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I have had this Garmin Streetpilot i3 for about three or four years now and it has proven to be a pretty reliable sat nav that works fine in a vehicle or on foot as a device for navigating around London or any other city for that matter. While it is a little dated by modern standards we still make use of it as a back up when one of us is using the newer one that we have and are going on seperate journies. It is a relatively small device, described as being the size of a baseball on the advertising literature it is an appropriate description
It has a wheel device from which you are able to select the type of vehicle you are driving, presumably if you select truck then it will select an appropriate route for your vehicle but I have never had he need nor am I likely to. You can also selecvt between 2d and 3d maps, the latter being very useful in built up areas I have found. The instructions are nice and clear and while driving with a sat nav did take a bit of getting used to when I first bought this it is something that you pick up quite easily.
The selection wheel is a little fiddly when inputting destination details as you scroll through the letters and numbers but I soon got the hang of it.
It has a plug in for charging however if you want to use it as a hand held device then it can be powered by two AA batteries and these give enough life on it that easily covers a few days use in the city if you use it on foot.
While the screen is not the largest I do find it very clear and easy to follow and it copes well in sunlight. It comes with a base map loaded and loading up street maps was easy.
This product has been discontinued so while my experience with it has been good it is not something I would recommend buying second hand as there are now better products out there but it has been a trusty servant over the years.
About 3 years ago, a friend of mine who worked in the motor trade asked a favour of me one day, would I go with him to pick up a car he'd won on ebay. No problem I thought, a nice day out in the car in the sunshine, in fact it was even to a town on the coast, what could be better. I agreed to help.
It suddenly dawned on me that there were only two of us, and once we'd collected the new car, there would be a need for both cars to be driven back. Although I've been driving for years it had pretty much all been local driving and the odd well planned route for a long journey, and all of a sudden I was going to have to drive back across country from a town I'd only ever been to once as a child and had never driven to. I started to feel uncomfortable.
When I got to my friends house for the journey to begin, he showed me his new toy, a Garmin Streetpilot i3 Sat Nav, he'd only had it a day or so and hadn't really tested it out, this was to be the acid test! We put in the postcode of our destination using the scroll wheel/button. Initially this seemed like it would be a bit fiddly scrolling up and down a list of letters and numbers and pressing the wheel in to select the one you wanted but actually it was remarkably intuitive and quick. With the Postcode entered, it foudn the right road, we entered the house number and it calculated our route.
Off we went, following the sat navs every whim, turning down roads we'd nevered used venturing to pastures new, all the while hoping we were heading in the right direction. I'm a pretty handy map reader and have been navigator on many a road trip so to be trusting ourselves to this sat nav felt a little unnerving to begin with, I even kept the map book on my lap in case I needed to find where we were and rescue us. However, we kept going and the estimated arrival time edged nearer until we arrived at our destination. There was none of the usual problem of the map book being great until you got onto local rounds with no sign posts and then getting hopelessly lost, it just took us directly to the door of our destination. Well, I say directly to the door, in actual fact we were about 10 feet short of it... To say we were impressed is an understatement!
The transaction with the car all went well and we set about our journey home.By this time we were both hungry and it was lunchtime so we looked on the points of interest on the Garmin to find a local pub/restaurant to stop at. There was one quite nearby. I got in the car we had travelled up in, my friend was in his newly purchased car. I had the sat nav and so had to lead the way. Initially I was quite nervous about this as I didn't know where I was going but very quickly I settled into it and found that having the sat nav took away so much of the stress of the journey, I didn't have to worry about finding the right road or junction etc as it told me where to go. It left me free to be aware of the traffic around me and to concentrate on my driving. We got to the pub, had some lunch and then set off for home. The i3 has a great feature whereby you can set a 'home' address. Once set, where ever you might be, you can merely select the 'Go Home' option and it'll set a route to your home. We used this at the pub and I followed the directions back to my friends house with no problems, missed junctions or turnings or any getting lost. I was sold on the idea of sat nav and two days later got myself the exact same unit!
Since then it has come in handy so many times I have lost count. My girlfriend and I have driven to all kinds of different places that we'd not been to before without any problems. It's great to be able to select the town you want to go to, find a car park near where you want to be and be directed straight to it. We've used it on several long journeys andnot once has it failed on us! It's route planning is nice and quick and so is the on the fly route recalculating if you miss a turning etc, which is great as it doesn't leave you travelling along into the unknown for more than a few seconds before it'll have you back on track!
