Garmin Streetpilot i3 Review

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3.3 / 5
From 9 reviews
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  • Ease of Use

  • Clarity of Instructions

  • Map Accuracy

  • Value For Money

kiyawhite's review of Garmin Streetpilot i3


“I bought this cheap Garmin Streetpilot GPS as a shared...”

Written on: 28/03/2008 by kiyawhite (56 reviews written)

Good Points
>Cheap - pick one of these up off eBay for as little as £65
>Maps are upgradeable by a range of microSD cards ranging from £20 to £120
>Voice guidance is brilliantly clear
>Day and night editions of the map make for easy viewing
>3D/2D North/2D map view
>AA batteries power unit for about 6 hours
>Included car power cable
>Suction pad is strong

Bad Points
>One instruction is always given too late: 'take ramp, left'
>The unit doesn't look too nice and because it's not flat may be bulky rather than portable

General Comments
I bought this cheap Garmin Streetpilot GPS as a shared gift between the people in my house. I didn't have much in the way of savings at the time I bought this as you can tell by the price of the model.

The Streetpilot i3 comes in a small box and seems far too small when you remove it from its packaging to be a good unit. It seemed to be complete truth that this unit was rubbish when I tried it for the first time on the night I got the unit. Why? It gave directions like this: "In point 3 miles left." "left. Point 5 miles right. left." This was terrible. The only way you could use the system to navigate was to have the passenger in the car to read the map and to shut the dodgy journey guide off who wasn't making any sense.

The problematic voice guide was corrected by connecting the unit to the PC with the supplied USB cable and going to the Garmin update website. Here you could download version 2.2 of the voice for the i3 (it's version 2.0 that comes installed by default). Once this was installed the problem was solved, and the voice guide was directing us with a better "In 0 point 3 miles turn left." "Turn left. [pause] In 0 point 5 miles turn right, then turn left." (respectively of what I said before)

The most I've travelled with this unit so far is up and down half of the A5. What I'm most impressed with is how the unit deals with the huge roundabouts you sometimes come accross. First your told to 'enter roundabout, then take [fourth] exit'. Then as you go round it says 'keep ahead'. When you come to the correct exit your instructed to 'exit left'. Perfect!

The one instruction the unit doesn't handle very well is taking yourself off a road via a ramp. Usually, you're mostly past a ramp before it says 'take ramp, left' by which point you can;t and the unit says 'recalculating' and you're wondering 'huh?!'

A cold start takes about a minute and a few seconds. But after that cold start if you leave charged batteries in the unit it will only take maybe 10 seconds in the future to locate satellites at startup. Calculating routers in your own city or town will take about 5 seconds, but journey accross country (like from the Midlands to London) will take 1-3minutes to calculate. I think this is very reasonable.

There are loads and loads of ways to find POIs on this unit. First you choose 'go to', then go to 'hotels and more...', choose a category then scroll through all of the results that begin with the nearest and get further away as you progress through. You can also search through POIs by entering a site name.

Addresses are found in one of two ways:

(1)Enter postcode. Choose building number.

(2)Enter city. Enter road. Enter building number.

I think there are 2 problems here. First, what happens if you need to enter a name rather than a number? Or a unit (e.g. unit 2a) rather than a number? Then what happens if you don't know the building number? You cannot skip this step. This is no good if you want to get to a building allong the A5 but don;t know what;s near it and it itself is has no building number - you'll probably just be taken to the part of the A5 that is nearest to you!

If you subscribe to a special service which is mentioned in another review here, you can upload speed camera locations and thresholds onto the unit. The unit will then warn you of upcoming speed cameras and shout at you if you're going too fast.

All in all, though, a fantstic system that I strongly reccomend to those who cannot afford a TomTom. This system isn't as good as a omTom but pretty much matches the abilities of current lower-market competitors, apart from in media capabilitites because it doesn't have any.

  • Value For Money

  • europe

    Area Covered

  • Ease of Use

  • Clarity of Instructions

  • Map Accuracy

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Bmw E30's Response to kiyawhite's Review

Written on: 26/12/2009

True and accurate review as i own one myself, seldom gets used though. Have owned it for around 3-4years now, but after a year it kept saying needed updating map on startup. I finally got round to doing this, garmin actually sent me an update disc free of charge as i couldn't download the update from their site for some reason?!? After update the sat nav behaved better but my advice is to ignore its routing and drive as far as you can before listening to it, as it take you on the most unusual routes, ie single file road across country bumkin land in the middle of nowhere when there is an A road(A3 down from guilford/aldershot)that runs parallel!!! Crazy! A number of times its done stupid stuff like this. Sat nav is up to date on maps so its not that, just seems it always chooses the wrong route to start with? Hence use ur knowledge to get close to your destination then listen to it to get you exactly to the location. Loads of times its got 'confused' and we've missed the turning, then the infamous 'recalculate' voice!!! Aargh! Lol, hence why i'm now looking for another sat nav.
<br/> TBH on a tight budget this is ok, just allow for it to make mistakes, and after alot of use the scroll up and down ball gets super tedious to use as this is the only input control you use so inputting a destination you have to scroll up and down the alphabet to select each letter.

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