I mean really! Why?
I love my big, clunky, falling-off-the-dashboard-despite-the-friction-mount old Garmin. Because its maps are out of date at the moment, it sometimes thinks I'm sitting in a field, whereas I'm actually in a huge new shopping center. But it identifies the frickin' roads in Wisconsin, be they super-highways or county route or lanes or (sometimes) even alleys.
I bought a Nuvi 260 for trips in Maryland, because I frequently end up driving through the traffic in Silver Spring. I thought in my cleverness that it'd be great, because (1) Garmins are cool, (2) this has newer maps than my old Garmin, and (3) it's lightweight and has a cool mount for the vehicle and so on.
And after a week, I ask, Huh? It's great on the four-lane roads. It tells me how fast I'm going, it lets me imagine myself as a beachball, it's up to date, it ... Well, it has one problem, which I've wrestled with all week: It won't display information on 6-lane highways. These aren't freeways; they're just streets with names and route numbers and stoplights. And 6 lanes of traffic.
Georgia Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, University Boulevard: stop-and-go traffic, primary routes people are likely to tell you if you ask for directions. "Take University Boulevard to Viers Mill Road." Viers Mill is identified, but University Boulevard (aka Route 193) is just a massive orange line. Massive enough to have "University Boulevard" and "193" in big, bold letters. But there's no ID. Connecticut Avenue, oddly enough, displays momentarily (along with its 185 ID), if it's at an angle seen while I'm on a back street. But when I get close, it cloaks itself in orange anonymity.
I tried all the configurations: Show Most, Show Least, Show Normal. I tried zooming in and zooming out. I tried both "View Map" and "Go To." It knows the streets when it's telling me to turn onto them in "Go To." But it won't label them on the map itself.
So what the heck is with that? I e-mailed Garmin and did get back a prompt response. In part, it read, "The Nuvi's do not provide every road in writing while in the View Map mode. The unit will provide the name of some streets as you travel, but not every one of them. Please turn your Map Detail to Most to help provide more detail level on your map screen. As well, you may want to be zoomed in to a more finite view of the map to allow the unit to pick up on the surrounding roads.
"The Nuvi's are a sleek and slim device that are intended to be used by first time GPS users. Having too many features or too many items on the map can overcomplicate the user and not give a user friendly experience."
(As noted, I'd already tried zooming in, out, and about -- and accessing the widest variety of displays. The 6-lane roads were identified on none.)
Now, I fully understand the part about not showing everything. But not showing the most major routes? How would showing them confuse a driver?
Sigh. I still love Garmins. And this one has already triumphed in a situation involving back roads and an unfamiliar address. But (and I'm sure the 260 has already -- despite its purchase within the last month -- been outmoded) it'd be nice if newer models emulated the clunky Garmin antique still serving me in Wisconsin, identifying the major routes. Just saying.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I mean really! Why?