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Garmin Zumo 660 Review [2009/06]

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zūmo® 660 Review

Part Number: 010-00727-01
Suggested Retail Price: £ 549.99

 

Garmin have just announced the Zumo 660 , so for the many of you who already own 550's should you upgrade, or is this the sat nav to buy for the motorbike. As someone who has been using sat nav's ever since they were commercially available, I am difficult to impress, but the 660 is definitely an excellent new product and I highly recommend it. Is it worth upgrading, well that depends on your requirements, but here are my views.

The first thing you notice is that the 660 has a wide screen like the nuvi range. This new screen is touch only so no more buttons to fiddle with and the extra space provides even more information. I use my 550 in all weathers and although the unit has functioned brilliantly, the same can not be said of the 550 cradles who don't take to bad weather. For me, this is the first major improvement for the 660, they have really addressed the weathering issues for both the unit and the cradle.

The cradle is now a completely self contained unit, there is only one lead hard wired into the cradle and it terminates after about a meter or so with connections for power, sound and traffic. This means that all connections to the autocom (it uses the existing box) can now be made under the seat away from the weather. Gone is the black plastic cover which usually disintegrates after a month. Instead they provide a sturdy plastic cover which snaps in place over the connection, now its completely sealed from the weather. I keep my cover inside the hard case supplied so its always handy. Gone is the locking screw which was useless anyway and supplied is the RAM mount and cradle for both bike and car.

Another nice feature is that when removed from the cradle, it has its on speaker so you can use it in a restaurant to plan a route, etc. The interface has changed slightly, but its easy to use. On the maps, it now reports the speed for the road which was very useful on the continent. Speed Camera warnings are easy to spot and display nicely on the map. There is also a button to go directly to your music from the map. Routes are calculated very quickly and its usually quite happy taking in routes from earlier Mapsource. The supplied maps are 2010 and also include 3D buildings which I haven't explored yet.

Another useful feature is Lane Assist. You come along and the road splits, how many times have you looked at the sat nav and thought which way? A good example is the bottom of the M3 when you have to go right, to go East, when you would expect to go left. With Lane  Assist, the roads are displayed just as you see them, even with the place names and you say, Oh I need the gantry sign for Portsmouth. When travelling overseas I found this very useful.

Of course every new product has some annoying features like only 20 routes, what was Garmin thinking! I haven't yet found the large speedo dial  and there are a few other bugs. So if you want one I suggest that you shop around as the price varies widely. Garmin initially priced it cheaper than the 550 and I was lucky to get it still at the low price. The 550 is still a great product, but if I had the choice of a new one I would go for the 660 unless the 550 was significantly cheaper.

 

 

 
 

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