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  #1  
Old 10-03-2003, 04:41 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Garmin 2610 First impressions

Okay, I admit it, I am a terminal gadget freak.

So I just bought a new Garmin 2610. I have a Garmin StreetPilot III.

So after one day and one night playing with it, here are my impressions/comparisons.

The 2610 is physically smaller than the SP III. One reason is less buttons on the unit do to touch screen operation. Also the mount is intergrated, unlike the bulky mount the SP II hooked into. The 2610 uses the same in car mounts as the SP III, so if you switch, no trying to peel off the old mounts.

The power/speaker cord uses a funky connector with LOTS of pins. The speaker pins are integrated into the power connector, so no more two connections. The speaker is much smaller than the SP III. The antenna in the 2610 is an internal patch antenna, so no more antenne sticking up. The patch antenna seems to work well, but only one day in reasonably wide open spaces. Unfortunately the external antenna connector is different, and not a standard connector.

The unit now has auto dimming based on a photo cell on the back. This is especially good since it is not as easy to change the brightness of the display.

The new display is easier to read. I think it is higher resolution, and it has more colors.

The default display while not on a route shows a North pointer, road info (with a running address readout as you drive down a street with addresses), and the scale. No more speed readout in non-routing mode.

In route mode, you get the North pointer (no more stupid pointer to the next turn), Speed (SP III didn't show speed in route), distance to next turn (no more time to turn), street/road name, and scale.

All of the info is overlayed over the map info. That is the data blocks float over the map, and are transparent. Not sure how I like that for now. It seems you actually have less usable map area, but it doesn't seem to bother me yet.

The unit only has 4 buttons, each of which have two functions. A press and relese function (which may scroll through several choices) and a press and hold function. The buttons are LIGHTED. You also have a remote with virtually all of the functions on it, with a track pointer stick for moving the cursor around. It has a keypad for entering data. It works like entering alpha data on a cell phone, push once for A, twice for B, three times for C, four times for 2 (when in alpha mode, like a street name, in numeric mode, you just get numbers). I am not so sure about the usefulness of a remote for the driver, but it is great for the passenger to use.

The touch screen is a fun. It does have a quirk of sometimes if you touch to too lightly over giving an audible signal of touch, but not doing the action. If you touch properly you also get a visual cue of the button flashing. Using the touch screen alpha entry for street names is GREAT. Other things are not quite as easy. All the menus are now icon, which don't look enough different to tell by looking at the icon (at least not with little use) and that means the words are fairly small. Not sure how it would be better to do this.

On screen map controls (like zoom in/out) pop up when you touch the screen, but are overlayed like the data blocks. Somewhat hard to see, but allows you to still navigate with them on the screen.

The unit uses standard compact flash cards for map storage. As far as I can tell at this point, you can only program them IN THE UNIT. The unit comes with a 128MB CF card. I popped ina 256MB CF card, and loaded most of the area from the Finger Lakes to Atlanta in the card, covering Watkins Glen, out to BeaveRun, over to Lime Rock, Summit point, Spartenburg, etc. One gotcha is the cards now have overhead. A 256MB card only holds 244MB of maps, this is not documented in the book (that I have found). Loading a map data set takes a LONG, LONG time. Something like 15 minutes to build the index file, and another 10 - 15 minutes to download the data. 256MB should not take that long.

The unit supports up to 2GB CF cards.

The unit comes with the new City Navigator 5. It seems that the CN 5 has more data on it. It comes on three CDs now (one setup, two data), but in picking maps to DL, they granularity in many areas seemed much finer. Other than that, not much difference.

The kit comes with the Unit, Remote, stick on mount (with permanent and removeable adhesive), speaker/power cord, AC power unit (wall wart) USB cable from computer to unit, bean bag mount, software, manuals, 128MB CF card. Pretty much everything you need to get going, EXCEPT 2 - AAA batteries for the remote.

Bottom line the new unit is very impressive in comparision with the SP III. Some warts with the release version software, but fixable.

Would I tell you to rush out and buy one if you already have an SP III, probably not. But even though I may be selling my SP III (and lots of add ons) in the near future , I would say buy a 2610 versus an SP III if you can afford it.

