- Review Price: £245.57
Garmin might be moving into new waters with the announcement of its nüvifone, but it’s still a navigation company at heart. And with its latest nüvi 760 coming in at a fiver shy of £250 it shows it’s not afraid of tackling the (very good) competition – TomTom’s Go 720 – head on.
Rather than attempting this challenging feat equipped with new and different features, as the Mio C620 does with its 3D landscape features, the 760 attempts to outdo the Go 720 on pure features count. It’s an arms race, but with the 720 stuffed with about as many useful features you could possibly want in a sat-nav, it’s hard to see the Garmin finding a weapon with which to strike the killer blow.
Scanning through the nüvi’s specifications shows that Garmin has made a decent stab at it. Alongside the core stuff – full European maps, 4.3in WQVGA widescreen (480 x 272) and Bluetooth for hands-free phone operation – the 760 is also equipped with the more-serious ammunition that you’d expect of a premium sat-nav.
First up, there’s an FM tuner, so you can pipe the 760’s audio output through your radio, iTrip-style. This works well, especially if you want to use the nüvi’s music player facility in conjunction with its SD card slot; the 760 interrupts the music to issue driving instructions, then resumes the music once it’s done. It’s not practical in urban areas, however, where pirate radio stations can blot out the frequency you’ve chosen without warning, and you’ll want to disable the speed camera warnings too. Instead of sounding a warning over the music, the 760 abruptly interrupts what you’re listening to each time it pings, resulting in a broken listening experience.
Matching another of the Go 720’s features is a full text-to-speech facility, which reads road names out to you as part of the driving instructions it issues. Instead of “turn left in 100 metres”, you get the more informative “drive 100 metres and turn left on North Street”, which is especially helpful in town when it might not be precisely clear which turning of three or four you should take. The computerised voice does sound a bit like having a female version of Stephen Hawking in the passenger seat, but it’s loud, reasonably clear and it doesn’t grate on the nerves too much.
Another TomTom imitation is a shortcut on the menu that groups together important emergency information. Click the ‘Where Am I?’ button and the nearest hospitals, police stations and petrol stations are displayed in a list for you to navigate to – extremely useful, especially when travelling abroad. It doesn’t, however, tell you where the nearest pharmacies are as the Go 720 does.
And, of course, the 760 also boasts Garmin’s ever-excellent map display. It looks a little cartoon-like with its chunky, colourful graphics, but I’ve found it to be among the most readable displays on any sat-nav I’ve tested. The route and turnings are so clearly indicated that you don’t need an overview icon and in 3D mode the display slightly warps the perspective so you can see further down the road to the next turning and beyond. It’s a big improvement over the Go 720’s flat-angled 3D and icon-based turning display.
Ease of use is likewise superb – arguably better than the TomTom’s, which is excellent anyway – with destination entry simple and straightforward, essential features such as route overview and road-block avoidance close to hand, and very little unnecessary information cluttering the map view. There are other nice features too, including the ability to quickly display a detailed overview of the next turning simply by tapping in the bottom right hand corner, and a trip summary screen (showing information on average speed, distance travelled and so on) which can be called up by tapping the screen in the same place on the left-hand side.
It all works to provide excellent driving instructions. Not once during testing was I confused by the instructions, and I had no complaints with the 760’s routing choices either. Calculation, even of long routes, is swift with recalculations carried out quickly and automatically when you stray off track.
All good so far, but there’s still nothing here to scare TomTom into submission. Fortunately, not every feature is merely a “me too” and there are a number of small, but useful extras that you don’t get with the market-leading device. First on the list is a car location tool that takes note when you remove the 760 from its cradle – a boon if you forgot where you parked, but not much use if you happen to leave your car in a multi-storey, or underground, car park.
It has a 3.5mm audio output jack, too, for use with standard headphones if you want to make it your part-time MP3 player. Furthermore, there’s a TMC receiver built-in with a lifetime subscription to the TrafficMaster RDS system. Finally, there’s another nice-to-have-but-not-essential feature: track logs are recorded of your journeys and these are compatible with Google Earth, so you can track exactly where you’ve been.
All good stuff, but alas, it’s still not quite enough to elevate the nüvi 760 above the Go 720. The nüvi 760 does automatically switch into night and day mode, but it bases this on the time of day – the TomTom has a light sensor for this task. The Garmin doesn’t have the volume auto-adjust of the 720, nor the facility to read incoming text messages using its text-to-speech engine, and neither does it have speech recognition for address entry.
Another issue is that maps update in jerky steps rather than animating smoothly. Both of the leading sat-navs in this price bracket do better here – the TomTom Go 720 and recently reviewed Mio C620. And POI alarms aren’t very flexible either. You can set the nüvi to alert you whenever you’re approaching a custom POI, or the included speed camera database, but you can’t do the same with other types of POI, such as petrol stations, cash machines, or hotels.
The nüvi 760 is certainly a highly competent sat-nav, and one that’s especially good for novices and sat-nav newbies with its excellent ease-of-use. However, the small shortcomings detailed above mean its armoury just isn’t quite as well-stocked as its main competitors.
It does have TMC traffic in the box, which neither the standard C620 nor TomTom Go 720 do, but I’d rather forgo this in favour of the former’s sleeker, smoother map display or the latter’s superior features.
Score in detail
|Screen Size (inches) (Inch)||4.30 in|
|General Features||Voice Prompt|
|Battery life (Hour)||5 Hour - Lithium-ion batteryhr|
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.