Garmin has too many models, too confusing to buy

 

I was at Best Buy Friday after my StreetPilot C320 seemed to have failed on Thanksgiving.

I happened to see in the BB ad of the Garmin 1300LM and the Nuvi 255WT for sale. Not having looked at GPS units for a while, I decided to do some research on which one I could pick up to replace my C320.

After looking at Garmin's site, and seeing over 45 Nuvi models alone on the product page, I stopped looking.

I am a careful buyer and like to understand the options available. Garmin simply offers an overwhelming number of GPS units under the "Nuvi" brand and has no real simple way to differentiate one from another. Way too much homework to do to figure out which one to buy.

They are paralyzing the consumer with an overwhelming number of choices, and no clear distinction between them.

Shopping for a Garmin Nuvi GPS shouldn't be rocket science, and certainly shouldn't take hours or days of research to pick the right one to buy. No wonder Garmin business is down!

They need to either come up with a better way to categorize and differentiate the Nuvi line to consumers, or simply stop offering so many models with very minor variances among them.

Apple offers two iPhone choices, and it is mind-numbingly successful. Simplicity makes shopping easy for the consumer. Have over 45+ models for the Nuvi line is insane.

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http://www.poi-factory.com/node/21626 - red light cameras do not work

Garmin Has To Many Units Confusing To Buy

nuvic320 wrote:

I was at Best Buy Friday after my StreetPilot C320 seemed to have failed on Thanksgiving.

I happened to see in the BB ad of the Garmin 1300LM and the Nuvi 255WT for sale. Not having looked at GPS units for a while, I decided to do some research on which one I could pick up to replace my C320.

After looking at Garmin's site, and seeing over 45 Nuvi models alone on the product page, I stopped looking.

I am a careful buyer and like to understand the options available. Garmin simply offers an overwhelming number of GPS units under the "Nuvi" brand and has no real simple way to differentiate one from another. Way too much homework to do to figure out which one to buy.

They are paralyzing the consumer with an overwhelming number of choices, and no clear distinction between them.

Shopping for a Garmin Nuvi GPS shouldn't be rocket science, and certainly shouldn't take hours or days of research to pick the right one to buy. No wonder Garmin business is down!

They need to either come up with a better way to categorize and differentiate the Nuvi line to consumers, or simply stop offering so many models with very minor variances among them.

Apple offers two iPhone choices, and it is mind-numbingly successful. Simplicity makes shopping easy for the consumer. Have over 45+ models for the Nuvi line is insane.

I agree you would think they would want to make it easier for people to buy their units.I have looked at other GPS'S companies offerings they don't seem as confusing and they are priced lower.

did not compare 45

I wound up satisfied with a recent purchase of a 1490T with lifetime maps.

Although there were many nuvi models to choose from, it was relatively easy to compare models I was interested in:

I wanted the larger screen size, for example, so that narrowed the choices of models to look at quickly. I wanted lifetime maps bundled with the original purchase, which further narrowed what to look at.

Price was important, and I would have been satisfied with a 1450, but there was a "sale" on the 1490, so I got it.

But your point is well taken. For a consumer who is not sure what he/she wants, it is a rather daunting list of possibilities.

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Ted in Ohio, c340, 1490T with lifetime maps

Agreed

It seems like they take an assortment of features, make one, then go back to the feature barrel and make the next. You end up with a bewildering array of models which are regularly being replaced with newer models and most retail outlets carry relatively few of the current choices. The next store down the street stocks a different selection so comparison shopping is like apples and oranges, particularly if one is going by price alone. The package rarely lists more than a few of the features but Garmin's website does better and I've seen some model comparison tables that are even easier to understand. The savvy shopper will do research and narrow it down to a model or two from the current offerings and then go looking for someone who has one for the best price.

There is an opinion that some of the older models had a better assortment of features (new doesn't always mean better). With a bit of luck, one might find an about to be discontinued model with the desired features at a great price at one of the warehouse clubs.

