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Sunday, March 18, 2012

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Garmin nuvi 755T review

Hands on with another winner from Garmin

UPDATE: This model has been discontinued. For current recommendations, please refer to our auto GPS buyers guide.

The Garmin nuvi 755T is a member of the high-end nuvi 7×5 series, a second-generation nuvi 700 line that adds lane assist, 3-D buildings and lifetime NAVTEQ traffic to an already significant feature set. The 755T has a 4.3″ wide touch-screen, pre-loaded maps of the U.S. and Canada, and text-to-speech, so you”ll hear “drive one-half mile, then turn left on Oak Street,” instead of just “drive one-half mile, then turn left.”

Related units

Let’s look at the newest features on the nuvi 7×5 line…

Lane assist

To me, the lane assist feature is the nicest addition to the the 7×5 series. It shows up in two places on the device. The flashiest is for major freeway interchanges, as shown below. This screen appears as you approach your exit.

Nuvi_755t_lane_assist

Just as useful, and perhaps more so, is the lane indicator shown in the upper left portion of the map screen (see below). These don’t just show up on interstate highways; I found them to be ubiquitous in downtown Atlanta.

Lane_assist_map_screen

While the lane assist feature was very helpful, I only saw it appear in Atlanta. It did not show up during my testing in the smaller cities of Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC.

3-D buildings

This feature adds some flash, but in my mind is less helpful than lane assist.

Nuvi_755t_3d_buildings

I’ll give Garmin credit for making the 3-D buildings transparent, but the feature can still obstruct navigation somewhat, as shown below.

3d_obstructed

Ad-supported lifetime traffic

Without a doubt the most controversial feature on the nuvi 7×5 series is the ad-supported lifetime NAVTEQ traffic, yet I found the ads to be low key and unobtrusive. I only saw ads appear when my vehicle was stopped; they showed up in the following places:

  • On startup at the top of the main menu
  • At the bottom of the traffic menu page
  • On the map screen once you have reached your destination

Nuvi_755t_ad_on_map

If you touch the ad, you’ll go to a screen showing the nearest locations for that advertiser. Choosing a location will take you to the detail screen. In the case of the BP gas ad below, a click on the coupon gave me a number to text to enter the contest.

Selected_location_ad

The ads are so low key that I would much rather have them and free lifetime traffic than pay $60 a year for traffic service. The biggest problem I have with the ad-supported traffic is the limited coverage (see image below). With data for only 50 U.S. cities, NAVTEQ coverage lags far behind that of other traffic services. Detailed coverage maps are available on the NAVTEQ website.

Navteq_traffic_coverage_3

There is also an option to add MSN Direct traffic service (which includes gas prices, weather and more), but you’ll need to buy the receiver, which comes with a one year subscription.

If you enable the traffic map, the moving map screen goes to greyscale, so that traffic flow (indicated in yellow or red) will show up better.

Nuvi_755t_traffic_map

Here’s an incident detail screen…

Nuvi_755t_traffic_detail

New customization options

New to the 7×5 series are customization options for the lower right field on the map screen. Press this field to bring up the options listed below. When not navigating, the options are:

  • Direction of travel (default)
  • Elevation
  • Time of day

When navigating, the options are as follows:

  • Estimated time of arrival (default)
  • Distance to destination
  • Estimated time to destination
  • Direction of travel
  • Elevation
  • Time of day

Garmin nuvi 755T mount

The nuvi 755T mount has an integrated power/traffic receiver connection, so you don’t have to plug a cable into the device each time you mount it. Unlike the nuvi 2×5 series, all you need to do is snap it into the mount.

Other nuvi 755T features of note

The nuvi 7×5 series has inherited some other features of note from the 2×5 and/or 800 series units.


These include a redesigned map screen that adds a third data field (current speed). And while photo navigation is not a feature that I find useful, you can download Google™ Panoramio™ pictures via Garmin Connect™ Photos and navigate to them.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the nuvi 755T has all the great features already found on the first generation nuvi 700 series. These include:

  • Multi-destination routing
  • Automatic sorting of multiple destinations to provide an efficient route
  • Tracklog recording
  • Speed limit display for many interstates and highways
  • Automatic marking of your last position when the unit is turned off (to help you find your car in mega-mall parking lots)
  • A “Where am I” safety feature that gives your current location, nearest address, nearest intersection, along with quick access to POIs for the nearest hospitals, police stations and gas stations

Conclusion and recommendation

The Garmin nuvi 755T is a superior navigation device and I highly recommend it. The only caveat is that it is more appropriate if you are in an area with NAVTEQ traffic coverage. The lane assist feature is the best reason to upgrade from the 2x5T series which, like the 755T, also has the lifetime traffic feature. Like all Garmin nuvis, the 755T is intuitive and a joy to use. Garmin has created yet another excellent product, and it’s no wonder that they dominate our top ten GPS list.

More Garmin nuvi 755T reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…

Other Garmin nuvi 755T resources

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 755T at these merchants:

 


About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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