Sunday, April 19, 2009

GPS Review for NAV 740

I finally broke down and bought a GPS for the car. I hate getting list, and I figured they had finally gotten cheap enough. I have always heard good things about Garmin, but they seemed pricey, so I got the NAV 740, which was PC Magazine's Editor's Choice. The three key features, for the price were the 4.3" widescreen form factor, a good POI database, and text-to-speech.

I've only had it a couple of weeks, but so far so good. Parts of the UI are a little kludgy, but the main screen I find to be very, very nice. Everything you need, right where you need it and well laid-out. At $90 all-in (Amazon), a tremendous bargain.

As the user reviews I read before purchasing indicated, battery life is very weak. I have tested it, and it seems like 2 hours in standard GPS mode. That is with a new battery, I imagine in a year it will be almost worthless in battery mode. It's a shame it doesn't take standard AAA batteries--it certainly seems like the form factor is big enough to accomodate them.

A few states, MN being one of them, prohibit attaching anything to the windshield. So I had to buy a friction mount for the dashboard. It is pretty elegant in its simplicity (here is the Arkon mount I got, at a great price). The suction cup attaches to the surface. The mount is very heavy, and has a rubber bottom, so it inhibits sliding over the slick dash. You wouldn't think that would be enough, on a down-sloped dash like mine, but it really works fine. An advantage is that is makes it easier to remove and hide when parking.

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