A sample of some of the choices in no particular order:

Screen size
Traffic (and is Navteq or Clear Channel better - are both)
Multi-point route optimization
Route import capable
nüLink Services (for weather alerts and local radar)
3D buildings
Hot plug mount
User replaceable battery
Lane assist
Displays the upcoming cross street name in banner
Displays posted speed limit
Bluetooth
Optimized for truck and big RV routes
Speaks street names
Lifetime map updates included
Do maps include 49 States, or Canada, or Mexico, or Europe for US models

A sample of some websites listing features by model (in no particular order):

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=134

http://gpstracklog.com/compare/garmin-nuvi-comparison-chart

http://www.the-best-gps.com/Garmin-Nuvi-Comparison.html

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"There's no substitute for local knowledge" nüvi 750, nüvi 3597

GPS Magazine

GPS Magazine offers a comparison chart of Garmin and other make GPSrs.
http://www.gpsmagazine.com/

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Bob: My toys: Nüvi 1390T, Droid X2, Nook Color (rooted), Motorola Xoom, Kindle 2, a Yo-Yo and a Slinky. Gotta have toys.

Too Many Models Makes It Too Confusing

I totally agree. Because there are so many models it causes too much confusion, especially to new GPS users. What I don't get is that on some of the models the only difference between one from another is just one feature.

I was thinking of updating from my 255W to say the 1490 but when I get right to it, the 255W does exactly what I need it to do. I don't need all of the bells and whistles. Kinda like the cell phones...90% of the features I don't even use (or need).

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OK.....so where the heck am I?

I use the comparison charts

I use the comparison charts but the real problem is with newer models coming out so fast.A much improved model may just be around the corner.Then you are stuck with old technology.

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Charlie. Nuvi 265 WT and Nuvi 2597 LMT. Android Here WeGo - Offline Maps & GPS.

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There sure do seem to be a lot of different models, but the reality is that if you know the secret, the lineup is simple to decode, being a Chinese menu of options.

However just because there is a newer model does not make your unit obsolete in any way - they all use the same constellation of satellites and underlying mapping and POI database. They all accept custom POIs and if one has the extremely rediculous 3D building view and yours doesn't, who cares?

The simplest is to head over to Garmin's web site and engage their product selector, because the salesgeek at the local Walmart isn't likely to understand the nuances between the various models.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=134

However the decoder ring, in general is as follows:

First of all, any Nuvi with a model number lower than 1000 is out of production no matter what the web site says; There IS, however a lot of product in the channel being liquidared.

So here goes:

2XX series : Budget lineup, no quick disconnect for the cabling
5XX series : Waterproof
7XX series : Old line premium models
8XX series : Old line premium models with voice recognition

The later hardware is similar in the sense that each of the current series offer a different package and base feature set; The 2000 series has speech recognition, for example. The 3000 series has a very sexy multitouch glass duisplay.

So, the higher the first digit, the more 'premium' the hardware and base software feature set.

All the above (and the Nuvi 3XX, 4XX and 6XX series as well have been discontinued.

Note that the 295 is the major exception to the rule. It is a Nuviphone with the phone guts removed (I suppose they got stuck with a lot of inventory and decided to repackage it to get rid of it) and for some reason got numbered into the 200 series.

Now, many versions in the above series have model numbers ending in '0' or in '5' - in general this means that the '0' is an 'older release' and in the above series uses the old GUI (with more street detail at lower zoom settings and displays upcoming cross streets in the banner box when not actively navigating) and thd the '5' has the cheaper chipsets and new interface; The '0' models, by and large are a LOT more reliable and offer some major enhancements in the user interface compared with the '5' or even the current models.

