Pros Large, clear display, decent voice instructions
Cons Doesn't always select best route
Summary First let me explain that this is the first GPS unit I've ever used, so I am not familiar with GPS capabilities in general. So, some of what I consider its shortcomings might be the same for other systems as well.
I read these reviews and was thoroughly confused by the wide disparity in user ratings. However, I ended up buying this because of the high review from the CNET editors and the many high opinions expressed here, plus I felt I couldn't pass up the deal at Costco.com -- $499. This is absolutely the cheapest price I've seen this unit.
The good: The 660 is easy to set up. The small start-up brochure works fine and there is a pretty decent user manual on the CD. The large display is bright and intuitive. I was also delighted to find out that the Bluetooth works great with my LG VX5300, even though that was NOT one of the compatible phones listed. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it paired and that the address book was automatically downloaded to the nuvi -- a feature I didn't know about. I was also able to successfully hook the nuvi up to the FM stereo as well as load MP3 and jpeg files and download free custom POIs from POI-factory.com. The voice (I am currently using the British male) isn't bad at all -- except he pronounces "West Edmonston" as "Wes Ed Monster".
The disapointing: While I set my preferences to fastest route and to avoid traffic, Mr. Wes Ed Monster always seems to find the route with the shortest distance but usually the one most traffic lights, instead of the highways. They are routes I would never choose. He also directs me to left turns that either have no light, which makes it too difficult to turn, or not allowed. He doesn't seem to know that you can't turn left on certain roads.
I would like to be able to tell him to get to a certain point by taking a specific route which I know to be faster or more scenic, but there is no easy way to do this. While I can program in one stop as a via point, I can't just say use Route x instead of Route y -- I have to specify a specific location -- which is not always easy to do.
I wish one could do the following:
-Specify a specific road/route you want it to take.
-Manually enter the route to get from A to B (for example, if someone tells you the best way to get to his house) and save it -- then let Mr. Ed read me the directions instead of calculate it his way.
-Record the route one is taking.
-Save the calculated routes.
-It would also be nice to be able to enter more than one destination with one vua oiubt, However, I have figured out that I can save multiple destinations as via points and then just select the next one when I arrive at a destination.
Allow you to "pause" the directions -- for example, if you decide on the way to your destination to make a detour to see an attraction -- without it getting all upset and trying to get you back to the road he wants you to be on.
I don't know whether any other GPS unit handles any of these functions.Updated
Sorry, one paragraph was garbled. It should read:
-It would also be nice to be able to enter more than one destination with one via point. However, I have figured out that I can save multiple destinations as favorites and then just select the next one when I arrive at a destination.
Pros reliability, size, display, memory
Cons difficult to configure, slow navigation commands
Summary I just spent 30 minutes performing a task that should have taken 5 seconds. In order to renew my traffic subscription, I had to go my car to connect the device to the receive get a 10 digit code (there are 3 different 10 digit codes that are called the UNIT ID). I had to do this 3 times before I got the right one. Then I could enter the code into the website to pay for my subscription. Once I did that I had to go back out to my car and enter a very long code which turned out to take forever because the code includes letters and numbers and you have to switch keyboard modes several times to type. Once I got the code entered, the device told me it was an invalid code. It will not take several days, since I cannot contact customer service until Monday. CUSOTMER SERVICE IS ONLY AVAILABLE 8-5 M-F!!!
Even more infuriating is that I alreay subscribe to XM radio. Since I already have an XM receiver in the car, you'd think I'd be able to get the XMNav service without having to pay for another XM receiver, but this device cannot communicate with the other...
Furthermore, the maps are slightly outdated and there have not been any updates since April 2006, this is May 2007!! Many of the roads in my area have changed completely in the last year. It gets many of the exits wrong, thus defeating the purpose of the system for me. Also, it is too slow and does not give me enough notice before exits or turns in heavy traffic. I've often passed an exit when it tells me to take the exit. I have all of he currently available software updates for the device.
I will never use some of the the other features such as bluetooth (since I carpool, I do not want to talk on my cell phone through this device). I will also not use the photos, audiobooks, or music capabilities of the device. These seem to be the only difference between this device and smaller less expensive models. If you don't have a use for these things, you are just as well off buying a device for $300 rather than $600+ for this one.
I'm happy with the normal day to day use,but I'm not happy with the keyboard layout or the configuration options which tend to be counterintuitive and difficult to manage.
Pros Large screen, ease of storage and bright screen.
Cons Can't learn your driving preference, Doesn't always take the best route.