There are two very very slight negative points I am going to mention. Firstly, it's occassionally strange route choices. For destinations you don't know, you probably wouldn't notice this but a couple of times I've used the sat nav to get me to a place I've been to before but am not 100% sure on the route, and it's taken me a completely different way which sometimes is not entirely intuitive. For example when going to the coast once, rather than direct me down a good 'A' road which came out at the back of the seaside town we were going to then taking me to the car park I wanted, it took me completely across country through all sorts of little lanes. Ok it did get us directly to the car park but I'm sure it was not the best route.
This actually leads me very nicely onto the second point. Although there are options you can choose from such as shortest route or quickest route. and vehicle type, (motorbike, car, lorry etc) They seem to have very little effect on the actual route it chooses. On occasion, despite having it set to lorry, it has tried to send me down some narrow country lanes! However this hasn't so far proved to be too much of a problem as when it tries that I just ignore it and it'll recalculate another route very quickly.
My friend has been using his i3 intensively for the last couple of years working as a delivery driver all around the country and he swears by it, the only problem he has ever had has been when driving around a big city like London and has been surrounded by tall buildings as he has on a couple of occassions lost satellite signal for a moment or two which in such a situation can be a bit of a headache. Mind you that is with him using the i3's built in antenna, if he were to have used the optional antenna extender he probably wouldn't have experienced that problem.
Overall, I would say this device has changed my driving life forever. With the aid of sat nav I find driving much less stressful, particulary when going to places I don't know, I feel like it also makes driving safer too as it allows me to concentrate on what's going on around me rather than having to try to find my route. OK there are more expensive models out there with more features which you may or may not require depending on your level of use but I would say that for the casual user this is a perfect little unit!
Once you buy a Sat Nav system you will wonder how you ever coped without one!
I bought this for my birthday last week, as couldn't think of anything I wanted, and as the Garmin i3 was on offer, I bought it. Unsure of how good it would be, I can happily now say it is an amazing piece of kit. I love it, and it rates as the single greatest thing I have ever bought, along with my iPod.
Easy to use, gets you to wherever you want, and the single best thing with it is getting alerts to ANY speed camera thanks to a database from www.pocketgpsworld.com.
The car had recently bought had an in built Sat Nav, and although the car has a bigger screen, I still use my i3 when I am out and about in a work car! It will Dinky Dank Do for me!
I cannot say enough times how amazing this gadget is. Small but does exactly what it says on the tin (well box!)
I bought one of these in August 2006. whilst it worked it was brilliant, but 6 months later it started nagging me about updating the map, which I ignored, since from year to year, not that much changes where I live. From then on it stopped ''recognizing'' the destinations I entered, making it practically useless. So to keep it working you have to pay $80 (USD) every year to update the map. Not a fact that was drawn to my attention anywhere, in the print nor by the seller.
I have owned a Garmin i3 for 2 days. I bought it from Carphone Warehouse.
I was initially impressed with the unit. It was easy to use and set-up. After testing it on a couple of routes I use everyday it didn't perform too well on the navigation, taking longer routes than the optimal. But it got me home eventually.
It did take a long time to calculate the route and I immediately ran into problems with it driving around London becasue it doesn't have a feature for blocked roads or diverted traffic.
The scroll wheel is also a bit fiddley.
However, the sucker that sticks the unit to the window appeared to be faulty and it fell off as I was driving the vehicle. As it only fell quite lightly I was surprised that the LCD screen had cracked.
Carphone warehouse have refused to replace the unit and Garmin customer services are poor. It is easier to get with Osama Bin Laden on the telephone. after 2 hours wait on the telephone, they informed me it isn't covered under the warranty. So I'm £130 out of pocket.
Avoid at all costs and purchase a more robust and featured product. They old adage 'you get what you pay for' firmly applies here.
FOR compact easy to use relatively inexpensive and has clear voice guidence throughout the journey when it eventually gets you there
AGAINST screen far too small sends you down bad pothole roads where there is no need too instead of main roads and always has to recalculate itself through journeys youve programmed in (wether an external anntenna would correct this i dont know) to sum it up you really probably would be better of with a tomtom if you can afford the budget but this little machine is ok if you dont need to heavily rely on it and only use occasionally
GPS for the first time user is how the Garmin i3 is advertised - yet as my partner looks to invest in a new GPS for his new car he is coveting my Garmin i3, even after years of using in car Satellite Navigation. The Garmin has most of the features of the more expensive models of Satellite Navigation, but without the huge price tag as far as we could see the only thing really missing is the touch screen and ability to get real-time updates while driving. Having said this, my Garmin now goes everywhere with me - it is small, reliable, with great functionality and support. I can safely say I wouldn't swap it even when given the opportunity as I was!