The current models are more about aesthetics and minor features than anything else, though MP3/Audible players and such have been dropped from the newer models:

Now look at the second-the-last character in the model number;

Again, in general if it is a

'0' - base model, US only mapping. No Bluetooth
'5' - North American mapping, no Bluetooth
'6' - North American mapping, with Bluetooth (and often a bundled traffic receiver without lifetime service)
'7' - North American mapping, with Bluetooth and European maps (US models)
'8' - North American mapping, with Bluetooth and MSN Direct -(phased out. Service ends Jan 1, 2012)
'9' - North American mapping, with Bluetooth and additional feature support (often WiFi or 'nulink' Cellular, depending on the series)

Then there are the suffixes;

Much of the 200 series came in both square and narrow models, so

'W' indicats a 4.3 inch widescreen design
'T' (indicates that the unit is bundled with a traffic receiver with lifetime service
'M' means that the unit comes with lifetime map updates

Older models didn't bother with 'L' to indicate lifetime, but newer models have this redundant letter, probably just to confuse you.

So a 3790LMT is the top of the current premium series with North American mapping, AT&T network access, Bluetooth, Lifetime traffic and lifetime map updates.

You can purchase map updates for any device and on many models you can add other maps, traffic or MSN support (lifetime or otherwise) after the purchase.

There are routing and other features that for most may not be useful, but the ability to enter a series of addresses and have the device put them in the most efficient order may be something of interest to a busy mom driving carpools.

There's more, but hopefully you get the idea . . . . checking those feature boxes on the left side of the Garmin product selector guide will do it for you.

For what it is worth, one of my best buddies is a major Garmin person and when I wanted him to get me a 3790 he talked me out of it saying that anything past my 780 was a giant step backward in terms of reliability, though that skinny design, glass front and ultrabright multitouch display is sure attractive.

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Currently have: SP3, GPSMAP 276c, Nuvi 760T, Nuvi 3790LMT, Zumo 660T

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Thanks, bramfrank. Good info to know when making decisions which garmin model to buy.

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nuvi 2460LMT

I like the 255w, too

pkdmslf wrote:

I totally agree. Because there are so many models it causes too much confusion, especially to new GPS users. What I don't get is that on some of the models the only difference between one from another is just one feature.

I was thinking of updating from my 255W to say the 1490 but when I get right to it, the 255W does exactly what I need it to do. I don't need all of the bells and whistles. Kinda like the cell phones...90% of the features I don't even use (or need).

I was comparing my 1490 to my brother in law's 255w, and his 255w is a very good gps, in comparison.

I really wanted to upgrade my 3 year old c340, before I take a 5000 mile road trip, so that got me back into the market.

I do like the larger screen size of the 1490, and, even with the leather case, it still fits in my jeans and shirt pockets.

But if I had the 255W instead of the c340, I probably would not have upgraded. I did want to update the maps before the trip, so part of the purchase price of the 1490 was the lifetime maps bundled with it.

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Ted in Ohio, c340, 1490T with lifetime maps

ask your Garmin buddy this...

bramfrank, I wonder what your Garmin buddy would say about the following:

a) what is Garmin's product release strategy and what is their perceived value in adding new (sometimes useless) features while eliminating certain old ones (often highly useful)?

b) what is Garmin's sense regarding customer confusion and frustration with respect to their large number of product offerings?

c) any new directions they are moving in in response to multi-faceted competition? e.g. radar detectors with integrated GPS (ala Escort)?

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non-native nutmegger

Thanks bramfrank, for the

Thanks bramfrank, for the detailed reply and info.

It shows how confounding the Nuvi line up really is.

For example, where does the 1300LM fit in?

I don't want to use the product selector, because my options are flexible, and I want to get the most features for the money.

To do that, I really do have to evaluate each model side by side, and go through each painful detail step by step to try to figure out the differences.

Garmin's Nuvi marketing is truly painful. The consumer shouldn't have to read a decoder guide to figure out a little bit of how the product line works, nor should it be even a little bit complex.

If a dedicated GPS enthusiast like me has problems trying to figure out the product line, I can't image the average consumer or even the poor hapless store employee trying to figure it out and explain it to the buyer.

This is a lose lose scenario. I will probably end up passing on any Garmin deals simply because I am not sure I am getting the most for my money. Garmin will lose out on another sale.

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http://www.poi-factory.com/node/21626 - red light cameras do not work

Before looking

Make a list of your wants and needs then find some that fulfill them and use the compare buttons to narrow down the choices.