Summary I first purchased the Nuvi 350. After never owning a GPS system before, I thought that the 350 was fantastic, but had a small screen. I really wanted the bigger screen, so I returned the 350 for the 660 since it hgad the traffic receiver built in. After reading all the negative reviews, I was hesitant on buying the 660, but I did it anyway. I like the wide screen, the brightness and traffic receiver. I didn't need the Bluetooth since I have "hands free" built into my Charger. I really think the Nuvi 350 was more accurate. I wish there were more personalized screen for trip preferences. Shortest route or fastest route doesn't mean the best route. I came down the NJ Turnpike and it kept telling me to go through Trenton, NJ instead of taking me on the PA Turnpike. I just learned to ignore and the 660 would eventually recalculate. I prefer major interstate highway and prefer to avoid local roads while traveling long distance. I believe the maps are about two years out of date too. I didn't need the traffic receiver which put about 150.00 on the price tag. If the simple Nuvi 350 was available in wide screen and less money without the traffic receiver, I would have bought that.
Pros size, features
Cons battery life
Summary I planned on buying the 350 last summer and I am glad I waited. I was concerned that the larger size wouldn't be as portable but I can't imagine the device being any smaller!
I LOVE the ability to scroll through the directions turn by turn in advance to starting the drive. In response to the reviewer that said it doesn't show the next turn on the map 1) it tells you which direction the next turn is and 2) by touching the bottom right corner of the screen you can see the next turn info.
The only flaw I have found so far is the suction cup mount won't stay attached to the window...Updated
There is a dashboard option to allowing you to see not only the remaining miles but also speed, average speed and more.
Also not mentioned this GPS allows you to setup the option of being on foot rather than in a car and you can enter specific V&H coordinates if you want. Great for geocaching fans!
I have been very satisfied after using the system for several months. However, I would not purchase the language translator as I did because it takes a long time to look up phrases and they sell portable translators cheaper than the expansion card.
One last thing - - I determined my speedometer was off by 2mph and was able to get it calibrated under warranty.
I would rate this GPS a 9.5 out of 10.
Pros crystal clear screen, POI features work well
Cons Way too many to list here
Summary This is a detailed review of the Garmin Nuvi 660, which I'm returning after 2 weeks of light use for the following reasons, in rank order, with most flaws exposing a shocking lack of thoughtfulness in Garmin hardware and process flow design. I hope it saves people time if they value their time and money.
1) Inferior routing algorithm that makes the types of errors that none of my other 3 on-board car gps systems make. Silly things like getting off the highway 3 exits early to take local roads filled with stoplights. And yes, I'm sure the route preference setting is on "quick" not "short".
2) On the map, it doesn't show the direction of the next turn. This omission is a deal-killer, too. I cannot believe Garmin does not have this because it's so basic a need. You HAVE to know which way to turn next, especially if the mapview is compressed along the vertical axis and you can't see which way the route meanders.
3) The mp3 capability is a complete waste of hard disk space because the sound coming out of it totally, totally stinks. It's beyond bad. It's good enough for the nav voice guide, but horrible for music. Do NOT consider this a selling point at all because you will never use it, except for the expensive audiobook capability, perhaps.
4) The system does not automatically shut off when you turn the ignition off. The Garmin stays on!!! Maybe this is to encourage you to remove the device and put it in the glove compartment for security reasons, but I park only in secured garages, so this is a pain.
5) Even when you remove the unit and it turns off, if the power cord is still in the car's power outlet (unattached to the actual gps unit), the green light on the cord shows that power is still being fed through the cord -- EVEN WHEN THE CAR IS OFF!! This is a fatal error because if I park at the airport for a week, I'm going to be a bit annoyed when I find after a midnight arrival that the battery has been drained.
6) When a user enters addresses, most good systems will show a first default screen listing the last cities entered so that you can select them. In this NUVI 660, you have to spell out the city name each time. Annoying and shows a lack of thoughtfulness in the workflow design.
7) On mapview, it tells you the estimated arrival time, but I care more about distance to destination. Why not show both or if Garmin wants, it should let me choose which one I want. Or it should tell you BOTH. What makes this more maddening is that the mapview screen doesn't tell you what time it is, so then, you have to look at the estimated time of arrival and look at your watch or console clock and subtract the time to get estimated minutes to arrival. This is moronic.
In summary, for around $850 of hard-earned cash, this thing is barely acceptable in my opinion. People who rave about this system have obviously never used the Acura, Lexus, or BMW console navigation systems, which all have their own quirks, but are much better than this 3rd party outboard unit. I would have expected better, given that Garmin's sole focus is nav systems.Updated
I found out that of the two power outlets on my dashboard, one is powered by the same line that feeds the dashboard instrumentation and the other is fed directly by the battery. The Garmin was in the outlet fed directly by the battery, so naturally, it didn't turn off when the car ignition was off. If I insert it into the other outlet, then the Garmin does turn off. So my points 4 and 5 are invalid. Sorry about that!