VIDEO: Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS Review

Posted In: Product Review, Video

My love for technology and gadgets is well documented. I’m usually an early adopter when it comes to this stuff. Confessional case-in-point: in 1995, I made the unfortunate decision to install Microsoft Bob on my PC. We can’t be absolutely certain, but I think I was the only person in North America to install Bob. I know I’m the only person who will admit doing so.

And yet, our truck SEEMORE has the subtlety of a sledgehammer. A mountain of gleaming non-aerodynamic metal, it’s pretty much devoid of technological gadgetry. The 1980s LED dash display is illegible in all conditions except total darkness. One suspects that its engineers would’ve preferred installing an old school 8-track cassette deck, but reluctantly switched to a CD player after pressure from marketing. These sins are forgivable because the gargantuan diesel engine is capable of towing the Statue of Liberty over Mount Everest without skipping an 11.8 MPG beat.

Although SEEMORE’s an old school beast, I somehow refrained from taking the GPS plunge – until our Airstreaming honeymoon. After driving around North America for two months with a ratty old $10 map, I finally surrendered to my technological desires and bought a Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS system. Simply stated, it changed our lives along with our credit card statement. The resultant question was not, “Why the hell did we buy this thing?” but rather “Why the hell did we wait so long to buy this thing?”

Of course, in the comfort of your own hometown, you can probably (hopefully?) make it down to the grocery store and back without some fancy gadget leading you by the nose. But suppose you are 1000 miles away from familiar streets…it’s dark…you have a flat tire…and you’re looking for that international camping haven known as Wal-Mart. Just type “Wal-Mart” into the Garmin and you’ll find the nearest one. No phone calls, no guesswork, no hassle. A GPS is not only a timesaver, it’s potentially a lifesaver. You might make an occasional wrong turn, but you’ll never really be lost if you have one of these gadgets. This totally changes the tenor of the classic American road trip.

Our GPS has a zillion other features with varying degrees of usefulness. It broadcasts audio over our truck speakers via an FM transmitter. It has a very nice Bluetooth cellphone connection, so you can gab on your cellphone hands free. And it plays audiobooks seamlessly, even pausing the books when offering spoken directions. I haven’t tried every GPS out there, but this Nuvi 660 model has been named one of CNET’s editors’ best GPS navigation systems. So don’t take my word for it; take CNET’s.

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