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Nuvi 360, OS X Lion 10.7

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nuvic320 wrote:

For example, where does the 1300LM fit in?

The 1300 is a lower end unit. No Bluetooth, no Canadian mapping. No Lane assist, no multi-destination routing, no saved routes, no speed limit indicator.

It does do eco routes (never bothered myself).

The 11xx, 12xx, 13xx & 14xx don't have quick disconnect cable-integrated mounts (16xx, 2xxx and 3xxx DO have quick discounnect mounts). This makes the lower end units non-starters for me as I HATE fumbling with power cords.

You can add a traffic receiver to the 1300 if you want and the model you mention includes lifetime map updates.

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Currently have: SP3, GPSMAP 276c, Nuvi 760T, Nuvi 3790LMT, Zumo 660T

Yeah, I agree Garmin has too

Yeah, I agree Garmin has too many choices. You really have to narrow down the features you want and start from there. Their website has a filtering checklist to help you out. It was easy for me to choose the model I wanted because there weren't too many large screen models. Once you go beyond the 4" screens you'll never go back to the smaller models.

Buying quickly

nuvic320 wrote:

I am a careful buyer and like to understand the options available. Garmin simply offers an overwhelming number of GPS units under the "Nuvi" brand and has no real simple way to differentiate one from another. Way too much homework to do to figure out which one to buy.

On Black Friday, the employees of the store don't have time to help you either. All the GPS customers that day were buying the 265WT, at Staples anyway, probably based on price alone.

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1490LMT 1450LMT 295w

The best deal is NUVI 1450LMT for $150 from Target

spokybob wrote:
nuvic320 wrote:

I am a careful buyer and like to understand the options available. Garmin simply offers an overwhelming number of GPS units under the "Nuvi" brand and has no real simple way to differentiate one from another. Way too much homework to do to figure out which one to buy.

On Black Friday, the employees of the store don't have time to help you either. All the GPS customers that day were buying the 265WT, at Staples anyway, probably based on price alone.

Really?

That's a value judgement on your part;

The tradeoffs are:

1450LMT - No Bluetooth
265WT - No lifetime map updates, no routes, no lane assist.

I personally put little value in the map updates and would prefer the integrated Bluetooth over the ability to store routes or plan multi-destination drives on the fly.

Lane Assist, while nice is on my list of 'nice to have but not an imperative'. And routes are nice to have if you carpool or do deliveries and want to drive the route in the most efficient way - or if wanto plan drives in advance to various places.

So for me personally, of the two the 265WT from Staples at $99 ($120 now) would have been a better fit and less expensive solution.

However I am not buying any more Garmin Nuvis or Zumos at all unless Garmin puts back secondary street detail at 1.2 km and upcoming cross street data in the banner box - those two features are absolutely critical as far as I am concerned.

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Currently have: SP3, GPSMAP 276c, Nuvi 760T, Nuvi 3790LMT, Zumo 660T

Nice summary bramfrank

Thanks for the summary of the Nuvi models. This was very helpful.

Dumbed down

nuvic320 wrote:

I was at Best Buy Friday after my StreetPilot C320 seemed to have failed on Thanksgiving.

I happened to see in the BB ad of the Garmin 1300LM and the Nuvi 255WT for sale. Not having looked at GPS units for a while, I decided to do some research on which one I could pick up to replace my C320.

After looking at Garmin's site, and seeing over 45 Nuvi models alone on the product page, I stopped looking.

I am a careful buyer and like to understand the options available. Garmin simply offers an overwhelming number of GPS units under the "Nuvi" brand and has no real simple way to differentiate one from another. Way too much homework to do to figure out which one to buy.

They are paralyzing the consumer with an overwhelming number of choices, and no clear distinction between them.

Shopping for a Garmin Nuvi GPS shouldn't be rocket science, and certainly shouldn't take hours or days of research to pick the right one to buy. No wonder Garmin business is down!

They need to either come up with a better way to categorize and differentiate the Nuvi line to consumers, or simply stop offering so many models with very minor variances among them.

