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Garmin Nuvi 660FM Bluetooth / FM Modulator GPS Sat Nav Review

Everything You Could Need From A Sat Nav?

Hear that noise? It's the sound of TomTom engineers rushing back to the drawing board after getting their hands on a Garmin Nuvi 660fm. Quite simply this in-car Satellite Navigation Device will amaze you with what it can do, and the way it does it.

Let's start with the basics. The Nuvi 660 fm has a large 4.3inch widescreen glare-free screen, Bluetooth, TMC traffic aerial, and a FM modulator / transmitter. It comes pre-loaded with maps of Europe and POI files for speed cameras too. The Nuvi can be used as a travel guide, mp3 player, audio book player, hands-free device, translator, congestion avoider, and a Navigator. Phew.

The screen is very impressive indeed, the best I've seen in a transferable unit. With a very high resolution and a clever design that means it can be seen in all but the most brightest situations. Although the refresh rate isn't as smooth as a TomTom, it is more than acceptable.

Choosing and entering your destination is simple, using either full Post-Code look up, addresses, POI's, recents, favorites, etc. Another great feature of the Nuvi 660fm is that it will attempt to read out road names to you. This means that instead of saying 'In 200 yards turn left' the Nuvi will say 'in 200 yards turn left onto London Road .'

The built-in TMC aerial gives real-time congestion avoidance, which you can choose to work automatically or you can decide which traffic queues to jump. In the UK this is all free for life, but a cheap subscription gets it working in the rest of Europe too.

Don't dismiss the inclusion of a pre-installed safety / speed camera database, the Garmin could potentially save you £60 and 3 points on your license. Remember that unlike dedicated speed-camera detectors the Nuvi 660fm has no active detectors, so it will not be able to warn you about a random speed-trap, but common and and fixed cameras are included.

The Nuvi can be used as a travel-guide or translator with paid downloads from Garmin, and then load up your favourite mps onto an SD card and you can listen to them while you drive with the built-in mp3 player, which really comes into its own when used with FM modulator or transmitter.

The FM transmitter is the big step forward for the 660fm vs. the old 660 which it replaces. Now legal in the UK, simply enter a FM frequency into the device that doesn't clash with any radio stations, and the unit will route all audio output via your car stereos built in speakers, allowing you to have, if you need it, very loud instructions indeed. This is especially useful in noisy vehicles or convertibles. It also means that the built in mp3 player or mobile phone hands-free kit is now on a par with hard-wired units, allowing clear stereo sound, or mobile phone calling that you can actually hear properly. Any music automatically mutes for spoken directions, as do calls. Superb.

So there we have it. The new Garmin 660 FM may cost around £400, but you are getting a piece of kit that is unrivalled by any of its competitors, is a great slim line design, has the great accurate Garmin maps, and comes with all the extras you could possible need. Highly recommended.

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Comments / Questions:

I have a VW Golf. I believe I can feed the nuvi speakers through to the car's loud speakers. I have pressed the on/of switch of the nuvi twice which mutes the nuvi but no sound comes through the car's speakers. Can anyone help please? Mags.

You need to turn the FM Modulator on. Go to the main menu, and press the speaker button, audio output, fm transmitter, OK, then use the auto-scan on the radio in your car to pick up the signal. Its all detailed on page 33 of the manual.

How do I update my maps on my Garmin 660FM Sat Nav unit?

And, how do I install the low bridges maps into my unit aswell, as I drive Double decker buses and coaches for a living?

Also, can I purchase an UHF wireless/cordless ear piece so that I can hear the instruction given by the navigator's voice, so that my passengers don't have to hear the unit speaking to me aswell?
And finally, how many hours worth of battery charge will the unit give me without being plugged into a cigarette lighter socket before it will turn itself off?

Apologies for so many questions at once. Robert.

If you want to update your maps first go to my Garmin and register, they've got a link where you can put your serial number in and it'll tell you what new maps are available.

Check out this link for low-bridge POI downloads. I don't think your Garmin can take these POI's into consideration when route planning, but see the site for details.

I maybe wrong, but doesn't your Nuvi have a headphone jack?

If you can't use a wired ear-piece (too far to unit) maybe something like this,  some sort of wireless head-phone adapter. I'd imagine you'd need more adapters to change the jack size, but it might work quite well.

You should get up to 4 hours battery life - make sure you turn down the screen brightness to maximise use time.

i have damaged my charger, so i guessed that i would be able to use a usb chager, it does, but i can not use it to navigate at the same time,it flicks over to the chaging screen, is this usual? James.

Hi, yes that is what happens, don't worry.

I am told when i make calls on my garmin nuvi 660 fm, that there is a strange noise/interferance heard by the person on the other end of the phone.

Do you have any suggestions as i am told this is very off putting when trying to have a conversation??? Julie.

OK, check Garmin Phone Compatability,

then if your phone is supported, try a reset (the button on the back under the aerial). If it is still poor, try somebodies elses phone, or in a different car to see if its some other type of interference. If all else fails, take it back.

