Upside: The Garmin StreetPilot 2720 boasts some new tricks that should please many drivers, namely text-to-speech functionality and the option for traffic capabilities. The text-to-speech feature allows the GPS device to tell you the names of upcoming streets and points of interest instead of generic commands. For example, the voice prompt says, "Turn left on Main Street," instead of "Turn left in 500 feet," letting you keep your eyes on the road and not at the device's screen. Also, with the addition of Garmin's GTM 10 traffic receiver ($214.27), you can see congested areas via a color-coded map, and the StreetPilot 2720 can then give you suggestions for alternative routes based on traffic information.
The 2720 also gets a boost in the display area, with a new WQVGA, color touch screen. The 3.8-inch TFT display is automotive grade and automatically adjusts the backlights so that you can read it in any amount of light. And in addition to the nearly 6 million points of interest (POI), you can now import custom POIs, such as school zones and safety cameras. Accessories that come in the box include an AC power adapter, a remote control, a car charger, and beanbag and vent mounts.
Downside: Price may be the biggest issue with the Garmin StreetPilot 2720. At about $1,200, it's one of the costliest in-car GPS devices on the market, and if you want the traffic option, you'll have to fork over another $200 for the FM receiver. Plus, the receiver comes with a 15-month trial subscription to Clear Channel TMC; if you want to continue the traffic services after that, you'll need to buy a one-year subscription for $60. One final warning: The traffic service is available in only select cities, so you'll want to check Garmin's Web site before you take the plunge.
Outlook: There's a lot to like about the Garmin StreetPilot 2720, but given the price, it may appeal only to those who spend a lot of time on the road and want a sophisticated, high-end navigation device. Still, in this ever-growing field of GPS, it'll face stiff competition from the likes of the TomTom GO 700 and the Magellan RoadMate 760. Check back soon for a full review.