Apple offers two iPhone choices, and it is mind-numbingly successful. Simplicity makes shopping easy for the consumer. Have over 45+ models for the Nuvi line is insane.

Not only do they make too many models, compared to the older Street Pilots, they took away useful features and replaced them with things like MP3 players and jpeg viewers that have nothing to do with a GPS. The only thing my 855 has over my old 2820 is a bigger and brighter screen. If they would have put the 855 screen on my my 2820 I would have had the perfect GPS. As one of Garmin's tech reps told me, the Nuvi is a dumbed down version of the Street Pilot.

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Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Too Many Models

It took years before I bought my Garmin GPSMAP60CSx. The product lineup was full of options that were barely discernible. So I didn't buy. Then came the GPSMAP60CSx and that was it. Bought it. This unit was feature packed, and there were only three different versions, sort of a Good, Better, Best deal.

Garmin tries to extract value from each eensie-weensie feature, to the point that the gazillion models it offers paralyzes or turns away customers.

There needs to be a small variety of hardware platforms that are targeted to certain markets: outdoor, marine, trucking, aviation, general automotive, etc. and then the software is the same across all. The operating system will be the same across all platforms, with mapping being the application specific user installed option. Who cares if you get a feature, or several features you don't use? Trying to come out with models that have just the right combination of features without the features one might not want leads to permutations and combinations that leads to the nearly indiscernible mind-boggling array of models and line-up turnover.

Do it the Apple way. Look at how incredibly simple the product line up is. Apple has been wildly successful where other huge PC companies struggle. Why? Keep It Simple.

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GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

Thanks bramfrank, for the detailed info

Thanks bramfrank, for the detailed info.

I will buy a new GPS, but map update is very difficult to decide.

Garmin To Many Models

You say the 3790 is the top of the line what about the nulink 1695

I think the many choices are

I think the many choices are great. The previous links with the GPS comparison is really what needs to be readily available in stores so people can decide what they need.

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mdh31951 wrote:

You say the 3790 is the top of the line what about the nulink 1695

The Nulink/Ciao thing is not a marketing success, but consider;

- Both have traffic
- 1695 has online services including Ciao & Nulink - if they'd wanted it in the 3790 they'd have added it but nulink is quite possibly going the way of the integrated MP3 players in Garmin navigators.
- The 3790 is voice-activated
- The 3790 has a higher resolution (albeit slightly smaller) display with four times as many pixels as the 1695.
- The 3790 has the multitouch glass display, runs longer and weighs half as much.
- No subscription required for the 3790 traffic and it includes lifetime maps for those that value such things

As things stand the 1695 is the top of the Nuvi 1000 series anf the 3790 is the top of Garmin's entire Nuvi lineup.

Interesting enough, with the exception of things like nuroute adaptive routing and the nulink or multitouch screen, the 765WT does the same job (and more) and can be found for a lot less money than either the 1695 or 3790 - so it becomes a question of esthetics . . .

The 765 includes a two-way Bluetooth A2DP connection so you can sync your phone to the 765 and the 765 to your car's bluetooth in turn. THAT is a neat feature.

The 765 also has a fairly useless stereo FM modulator AND has a headphone jack to feed audio to your stereo if that's the way you want to connect up. The only real lack (if you could call it that) is the limit for stored preplanned routes. 10 on the 765, 100 on the others - big deal (not).

The 765T shows as $150 at Bestbuy and $140 at newegg.com
The 1695 is $390-400 online
The 3795T (let's make the comparison fair here) is $400-425.

I still prefer the 760/780 for the reasons previously given.

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Currently have: SP3, GPSMAP 276c, Nuvi 760T, Nuvi 3790LMT, Zumo 660T

Same Dilemma

I just went through the same situation but was fortunate enough to have the option of being able to work around the problem I was having with my 760. I would have readily purchased a new unit but really didn't have the time to research all of the various Garmin models currently available. Garmin ultimately lost (or at least prolonged) a sale because of it.