Pros It will get you from where you are to where you want to go
Cons C330 is a one trick pony, doing that one trick very well
Summary First, let me note that for basic auto use for getting you from where you currently are to someplace you want to go, the C330 is excellent. A score of 10. Easy to use mechanically and logically. Maps are clear, voice directions are excellent. Normal occasional map errors and weird routings, but really solid. My wife, who has no aptitude for such devices not only can use it, but is using it.
But, I am basically an aviation GPS user and so am used to certain capabilities that I didn't realize were advanced. For example, there is no fast way to enter current location as a waypoint (like as you whiz pass an interesting location or view and want to log it.) You can do it, but it is like a 12 button operation to get it in and back to the map again.
Also, the C330 cannot identify interesting landmarks along the way easily (requires a long transition to another set of screens--sufficiently hard that I don't really use).
No actual latitude and longitude available for recording where you really are in a standard coordinate system. No knots. GPS time only to the minute. No instantaneous speed to the .1 mph.
The automatic map scaling is almost perfect for road navigation--but this feature makes using the C330 in an airplane mostly useless.
No way to see routing for going from point A to point B only from where you are to point B. (At least I can't find this capability)
And more stuff like no satelite positions and signal strengths, no bread crumbs for where you have been, occasional screwball max ever speeds (like 185 mph--no I don't drive that fast), limited city name labeling (I guess it assumes you basically know what city you are in), no true north headings other than the 8 cardinal directions, no magnetic course, and more not worth listing.
Anyway, this is not a general purpose GPS. It is really good at what it is designed to do--give you road driving directions for getting from where you are to somewhere else. Good mount. Easy to lift out without hassling the suction cup. Good battery life. Good sound quality and volume (my wife likes listening to the Italian and Spanish and French), good screen.
Really easy to use.
We're keeping it, but I may look at the 2620 or TomTom to see if one of them gives me some of the more general features without giving up too much on the driving direction quality.
"Garmin....Take Bow"on by natedj
Pros Touch screen, low learning curve, features, speed
Cons Price, Sub-par manual, slight screen glare in sunlight
Summary This is my first Navi ever, but I'm no stranger to it, I just never owned one till now. For the features I was looking for, I narrowed my options to The Garmin 2620, Garmin C330, and Megellan 700. Needless to say the C330 was my pick.
I painstakinly reviewed these (3) GPS items and read every review and feedback I could find, then combing the manufacturers websites for all specs and features,updates yaddy yadda, then I made a few trips to the store to get some hands on experience and feel of the products.
The C330 has a refreshing out of box experience. It can be fired up right away to begin use. I did not need to read the manual to start using it, the idiot proof interface makes it very easy to learn, which is a plus because my wife can use it when I'm doing the driving. The models that I also considered provided a little more features than the C330, But they did not have an internal power source. Memory wise, the C330 has a 2 GIG micro drive, which is quite adequate for all the US maps and any updates etc.
Personally, my heart was set on the Megallan 700, but the cost and the fact that it only had 2 million POI (Points of Intrest) compared to Garmin 5 million POI, turned me away from it. Of the (3) items I considered, the C330 is the only one that has a 100% touch screen interface and the smallest size so that it can be mounted/stored anywhere. GPSs' are not getting any bigger, with todays designers using micro/flash memory technology, our units will become more inconspicous.The C330 can be a little difficult to see in the Sunlight, but not too bad. The Megellan 700 and the Garmin 2620 does have a port for an external antenna as well as the C330, which can be had for about $20 from a third party source.
The manual is very easy to read and colorful, but I found that it was not indepth, some things I had to call Garmin to clarify. I was curious about the internal battery, that only they can change. It would cost $125 just to send the unit in if it need work outside of the warranty period.....hopefully the battery will last about five years when I ready to upgrade.
Garmin updated maps usually comes out every 10-14 months so one is due out any time now. and it would cost me $75 to update the maps if I so desire. If you plan to get one and you get it on or after the new maps release date, the upgrade would be free.
I'm very please with the touch screen response and the layout out the maps, the the list of Hotels resturants etc. all w/ phone numbers too. the volume is great, as long as you're not do 80MPH w/ your windows down. It recognizes dirt roads also - provided that the roads all existed before 2004 (the last map release date).
I will not be redundant and mention all the other points that the previous reviews mention, but for the most part the (3-4) reviews before mine were accurate and very helpful.
The C330 does not display your elevation, which is nice to know when driving in the mountains.
This unit has its share of nuggets to find that will just leave you in amazment. If I had to choose all over again I'll still get the C330.
