Where am I?

 This year, I upgraded to the new Garmin Nuvi 750 GPS. For the last few years, I’ve been using a Magellan Roadmate 300, but the maps are out of date, and no updates are available.

Instead of boring you with the typical GPS functions, i.e., entering addresses and routes, I’d like to highlight a few things that make this unit different from the rest. I’ve included the specifications at the end of this article for those that are interested. I’ve also included details of the main screens.

First thing you will notice is the size. We are talking small, 4 3/4” x 3” x 3/4”. As small as it is (we’re talking pocket size) it has a larger screen then the Magellan, 3.81” x 2.25”. If you check out the picture, you will notice that it does 3D mapping. It appears you are over and behind your vehicle on the road. Not only that, but you can choose your own vehicle. Unfortunately, the only Miata type convertible available is in primer, or some may call it silver (just kidding Gene). This unit also not only speaks the turns (as any unit would) but it also speaks the street names. It’s pretty cool. And of course, you can choose from a variety of voices. My favorite is Jill with an English accent.

The unit has an internal battery, so you can use it off road. The battery is rated to last up to 5 hours. Speaking of off road, one of the features is a function called “Last Position”. Whenever you remove the unit from your car mount, it automatically remembers your exact position, think large shopping mall parking lot. Click on the Last Position function, and the unit will guide you back to your car.

Another feature that I’ve not tried yet is the built in FM transmitter. Tune your radio to an unused FM channel, set the unit to the same channel, and you will hear the directions through your speakers. This would be very nice when you have the top down and there is a lot of wind noise. There is also a jack for an external speaker or headset.

One feature that I’m anxious to try is the “Where Am I?” feature. Click on this button and the unit will not only tell you exactly where you are, but give you the closest address, and you are able to select any nearby point of interest, i.e., restaurant, hospital, ATM, etc. This would be great for those of you that get lost (never!) or are just touring the back roads and would like to find somewhere close to eat. 

Garmin added 2 features that are becoming more and more standard on electronic units, that I don’t think are necessary. One is to play MP3 music files or audio books. You connect your unit to your computer via a mini USB cable, and it shows up as another drive. Drag and drop your MP3 files and you can play them in the car. You can also load jpeg picture files, and slideshow them. Both of these features are better left to devices that were designed for them, i.e. iPod and camera. Just a side note, the unit will accept SD memory cards up to 4gig. If this is really your thing, you can store a whole lot of music or pictures.

Another feature is the ability to subscribe to MSD traffic. This will alert you to traffic congestion, road construction and the like. You can also get this same information for free, as the unit monitors Clear Channel traffic alerts. The difference is that Clear Channel is only available in some large metro areas, MSD is available most everywhere.

For those of you that travel internationally, like the Miata cruises, the unit has a built in calculator, currency converter, area converter, world clock and bilingual language dictionaries. The dictionaries are in Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese. Abbreviated dictionaries are stored on the unit, but you can purchase full blown versions for the language of your choice. The unit will also speak the words or phrases so that you have the correct pronunciation.

So, what’s the bottom line? Retailing at $600, there are a lot of other units on the market that have a better bang for your buck. But, I found that is selling this unit for $355, which includes tax and shipping. At this price, you’ll own the top of the line, state of the art GPS. When I ordered my unit, I had it in 3 days.

I usually have the unit with me in my car, so if you would like to check it out, please see me at any meeting or get together.

John Semenek
* Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 4.8"W x 3.0"H x 0.8"D (12.2 x 7.6 x 2.0 cm)
* Display size, WxH: 3.81"W x 2.25"H (9.7 x 5.7 cm); 4.3" diag (10.9 cm)
* Display resolution, WxH: 480 x 272 pixels
* Display type: WQVGA color TFT with white backlight
* Weight: 6.2 ounces (190 g)
* Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
* Battery life: up to 5 hours
* Receiver: SiRF Star III
* Speaks street names (e.g. "Turn right ON ELM STREET in 500 ft.")
* 3D map view
* Auto sort multiple destinations (provides most direct route)
* Auto re-route (fast off-route and detour recalculation)
* Choice of route setup (faster time, shorter distance, off road)
* Route avoidance (avoid highways, tolls etc.)
* Custom POIs (ability to add additional points of interest)
* Bluetooth for hands-free calling
* FM Traffic
* MSN Direct Compatible (requires purchase optional MSN receiver)
* MP3 player
* Audio book player
* Picture viewer
* Configurable vehicle icons (select car-shaped icons for map navigation)
* World travel clock, currency & measurement converter, calculator
* Touchscreen
* FM transmitter
* Headphone jack/audio line-out
* Garmin Lock™ (anti-theft feature)

Map Screen
1. Text Bar - This text bar displays the current navigation instruction. Tapping on this bar opens the turn list (a list of all up-coming turns)
2. Zoom Out - Zoom out the map display
3. Speed Limit - When available, the Nuvi 760 displays the speed limit for the current road you are driving on
4. Vehicle icon - This customizable icon represents your vehicle on the map. Tapping on the vehicle icons allows you to save your current location (even if there's not a valid street address at your location)
5. Arrival Time - Displays your estimated arrival time. When not en route to a destination, your current speed is displayed here. Tapping this icon opens the Trip Information page
6. Menu - Tap the Menu icon to return to the Menu page
7. Turn In - Displays the distance to the next turn. Tapping this icon displays the Next Turn page (a detailed view of the upcoming turn) and repeats the last voice instruction
8. Highlighted Route - The highlighted route is "painted", or marked, in magenta color
9. Zoom In - Zooms in on the map display
Trip Information Screen


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