I bought mine from GPS Discount (www.gpsdiscount.com). Price for the kit istself was $787. You can get them for a few bucks cheaper, but I have been dealing with GPS Discount for a while now, and the service is great. I ordered it one day, it was there the next. They ship just about everything same day, free ground shipping over $400, $14 to my place for 2nd Day Air, $25 for next day.
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2003, 05:00 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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So it says in the description that the unit needs to be conected to the car's speedometer and backup lights. Did you do this? If so, did you do it yourslef? If not, how did you get it to work?
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Old 10-03-2003, 05:25 PM
Andre Yew Andre Yew is offline
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Robg,

The 2650 has dead reckoning, which requires the hookups, but Terry was writing about the 2610, which doesn't have dead reckoning, so it doesn't require the hookups.

Terry,

How's the redraw and update speed on the 2610 compared to the SPIII? I've heard complaints that the SPIII tended to be sluggish scrolling around. Thanks for the review, BTW.

--Andre
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2003, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew
Robg,

The 2650 has dead reckoning, which requires the hookups, but Terry was writing about the 2610, which doesn't have dead reckoning, so it doesn't require the hookups.

Terry,

How's the redraw and update speed on the 2610 compared to the SPIII? I've heard complaints that the SPIII tended to be sluggish scrolling around. Thanks for the review, BTW.

--Andre
Got it. Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2003, 06:08 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Regarding loading the CF cards externally-- according to this review, you can:
http://gpsinformation.net/sp26xx/sp2610rev.html

Note: Garmin tells us that MapSource version 5 has the capability of loading maps much faster if you take the CF card out of the GPS and insert it into a CF card reader/writer installed in your computer. CN5 has a total of 1.414Gbytes of Data and 1050 map sections for those curious.


What I'd love to do is get one of these things and mount it in the middle-console (where the storage and ash trays are). there' a bmw accessory nav system that mounts there (you have to replace the ash and storage trays w/ a different component). That would be great--"in dash" nav, no need for an external computer in the trunk, no need to ever swap disks.
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2003, 07:02 PM
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Well, I told you I haven't read the manual.

Reading the manual I have found that you can customize what is displayed on the screen from Speed, Address, Heading, Next Turn, Time of Day, Arrival Distance, Arrival Time, Distance to turn, time to turn. Cool.

Also the Find function is much more powerful. You can find Interstate exits starting with the next one you come to, and continuing. By selecting one, you can find a list of services at that exit.

You can also perform a Find based on the nearest to a cursor location. So you can put the cursor a 100 miles in front of you, then find the nearest hotels or resturants, etc. Allowing you to get an idea of what might be available at a point where you might want to stop. Still not my desire, which is a Find by Name, along the route. But getting close.

The Route function does allow Via points to better customize the routing. It also allows Detouring. You set how many miles you want to detour, and the unit then calculates an alternate route for that many miles from you present position.

Some neat stuff.

I used it again today (I wrote the first part his morning, but forgot to hit send). I like it. The screen is much clearer in use, and the touch screen makes the operation simplier. The remote still seems like something for the passenger to use.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2003, 07:46 PM
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gek330i gek330i is offline
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Hey Pinecone, Can you take some pics of the new Garmin in the car?
I'm getting interested in it.
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2003, 08:43 PM
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No pics for a while, I have some travel and no time until then.

The software WILL download to a card reader. The problem is the MapSource manual has not really been updated for the new models, and the info in the 2610 manual is to check the MapSource manual.

I just programmed a 512MB CF card, with 487.9MB of maps. Pretty much mid-New Hampshire to mid-Florida. As far west as Cincinnati on a single card. Already shopping for a 1GB card.

With all the options, this one is going to take longer to master than the SP III did.
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2003, 08:47 PM
Andre Yew Andre Yew is offline
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Any thoughts on the speed of the 2610 compared to the SPIII?

--Andre
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  #10  
Old 10-04-2003, 05:40 AM
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Yes, the route calculation seems much faster. It seems that sat lockon when first powered up is slower, but that may be my imagination.
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2003, 09:02 AM
Andre Yew Andre Yew is offline
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Thanks! I'm looking forward to more of your impressions as you use the unit.

