* Traffic alerts: Why, please tell me, does the arrival calculation not add up to the original calculation plus the anticipated delay time displayed by the alert function? When delay alerts start showing up the arrival time would extend by HOURS when the anticipated delay was a fraction of an hour!?!?!?
* Detail map representation: Ever tried to drive in inner city Basel? It's a very compact place, and a real challenge to the graphical schema used for map representation even at the most detailed level available on the device. I wound up having to solve my navigational issues myself as it turned out the device could not resolve to a degree of detail that could show me, for example, which of the three tightly intersected options in front of me was the correct path forward. I ran into this same kind of issue in a few other situations where the density of directional options in a given space increased above the presentational threshold of the graphic scheme. (See below about other navigation directive functions.) This all caused me to speculate about in what degree the signification system used by these devices has a scale bias that favors, for example, spacious North American cities? YMMV
* Other directive functions: After my experience in Basel I started paying more attention to the device's other attemtps to direct me correctly. The voice instructions caught my attention because their pronounciation of "non-native" street names is horrible. I use the female Austrailian voice because it is the most pleasant English version to my ears, but she doesn't pronouce German roadnames in anyway that comes close to approaching their phonetic (not to mention) native pronounciations. I know that she has a german colleague, who can do the road name pronounciations more correctly, but then I don't pick up on the instructions as quickly. This is a bit of a concundrum, which is really inconvenient if you are traveling in a region composed of many different languages within a short distances and you need to understand road names because the graphic representation is not enough to get the directions right the first time.
* SMS keyboard layout. I really liked the fact that I could write SMS's on the touch pad of the 670. I really DID NOT like that the keyboard layout has no separation between the characters lowest in the letter sequence and the message composition cancelling functions! And, when you hit one of these keys, there is no dialogue to reduce the risk that you will destructively loose text you have just composed! I lost a few tediously pecked out messages that way, which was not fun while driving insanely fast on the autobahn.
* Keyboard layout. Others have lamented this and I will add my voice too. Garmin, [lease provide an option for a QUERTY keyboard. AND, when switching to the other three keyboard modes, do not require the user to both select the mode and then confirm! That is a step too many for each new piece of punctuation you'd like to input!
* It's useful that we get an anticipated arrival clock, along with route distance remaining display. I'd also like to see estimated time remaining.
* Route planning. I would like to see improvements in the device as a route planning tool in addition to the primary navigator function. (If it was a better planning tool, I might have chosen other destinations, due to, e.g., POI's the device knows but that I have difficulty finding out about due to the "always navigating" nature of the device. E.g., If I knew that another route would "only cost me 30 minutes to see something interesting I hadn't known about" I might choose that. But as the interface stands, I have really to know about or suspect the POI beforehand because the device always wants to navigate, (despite the "near to here" function, which I found only really useful in situ and not beforehand).
* Why can't I get a distance / time estimate from last location fix? Why do I have to boot the device and go outside to see how long it thinks it's going to take to get to somewhere from where I turned the device off? (I know that you can "set here" and all that, but the interface is pretty clumbsy and the use case for "calculate navigation from last fix position" seems so obvious and useful.) I really missed being able to easily reply to the family concerning how long tomorrow's travel was going to take without doing a ritual we all thought was silly -- going outside and staring at the sky for a while as the device got a fix before I could provide an answer. (My solution was to enter next day travel when I stopped and note the time difference. Not particularly elegant for such an expensive device.)
* The investment in an SD card to store MP3 was really a waste. The poor audio qualities of the device and totally insufficient static saturated radio broadcast functionality of the device for car stereo redirection did not merit the investment in addtional storage space. (Roundly derided by my 5 year old son, all of whose audio book CD's were stored on the SD card to eliminate the chaos of CD's that we usually tolerate for his entertainment. Luckily we had a dvd player and forgot about the mp3's!) I could occassionally get static free broadcast, but the use situation is such that often you're listening to harrowing static while tuning between traffic events. The moral of that story is don't choose one nuvi over another for of the FM audio feature!
* Interface confirmations. I often feel that I am confirming things that are obvious, and don't have the benefit of confirmations for other things that are destructive. (This is the general expression of my comments above about loss of composed SMS's and changing the keyboard layout to punctuation mode.)
* Information composition. There often were times when I was switching between views where a different (or user deterimined) information composition scheme would have reduced my attention on surfing the device and given me data that I wanted in one place. E.g., why is there not a clock display on every main navigational interface? (The car clock and the 670 arrival time clock are not in sync!) Why is there not always a display of map scale on every map view? The plus and minus keys are nice, but I really want to know the scale value of the navigation view in places like Basel! Knowning that the visualisation scale is 25 meters vs. 75 meters makes a big difference in a dense complicated intersection in a city you don't know.) Why can't I select which menu items to view and which to eliminate to avoid up/down scrolling? Why can't I see GPS accuracy estimates in any navigational view? (Location 100 meters off makes a big difference in compact urban navigation!)
* Choosing the best route. There were times when I began to wonder if the device had chosen the "best" route. These were pretty low distance cost circumstance, so I didn't spend much effort trying to explore it at the time, but there were situations when the device was not following the local marked routes to interstate entrances with some seemingly round about local road routing, which made me wonder what the routing algorithms were prioritising, (user setting is "faster time" for "car/motorcycle" avoiding "unpaved roads" and "ferries". (Hamburg A7 north from center; Vaduz/Feldkirch A3 to A14 east bound)
* Dynamic rerouting: Suggestions to make U turns in places where you clearly could not, e.g., median barriers! are not useful Also, getting a rerouting for pulling off onto marked interstate rest areas seems a bit over the top; some exceptions to the strict location/route matching algorithm should be considered!
* Track recording. Mentioned elsewhere in the forum, and I agree. I'd really like to be able to see and review my actual track on a route, also for business mileage accounting purposes.

