Pros Easy to use, nice screen
Cons Lacks features of older models, old outdated maps with no curent update
Summary I was pleased to try out the C530 today when I received it and happy with it's overall performance, but am stumped as to why Garmin would leave out the ability to announce street names in the directions like the previous model c340. I would consider that part of the core software and part of all future and more expensive models. I was very disapointed to find that my c530 lacks this ability though.
After playing with the c530 some more I became even more disappointed when I realized that it lacks many, many points of interest that are on the c320,c330 models. I'm not sure what map set the c340 has, but the c530 has a different map set and the c320 and c330. I was surprised to find that the largest and most popular movie theatres were not listed on the c530 and I know they are listed in the c320 which had version 6 mapsets (the c320/c330 mapsets are now to version 7 released June 2005 to give you an idea how old they are). Since the c530 is a brand new product, you would think that the maps would be the most current and up to date and they appear to be the current version of the associated mapset, but it is missing many major businesses and the ones I do find sometimes haven't existed for more than 5 years. They have to be able to do better than this
I'm finding it probably wasn't worth spending the extra money, but will check with Garmin first to see if they can provide a different set of mapsets.
Pros Great signal, size, batt resrv, mounting, touch screen
Cons "Least use of freeway" option hard to locate.
Summary I've currently have and had factory GPS from Honda, Toyota and Magellan windshield mount GPS. This unit is by far the easiest to use and by far (thanks to SiRF) has the strongest signal of any aftermarket GPS out there. The benifit of the SiRF is that you will not loose signal when you drive under a bridge or tall buildings. I even have strong signal inside my car garage, try that in my Magellan 700, no way.
The touch screen function is very straight forward and non confusing. I like the speedometer bottom left screen where you know much off your car speedometer realy is. The speaker is very loud and I really really like the auto dim. This unit knows when its time to change the background color at night time; you dont have to change the color and brighness, it does it by itself based from the clock each time you tun on the system.
The ONLY gripe I have with this unit is that the "least use of freeway, and shortest distance" should be an option that you can select as an option for the guidance. But other the that, Im very very satisfied with this unit so far and LOVING it. Thanks Garmin.
Pros Great signal strength even indoors. Fast aquisition and very accurate directions
Cons A little too "fat" to fit in a shirt pocket but other than that no complaints as yet
Summary Many people complain that the new C530 does not say the name of the street like the c340, but as it is displayed at the top of the screen, it does not seem like much of a problem. I have only used this unit for a week now, but I have used it a lot and I have come to really like this unit. It is fast and accurate and I even get a strong signal sitting on the couch in my living room. I have even had it active while walking around in my basement. Amazing!! The screen is very bright and easy to see in the brightest sunlight and the volume is quite sufficient even with the car radio on fairly loud. Overall, this unit is a joy to use and I highly recommend it. I gave it a 9 instead of 10 only because of the fact that it is not flat and easy to slide into a shirt pocket. It does come with a nice case though.
Pros Easy to use. Works,
Cons does not speak street names, not many features
Summary This unit is amazing. It works. I returned 6 GPS units before I decided to keep this Garmin c530. I wish it had a few more features and I wish it would speak the street names by name.
Overall this unit is amazing. You can hand it to ANYONE and they can use it without a manual or any instructions. (Yes It really is that easy). If I were to get another GPS unit, I would choose a Garmin again (from what i've seen), but I would want something with more options. This would have cost me double the price of the c530.
I highly recomend this unit to anyone who wants a true GPS unit. (not an mp3 player or photo viewer). So many units out there try to be too many things and end up not being good at anything.
Pros Solid, expandable, clear voice instructions, easy to read
Cons Minor SD card issues, software upgrade issues and Garmin's confusing website
Summary Here’s my review of the Garmin c530 after a short but intense period of usage. First of all, it’s a great little product that is smaller and more solid feeling than I expected.
After fiddling around with the unit and exploring the menus for a bit, I checked the version of the pre-installed map (North America NT v8 which is the most current as of 3/2007) and the internal software which was an outdated v.3.3. Not surprisingly, the unit had the daylight savings bug (causing the clock to be 1 hour slow) until I downloaded and installed version 5.4 from the Garmin website. (As a slight tangent, the Garmin website is a bit unclear and confusing when navigating and they lack easy to read information about which map products are available and compatible with their many units. In fact, it’s their scatter approach to product development that also leads to some confusion.). After installing software version 5.4, the unit restarted and the text on the screen was upside down and jumbled up which definitely concerned me. After turning the unit off & on (re-booting?) it worked fine and never gave me another problem.
On the road… the dual speakers and voice are very easy to hear despite the radio playing in my car. In fact, the voice has a way of cutting through the other noise quite easily. Menu navigation is fair, but it takes some getting use to understanding where all the functions are categorized. It actually becomes quite intuitive and quick to access the various features after some use. The only feature I couldn’t discover on my own and needed the owners manual for was the process for saving a waypoint (the current location). The answer: click the car icon on the map view. Makes sense when you know how. I like the various views with navigation statistics, next turn and turn page – all quite interesting and helpful. And the timing of the navigation voice instructions are right on and well coordinated.
Satellite acquisition is superb. In fact, I went with the 5xx series instead of the 3xx series just for the better SiRF receiver and it was worth it. I simply keep the unit down on the center console by my right leg since I didn’t want it stuck on my windshield like a carrot. Do that with my eTrex and it tends to lose the signal which is not the case with the c530.
Playing around with an SD card, I popped in a 512MB that I had preloaded with 18,000 POI’s I found free on the net (Starbucks, Walmart, etc.). They were easily accessed but the disadvantage is that every time I start the unit it prompts me to load them onto the Garmin’s built in drive. As I’m not sure how much space I have remaining (I’ll return to this point) I haven’t bothered with this yet. The SD also contained a few .jpg’s so I tried the custom splash page out but undid it after seeing that the images came up small and only of medium quality. I’m only using about 1% of the space on the SD so there’s a lot of room to grow in this area.
I’ll point out that when the unit is connected to my PC via USB it seems to indicate that practically no free internal drive space is remaining. My perception right now is that 99% of the 1GB drive is already full but I haven’t dug too deep into this yet. Now some niggles and annoyances: first the unit seems to be “on” when charging through the USB but in the car it can charge in the “off” state. I’d prefer the same ability to charge it “off” when charging indoors on my PC. Also, as previously mentioned, prompting me to copy the SD card to internal memory on every power-up is a drag. And finally, I’m disappointed with the Garmin website and the hiccup after upgrading the internal software. Fortunately, the upgrade did work in the end and I’d still recommend others do it.
Overall, you might sense I’m pretty picky about stuff, but I think this is a great navigation gps and would recommend it. The built in map appears to be good (hey, almost everything on the road uses the same data from NavTeq), the SiRF reception is strong, the screen and sound is very discernible and overall it’s both easy to use and feature rich.