Pros full mapping, navigation, great reception.
Cons slow. not the most accurate. small display
Summary the GPS V i bought on e-bay for only 150$ was a great deal. the maps are easy to read. the options are endless. and it only takes a day or so to learn everything about the GPS system. the detailed maps you can download to the device are expensive unless you use the old version included.
downloading maps are horrible it took 30 minutes to download 3 megs of maps to the reciver. also slow is routing, displaying maps, and zooming.
sometimes the accuracy of the mapping device is off. i will be driving down the freeway but the ap shows me 100 Ft to the left or right side of it... but this device is worth to me 250$ for how much it does do.
Pros Can be good - when it works.
Cons Major issue with how problems are handled.
Summary Give serious thought to your decision before purchasing a Garmin product. My nuvi 265WT is great ... when it works. After dealing with a number of software problems and downloads over the first year, 4 months over the warranty and it has completely failed. Garmin requires $125 for the "not new" replacement (incl shipping and tx) and holds you hostage if you have the Lifetime Maps subscription as is not transferable to anything but a replacement unit.
Pros Gray scale=long battery life, can change orientation of screen, stays locked on sats even in congested areas, water proof to 1 meter, rugged buttons, good screen resolution, variety of mounts to suit almost any application available
Cons gray scale can be hard to read, backlight kills battery fast, being an older unit, parts are harder to find, adequate but non-expandable memory, screen size a little on the small side for dashboard mount use in vehicles
Summary I love my GPS V as my go-to all around GPS solution. It mounts to my bike, in my car, on my sailboat, is small and will fit easily in small pockets in my hiking backpack and is lightweight. Being water proof and very well built, it will take the knocks of being an active life GPS and keep on ticking. The battery life is around 20-22 hours on alkaline AA, 24-26 on lithium AA either lasts long enough to leave the spare batteries at home when going out on a fresh pair. Being very familiar with using Garmin aviation GPS units, I feel right at home with this unit. One Garmin works like any other model. However, my wife has a hard time navigating through the multiple menus and options. It's not the quickest processor, takes a bit to get it to do what you want but can't be beat for it's versatility. There are a good variey of maps avilable for it and has enough memory to handle reigonal activites. This is not a good unit for long distance (over 200 mile) trips as the memory is not large enough to support continually detailed maps that far out. I live in MI and it holds all of S MI (S of Grand Rapids to the state line, lake to lake). The main drawback is that the screen is almost too small to use if you have to set it far back on your dashboard. Small screen = small characters and icons. My Nuvi 765T has taken over road trip duty but I'll never sell my GPS V as I'm not worried about breaking it like I am my Nuvi.
Pros Affordable; Durable; Relatively portable; FULLY customizable menus (power utilization, screen views, etc.); Includes map CD ($139 value); Routable basemap (driving directions); Waterproof to 1 meter.
Cons Grey Screen; No electronic compass; No altimeter; SLOW data transfer to PC; Relatively small onboard memory for map storage; Doesn't float; "OK" battery life
Summary In short, this is the best unit you can get for the money. ($230-500 range).
There is only one other unit (from garmin, at least) that is more portable, that still possesses the "route mapping" feature of this one. (GPS 60 and GPS 72 series, http://www.gpsnow.com/gmmap60cs.htm). The screen is smaller, though, and I think the screen size on the GPS-V probably about as small as I'd really want to go.
The 4-tone grey scale is a bit difficult to read at times. I found myself turning on the backlight *all* the time to be able to see the maps and menus easier.
Also, the re-draw time is a bit sluggish when you're navigating in map-intensive areas. I think I'm going to look for a unit with a color screen for my next purchase. I've also become acustomed to my color screen on my palm pilot, though... maybe I'm just spoiled.
The directions are pretty straight forward. I ran though a simulated drive (ie, from home to work) and it plotted the course exactly as I would have expected. It has pop-up warnings for each turn, and automatically adjusts the route if you miss a turn. Other cool features are... you can enter in a detour (.5, 1, 2, 3 miles, etc) if you encounter road construction or traffic and it will find a new route. (There are newer models out there that can actually receive automated traffic info from FM receivers and automatically adjust for traffic). You can always switch to "off road" navigating to travel by way-points for geocaching, hiking, etc.
