(Continued: Page 2 of 2)
Just as the Nuvi 765T's exterior is familiar to previous Garmin models, so is its menu system and interface. The main menu screen features two large icons for "Where to?" and "View Map," along with a smaller band of icons along the bottom of the screen. Pressing the Where to? icon, brings up a menu with a number of ways to chose your destination--for example POI search, address entry, favorites, or intersection.
The main screen's secondary icons vary depending on what features are used, but always include icons for Volume and Tools. When connected to a Bluetooth phone, a phone icon is added, and listening to music adds a media player button. When the unit is routing, a detour button and a stop route button also appear. We like the way Garmin has kept the interface accessible, yet uncluttered, in this way.
The map screen is equally uncluttered and features static readouts of driving direction and speed, as well as a "Return to Menu" button. Depending on what functions are active, icons for traffic, phone, media player, or speed limit may or may not be displayed.
Periodically, when the Nuvi detects that the vehicle is stationary, text ads may appear at the top of the map, or in the margin of the menus. These ads can be clicked to access special offers found under the Offers icon of the Tools menu.
New for the 7x5 series, to which the 765T belongs, are menu animations. When navigating through the menus, the next screen will slide in from the side. Unfortunately, this sliding business can be laggy at times and cannot be disabled.
From the time the power switch is flipped to the appearance of the menu screen takes about 20 seconds. A cold start will net an additional minute or so while the Garmin achieves satellite lock. The Nuvi remembers its location between restarts, so subsequent booting should be instantaneous--unless the unit has moved a great distance since it was powered off.
The Nuvi's touch screen is quite responsive and we were able to quickly input addresses using its virtual QWERTY keyboard, thanks to the Nuvi's speedy autocomplete function.
Loaded with a destination, the Nuvi is also quick to calculate routes. Calculation times vary depending upon the length and complexity of the trip, but most around-town routes were calculated within 10 seconds. Recalculations are handled with equal expediency and are notable because they're actual recalculations from your current position, not just lame attempts to get you back onto the prescribed route.
We found the icon-based traffic incident reports to be fairly accurate (having actively sought out a few incidents and construction zones), but flow data wasn't exactly up-to-the-minute at times.
The Garmin Nuvi 765T earns high design marks for its simple shape and uncluttered interface. Garmin's menu structure is much easier to understand and navigate than TomTom's, so we're glad to see that it hasn't changed much.
The Nuvi's feature score also benefits from the addition of EcoRoutes routing and fuel economy calculations, FM traffic reception, and driver aids such as lane guidance and text-to-speech. Performance hasn't improved much over the last Nuvi unit tested, but that's fine because we've always been satisfied with Garmin's satellite acquisition and route calculation times.
Most importantly, the Nuvi 765T's text- based ads were unobtrusive and don't appear on the map screen when the vehicle is in motion, so they don't really seem to pose a safety issue. We'd be willing to deal with viewing a few ads to keep the very useful traffic updates free.