--Andre
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2003, 06:50 AM
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Just an update after more time with the new unit.

The more I use it, the better I like it.

I finally got around to playing with setting up the tabs. You can vary the width of the tabs, color (as in transparent or solid) and you can chhange what is displayed.

The tabs are broken into 4 blocks. YOu can choose for a bunch of choices for each tab. There are some tabs that are two blocks tall, so if you use these, obviously you reduce the number of available blocks left.

Here is what I have now. In both straight nav and routing, I have a block that gives me current speed, direction of travel, and current time. I have a double block that gives me the address function. In straight nav mode it tells you what street your are on, and even tells you addresses as you drive along the street (more on that later). In route mode I add a box to tell me distance to the next turn point.

I have learned that the North pointer is always active. When you get close to a turn point a blue arrow is displayed on the left side of the dipslay that tells you distance to turn, and direction of the turn.

With using the onscreen buttons, you have to touch the screen to turn on the buttons (mainly zoom in and out). But touching the screen moves the center point of the map. But pushing Page after you are done, takes you back to a car centered display.

WRT to addresses, I find the unit is about 1/2 - 1 block off. I am not sure why. In the M3 I have the unit mounted closer to me than the SP III was, and the patch antenna may not be seeing quite as many sats from this position. More likley the NavTech data is just a bit off. It is still helpful, but you can turn into a driveway based solely on the GPS address and be at the right house. But once you set that house as a waypoint, it takes you there every time (which reinforces that idea it is NavTech who is wrong). I will be sending thins to Garmin Tech Suppport shortly.

Bottom line, this unit is head and shoulders above the SP III, which wasn't a bad unit at all.
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  #13  
Old 11-26-2003, 01:04 AM
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Keep the updates coming. I have an eMap and I am DYING for a new color GPS.

Does the unit have all the "trip" information (Max speed, average speed, travel time, etc...) that you find on the eMap?

How about altitude information?
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2003, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emission
Keep the updates coming. I have an eMap and I am DYING for a new color GPS.

Does the unit have all the "trip" information (Max speed, average speed, travel time, etc...) that you find on the eMap?

How about altitude information?
Thee is a trip information page on both the SP III and the 2610. It has, Max Speed, Average Speed while moving, Average speed overall, time moving, time stopped, overall time, Current speed, direction of travel, local time and miles driven.

The 2610 actually has the ability to set up 3 different mielage logs that are individually reset.

As for altitude, there is a GPS info page, which shows the sats in use, speed, altitude and diretion, date, time, lat/long, and sat signal strength..

Also if you haven't used either unit, in route mode, there is a page showing all the turns for the entire route, with distances, and times. The SP III can show either elapsed time to each turn and final destination or clock time at each point, the 2610 shows both for the final destination.
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  #15  
Old 11-26-2003, 07:26 AM
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  #16  
Old 11-26-2003, 02:30 PM
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JoeBimmmer JoeBimmmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
What I'd love to do is get one of these things and mount it in the middle-console (where the storage and ash trays are). there' a bmw accessory nav system that mounts there (you have to replace the ash and storage trays w/ a different component). That would be great--"in dash" nav, no need for an external computer in the trunk, no need to ever swap disks.
Here's an old pic of where I mounted my SP in my E36. I had the power hard wired and an external antenna stuck on the windshield behind the rearview mirror. JB
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  #17  
Old 11-26-2003, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ___lk___
www.garmin.com

or the manual at:
http://www.garmin.com/manuals/Street...nersManual.pdf

Or I can show you the box, but trying to de meaningful screen shots just doesn't cut it.

I am trying to give you a flavor of the new box from a user.
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  #18  
Old 11-27-2003, 06:09 AM
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You can't go wrong with either one. But the 2610 is a MUCH better unit. Not that it does a better job of navigating, but hte user interface is much nicer.

But you can get a used SP III for about $500 on eBay, and a new 2610 will run you almost $800.

As of now, I have not sold my SP III, but do not use it in favor of the 2610.
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  #19  
Old 11-27-2003, 10:27 AM
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I just realized the 2610 needs external (12v) power. I love the fact my eMap has batteries for aircraft and hand-held use (Geocaching). That may be a deal killer.