The included map CD has a pretty extensive database of locations and points of interest. I searched for "Arby's" and it brought up 8 separate locations, all within 5 miles of my house. To date, I have been unable to locate an arby's in chicago on my own. SCORE.
Apparently the battery life is ~20 hours. Keep in mind that this will be less if using the backlight frequently. There is a battery saving "use indoors" feature that saves power while you're tinkering and route-planning indoors (turns off active searching for satellites). There's also the ability to turn off the WAAS function, which gives you a little less accuracy, but speeds re-drawing time and lessens burdon on the processor, and thus battery life. You can keep batteries in while the cigarette lighter adapter is in use, and just use the batteries for "back-up" if desired. If I take this on any camping trips, though, I'm definitely bringing 4 extra AA batteries.
Map space is another issue. This unit has 19mb of space for maps. It's definitly enough for 1-2 large metropolitan areas. (I plugged in Chicago and Las Vegas), but any more than that and you're out of luck. Most of the newer models have around 120mb of space... and some don't even require you to upload maps to the unit, becuase they're already stocked with the full detail basemap. Many of the other "in-between" sized units at least have an expansion card slot... but this one doesn't. All in all, not a big deal... just requires some more planning before you hit the road. (or you have to bring your laptop with you).
This unit came with the serial port version of the transfer cable. To load Chicago and Vegas (15mb of maps) to the unit took TWENTY EIGHT minutes. That was painful. So, I would also recommend looking for a unit with a USB trasnfer cable.
Not a *huge* deal, but newer units come with electonic compass and barometric altimeters. Basically, you have to be moving at least 2mph to get a compass heading with this unit. Units with the electronic compass can give you a heading while standing still. The altimeter isn't that important, but in low reception areas where you can't get 3D plotting, your altitude can be way off. The GPS V makes up for the altitude issue by allowing you to enter in a known (or estimated) altitude to help maximize your 2D position.
So, in summary, I'm very happy with my GPS-V. It will definitely provide you years of enjoyment. Although this one was a gift, it is probably the unit I would have purchased, had I talked myself into believing that I had enough money in my bank account to afford a personal navigation device of my own.
Pros accurate, compact and water resistant
Cons slow programming, slow interface, slow route calculation, poor support
Summary I bought this as an upgrade to a Garmin GPS III+ and it certainly was an upgrade. The screen is more legible and the maps are much more accurate and complete, in most areas. The receiver and positioning part of the system are great, it locks on fairly fast and provides good positional accuracy. The routing calculations are slow and occasionaly eccentric, it will sometimes tell you to go straight through a junction then turn right three times instead of turning left. The next day it will tell you to turn left, even though you have asked for exactly the same destination from the same start point. The screen refresh is sometimes so slow that you have no useful on screen guidance at a turn. If your route has a left followed a few hundred feet later by a right it may well show you the left turn again. Sometimes a reroute crashes and you have to start again. Loading 19Mb of maps takes around an hour. The latest update, v2.50, is a year and a half old. If you are travelling between two areas for which wou have loaded maps and the logical route takes in a section of the base map the unit will route you via the loaded map areas, even though the route is ridiculous. As an example I loaded maps for the San Francisco, Sacramento and Mendocino areas then drove to Willits which is about 125 miles north of San Francisco on US101. For the return trip I plugged in my home address and got an estimate of about five hours. Instead of just running straight back down 101 it took me over towards Sacramento where the loaded maps touched, that's nearly 100 miles off track. I reported the faults to Garmin a year ago, but since then there has been no update so I guess they don't do software quality.
Still, at the current prices this is a good unit if you want something hand portable that will also have a good go at finding you a route. Mostly my issues with it are niggles. But now I want something better for the car and I don't think Garmin are on my list any more.