Garmin Nuvi 700 review: Garmin Nuvi 700

The POI database contains all the major categories (gas stations, lodging, ATMs, restaurants by cuisine type, and so forth) and more specific ones, including golf courses, gyms, and night clubs. On top of the preloaded entries, you can add custom POIs, such as safety cameras and school zones. We did a scan of the business listings around the city and found the database to be mostly accurate, though it missed some recently opened establishments.

If you don't need guidance, you can just have the Nuvi track your movements by tapping View Map. The Nuvi 750 also has the recently added "Where am I?" feature, which gives you the coordinates of your location, the nearest address and intersection. It will also list the closest hospitals, police stations, and gas stations to your position, giving you a bit of peace of mind if you're in unfamiliar territory and need access to any of these services, or if you need to give your location to a tow truck. There's also a feature that will record your last location when you remove the Nuvi 750 from the in-car mount--think of it as a marker. It's useful for situations such as remembering where you parked. When you are ready to return to the spot, just go to Where To? > Recently Found > Last Position.

Maps are available in 2D and 3D view, with day and night colors, and you can change it so north is always at the top of your screen or the direction in which you are driving is. A plus and minus icon on the map screen allows you to zoom in and out, and there's also a trip information page that displays your speed, direction, trip time, and so forth. In addition to the visual aids, you, of course, get voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions with text-to-speech functionality. The Nuvi 750 also has a built-in FM transmitter so you can pipe the audio through your car's stereo for better volume.

Beyond navigation, the Garmin Nuvi 750 includes a Travel Kit like the other Nuvi models have that consists of an MP3 player, an Audible book player, a JPEG picture viewer with a slideshow function, a world clock, currency and measurement converters, and a calculator. You can expand the device's capabilities with one of Garmin's three optional software packages (available on SD cards): Language Guide ($74.99), Travel Guide (price varies depending on what region you want), and SaversGuide ($49.99). The former includes a multilingual word and phrase bank with support for nine languages and dialects and five bilingual dictionaries.

We tested the Garmin Nuvi 750 in San Francisco and from a cold start, it took the unit about 3 minutes to get a fix on our location under clear skies, while subsequent starts were much faster. The receiver was strong as it held onto the GPS fix even as we drove through the skyscraper-lined streets of the Financial District. We did notice, however, that the Nuvi 750 was occasionally off a block or so with our position.

We also entered our standard test trip from the Marina District of San Francisco to CNET's downtown headquarters. The Nuvi 750 came back with a calculated route within a few seconds and a quick scan of the directions showed that they were accurate. We were pleased with the voice directions, as they were loud and clear, and the text-to-speech functionality was impressive, as it pronounced street names with good accuracy. However, there were a couple of instances when the system was late in telling us when to turn. Fortunately, there's automatic route recalculation, and though the Nuvi 750 always got us back on track, we also experienced some sluggishness here, too. This was all a bit disappointing and unexpected, as we've generally gotten good performance from previous Garmin GPS devices.

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