Hands on with the Garmin nuvi 680
UPDATE: Though still available and supported, Garmin has discontinued the nuvi 680. For newer models, check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart.
UPDATE: MSN Direct is ceasing operations on January 1, 2012.
I’ve tried out the Garmin nuvi 680, an update of the nuvi 660 that adds MSN Direct services (see coverage area), which it receives via FM radio signal. MSN Direct offers weather, movie times, gas prices and traffic. This also means that the source of traffic data is different than that of the 660, which receives TMC data. The first year is free; after that, MSN Direct service is $49.95 per year or $129.95 for the lifetime of the device.
The nuvi 760 offers even more features, but MSN Direct is an option rather than included in the package. There are now so many models in the nuvi line, that it’s easy to get confused about their differences, so I’ve put together a Garmin nuvi comparison chart.
Since this unit is so similar to the nuvi 660, I’m going to focus primarily on MSN Direct services in my review.
MSN Direct services on the Garmin nuvi 680
I live a few hours away from a major metropolitan area, so I had to make a couple of trips
to the city to try these features out. Within half an hour of getting into range and having reception, I had traffic
updates on my screen. I was pretty impressed by this, since the nuvi MSN screens
say it may take several hours the first time.
To access MSN services, from the main menu, press the MSN butterfly logo in the lower right corner of the screen.
Shown below is the main MSN menu screen.
Weather information is shown below. I was disappointed that so few cities were available when you select “Other City.” I live on the California coast and a few hours drive to the city can result in radical temperature changes due to our microclimates, swinging from as low as 55 degrees on the coast to 105 degrees inland! So I was displeased to see that the largest city on the way to the Bay Area (Santa Rosa, with a population 150,000) was not included.
Here’s the 3-day forecast screen.
And here’s what the gas prices screen looks like. Yes, gas prices really are that high here.
I really like the way the nuvi 680 handles traffic info. A warning symbol appears on the map, showing the length of delay. If I see that it is only a one or two minute delay, even I can be that patient! A lengthy delay would have me asking the unit about detours though.
Pressing the traffic icon brings up a detail map.
Press the top bar for text details.
If multiple delays are on your route, you’ll see a “Details” button at the bottom of the screen.
Pressing it will bring up a detail screen. Use the arrows to navigate the screen to the next delay.
Traffic levels are color-coded as shown below…
Green shows low severity with traffic flowing normally. Yellow shows medium severity with traffic a bit congested. Red shows high severity with traffic heavily congested or stopped.
More Garmin nuvi 680 reviews
- Consumer-authored Garmin nuvi 680 reviews have been posted at GPSNow.
- Hands-on Garmin nuvi 680 reviews have also been posted at Amazon.
- GPS Lodge has posted an outstanding Garmin nuvi 680 review. Their discussion of the differences between the 660 and 680 in traffic services is well worth reading.
- PC Magazine has posted a Garmin nuvi 680 review,
giving it an Editor’s Choice award and a 4-1/2 out of 5 star rating.
- GPS Magazine has published an excellent and thorough Garmin nuvi 680 review, giving it their Editor’s Choice award.
- SpotStop has posted a Garmin nuvi 680 review.
- Garmin nuvi 680 reviews by consumers are showing up on GpsPasSion.
- GpsPasSion also has a rolling nuvi 680 review going. A more formal writeup on their nuvi 680 experience has also been posted.
- GPSInformation.net has posted a combined nuvi 660 / nuvi 680 review.
- Not so much a review as a preview, GPS Magazine has posted additional Garmin nuvi 680 screenshots from the Consumer Electronics Show.
- Tad Anderson goes off-topic, posting a Garmin nuvi 680 review.
- Consumer-authored reviews of the nuvi 680 have also been posted at CNet.
- PC World gives an 88/100 score in their Garmin nuvi 680 review.
- ExiledBear reviews the nuvi 680.
- Digital Trends has also posted a Garmin nuvi 680 review
- I4U News gets into the act with their own nuvi 680 review
- The NY Times compares the Garmin nuvi 680 to several other units in this review.
- A brief Garmin nuvi 680 review has been posted at ThisNext.
- Wanderings and Musings reviews the nuvi 680.
- A video review of the nuvi 680.
Other Garmin nuvi 680 resources
- There is a Garmin nuvi message forum at GpsPasSion.
- And another nuvi forum at GPS Review
- Here is a PDF version of the Garmin nuvi 680 owners manual.
- Want to see how the nuvi stacks up against other units? Use this handy Garmin auto GPS comparison tool or my Garmin nuvi comparison chart.
- Some people feel that MSN Direct is the best traffic service available.
- GPSInformation.net compares the nuvi 680 with the nuvi 780.
- Five tips for nuvi newbies
- The official Garmin nuvi 680 web page
- A video demo of the Garmin nuvi 680:
Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 680 at these merchants:
- Get a great deal on the Garmin nuvi 680 at GPSNow, where shipping is free on orders over $399. Order by 5 p.m. Central Time for same day shipment.
- Check the current Garmin nuvi 680 price at Amazon.
- Buy the
Garmin nuvi 680 Personal Travel Assistant
- Get the
Garmin nuvi 680 Portable Bluetooth GPS System with MSN Direct
at Tiger GPS, where shipping is free on orders over $250.
- Buy the
Garmin nuvi 680 Automobile Navigator
- Find a great deal on the Garmin nuvi 680 at eBay.