We are getting ready to go on vacation and we are going to be driving around Northern California so she told me I should get a GPS rather than rent one at the ridiculous daily rates, so I caved and bought one 😉
I first started looking at the Archos 605 GPS and media player hoping to get a multi-use device thought after reading the reviews especially Gizmodo’s and looking at the price tag ($279.99 for the device, $140 for the GPS add-on, $95 for the car mount, and $20 for the car charger) I decided I should look at the GPS units from TomTom and Garmin.
A friend recommended I look at the Garmin 205 because it had gotten good reviews from Consumer Reports. However, after a little looking I decided to go one step up to the 255W which not only tells you to turn right or left but also speaks the street name and has a wide display (the 255 display is 3.5″ while the 255W has a 4.3″ wide screen).
I spent a good bit of time at Circuit City and Best Buy trying out the GPS’ on display and while the TomTom seemed to be popular I was sold on the simple interface of the Garmin. It also seemed louder than he comparable units (which is an important feature when you are driving with you window down). This model doesn’t have Bluetooth integration or a receiver for traffic and weather information (though you can add that feature later via MSN Direct). It came with a car charger and a Window mount but if didn’t have a travel case or a USB cable.
The unit can be upgraded via computer and I was pleased to see that I could sync the unit from my Mac. I did consider buying one of the map updates and Fodor’s guide for North America but after reading some reviews I decided to pass for now.
After driving around town the unit seemed to get the job done but I guess the test will be if I get lost driving around Big Sur next week or not. More to come.