Thursday, November 15, 2018

Garmin Drive 60 USA LMT 6" GPS Navigation System

Well, my wife has a very fancy navigation system built into her car, and it is very handy for times when we are in need of directions to a new address and when we want to get home from a strange area. So I thought, Why not get a GPS unit for my pickup truck?

As I usually do, I did some moderate research, educating my self on features and reviews and prices. A number of years ago, I owned a TomTom which was marginally okay. (The female voice would always pronounce 0 as "west," so when she told me to get on the 405 freeway, she would say, "Turn left onto the four west five freeway."

Anyway, I added my experience to the research and started looking at my options. I ruled out the unknown brands (too risky) and the huge displays (too costly and too intrusive in the windshield) and the "factory reconditioned" units, and I fairly quickly settled on the Garmin brand, because so many users liked its products. The choices in the Garmin brand are extensive, so I did a bit more research and ended up choosing the Drive 60 USA LMT 6". The screen, as you will astutely notice, is 6 inches diagonally (the unit itself is just short of 7.5" diagonally). The screen is thus almost 5.5" wide and almost 3" high.

Criteria I used included size of the screen (I wanted a screen I could see while driving), lifetime maps and traffic free (paying for updates every six months gets expensive). Free traffic updates was a bonus but not a criterion. I considered a couple of units that reviewers got excited about, but one was discontinued and the other's reviews seemed to be faked. I considered the $104 model (I'm cheap); but decided ultimately to splurge and get the Drive 60 USA LMT 6" (for about $160)

From my initial use, I am very impressed and even almost delighted with the unit. Unfortunately, the software that must be installed on Windows in order to download and update the maps and software is very poorly done, not intuitive, and not easy to figure out.

For example, the software might say "Installation complete" at the top of the screen and then "ready to download" in the middle of the screen. I might have downloaded the same thing three times because of these confusing messages. Then, while I was just wandering around the tabs and scrolling windows, I came across a message with a fat red line, saying, "You're memory is almost full."

The Owner's Manual, which is very poorly arranged and presented, says, in an appendix on page 13, that a memory card can be installed. The instructions say to "insert the memory card into the slot." Oh, and go back to page one to learn where the slot is. Then "press it in until it clicks." There is no indication about how to orient the card--connectors up or down.

I also have been unable to find how to check too see if the amount of memory has changed.

The most common use I have had for a GPS Navigation system is to find an address. Get the address of Joe and Jane's house. I must be an oddball because, even though "Navigating to Your Location" starts on page 3, "Finding an address" doesn't show up until page 7, and then is treated perfunctorily.

Tip for using address searching. I had to engage in a chat session to learn this, so once again the manual failed me. During an address search, if, when the address is found, you have the bottom (Map) tap selected, you will not be told the city name of the address you had put in. Select the top tab (with the magnifying lens) and you will find the city listed.

By the way, the chat guy was very helpful. So I give customer service / technical support an A.

Bottom line: I, at this early point, highly recommend the Drive 60. I will update this review as time goes on.


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