Garmin StreetPilot c550
With 16 years in the biz, Garmin knows a thing or two about making GPS devices, and the Garmin StreetPilot c550 is proof of that fact. The c550 offers the same great navigation features as its more economical cousin, the Garmin StreetPilot c330, but adds a number of great improvements, such as Bluetooth integration, text-to-speech functionality, and traffic information. More important, it performs these functions well. It's a bit on the pricey side ($857.13), but for the money, you get a great all-around portable navigation device.
The Garmin StreetPilot c550 won't take up much room in your car. At 4.4 by 3.2 by 2.2 inches and 9.5 ounces, it's easily transportable for multivehicle use and comes with an easy-to-install windshield mount. Garmin also keeps things simple, with minimal controls. There's a volume dial, a USB port, and a power button on the right. We especially like the external volume control since you don't have to fiddle with the menus to change this setting; we did notice, however, that it's a bit sensitive and jumps several volume levels if you're not careful. On the left side, you'll find an SD expansion slot and an external antenna port, while the power connector and the mic-in and audio-out ports are located on the back.
The rest of the functions are handled through the StreetPilot c550's 3.5-inch-diagonal responsive touch screen. The antiglare display is excellent, with a sharp 320x240-pixel resolution and bright colors, and it's even readable in bright sunlight. In addition, the c550's menus are easy to navigate, thanks to large icons and an intuitive interface.
Aside from the aforementioned windshield mount, Garmin packages the c550 with a carrying pouch, a 12-volt adapter/FM Traffic Message Channel receiver, a USB cable, and an adhesive disk to attach the mount to your dash instead of your windshield. Optional accessories include a five-pack of changeable faceplates ($25) and SD cards preloaded with maps of Europe ($182.13 to $407.13).
The Garmin StreetPilot c550 offers many of the same great navigation tools found on the Garmin StreetPilot c330. Maps of North America with 2D and 3D map perspectives are preloaded onto the device. You get text- and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, as well as text-to-speech functionality, automatic recalculation, and a comprehensive points-of-interest (POI) database. You can read more about these features in our StreetPilot c330 review.