"The Garmin i5 is everything you need in a GPS, but it may not be everything you want."on by Camenwolf
Pros Small, portable, runs on car adapter or batteries, very intuitive.
Cons Only basic GPS functionality.
Summary The Garmin i5 is everything you need in a GPS, but it may not be everything you want.
The i5 has street level maps of the entire North American continent pre-loaded, so there is no messing with SD cards, usb connections and such.
It's user interface is very intuitive. In fact, the only instructions that came in the box, were printed on a little quick start card that told how to mount the unit, power it on, and enter an address. That was enough. Once I had done that, then I had seen enough of the menu to navigate around and figure most everything out. It's just that simple. There is a more comprehensive manual on Garmin's website, and the mentioned quick reference card has the URL if you care to download it. But you very likely will not find it necessary.
The unit itself is strikingly small. Though some have found the incredibly compact size of the unit to be a liability, I find it to be a superb benefit. It is very inconspicuous mounted next my rear view mirror. Though the screen is very small, the color scheme and graphics are well designed, making the small screen quite readable.
Its small size and the fact that it can be powered by AA batteries in addition to the included car adapter means it can be used for bicycling, as well as other forms of transportation, and it even has default settings for different vehicle types: car/motorcycle, truck, taxi, bus, and emergency vehicles, for which it will optimize routes.
It has 6 millions points of interest, and I was pleased, when testing it in my home town, with all the resteraunts, stores, etc. of which it was aware.
It's voice directions are clear, though the female voice sounds rather monotone and computerish, as opposed to the sleek and sexy voice of the more expensive Cobra NavOne series.
On the downside there is some data that would have been nice to have and easily included even at the i5's price point. It would be nice if the screen would display the direction in which you are heading. You can use the top north 2D map to see what direction you are heading, but using the 3D map or the top heading 2D map (meaning that you are always depicted as heading to the top of the screen and the map rotates around you) it is not possible to discern your heading from the unit. Nor does the unit display your speed, though it does estimate your arrival time at your destination.
There are numerous other little niceties missing from the i5 that can be found in units that are only slightly more expensive, such as multiple destinations, extensive trip data, and the ability to enter a destination by it's telephone number.
If, like me, however, you consider such extras to be little more than novelties that you will seldom use, then it may be worth saving the money and going with the basic, but rock solid i5. Also, keep in mind that extra functionality adds extra complexity, which takes away from one of this units strongest features, which is the fact that it is so very intuitive and easy to use.
Overall I am pleased with this unit and highly recommend it.
Pros compact, easy to use, bright easy to see screen
Cons Doesn't give you the steet name on the turn
Summary I've had my i5 for a couple weeks and I give it a solid A+. I'm nearly 50...with the eyesight to prove it and the "small" screen has NOT been an issue. The directions are clear and easy to see.
The voice prompts are easy to hear and very clear (easy to understand).
The maps seem to be very up to date, even better than the latest MS Streets and Trips.
So far, the unit has never crashed or gliched. Even when I turn it off between long distance turns.
The click data entry takes awhile to master, but is quick once you get the hang of it.
Once the unit acquires the satellites I've been able to mount it low on my dash vs. up in the front window without losing the signal.
Given how easy it is to move from car to car, it's the perfect unit for a family or someone that travels a lot.Updated
I've had my i5 for a little over a month and it has been outstanding. The screen is bright and easy to see...even for my 50 year old eyes. Text input via the rolling dial is ok. It's not perfect, and I make occasional errors, but it helps make the unit small and easy to use so I have no real complaints. The unit has provided accurate directions to dozens of locations in small town MN and WI. The turn by turn instructions are clear and warn you numerous times before the actual turn.
Bottom line....it works so well and is so easy to use that even my technophobic wife has asked to use it a couple times! You couldn't get a better recommendation than that!!!
Pros Very accurate, easy to transport to other vehicles, easy to use right at of the box, storing favorites
Cons Entering new addresses is a little cumbersome/time consuming
Summary I could go on and on about the pros of this device. I've been looking for a GPS device for my car for a while but couldn't decide what was most important to me. My wife decided on the Garmin i5, and I couldn't have picked a better product for my needs and location (Atlanta, GA).
It has worked flawlessly in providing initial directions and then recalculating once we decide to challenge it to a route we think is better. The screen, although small, is easy to read and full of information like street names, distance to next turn, ETA to destination, current MPH, and compass. The favorites, 2D vs 3D veiws, zoom, simuated route function and anti-sunglare screen are features hard to find in a unit at this price.
Pros Price, ease of use, accuracy
Cons Very, very few
Summary I learned in my college economics course that quality is a function of price and the performance you expect for that price. This gadget far exceeded my expectations for quality.
I have not owned a GPS before and spent a great deal of time reading consumer opinions on them. I'm sure that there are other great units out there but I was scared away from a a number of otherwise highly rated (and more expensive) units by multiple reports of outdated maps and frequent losses of signal. Then, I saw that (uniquely) the average ratings of the reader reviews for this one exceeded the Cnet review and was hooked.
I bought mine about a month ago and used it to make my Holiday rounds (I'm in sales) in Northern New Jersey. Anyone who has tried to navigate NJ will know what a torture test that is. This thing performed flawlessly, showing me routes I didn't know existed and saving me a lot of time and stress.
I then took it to the Pacific northwest and used it to navigate Seattle and a ski trip up to BC. Again, flawless operation. No need to download additional maps. Just stick it to the windshield and go. My brother, who is not the most technologically-minded person around, learned how to use it with a one-minute tutorial from me. Need to find a nearby store/atm/golf course/etc? No problem, it's in there.
Yeah, the screen is small, but it shows the road you are on, the road you are going to next, and all the information you need to avoid getting lost. In fact, you can't get lost and isn't that the point?
I might wish that it would put my "favorites" in alphabetical order and I might wish that it would allow you to "record" a location for future return to it but those are minor quibbles.
Three relatives saw it in action over the Christmas holidays and decided to buy one.
If you spend lots of time trying to figure out how to get from here to there, have many near-traffic accidents while trying to read the map in your lap/drive/look at street markers, hate driving to strange places in the dark, waste lots of time by taking "safe" routes over direct routes, or just want a very cool and useful gadget, this is one of the best bargains out there.
Pros Accuracy is startling. Ease of navagation of menus. Loud and clear audible commands. Small but very high quality screen is very easy to read.
Cons Virtually no cons. The only thing I can complain about is that my unit had a little mark on it fresh out of the box. But nothing that effects functionality.
Summary This thing is amazing. This is my first GPS unit and I am in awe. I had no idea that such a thing existed. I've heard of GPS navagators before but I had no idea that they practicaly drove the car for you. Navagating with this thing is incredibly simple. All you've got to do is input the street address and press "navagate", and you're on your way. It will give you block by block turn by turn directions right down to the foot.
I also want to mention that the girl in the video review obviously had no idea what she was talking about. Almost as if she just picked the thing up 5 minutes ago and had to make a review on it. "the screen is small and probably hard to see in your car"? "probably"? Well if she would have taken the time to really do some research, she would have found that the screen on this thing is not only NOT a problem, but is actually one of it's strong points. That's embarassing. Cnet, if you're not going to really try out the products, please refrain from writing a review on it.
Overall this thing is pretty much perfect. I've looked around on a few sites and read up a bit and this thing has all of the features that any of the really expensive units have and at a lower price tag. If you're about to spend a grand on one of those really high end units, I suggest you check out the Garmin i5 first. You might save yourself a few hundred bucks.