For this review we used the Garmin Nuvi 660, a top of the range device, that has fallen by at least $200 since we purchased this unit for approximately $1,000. Essentially the 660 is a personal travel assistant that can be used either as a hand held device, or mounted in your car on to the windscreen. While my priority use for the device is as a navigation aid, it also has a full suite of functions that includes storage for MP3s and audio books, the capability to wirelessly transmit audio through a vehicle stereo, translate languages, accept travel guide data, addresses and even accept hands free telephone calls.
The 660 however is essentially a GPS unit that comes pre-loaded with maps covering most of Australia. It is a slim unit that has a bright, sun-light readable colour display wide screen 4.3-inch touch screen interface. It is super thin and can be easily carried in a coat pocket. While the screen is modest in size, it is extremely sharp and can be easily read at a glance when driving. It boasts an impressive resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. The GPS antenna folds up to allow connection to satellites. It is powered by either a lead to the 12 volt plug in your car, via AC adaptor (240V) or via a USB cable to your PC. A small series of bars indicates satellite strength. Battery life is approximately 7 hours when fully charged.
The interface will be familiar to Garmin users. The main menu has an entry for "Where to" and "View Map". There is also a Travel Kit that that gives access to the language guide, travel guide, MP3 player, audible book player, picture viewer, world clock, currency and measurement converters and calculator. There are 8 core menu icons on the Where To and Settings menus. It is difficult to find fault with the 660, as it is so easy to use, and thanks to the latest mapping, was generally accurate when asked to plot a destination. When finding your destination you can have a vehicle icon on the map, have the route marked as a purple line, follow arrows for turns, with a chequered flag marking your destination.
The map can be viewed in different perspectives, i.e. in 3D or as a flat map. Interestingly, in the top photo I was parked in a creek bed in the Flinders Ranges and the mapping was good enough to locate the creek and plot the location of the vehicle. The Garmin Nuvi 660 is a first class unit.