We really enjoyed the navigation assistance provided by "Jack" our "newvi"/nuvi 855.
I picked him up last August at Walmart in NYS for $150+TAX (with the exchange, it came to around C$164).
Sadly he sat in the box during our US northeast and Maritime tour back in August, as neither of us had
a clue how to operate the thing, and we were in no hurry to start. Little did we know how easy it was.
We started experimenting with short navigation problems a few weeks before we left in September.
I created an itinerary of POIs using Mapquest and saved it into the nuvi's brain before our departure on
our September State Capitol Tour 2010 of the US North and West. I also got some useful POI files from
the POI-Factory. Mostly National and State and Commercial parks and C/Gs. Truck Stops and some other
things we needed to locate some specific planned shopping retailers. All worked almost flawlessly.
Locating things we needed along the way like Starbucks or McDonalds or Walmart was easy and quick.
Except for a couple of freezes, possibly due to extremely inclement weather, coupled with his physical
location in our cab area (satellite line of sight loss), the thing worked great. The V/R function took a bit
more time to master, but by the end of week one, we were talking to the nuvi using Garmin's "nuv-ese"
conversational language. Someone mentioned the annoying "recalculating" and overly repetitive and overly
stressed rerouting voice commands, when you stray off the nuvi's selected course, but we quickly learned
to ignore or mute "Jack" when necessary. The V/R voice command shortcuts made navigation and operation
much faster and simpler. It has some "hidden" functions including how precise the tracking is (we averaged
15' accuracy) by showing what satellites you're currently seeing. It also has lane assist, which shows in advance
which lane out of 3-5 you should be in prior to your next maneuver. The voice commands are easy to follow,
but the volume level of the nuvi was sometimes too low to be heard easily over other noises in the driver's
seating area. Replaying commands was as easy as touching the screen's top left corner or the bottom right
window on the 3D display. Or, I found I mostly glanced at the display to see where the pink "course" line was
heading. Sometimes the POI alerts would also fire while Jack was giving navigation instructions, so an
audio repeat was necessary, or a just quick look at the display.
A highly recommended piece of hardware for traveling to/in places you're not particularly familiar with.
You have to check your "avoidances" and make sure you have most things "allowed", as the nuvi will
apply avoidance rules and will create routes that seem odd, until you realize what it's trying to avoid.
We got caught once or twice by avoiding "toll roads" and "ferries" unknowingly, but once you know about
them, it's easy to correct.
UPDATE: Apparently these GPS units (Garmin nuvis) can be used to assist in aligning or aiming satellite
If anyone is interested in how it works, PM me.
Or, visit http://www.qsl.net/ve3lgs/cansat.htm
It's actually fairly simple, and doesn't require internet access (on the road) once your nuvi is set up
to do it.
ANOTHER UPDATE: If anyone is thinking about getting a GPS unit, the nuvi 855 is currently on sale, online, at
WALMART for US$119. It seems to be a decent GPS unit, and the V/R capabilities are a heap of FUN!!!
I just checked, and the low price may be to clear them, as Garmin lists them now as "discontinued".
Still a good unit IMO.