The first time you turn the unit on it takes a few minutes to receive satellite data, it is advisable to do this in a clear area as dense trees can make a difference. The initial cold start on my unit took about 2 minutes. When the unit has booted up you get the prompt to "press wheel to continue" and a beep. This then takes you into the main menu.
Clicking "Where to" then again gives you a number of options:
Go home - which can be programmed either by address, postcode or adding location (see tips below)
Address - entered either by postcode or address
Food, Hotels and more - Points of Interest programmed in for example petrol stations, attractions and as the menu says food, hotels and more. This also includes any custom ones you choose to add eg Speed cameras.
Recent finds - lists recent addresses you have navigated to or looked for.
My favourites - comes with Garmin address pre-programmed (but these can be deleted), again you can add to this when you have inputted an address or when you are at a location by saving it as one of your favourites.
Intersections - the name says it all!
Cities - again self explanatory.
***So how to find somewhere ***
Click on address with the scroll wheel, choose the country you want and click again, then input the city or postcode. If you go the city route it will then ask for a street, and finally with both options a house number. Click done this will then give you the address you have chosen to navigate to. At this point you can pick from "Start navigating", "Show map", "Save as favourite" or "Find nearby." If you make a mistake at any point in the process simply click on the back button on the left of the unit.
Clicking on "Start Navigating" will then activate the unit to look for more satellites and you will get the message "Awaiting better accuracy" this normally lasts for no longer than 1 min. At this point the unit will calculate the route and start calmly talking you through the journey as you drive. If you go wrong the unit simply bongs at you and says "Recalculating" again working out the best route with the error included. So far I have ended up where I wanted to. The Gamin shows the location you are heading for with a chequered flag which personally I think is amusing, it is however possible to change the icon associated with different favourite locations in th sub menus when you are looking at your favourites.
All of the other submenus at this point work in the same way, pick a country, then address, postcode or road to direct you to your location.
If you are indoors the unit will recognise this and ask you on screen "I am having trouble tracking satellites, are you indoors?" At this point by answering "YES" you can track your way though a journey and review all the turns etc that you are going to need to make.
***In car use***
The unit comes with an in-car power source, simply plug into your cigarette lighter and then into the side of the unit and you are away. If you are using re-chargeable batteries, it is possible to tell the unit this in one of the settings and they will recharge at this point if necessary. In order to attach the unit to the windscreen you are supplied with a small sucker that has a ball style joint on the front. The bonus of this unit is that with the small screen size it fits within the legal limits for area on the drivers windscreen obscured. Simply attach the sucker to the windscreen, the unit to the ball joint and then the power cable into the lighter socket. Turn on the unit and you are off. When you turn your vehicle off the unit will tell you that it has lost external power and is powering down in 30seconds. You can over-ride this function if you wish to continue using the unit.
***Navigation & Maps***
Navigation in car is fairly straightforward. Programme the destination as above, set up as in "in car use" and you are away. Make sure you angle the screen slightly down as glare from the windscreen on a bright day can obscure the screen a little.
The unit has an inbuilt day and night function and as it knows the time, as well as sunrise/sunset times it will automatically change the display for you. A very handy function.
Maps can be viewed in one of 3 ways:
Track up - always shows the direction you are pointing as the top of the screen
North up - North is always at the top of the screen
3D - shows the lay of the land.
Map detail can be chosen by you, from most down to least. But a very handy feature of the unit is that as you approach a junction it will zoom in to give you more detail!
Finally units can be chosen to be in either imperial or metric to suit the driver.
It is possible to customise a lot of features in this unit. These include:
Units of measurement.
Detail of map.
Map viewing style.
Daytime / night-time / automatic screen colour defintion change
Icons to represent locations.
Roads to be avoided.
Type of vehicle being driven.
Attention tones / proximity tones.
Volume of sounds.
Brightness of screen.
Route preference - shortest or fastest?
***POI - (Points Of Interest)***
I have found the inbuilt POI's invaluable. When my partner and I go out for the weekend it is the Garmin Satellite Navigation that comes with us life has never been so easy No more hunting for pubs, petrol stations, hotels and so on the Garmin has a list built in, and it hasn't let us down yet!
