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Garmin i3 questions?


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Ok I know a few of you guys have bought these recently. I'm thinking of buying one but have a few concerns/questions for you guys if I may?

How loud is it? If you're driving along with the music on and it flags up a turn, can you hear it, or do you have to drive in silence when using it? Bear in mind it'll be in a soft top too...

Same with speed camera alerts, can you hear them with the music on?

Is the display backlit? (Must hammer the batteries if so).

Do you get options for routes (ie quickest, simplest, most direct, mainly motorway etc)?

If you hit traffic holdups, can you ask it to select an alternative route?

Whats with the freezing? I'm lead to believe you have to install older Software to overcome, is that right?

Is it quick and easy to program? What do you need, postcode? road name? town?

Basically it seems an absolute bargain to me, but if it won't do all the things and needs out of date software to run right and is too quiet I might as well spend some extra and get a better one as it'll just annoy me.

Decisions decisions... crazy.gif

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Ok Ari...in order....

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How loud is it? If you're driving along with the music on and it flags up a turn, can you hear it, or do you have to drive in silence when using it? Bear in mind it'll be in a soft top too...

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Personally, I think you'd have a problem with that. On the loudest setting (which is what I have it on) I turn the stereo down or off when it gives an instruction. I've set it up to give an Attention Chime before the instruction so you know it's coming, but the volume should definately be a bit louder IMO.

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Same with speed camera alerts, can you hear them with the music on?

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I think that is a definate NO. It's the same Attention Chime and it repeats itself for a period of time. However, if you were driving at speed, with loud music on or with the hood down then I think you could miss them. It does have a small visible warning in that the top message bar turns red and a speed sign appears on the road - but I don't think it's enough.

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Is the display backlit? (Must hammer the batteries if so).

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Yes it is. The display is top notch and one of the best features. Battery life isn't what others said it might be IMO. I used a set of batteries in 4 hours, then another set in just over 4 hours.

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Do you get options for routes (ie quickest, simplest, most direct, mainly motorway etc)?

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No you don't, and I think that's a let down. However, for £169 I'm not too bothered as it hasn't let me down once on what have been some very difficult routes to date.

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If you hit traffic holdups, can you ask it to select an alternative route?

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Not to my knowledge. However, if you go off route it does recalculate and I guess it'd find another route for you as you went.

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Whats with the freezing? I'm lead to believe you have to install older Software to overcome, is that right?

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Yes, you need to visit the Garmin site and download v2.50 or v2.70. I've gone back to v2.50 because I had a few problems with v2.70 but there are others that seem to find it okay. I wouldn't worry about this though because all the upgrade software process is very very simple. It's probably the most intuitive device I've come across for stuff like this. Very easy to do indeed.

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Is it quick and easy to program? What do you need, postcode? road name? town?

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Postcode, road name, town - it'll take either of these and I've found it very good. It's quick to do I think too, certainly as quick as the 6-series anyway. With only 3 buttons on the unit there is little to go wrong.

In summary, for £169 I honestly don't think you can go far wrong. If you only use SatNav occasionally it's an absolute steal. I maintain that I don't think anythink short of an RAII, Origin B2, RoadPilot etc is good enough for Speed Camera detection though. I simply wouldn't rely on any PDA/SatNav device to keep me safe in this respect.

I'm delighted with the purchase though - and it's the most discreet and compact unit I have ever seen.

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Do you get options for routes (ie quickest, simplest, most direct, mainly motorway etc)?

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Yes, in the settings menu, you can choose quickest or shortest route.

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If you hit traffic holdups, can you ask it to select an alternative route?

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Yes, press the wheel, scroll down to detour and select this option, it will then re-calculate.

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Whats with the freezing? I'm lead to believe you have to install older Software to overcome, is that right?

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I've got the new software and had no freezing yet.

Get one Ari, it is easily worth the money. 169144-ok.gif

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Sorry Ari , I have been away this weekend otherwise I would have replied sooner. The only thing I will add to what Dazdot and MrMe have already stated is that the unit is much louder when being powered through the lead, rather than batteries. I dont think you would have a problem hearing the instructions or the alerts.

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Ari,

To add my two pence worth, I've had an i3 for about a month (actually 4 of them, but thats another story) and my frustation has got too much and as soon as I get back home I will be returning it.

The unit itself is a great size and fits well in the corner of the screen, with the top up, the sound is fine although the speed camera warnings (if they work) are too quiet. With the top down and the stereo on its impossible to hear, however the TomTom has a similar issue.

The problem is the routing software, its completely cr*p! On a number of occasions it has attempted to send me down the stupidest of routes, using country lanes, non existents roads and long routes around! There are a number of posts going into more detail over at Pocketgpsworld.

Maybe my expectations are a little high as I do have TomTom 5 on my PDA and it completely wipes the floor with the Garmin, albeit it at a cost, however the price is relative to how much value you will get from it, and in my eyes the Garmin doesnt offer any value.

If it was me, I would suggest you pay the extra and get the TomTom, the reliable routing is well worth the additional cost, let alone the additional features!

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Many thanks Anthony, excellent advice.

I think on balance I'd rather go for the cheapest Tom Tom now they're under £300.

In fact as I'm in no rush I'll probably wait till after Christmas and see if the prices drop any further, it does seem a very competative market at the moment.

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Not that I'm aware of, they all seem to be stand alone units (which is probably preferrable from a removal point of view).

Most seem to be back lit and plug into the fag lighter anyway though.

Agree stereo mute and car speaker utilisation (like the phone does when it rings) would be good though.

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Sorry to hi-jack your post Ari, but are there any permanent fit nav instruments? Utilising the stereo mute and speakers, power, backlight when lights are on etc?

Would be a much better option wouldn't it?

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Oohh look, from the Tom Tom 700 review in the "Reviews" section of this site! cool.gif

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Regarding contact to a stereo you can buy a "permanent/professional mounting kit" which let's you hardwire it - this includes audio out, mute wire, etc. I'm not sure how much it is though. When I was fitting my unit, I noticed that there were a lot of unused pins on the connector underneath the TomTom, so it's very likely that you can just find the appropriate pin and tap of the audio and mute signals from there - I'm sure all the hardware would be in the tomtom and not the external unit.

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