I just took a long look at the iQue 3600 (available for $444). It looks pretty nice, and will solve my issue of needing a new PDA (I am still using my Palm V). Any knowledge/comments about it?
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  #20  
Old 11-27-2003, 10:48 AM
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Terry,

1. I couldn't find any pix of the connector cable. What does the speaker look like? Does the unit itself have a speaker, or is the external speaker necessary for operation? How might you position all of this on your M Roadster?

2. How gentle is the removable adhesive on the dash of, say, a Z3?

I am tempted by this gadget....
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  #21  
Old 11-27-2003, 02:20 PM
gr8330 gr8330 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emission
I just realized the 2610 needs external (12v) power. I love the fact my eMap has batteries for aircraft and hand-held use (Geocaching). That may be a deal killer.

I just took a long look at the iQue 3600 (available for $444). It looks pretty nice, and will solve my issue of needing a new PDA (I am still using my Palm V). Any knowledge/comments about it?
iQue 3600 where can I see it I'm looking for a new Palm also I guessing the iQue 3600 is both
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  #22  
Old 11-27-2003, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emission
I just realized the 2610 needs external (12v) power. I love the fact my eMap has batteries for aircraft and hand-held use (Geocaching). That may be a deal killer.

I just took a long look at the iQue 3600 (available for $444). It looks pretty nice, and will solve my issue of needing a new PDA (I am still using my Palm V). Any knowledge/comments about it?

I too am thinking of upgrading my GPS. WhatApex is considering the Magellan Meridian unit for exactly the same reasons as you. He goes mountainbiking as well so this would unit would solve both problems. I'm gonna wait for him to give feedback on the unit. I think it's also a bit cheaper too.
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2003, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phrider
Terry,

1. I couldn't find any pix of the connector cable. What does the speaker look like? Does the unit itself have a speaker, or is the external speaker necessary for operation? How might you position all of this on your M Roadster?

2. How gentle is the removable adhesive on the dash of, say, a Z3?

I am tempted by this gadget....
The speaker is a smallish sort of BMW key shapped unit on the lighter connection.

It is much smaller than the SP III version. I just plug it into the Roadster and angle it such that it is out of the way ot shifting and me knee,

An external speaker is not required for operation, but you lose voice prompts of when to turn and the beeps when you activate the touch screen. But I am not sure if Garmin makes a non-speaker cord. If not, expect the aftermarket to do so soon.

The remoaveable adhesive is not bad. We had the mount in the M3 pull off due to heat and the wieght of the unit (sharper angle to the dash). My wife rolled the rest of the adhesive off without any damage, but it did take some time. There was funny looking ovl, until I treated the dash with normal vinyl treatment.

The Roadster should be even lesss of a problem, since the center dash area is a metal peiee rather than padded vinyl.
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  #24  
Old 11-28-2003, 03:28 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emission
I just realized the 2610 needs external (12v) power. I love the fact my eMap has batteries for aircraft and hand-held use (Geocaching). That may be a deal killer.

I just took a long look at the iQue 3600 (available for $444). It looks pretty nice, and will solve my issue of needing a new PDA (I am still using my Palm V). Any knowledge/comments about it?
Also the unit is a little heavy to carry around.

The older StreetPilot III did have internal batteries, but I am not sure how long they will last. Bright color displays tend to eat power.
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  #25  
Old 11-28-2003, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave 330i
Mike, I'm still toying with the eMap ($200) with 128 mg ($183) and DC adaptor ($28) now a bit more serious since I'm leaving town to Houston in about a week. Is it still worth the money? I heard the eMap is discontinued? What do you recommend as a first portable road GPS?
You really want a bright large color display for road use. You don't want to be spending time peering at the display while driving.

The color helps differentiate things quickly.

Depending on how much you travel, the 128 MB date carts can run you a bit of money. Compact Flash cards like the 2610 uses are easier to find and tend to be cheaper. I don't know what the market for Garmin data carts is right now, but I paid around $200 each for 128 mb ones.

The 2610 will handle up to at least 1gb, is not the new 2 gb ones. 2gb would probably fit almost all of the US on a single card.
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