I have also downloaded the speed-camera database into my Garmin and loaded it as a custom POI, with the attention tone turned on my Garmin now warns me of approaching speed-cameras and the speed-limit for the road on which I am travelling. This is a brilliant function which has, for me anyway, done away with the need for a separate speed-camera detector in the car. Less leads and less things to carry around.
Garmin have a website where you can download updates for the unit. There have been a few software updates since I owned the unit and these have been simplicity itself to install. There is also a helpline available during the week, if you should have a problem outside these hours it is a little harder to deal with. I was unfortunate enough to have my unit break during the first 6mths of ownership (I believe a faulty connection somewhere inside it as it stopped making any sound - but at least still displayed the maps I simply took it back to the point of purchase where I was offered a full refund or replacement as per instructions from Garmin.)
Hold down the middle scroll button to save a location to your favourites. You can then rename it to whatever you want.
I bought my Garmin i3 for £120 from Halfords, but they are being advertised from anything from £170 to £120, so it is worth shopping around!
Quite simply I love my Garmin i3. It has never got me lost, has reliably put me back on the right route, even when I have tried to confuse it Functionality is great and easy to use, the scroll wheel is easier than some of the tiny touch screens and there is no stylus to lose!
The unit may be smaller than the more expensive models but as they say "All the best things come in small packages!"
I decided a few months back that I wanted sat nav for my new 7 seater car that I was planning on buying this year.
I search the net and of course the good old Argos book to see what was available and at what price. I think it is very important that you set a budget at a very early stage as you can easily get drawn in to the more expensive ones to which are over your budget. I searched many sites including eBay, Amazon, Argos, and general sites. I set myself a limit of £200 which I thought was high enough to get a decent satellite navigation system that suited me. In the end I decided on either the Garmin or Navman which to be honest I had never heard of any of these. I finally decided on the Garmin just due to the positive reviews that I had read on many sites. Time to research .
**Garmin! Who are Garmin? **
Garmin are relatively new company and have only been on the go since 1989 which in my opinion is not that long at all. They are famous for providing low cost GPS to the entire world. In addition to this they provide free 24hr support in the way of there superb website and of course telephone service.
I decided on the Garmin Street pilot I3 for a few reason but mainly because is small, sleek and stylish not to forget the absolute superb price it was available at. This particular model was only released in October 2005 and is continually undated via the website; this I thought was another good idea too. Other systems charged you for receiving updates or even charged monthly/annual fees. This model does not have any additional charges other than the initial purchase price.
**Cost and Availability**
I bought mines from Amazon.co.uk for £140.00 which included free delivery
www.mynewcheap.co.uk is £159.99 for the unit
www.ebay.co.uk £142.00 & £7.75 Postage
Above prices are for guides and may change.
**What's in the box?**
I was mega surprised when I got the delivery from Amazon the box was tiny and I said to my wife what the hell is this? I opened the box and it was suppose to be my brand new sat nav that I was sooo looking forward too. I thought to myself there is no way that they have squeezed all the necessary bit and pieces in to the box. How wrong was I? On opening the well packed box I was greeted with the following items
Sat Nav unit, Instruction, Usb Cable, Suction Cup, Cd Rom, power cable for car (cigarette lighter) and Batteries
**First Power Up (switch on indoors)**
After popping the 2 AA batteries in to the unit I pressed and held the power button for a second to see the units LCD screen light up. I was like a kid with a new toy. You are greeted with a warning tell you not to adjust the settings or anything whilst the car is moving I thought that was common sense obviously not. The unit then attempted to search for a satellite for a few minutes then can up with "Are you indoors" I used the scroller to move the cursor to yes and then pressed the scroll. Now I had the options where too? And View map. I thought cool I will select view map, when I did I was surprised to be told that I was overseas. I can only assume that the unit was tested at Garmin HQ.
**First Power up (outdoors) **
I got in to the car connected the power cable to the unit and plugged the cable in to the cigarette lighter. Popped the suction cup on to the widescreen and the connected the unit to that. I powered the unit up and after being told accruing satellite for 2/3 minutes the unit told me that I was sitting on my own street. So I thought right let's see how good it is, I drove around the local streets at different speeds and the arrow on the screen continuously updated and shown me where I was. It was amazing that this piece of equipment knew where I was; I guess it was like big brother watching from above. Needless to say I was absolutely delighted with the performance so far and this was only the beginning.
