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Garmin GPS | by caribb
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Garmin GPS

First off I have to thank Bob Butcher for this. He recently posted a picture of his new GPS he was using while driving in Alaska and it got me to re-look at this device again after several years and decided to try one again..


Three or four years ago I purchased a Garmin GPS from Best Buy Canada. I immediately went to the parking lot and tried to get a satellite signal.. had some trouble.. got it then lost it.. took it home, tried again and got weak signal.. tried next day going to the office and it worked for about 5-10 minutes then lost the signal and picked it up again 20 minutes later basically by the time I got to work.. This happened repeatedly so I took it back, got another and the same thing happened... I took that one back and got a third one and borrowed my colleagues GPS, also a model from Garmin but one model lower which had been working perfectly without ever losing the signal.. I started out and again it and my colleagues lost the signal.. his came back about 5 minutes later, mine again around 20 minutes basically by the time I got home.. so I gave up and returned it to get my money back and thought along with the Best Buy team it might actually be the car but I'm really not sure.


Skip to 2010..I have a new car. I used both Garmin & Tomtom's over the past year and both worked wonderfully in my rental cars in the US. Bob's post kinda kick started the thought again of buying one and I broke down and started looking for a new one. Tomtom's are great but the maps are more extensive for Europe whereas the Garmin's are the opposite being a bit better for North America although honestly either one would have been fine, but in the end I bought the Garmin Nuvi 1490 LMT from in Calgary on Dec 30 late in the evening and it arrived at my house Dec 31 at 10am. How cool is that, 14 hours delivery? Best Buy was out of stock and it took over 90 minutes to make a decision there only to find out it wasn't available. I'm buying online now from here on in once I know what I want... enough with dealing with busy stores and dwindling stock.


So, I open the box.. got a strong signal right away in the house.. setup a few favourites.. and today picked a place I was unfamiliar with, Maison Historique George-Etienne Cartier, somewhere downtown and headed out.. everything went perfectly well.. it calculated out the arrival time correctly, monitored my speed correctly and gave me relevant instructions that were easy to follow. The base I bought was perfect also.. the device never moved. The accuracy was excellent telling me I had arrived just short of the actual building itself which was in the far eastern sector of Old Montreal on a part of rue Notre-Dame I rarely ever go by. Took two crappy pictures in the rain and headed home LOL.. On my way back I diverted away from the course and it immediately recalculated and gave me the route I knew to take. It told me I was home basically in front of my house.


I have no real complaints other than the voice's inability to really pronounce all the French street names. The word "street" itself, like "turn left on Sherbrooke street" is "rue", pronounced "roo" and for some reason they device says "ree" or perhaps more likely a very quick "ro-e" which comes out sounding more as "ree".. Sherbrooke is pronunced like "Sure brook" so basically, "turn left on roo Surebrook (rue Sherbrooke)" turned into "turn left on ree Sharebrook".. some of the other French names were really messed up.. rue Viger (pronounced "veejay") turned into the almost incomprehensible "Vyger". I may end up using it in French instead if this becomes a problem. This was an issue last time around but I thought by now they would have fixed it but apparently not.. the "ree" pronunciation is really a bad one though.. that's such a basic term here. Imagine if in English every time instead of "street" it said "strut"... turn left on Main Strut.. LOL.. the odd miss pronunciation is acceptable but this will be an issue with basically every street in the city. It would have been better if they had just said the English term street instead, like Viger Street which is what English speaking people would likely say anyways and leave the "rue" usage for the French language version.. however tourists will only see "rue" on the street signs not "Street" so I guess that's why they do it.. although I think they'll struggle at first associating ree with rue. They already struggle with the simple translations like "sud" for "south" or "nord" for "north".. this is a bigger stretch of language to deal with because "rue" doesn't even look anything like the word "street" whereas nord/sud are really similar to north/south visually. Anyways I've switched to a UK voice hoping she'll say it better tomorrow :-) oh well, but overall a big improvement from the last time in terms of quality and stability. So I'm looking forward to it!


So thanks again for the inspiration to go ahead an retry these devices Bob! Have fun with yours!


Update: I just tested it again and the UK accent is far better for the pronunciation than the American one. It sounds kind of exotic too in Montreal. I'm keeping her. :-)

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Taken on January 1, 2011