That's the bulk of it. I hope this is useful for folks considering this fine device and Garmin for improving it!

/E670

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smiley1081

Italy
1269 Posts

Posted - 28 juin 2007 :  08:18:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Neatjob!

BTW, last week my 310 made me do something similar to what you explained in your last but one point: it made me enter in a parking and exit on the other side, when staying on the road would have been much faster...

Edited by - smiley1081 on 29 juin 2007 14:32:26
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alect

22 Posts

Posted - 28 juin 2007 :  22:36:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's funny about the pronounciation. We too use the female Australian voice, and have so far only driven here in LA. She has been a source of much mirth in the car - she pronounced La Tijera as "La Tidgera" and LA Cienega as "La Chienega". Too funny. Although expected. I don't even know whether the American voice would pronounce these spanish names correctly.
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alect

22 Posts

Posted - 28 juin 2007 :  22:39:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Some more items for Garmin to work on:


    [*]custom pois - i have been planning a european trip and have done research and created a POI file for each day's driving. But the custom pois are displayed in purely a "distance from current position" order - one should be able to arrange them in any order one likes so that you can specify the order you want to visit places on a trip
    [*]battery - some better indication that bttery power is about to be completely depleted - right now it goes from one bar to not being able to be turned on
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euro670

4 Posts

Posted - 29 juin 2007 :  19:05:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I didn't try custom poi's, just "favorites" and those get listed as you indicate and are marked on the map. There is something mentioned in another thread about creating tours which might be more what you are looking for. I don't know how it works, but the link is here:
http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=90426

Regarding the charge issue, I didn't have problems with this as I always ran it attached to power (lighter jack). But a warning message would make lots of sense, similar to the "power disconnected" alert, if something like this is not implemented already.

quote:
Originally posted by alect

That's funny about the pronounciation. We too use the female Australian voice, and have so far only driven here in LA. She has been a source of much mirth in the car - she pronounced La Tijera as "La Tidgera" and LA Cienega as "La Chienega". Too funny. Although expected. I don't even know whether the American voice would pronounce these spanish names correctly.



I played around with this a little. The Norwegian voice can't pronounce Danish street names convincingly, and those languages are closely related.
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ffr123

3 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2007 :  09:53:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With regards to static in the radio when using the FM. With my 660FM I had the same experience. The antenna on my car is on the roof a little in front of the rear window. I suspected it being the distance plus the fact that the (weak) FM signal had to pass through the roof.

I added an internal antenna to my car radio and it improved the experience a lot! What I did was to take a thin piece of electrical wire about 75cm long. I removed a bit of isolation at one end to expose 5-6mm of cobber. I unplugged the car antenna from the radio. If you look at the antenna connector on the radio you will see a small hole in the middle. I inserted the my home made antenna into the small hole and gently plugged the car antenna bag in being careful not to break the wire. The radio is the inserted into the car again. The wire ca be routed behind the car radio or elsewhere.

Best regards
Flemming

Edited by - ffr123 on 01 juil. 2007 09:57:08
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jotne

Norway
1687 Posts

Posted - 01 juil. 2007 :  10:45:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been driving 1500km trough Norway this year and having both my 60CSx and Nüvi 660 on display at the same time in the car.

Why?

The 60CSx do display all my POI well in advance
* I do see all speed cams at the display
* I do see all the Geocahcing POI (more than 2000 stored in the GPS) this way I can select if I would like to stop the car and search for it.
* 60CSx do track my entire trip, so I can see all small roads I have driven and the mountain I visited.

Conclusion
Fix POI zoom level and possibility to disable Auto zoom, and add track log to the 660 and my 60CSx would stay home on next trip.

Previously owned : GPS "eTrex Yellow" "GPSmap 76S" "GPSMap 60CS" "GPSMAP 60CSx" "Nüvi 660" "Nüvi 760 EU" "Nüvi 765" "Edge 305"
Unit I have now :"Nüvi 2699" "Colorado 300"
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euro670

4 Posts

Posted - 04 juil. 2007 :  22:32:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
@ffr123 - Very interesting suggestion! I'll look into that. Thanks!
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DavidKeasey

Belgium
5 Posts

Posted - 10 juil. 2007 :  07:21:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There definitely does seem to be a problem with the display of POIs along the route...

I just got a Nuvi 670, and for the most part I'm very happy with how well it performs. But the display of POIs is rediculous! I can get the Nuvi to display the upcoming POIs near my route, but only by zooming in to one of the lowest two levels (greatest zoom factor), and setting the display to maximum detail. Unfortunately this is less than useful for two reasons. 1) The zoom is so high that you can't see the POI on the screen until you are within a couple hundred meters. and 2) The display latency usually has you past the POI before you realize it is coming up.

Perhaps this is a bug in the software (I'm using Nuvi Software Version 3.80). But perhaps Garmin could fix this to make the POIs more useful... like being able to select a class of POIs for display, and a distance from your position (or current route) to display them. It sure would be nice to just look at the map in whatever scale and know where the next petrol station would be, or where the nearby money machines are, without having to individually select each one and then find out just where it is on the map.

And yes, I'd like more flexible route planning capability, and track storage as well, but that may never be possible with the Nuvi.

DaveK
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