This GPS Has Almost Everything You Could Want, Including All The Maps You'll Probably Ever Need...
Stop reading this article if you're not interested in owning a top of the range, all the bells and whistles GPS Sat Nav. Click away if you don't want built in Maps of North America AND Europe . Go play solitaire if a PND with hands-free, FM Transmitter, route planning, text to speech, and Congestion avoidance is not "your bag".
Still here? Great, because in this article review we're looking at the highly capable new Garmin 770t GPS Sat Nav - an in car transferable device that ticks almost all the boxes I can think of - and then some. It's a winner.
Following the slim line design of the Nuvi 200 series, the Nuvi 770t ditches the flip-out aerial of the 600's in favour of a much sleeker design. The usual widescreen is here, with great colours, and Garmin still produce some of the best windscreen mounts on the market.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here, lets look at the features in turn, what they'll mean to you, and how this fits into the bigger scheme of things.
Maps. Pre-loaded with most of Europe (including the UK and Eire) and North America - the USA and Canada . This is great if you're a business traveller, going on holiday, or moving continents sometime soon. Remember that it's always cheaper to buy your maps preinstalled with your GPS than try and add them later - I get loads of emails from people complaining about this, so the Nuvi 770t is a bargain in this respect. Along with the roads we have tens of thousands of POI's - points of interest - files. These are records of local shops, cash points, petrol stations, shops, etc. So at the press of a couple of buttons your 770 will find some parking, fuel or sausages. The GPS also has phone numbers for most of these POI's, so you find the local Chinese restaurant and phone in advance to make a reservation.
Let's look at actual navigation. You use the touch-screen to enter addresses or Post Codes, which is easy enough now that Garmin have included a qwerty keyboard option. You can store your favourites, access recent destinations and even scroll around the map and pick out a point to navigate to. The 770 can take you to lat / long coordinates; operate in normal or off-road mode for Geocaching. The normal options of fastest route, shortest (don't!) are here, and you can specify avoidances like major roads, u-turns, unpaved roads, toll roads, etc.
Where the Nuvi 770t gets really clever is in its route planning and traffic avoidance features. This Garmin offers proper multiple address route planning. Type in a number of points and the GPS will work out the quickest route between them. If your line of business is visiting different addresses all in the one day, and it is important to you to be taken on the quickest way between them, the Nuvi 770t will take all the hassle out of this process and do all the thinking for you. You can store up to ten of these routes with multiple "drops" in each - a road warriors dream. The second clever bit is the integrated congestion avoidance. By using the supplied TMC receiver the Garmin can listen out for traffic warnings, tell you about them, and re-route you around them. Superb. This is a free-for-life service in the UK , and a paid subscription in other countries.
What's next? Related to navigation is the Nuvi 770's text to speech ability. This GPS Sat Nav can read out road names, so in other words it can say "turn right onto Waldorf St. " rather than the more common "turn right in two hundred feet". A really important feature in urban areas where there could be quite a few turn rights in the next few hundred feet. It doesn't end there - combined with the Bluetooth hands-free, the Nuvi will read out your text messages as you receive them, just make sure they're not too rude if the kids are in the car.
This rather nicely brings us onto the hands-free capability of this in-car Satellite Navigator. Pair up the Nuvi 770t with a compatible Cell Phone and you've got a legal way of making and receiving calls while on the move. With built in Safety Camera Warnings, and this hands-free feature, the boys in blue have two less reasons to lighten your wallet or take away your license.
What are we left with? Ah yes. The FM Modulator or transmitter. This cunning feature allows you to listen to the voice instructions through your own cars radio. Just tune your radio in to a defined frequency and you can have the GPS be as loud as you want - great in rag-tops, delivery vehicles or noisy trucks and cars. Although you won' be able to listen to the radio and the spoken instructions at the same time, you can load your favourite mp3 music files onto a SD card, stick it into the expansion slot, and enjoy them in stereo, better than Mr. Wogan at any rate.
The Nuvi has some other neat tricks too. It will remember where it was when you take it off the windscreen mount, so no worrying about where you left your car. It's got a currency converter, world clock, audio book reader and digital picture viewer. It can tell you where you are and where the nearest emergency services are located, great for if you break-down.
Is the Garmin Nuvi 770t missing anything? Well, there's the usual Garmin bugbear of lack of different voices - they try to make this up to us with custom vehicle icons, but surely if TomTom can do it Garmin can swing this feature for us too? Voice recognition would be great too, but if that's important to you then it may be worth looking at the more expensive 800 series.
All in all an excellent device, with almost all the features you could ever want from a GPS Sat Nav PND. If you need a Satellite Navigation Device for the UK , Europe, USA & Canada , then the Garmin Nuvi 770t should be top of your shopping list. (PS they're only £280 at the moment - March '08 - an incredible bargain!)
Comments / Questions:
Hi is the 770T portable or can it only be used mounted in the car? Thanx. Joanne.
Yes, it has an internal battery so you can use it out of the car for a couple of hours.
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