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Photos: Garmin Zumo 550

The Garmin Zumo 550 is only the second motorcycle-specific GPS device on the market today. What does it offer bikers and how does it stack up to the competition? Read our review to find out and check out photos of the sleek system here.

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CNET Reviews staff
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Measuring 4.8 inches wide, 3.9 inches high, and 1.6 inches deep and weighing 10.6 ounces, the Garmin Zumo 550 is sleeker and sexier than the TomTom Rider. The unit also has removable caps on the top and bottom of the unit, so you can swap it out with snazzier designs.
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All maps are preloaded on the Zumo 550's hard drive, but there is an SD expansion slot on the bottom of the unit if you want to carry music files on an SD card.
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Garmin packages the Zumo 550 with a motorcycle mount and includes the tools needed to mount the Zumo to a bike's handlebars.
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We had no problems installing the mount onto our 1998 Honda Magna VF750, and the cradle held the Zumo snug as a bug.
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We also appreciated the fact that Garmin threw in a vehicle mount, an accessory that was not included with the TomTom Rider.
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If you're using the dashboard mount, make sure you get the placement right because once you peel off the adhesive, it's not going anywhere. Bonus: the car mount has an integrated speaker.
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There are some preliminary steps during setup, such as picking the language for text and voice-guided directions, measurement units, and so forth.
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If you don't plan on using the Zumo 550 while driving, you can turn off the GPS radio. Garmin also a lock feature where you can set a personal PIN number for security.
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The Garmin Zumo 550 can create routes for various vehicle types.
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You can have different volume levels for voice navigations and the built-in MP3 player.
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The Zumo 550 gives you the option to pick from standard or large button sizes, the latter of which is perfect if you're wearing gloves.
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If you choose the large icon option, letters, and numbers are then grouped into fives such as above.
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With clearly marked icons, the Garmin Zumo 550 is easy to use and operate.
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When getting directions, you can search by specific address, point of interest, recently found locations, and more.
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You can save frequently visited destinations as part of your Favorites list, so you don't have to input the address every time.
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The Garmin Zumo 550 can simulate the recommended route in a running demo, so you get an idea of the roads you'll be taking.
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A view of the simulated route screen.
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If you missed a spoken direction, the Zumo 550 can repeat it for you.
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The Garmin Zumo 550 has a healthy points of interest database, but we found some of the entries to be outdated.
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There is also a handy trip information page that displays your direction, speed, maximum speed, and a fuel gauge. The last feature will only show when the unit is connected to the motorcycle mount, however.
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Unfortunately, the compass only works if you're in Off-road mode. Otherwise, the Zumo simply tells you on the map-view screen which direction you are traveling in.
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With the integrated Bluetooth, you can pair the Garmin Zumo 550 with your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and use it as a hands-free speaker system.
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After some trials and tribulations, we were able to pair the Zumo 550 with a Palm Treo 650 and a Cardo Scala Rider.
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From the phone menu, you are presented with five icons: Phone Book, POIs, Dial (takes you the keypad menu), Call History (last dialed, last received, missed), and Call Home.
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Once your phone is connected, your phone book should be synced to the Zumo. However, we had some difficulties getting our Treo 650's address book to sync with the Zumo.
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Here is the onscreen dialpad.
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Once on a call, there is a phone icon that pops up on the map menu; touch it, and a menu pops up with a huge End Call icon.
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The End Call icon mentioned in the previous slide.
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Load up an SD card with your favorite MP3s and listen to them with the Zumo 550's built-in MP3 player.

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