|Submited By: Jack Freelander on 03/07/2010|
First-off, I have no idea what the other two reviewers are complaining about regarding XM traffic/weather while using the unit in automotive mode. You have to buy a separate XM receiver to even get XM reception, and on top of that a monthly subscription. Rating the entire unit as 1-star because of the absence of a tiny feature that almost no one will miss (XM traffic/weather in automotive mode) is short-sighted, reductionist and unfair to Garmin and potential customers.
The GPS is great - the touch screen works well, provides a lot of real-estate, and is very responsive. The built-in data has loads of information on local facilities and points-of-interest, and is really good at showing you current speed limits and adjusting quickly when they change. The on-land navigation is excellent, as you would expect from Garmin. You can choose from several voices, it does an excellent job re-routing and estimating time-of-arrival, etc. It comes with many accessories, including a mounting kit for a boat, the base for the car, and AC adapter for charging at home.
On the water it is very impressive with the level of detail in the charts that come with this unit - shipping lanes, lots of soundings, hazards, channel markers, everything is there. It has tide and current information for many stations, has built-in knowledge of the local deviation which allows you to configure the unit in True or Magnetic, and again is good at calculating arrival times and headings.
The are a few minuses to the product. It tends to support only straight-line navigation on the water so if there s any land in between you and your destination, it oddly just plots a course right over the land. It is also insanely expensive given its size and target audience (presumably people who want to use it both for automotive and nautical purposes and aren t interested in shelling out a small fortune for a full-fledged on-board nav system in their boats). The battery life (at least in my unit) is also less than ideal - it seems to last only a few hours, which is unfortunate. The battery pack that you attach to the back does add some weight/bulk (total unit is about 1 pound 2 ounces with battery), so it s not quite in the category of handheld or easily carried on a hike, so one would think (therefore) that it would have substantially more battery life than it does.
Overall, it s a great product with a ton of features. I just fear the downfall of this unit (or rather this particular line of land/water combo GPS from Garmin) will be its excessively high price point.