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November 25, 2007

Cyber Monday GPS Deals Guide

Mr. T Says: I pity the fool who doesn't read GPSmagazine!

Black Friday has come and gone. Next up: Cyber Monday. There are going to be some great deals out there on the Wild West that is the Internet. Shop carefully, however, for not all GPS devices are created equal.

Here's a round-up of Cyber Monday deals that will begin at midnight tonight, along with everything you need to know to avoid buying a lemon, along with my top Cyber Monday picks.

GPS
$
Fletch Says:
TomTom ONE 3rd Edition TomTom ONE 3rd Edition - A decent, but not great, GPS. Still, for $150 it's a great bargain.
TomTom ONE XL TomTom ONE XL - A cheap, wide-screen GPS that's not a bad buy. But at this price, I'd rather get the Garmin nuvi 200W or Magellan Roadmate 1200.
Garmin nuvi 200 Garmin nuvi 200 - No text-to-speech or bluetooth, but rock solid navigation at around $200 is hard to beat.
Garmin nuvi 270 Garmin nuvi 270 - Basically this is a nuvi 200 but with both North American & Europe maps installed. If you need trans-Atlantic maps, this is a great bargain at $350 at Amazon.
Garmin nuvi 200w Garmin nuvi 200W - Same as the nuvi 200, but with a 4.3" wide screen display.
Garmin nuvi 360 Garmin nuvi 360 - Probably the best buy overall. The nuvi 360 originally sold for about $1,000, and has bluetooth, text-to-speech, and can be upgraded for traffic data. This is the GPS I normally recommend for people who want a very good, easy GPS but don't want to spend too much money.
Garmin nuvi 350 Garmin nuvi 350 - Just like the nuvi 360 but without bluetooth. If you're 100% sure you don't care about using the GPS as a hands-free phone, then the 350 is another great choice. But given the $29 price difference at Amazon, the $360 is a better buy overall.
Garmin nuvi 650 Garmin nuvi 650 - Just like the nuvi 350, but in with a 4.3" wide screen display. The 660 is a great GPS, but the nuvi 660 is the same price and adds traffic, bluetooth, and an FM transmitter. The nuvi 660 is a better bargain at this price.
Garmin nuvi 660 Garmin nuvi 660 - Just a few months ago this was Garmin top of the line GPS. Bluetooth, Text-to-speech, traffic, FM transmitter & more. For $399 this one is easily the best GPS you can buy for under $500. BTW - this is the GPS I currently use.
Garmin nuvi 760 Garmin nuvi 760 - My current Editor's Choice, the nuvi 760 is the best GPS I've reviewed to date. Still, at $700 it's not much of a bargain. The nuvi 660 delivers about 90% of the 760's features for $300 less. This is a great GPS, but not a great bargain. If money is no object, go for it.
Garmin StreetPilot c580 Garmin StreetPilot c580 - A solid performer that's about as easy to use as it gets. Has text-to-speech, bluetooth, traffic, and is the GPS you can give your parents to use without a lesson. Only downside is the bulky design. Does everything the the c550 does, but uses MSN Direct instead of the FM traffic receiver the c550 uses. MSN Direct does more (weather, movie listings, gas prices), the c550's FM Traffic antenna has more coverage areas. Check your area's coverage on Garmin's site - if you're in an MSN Direct area, the c580 is a better deal. Otherwise get the c550.
Garmin StreetPilot c550 Garmin StreetPilot c550 - A solid performer that's about as easy to use as it gets. Has text-to-speech, bluetooth, traffic, and is the GPS you can give your parents to use without a lesson. Only downside is the bulky design.
Garmin StreetPilot c340 Garmin StreetPilot c340 - Not Recommended. I've said this many times before, but I still see people buying this 2 year old model that's discontinued and uses an inferior receiver. Adding insult to injury: it's not even that cheap.
Garmin Zumo 550 Garmin Zumo 550 - Pricey, but it's the best motorcycle GPS you can buy right now.
Magellan CrossoverGPS Magellan Crossover - A good choice for those who want a single GPS for boating, hiking, and driving. It's not particularly good at any of those tasks, but it does get the job done.
Magellan RoadMate 1200 Magellan RoadMate 1200 - Circuit City had this one for $125 on Black Friday. At $125 I would have rated it the best deal here. At $200 you're better off getting the Garmin nuvi 200. If prices drop again, this isn't a bad unit.
Magellan Maestro 4000 Magellan Maestro 4000 - No text-to-speech or bluetooth, but the Maestro 4000 does offer decent navigation, a 4.3" wide screen display, and some unique features for under $250.
Magellan Maestro 4040 Magellan Maestro 4040 - Offers text-to-speech, a wide screen display, bluetooth, and some unique features for under $300. Not a bad unit, but for $29 more I prefer Garmin's nuvi 360.
Magellan Maestro 4050 Magellan Maestro 4050 - Magellan high-end model, this one offers voice recognition and lots of features. But given the price, the nuvi 660 is a much better GPS and costs just a little more.
Mio C220 Mio C220 - Not recommended
Navigon 5100 Navigon 5100 - Not recommended. Has tons of navigation options, but the interface is way too complex, hard to use, and frustratingly slow.
Navigon 2100 Navigon 2100 - Not recommended. Has tons of navigation options, but the interface is way too complex, hard to use, and frustratingly slow.
Nextar C3 Nextar C3 - Not recommended

Fletch's Picks: Given the current pricing, the best GPS units for the money are:

  1. Garmin nuvi 660 for $399 at Amazon
  2. Garmin nuvi 360 for $329 at Amazon
  3. If you truly can't afford more than $150, the TomTom ONE 3rd Edition is a decent GPS. Although if you can spring $50 more, the Garmin nuvi 200 is a better GPS. Magellan's RoadMate 1200 is also a decent choice for those on a sub-$200 budget.