Garmin StreetPilot III 6.8-Inch Portable GPS Navigator review


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You don’t should get a luxury car or spend thousands installing a multipart system to get advanced GPS navigation capabilities with your automobile. Garmin’s StreetPilot III delivers all of the high-end features you need–from detailed street maps and complicated auto routing to voice prompts as well as a color screen–in a compact, inexpensive, and portable package.
Setting in the unit was surprisingly simple. First we installed the software through the MapSource City Navigator CD onto our PC and connected the credit card reader, with the 32 MB data card, for the USB port. Then we went online to unlock certainly one of 10 detailed coverage areas included about the disk; for instance, area 1 covers California and Nevada, area 7 covers New England and New York. After that we downloaded detailed maps of our own city (San Francisco) and surrounding areas towards the data card. We downloaded waypoints–locations like our home, office, along with other places we often visit–onto the charge card and inserted it into the StreetPilot III. Should you don’t use a USB port, it can be done to also make usage of the included serial cable to connect the entire unit for a PC.

The physical installation went equally as smoothly. We affixed the plastic base for the top of our own dashboard using the included adhesive mounting disks, snapped the StreetPilot III into place, connected it towards the cigarette lighter for power, and extended the tiny fold-down antenna. The dashboard mount’s quick release helps it be an easy task to maintain StreetPilot III when not used or, in the big event you purchase a second mount, lets you put it to use in multiple vehicles.

We turned the system on as well as in less than a few minutes it locked on the GPS satellites and displayed a guide in our current location about the clear, bright, easy-to-read color display. As we drove along, it displayed our position and direction on the map, the name and address number of the street we were on, and even the name of the upcoming cross street. The two zoom buttons allow us to get a very detailed street-level view or even a broad overview of our current position, as well as the menu button allowed us to customize the display.

The fun really started, though, whenever we used the StreetPilot’s routing capabilities. Using the arrow buttons, we input the intersection of your store we’d never visited, and in a minute it calculated one of the most direct route. The voice navigator told us where to look so when to turn, and it was an easy task to monitor our progress both on the map and for the text display. For our next stop we knew the actual address and entered it in to the unit. The StreetPilot then guided us to the freeway and successfully to your second destination, telling us wherever to avoid along the road and also on what side with the street a shop was located. To get home, we merely accessed a waypoint with our home address that we’d preprogrammed about the PC.

Even should you have no clue of wherever you’re going, the City Navigator maps include points of interest, like restaurants, shops, and parks. This allows one to tell the StreetPilot to discover the closest fast-food restaurant and then be presented having a list of nearby options.

Testing in San Francisco, we did lose satellite lock a couple of times in extremely hilly areas or perhaps areas with very tall buildings. We think this was due mainly towards the fact how the unit’s antenna is in the car; an external antenna choices readily available for less than $100 that will solve the problem.

Once you utilize the StreetPilot III for any while, it’s difficult to imagine driving solo again. Whether you’re a salesman always going to new locations, arranging a road trip, or simply need assistance getting around town, it is really an extremely helpful companion that’s cheaper and better to install than other things available. –Ken Feinstein

Pros:

Compact, portable design
Easy-to-read color screen
Auto routing and voice prompts
Cons:
Optional external antenna are certain to get better satellite reception in certain cities than the built-in antenna

Model 010-00232-00 0100023200 100023210 ox ncludes StreetPilot with Portable an

GPS receiver with turn-by-turn navigation for major North American cities
Includes MapSource City Navigator CD-ROM with street-level maps and points of interest; unlock capability for one region in US or Canada
Automated voice prompts tell you when to turn
16-color display with backlight for dim lighting
Compatible with optional Garmin MapSource software for downloading maps and waypoint data





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