Buyers beware, If you purchace the more expensive model (c330) it comes preloaded with all the maps so there is no need to be transfering data back and forth, but you DO NOT get the software on City Select CD ROM. If you opt for the cheaper version (C320) you will get the the City Select CD, because the intire map can't fit on that unit..you'll have to transfer data via memory card.
I've also noticed that unless you are looking directly perpendicular to the screen, the colors don't show correctly, in other words if you are the driver or passenger and you look at the screen at an angle, it will be still visible but the colors tend to wash out, sort of like with a laptop if the screen is not tilted right.
My experience with Tech support is fair. The wait time is a little lengthy, but once one the phone, they don't try to rush you through your questions to get you off the phone. I was helped adquately with all my questions.
A great advantage is the mounting flexability, any area of the windsheild, the dashbord or console (comes w/base mount) or as a handheld providing the internal battery doesn't quit. Icons, splash screens and markers can by customerized via the garmin software on their website. the images can be transported back and forth from the unit as BMP files and edited.
There are three ways to view the map
1) Bird's eye view with the map always facing north and the arrow/cursor moves as you drive.
2) Bird's eye view with the arrow remains still and the map moves around as you drive
3) "3D" mode. Where the view is the same as you would see out of your winsheild except it's slightly elevated so you can see a wider angle and detect streets about a block away an all three sides of you.
The unit automatically detects you speed and zooms out when you're driving fast and zooms in when you're moving slow so you're never over/under driving the map. The reciever is very good in my opinion, sometimes (depend on what part of the house I am) I get a good signal indoors. I have my C330 mounted above my rearview mirror in my vehicle (bearly got it to fit) so it does NOT have a clear view of the sky and if it did, the factory tint in the windshield would also block it...yet I get a good signal. Mounting it on the middle of my windsheild yeild the best results and start up time, but I chose to mount it abouve my reaview mirror to eliminate any sunlight glare from hitting the screen and it's working great.
To respond to previous reviewers comments.... It was pointed out that Garmin should've added a feature where you can see an Icon or marker that indicated the locations of all the POI nearby as you drive by them. Well I've found a way to do it, although it's not noted in Garmin's sub-par manual. All you have to do is go to [Menu - Where To - Show Map] and you see all the attractions, lodging, eating, gas etc. locations on the road/area that you're currently on.
Another thing that's not mentioned on the manual. Lets say you're somewhere and you don't know the address, but you want to save and revisit that location. Go to [Menu - Where TO - Show Map - Info - Save]
"Great GPS unit"on by rdalcanto
Pros Great screen, accurate, excellent mounting system
Cons Can't edit the maps, voice commands over-call turns in roads.
Summary I have used my new C330 for a couple of days and I think I have identified the good and the bad.
The Good: The screen, while it looked small in the store, is actually more than adequate in the car. It is bright, clear, and crisp. The touch screen works very well, and it is easy to enter text when saving locations or searching by city or name. The audio is also plenty loud on the highest setting. The point of interest (POI) library is VERY good. One of the things I hated about using the yellow pages if you wanted to find a store, is that you have no idea what is close to you and what is not. With the C330, you select the category, such as auto parts, and it lists all the stores that are close to you in order from closest to farthest. Or, if you know the name of the store, you can search for that and it will show you all the stores in the chain, along with the distance to each. It also gives you the phone number. You can browse the map (where you can zoom and scroll) or just hit “GO” to start navigating to it. If you are hungry for Chinese food, you select Food, Chinese, and then it will find all the restaurants in your area. It remembers all your recent searches, so you can find them again quickly, or you can save them with any name you chose in your Favorites section. When you are navigating, if you get off route, it will recalculate very quickly. The 3D map view is cool, but the standard view is easier to follow when you have streets very close together at strange angles. Tracking and map seem to be extremely accurate. It zooms out automatically when you are far from the next turn, and zooms in as you get close. You can also zoom in and out using the touch screen. You can get all the info about your trip (how long you have been driving, speeds, etc.), and see detailed turn by turn written instructions if you want to know what it has planned for you. The mounting system is also excellent – the suction cup is strong, and the unit clips in and out of the arm very easily. No power cord to hook up as it is part of the mount. Comes with separate charger for indoors as well as USB cable for future upgrades. It’s a Garmin – the company is not going anywhere and maps should continue to get better.
