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July 22, 2008

Garmin nuvi 500 Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 4.6 of 5
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Garmin nuvi 500, Left Side
Figure 7: Garmin nüvi 500, Left Side

The battery cover release key is located on the left side of the nüvi 500. To open the battery cover, slide the release key up.

Garmin nuvi 500, Top
Figure 8: Garmin nüvi 500, Top

Except for the power button located on the top-right of the case, there are no physical controls on the nüvi 500. All operation are performed via the touch screen interface.

The internal GPS antenna is located on the top of the nüvi 500.

Garmin nuvi 500, Bottom
Figure 9: Garmin nüvi 500, Bottom

Garmin nuvi 500, Right Side
Figure 10: Garmin nüvi 500, Right Side

Garmin nuvi 500, Rear
Figure 11: Garmin nüvi 500, Rear

The back of the nüvi 500 is home to the speaker, Mini-USB connector, and removable battery cover.

Mini-USB Connector
Figure 12: Mini-USB Connector

The Mini-USB connecter is protected from water by the rubber weather cap.

Opening the nuvi 500's Battery Cover
Figure 13: Opening the nüvi 500's Battery Cover

To open the battery cover, slide the release key on the left side of the case (shown in figure 7).

Removable Battery and microSD Card Slot
Figure 14: Removable Battery and microSD Card Slot

A microSD card slot is located under the removable battery, and can be used to store additional maps and/or photos.

The nüvi 500 is one of the few Garmin nüvi models to have a user replaceable battery. The nüvi 500 has a long lasting battery (up to 8 hours of use). A removable battery means that owners can replace batteries that no longer hold a charge, or buy additional batteries (around $25 per battery) for extended outdoor activities.

The lithium-ion battery only fits into the nüvi 500 the correct way, thanks to plastic guides on the battery that prevent you from accidentally inserting the battery the wrong way around.

Once the battery is installed, slide the battery cover back on until it snaps into place.

3. Turning on the nüvi 500 for the First Time

First Use Wizard, Step 1
Figure 15: First Use Wizard, Step 1

The first time the nüvi 500 is powered on, a short, 3-step wizard launches. Set the desired language and tap the green "OK" button on the lower right portion of the screen.

First Use Wizard, Step 2
Figure 16: First Use Wizard, Step 2

The GPS needs to download satellite position information in order to figure out where you are. The first time you use the nüvi 500, you should place the unit outdoors with a clear, unobstructed view of the sky. This step took no more than 2 minutes for me, but it may take longer, depending on your location.

Ready to Navigate
Figure 17: Ready to Navigate

Once the nüvi 500 determines its location, and finishes downloading satellite position information, the GPS is ready to navigate. You only need to perform this step the first time you use the nüvi 500.