I've been trying for some time now to set the vehile height on my Fathers 660fm (he uses it for work where he drives a lorry) I've already dowloaded the low bridge POI's and installed them but I don't want it diverting him around bridges that he could fit under. Is it possible to set the height? Dazzahh.

Sorry, as far as I know you can't enter the vehicle height.

I've never owned a sat nav and am considering buying either the Garmin nuvi 660 or the TomTom Go 520. I've read that the Garmin can struggle to maintain reception in built up areas and can give wrong directions. Is this your experience too? Deb.

Never heard of any problems with Garmins like that, the 660 and the TomTom 520 are good units, but you may want to also check out the new Garmin Nuvi 760t.

I've just bought a Nuvi 660FM unit to replace the (excellent) Street 2650 which had he REAL full facilities for travel (including remote control and personal screen settings). I'm already disappointed with the lack of "travel" features of the Nuvi but have 2 questions. 1. How can I download my 2650 stored Waypoints to the Nuvi from my PC backup. 2. Why does the Nuvi not have a MapQuest computer management/editing facility? Oratavaman

1. You can (and should) back-up ALL the data and applications from your Nuvi by plugging it into your PC with a mini-USB cable, then go to "my computer" right-click on the Garmin icon and "copy", then make a folder on your pc and "paste" the entire contents there.
2. You're right, you can't edit the maps on the Garmins.

Was the review for the Garmin written before or after your review of the Tom Tom 5/720? I'm going to be travelling in the UK and Europe, down as far as Spain, which is best?

Yes, the Garmin 660fm review was written before the TomTom ones.
You may want to check out the new Garmin 760t Review.
The 760 has some great new features, which probably make it the best transferable in-car GPS Sat Nav available.

Hi there, I was wondering if you can watch a film which is downloaded to SD card on this new machine 660fm...would appreciate a comment on this pls. Ash.

Sorry, video not available on the current range of Garmin GPS.

How do i get SD card working for MP3 player it does'nt seem to let me choose external,its a 660FM i have.Cheers, Mogan.

All mp3's that are copied to your SD card from your pc should be available in the audio player - make sure your files are .mp3 and not .wma, .m4a or .aac. If there's a lot of files they can take a while to appear in the MP3 player window.
If the problem persists try a reset and / or try a different SD card. (Also try some mp3's ripped from a different source.)

Hi, rob thanks for your e-mail on the 24 jan but im still having trouble getting my 660 to play mp3.Its playing mp3 through nuvi but it has a small memory and only holds approx 32 songs.Im just wondering do i need a garmin SD card or a special formatted SD card.Im grateful for any advice on this. Cheers Morgan.

You need to load them onto an SD memory card, then you can have hundreds. See page 36 of the owners manual.

I want to go to the US next year, can I download the maps for the States on this machine? How much would it cost/any other info I need to know? Duncan.

You can buy maps for the USA, but they're over £100... You'd be better off getting a Sat Nav with the maps you need already on it, eg:
Garmin Nuvi 270, basic, but does the job, check out this Amazon link:
Garmin Nuvi 270 Satellite Navigation System With European & American Mapping

or

Garmin Nuvi 670 (660fm plus US maps), for all the bells and whistles, follow this link:
Garmin Nuvi 670 Satellite Navigation System With European & American Mapping

 

How do I see my current latitude / longitude coordinates on my 660fm? Anon.

To get your GPS lat / long up, press the menu button at the bottom of the map screen, then the Satellite Signal Strength indicator in the top left hand side of the next screen (the little bars) and you'll bring up an interesting screen that shows you GPS accuracy, the Satellites the Nav is listening to, and your lat / long in the bottom left of the screen.

Can the picture view feature provide a "slideshow" sequence of pictures from jpegs stored on SD Card,or just thumbnails and single individual picture selected? Colin.

The 660fm offers a basic slideshow that cycles through your pictures, or you can view them individually.

Got Nuvi 660fm but unable to find actual journey mileage before start and also when entering address without post code , it will not let me enter my required address and switches to unwanted addresses .. help please (have 3.90 on system installed on it. Rex.

Not that up to date with using all the features of the 660fm, try these resources : Pocketgpsworld Garmin Forum, Expansys Garmin Forum, and the GPS Passion Garmin forum, I'm sure if you look through or post a new thread you'll find your answers, get back to us when you do and we'll post the answer here.

Does FM transmitter shut down when no sound is being emitted from Nuvi?
It would be nice to listen to the car radio during the navigation, Nuvi simply overpowering the radio station when necessary.... Bstard.

When selected the FM Modulator is always on, even when no voice instructions are being transmitted, so you can't listen to the radio at the same time.
You can however use the SD expansion slot to store hundreds of MP3 tracks, audio books, podcasts, etc, which the Nuvi will transmit to your car speakers, fading them down when voice instructions happen, and then back up again, in effect turning your car stereo into an MP3 player.

 

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