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New Garmin Nuvi 710t UK & Eire In-Car GPS Sat Nav Review

Hands-Free Calling, Multiple Route Planning, Instructions Through Your Speakers, But Sadly No Text-to-Speech....

Garmin Nuvi 710t

Let's talk about a widescreen GPS Sat Nav with an FM transmitter, Bluetooth, Speed Camera guides, and a supplied TMC antennae to guide you around traffic jams. Let's talk about a GPS Sat Nav that comes with the maps of the country of where you purchased it, all for about £210 (March '08). Let's talk about the Garmin Nuvi 710 in-car transferable GPS Sat Nav PND.

The 700 series is Garmin's next evolution in the Nuvi range. Coming in various guises, in this article / review we'll be looking at the Nuvi 710, only available in Europe, it maybe the budget version, but it still packs a punch and is great value for money.

You'll be looking at a Garmin Nuvi 710 if you want a GPS Sat Nav with just the maps of the country where you bought it, so buy it in England and you just get the maps for the UK and Eire . You can buy the European maps at a later date, or other countries, but seriously it's cheaper to buy them already installed, so head towards a Nuvi 760 or 770 if you might need those maps now, or in the near future.

So what other features do we get for our hard-earned cash? We've got built in Bluetooth for hands-free calling; just make sure you check Garmin's phone compatibility list to make sure it will work with your cell phone. Put simply, the Nuvi 710 pairs with your mobile phone, and when someone calls you, the Nuvi rings instead, and you speak through the built in microphone and hear their voice through the built-in speaker.

The FM Modulator (or transmitter) is a worthy addition. This turns your GPS into a mini Radio Station. Just tune your cars radio in, and all the vice instructions are fed through to it, allowing you to have them plying at whatever volume you like - perfect for noisy diesels or commercial vehicles. Now you cannot listen to your Radio and have the instructions at the same time - but you can load the 710 with MP3's using the SD card expansion slot, allowing you to enjoy rich stereo sound and your spoken instructions. There are some instances where the FM Transmitter will not work well - mainly in big cities where the FM Spectrum is saturated with stations. Just turn the transmitter off and return to listening through the built in speaker.

The 710 also comes with a TMC aerial. This is a traffic information service that picks up data about congestion and passes it to your GPS Sat Nav, allowing it to warn you, and if you require, re-route you round potential snarl-ups. A free service in the UK , there are question marks about how up to date it is sometimes, but it is better than nothing.

The final stand-out feature is the multiple route planning, a first for an in-car GPS. Enter a route which contains a number of destinations and the 710 will decide which is the quickest way between them. Perfect for multi-drop delivery drivers, sales people, or anyone who simply wants to get from a to b to c in the quickest matter.

So what makes the Nuvi 710t stand out from the crowd, from TomTom, and Navman to name a couple? Well, it has a superb colour widescreen display, an excellent windscreen mount, and the usual Garmin reliability. Learning from the design of the 200 series, the 710 uses a slim form factor and they've done away with the flip-out aerial, allowing a more slim line product.

We now have the rather cool "where am I feature", and the unit automatically records its position when you take it off the mount - no more losing your vehicle in large car-parks!

If we look at basic navigation, everything is as it should be. Locations can be accessed though Post Codes, addresses, recents, favourites or from the map browser. It's good to see Garmin give the option of a qwerty keyboard layout as well as abcde, but you'll get used to both quickly in any event.

The usual thousands of POI's are included so you've got access to local cash points, petrol stations, hospitals, parking, shops and much more. More importantly it comes pre-installed with Garmins Safety Camera database - so your friendly Nuvi bongs as you approach a Speed Camera, and will keep on making a racket until you slow down. Most fixed position cameras and mobile locations are included, but to keep your file up to date you'll have to take out the optional subscription at Garmin, for about £30 a year. Not bad to protect your license.

What other features have we got? The excellent Garmin Lock PIN security system, the mp3 player we mentioned before, a calculator, world clock, audio book player, picture viewer and currency converter.

The only feature missing that is really worth mentioning is text to speech. The Garmin Nuvi 710t does not read out road names, so it will just say "turn left in 300 feet" and not "turn left onto London Rd ", which is disappointing.

Overall though, a highly capable GPS Sat Nav perfect for the professional driver who only needs the maps of the UK and isn't bothered by the lack of text to speech, and at just over £200 on Amazon (March '08) it's a bargain.

Buy a Garmin Nuvi 710T Sat Nav from Amazon.co.uk (Free Delivery)

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