Just like many units these days you can customise it to suit you. Options on this model include the following~
Volume, brightness, time/date, Voice spoken, language, Map Options, System , avoidance, attention tone setting, map view options.
So as you can see there are a lot of settings that you can adjust to suit yourself and they are easily restored to factory settings. You will find that you will need to adjust the volume to suit yourself as when you first get the unit the volume is set very low. The time will also need to be adjusted to the correct time as these units are made for the whole world and obviously it does not know what time it is until you tell it.
Voice spoken is one of the settings that I was amazed by as there are soo many options here. You can choose from English, Dutch, French, and more. I have to say I was a little disappointed that my sat nav never had a Scottish accent. I guess what can I ask for when I only paid £140.00
**Programming your journey**
This is what the satellite navigation unit is all about really! So let's get on with it. There are a few ways that you can program the route.
Easiest way I personally found was by entering a postcode and then the unit tells you what street that is then all you need to do is enter the house number and then press start navigating. The unit will then say "awaiting better accuracy" this will normally last for about 2minutes then the system will start navigating for you. Other option to find destination is by entering the city name and then entering the street name followed by the house number. You can set any address to your favourites and then you can easily select them again in the future.
Ok so I have set the destination and waited the few minutes for the system to tell me where to go. On the bright and clear LCD I have a detailed map of my area in Edinburgh with a blue triangle. Oh the triangle represents me, well my car! During the course of the journey I have a voice telling me "Next Left", "continue for 30miles" and many other commands. In addition to this the triangle moves about the LCD screen, commands are shown in text along the top of the LCD, bottom left has the estimated arrival time and the bottom right has the distance to your next move. When you get near your final destination the machine will say "arriving at destination on right/left"
If during the journey you hear "recalculating" all it means is that the satellite navigation unit thinks you have turned wrong or taken the wrong opening etc. If this is the case the unit will quickly reprogrammed a new route for you.
If no route is planned on the navigation unit and the car is moving then the unit will show you the current time and your current speed.
**Points of interest**
Garmin has this already loaded and of course you can add more to it. POI can be very useful especially if you drive a lot and you want to avoid any fixed speed cameras or red light cameras. I have tried this and can confirm that the unit does warn me when there is a speed camera ahead. I also have the unit set to tell me what the speed of the road is I am on. This alone is worth it.
**Updates and Support**
Just like many sat nav units you get updates from time to time and this is the beauty about this wee baby all you need to do is www.garmin.co.uk and check to see if there are any updates for this model. If there is connect the USB to your PC and then to the Sat Nav and press download. This will update your unit automatically and hey presto all done. I have had one update since buying this baby and it taken 1min to update. Now to save you logging on to there site all the time and checking for updates you can enter your email address in to there site and they will email you when there are updates for your model.
Garmin (Europe) Ltd.
Unit 5, The Quadrangle
Abbey Park Industrial Estate
SO51 9DL, UK
Phone: 44 1794-519944
Fax: 44 1794-519222
I would not have any problems recommending this product to anyone that is looking to start of with a basic model of satellite navigation. I can honestly say that this unit does work as I recently went to work in Paisley (just outside Glasgow) I know its not all that far from where I am (Edinburgh) well anyway this wee beauty taken me right from my door to the door of the location I wanted to go to. There was no wrong turns and it no point did it get me lost, even when I taken a turn of the road I was suppose to continue on and it was quick to tell me where to turn next. Another great thing I love about this wee baby is that when I arrived in Paisley I never knew where any banks where and a few simple clicks and the sat nav was able to tell me that there was a bank 600yds ahead. I like the size of the unit, its small enough to fit in your pocket, the lcd is clear and the volume is loud enough to be heard whilst I am listening to the radio.
*If you're using batteries always carry a few spare in case you get caught out
Garmin you have my vote.
Thanks for reading
© Marcellep Dooyoo 2006
No larger than a baseball and priced affordably, the StreetPilot i-series is destined to be a hit for commuters, college students, and corporate travelers who are looking to experience the ease and enjoyment of GPS satellite navigation for the first time.
The i3 provides voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions through a built-in speaker, and the unit easily moves from vehicle to vehicle with an integrated suction cup mount.
Garmin has also added the ability for customers to augment the pre-loaded maps with custom POI's from industry-standard CSV files, such as school zones and safety cameras. In addition, a proximity-alert feature is included to optionally warn the driver of upcoming custom POI's.
The i3 features a 32k-color, sunlight readable TFT display with backlight.