The Bad: You can’t save multiple routes. However, that is not a big deal because it will keep all your recent searches very handy, and with very fast calculations, you can just select the next stop after you reach the first one. A couple times it told me to turn when the map view clearly told me to go straight. Don’t know if it was responding to a subtle bend in the road. Therefore, you need to navigate with the visual as well as the audio to not make a mistake. You can’t tell it that a street has a “no left turn sign” if that fact is not in the map database. You have to drive past the turn and let it re-calculate another way to get to the destination (I doubt other companies offer this editing feature either).
I really like this unit. My brother is also in the market for a portable GPS and is buying the same one after trying mine. Highly recommended.Updated
Retested the unit in a tricky area where the road bends, followed by an intersection with roads at different angles, and then the road bends again. Difficult to explain, but that is where I feel you have to use the visual and ignore the audio a little (except as a warning that things are about to get tricky). If a road with no intersections does a tight turn, the audio stays quiet because there is nowhere else to turn. I'd be curious to see how other units handle unusual intersections - I doubt they would be any better.
Pros attractive form factor, sharp picture, loud speaker, many POIs, chargable via USB
Cons map detail, not very customizable, choppy graphics, satellite acquisition time
Summary I decided to purchase the Garmin Streetpilot c330 after using a Tom Tom Go for 1 year. I used the units side by side in my car for a day and found several differences that could mean alot to some people, and nothing to others.
First thing I did was enter an address for a local restaurant into both units. Pulled out of my driveway and proceeded to the highway. This road is a 4 lane with a divider, and the Streetpilot instructed me to turn left into oncoming traffic, at the same time the Tom Tom instructed me to do a U-Turn after turning right, the correct choice.
Then I noticed that the map detail was quite different. The Streetpilot has beautiful graphics, however the map detail is not as accurate. It would display this divided 4 lane highway as one yellow line. The Tom Tom would show it as two divided lanes with little arrows to indicate flow of traffic, much nicer.
GPS acquisition time was around 30 seconds faster with the Tom Tom. And the map updates seem smoother as you're moving.
The aesthetic design of both units is very good. The Streetpilot wins in this category though. It has a volume knob instead of touchscreen control like the Tom Tom. Also the SD card slot is on the side, instead of the front, which smoothes it out a little. The suction mount for auto mounting is nicer than the Tom Tom, but has the 12v lighter adapter permanently attached, so it's clunkier.
The Tom Tom comes with a padded case included, where Garmin will sell you one for $30. The Tom Tom comes with a wall charger, while the Streetpilot allows you to charge via USB.
The Streetpilot has many more POIs (points of interest) which also include phone numbers. The Tom Tom only shows the address of POIs. Also the Streetpilot allows you to categorize the POIs by type, like "fast food" or "asian" where the Tom Tom only shows a long list.
The major flaw I see with the Streetpilot is customization. The Tom Tom allows you to customize virtually anything about the display, where you want the speed displayed, what colors you would like for maps. The Streetpilot is barely customizable, which is a major annoyance after using the Tom Tom for so long.
I really wanted to like the Streetpilot more, and find a better GPS. But map accuracy/detail, and customizable menus win for me.
I wish these two companies would get together and make one GPS with all these features, but that's not likely to happen. So for now I'll be selling the Streetpilot and sticking with my old trusty Tom Tom.
"Almost perfect"on by gmalis1
Pros Great touchscreen, accurate instructions
Cons Glare from touchscreen, Points of Interest database lacking
Summary Bought this for my 17 yr old blonde daughter who gets lost after leaving the driveway.
Installation is a no brainer. Plug it in and its ready to go. Set home address and it always remembers how to get you home. Put in destination addresses and driving instructions were right on. I even tried to fool it and make a wrong turn on purpose. Recalculation of route was fast and accurate.
All that being said the touchscreen is very difficult to see in direct sunlight. The glare is horrible off of it. Also makes you accept the disclaimer each and every time you turn it on.
The point of interest database is sorely lacking. We live in the Chicago suburban area. The movie theater that is less than a mile away from us and has been in operation for over 5 years does not appear in the database. That's okay, its one of the places my daughter actually knows how to get to. Tried 5 other downtown Chicago and suburban venues; 4 didn't appear after the database searched and searched and searched (over 5 minutes before I finally gave up). Works fine, however, if you enter the actual address, which we had to do to get to certain restaurants/theaters/concert venues.
Instructions on updating to latest software enhancements were horrible. Instructions on the Garmin website were totally misleading. Emailed tech support and received the proper download/upgrade instructions in less than 24 hours (so give them a 10 for support).
Overall, this works great if you input the address of your destination. No more worries about my daughter getting lost. Now, my wife wants one in her car!