Garmin's StreetPilot 2610 TouchScreen Car Navigator
SP-2610 GPS Product Review
by Joe Mehaffey
Release 10(*) updated, 12 March
StreetPilot 2610 Kit
Garmin StreetPilot 2610 is in
Garmin's latest generation of GPS receivers with street level
mapping and automatic route navigation for your car. It is their first
model with Finger TOUCH SCREEN for data input and control -and- map
storage up to 2GByte CF memory cards -and- USB data interface for
map loading and data input/output. The 2GByte CF card will hold
the entire CityNavigator 5 maps (1.44Gbytes) for the USA (including
Alaska/Hawaii) and the maps of covered Canada areas. This sleek
unit has the GPS
antenna integral within the unit and is designed to fit on top of
your dash and provide you with visual and audio directions for
navigating your car on unfamiliar streets and roads. A
battery powered IR remote
control is provided so that passengers can program the unit even from
the back seat. ALL functions of the SP2610 are operable from
both the main unit and
the remote. Unfortunately (for the kids),
Garmin did not
choose to put any games in this model.
We think the StreetPilot 2610 has the best
USER INTERFACE we have seen in a car navigator. There are four push
buttons for major functions (PAGE/mark, MENU/route, FIND/recent, and
SPEAK/volume. (The first function requires a momentary button press,
the second requires that you hold the button in for about 2 seconds.) New to
SP-2610 is that it is designed without internal batteries and operates
ONLY when plugged into an external 10 to 24vdc power source.
Uniquely (to Garmin equipment), the SP2610 automatically turns ON and
OFF with the power application from its external power cord. A switch
is provided to turn the unit on and off manually as desired.
SP-2610 was designed from the ground up to economically replace
combination of GPS/Laptop Computer/Mapping
Software system that many use to maneuver around cities in the
Here a comparison
note with respect to the Magellan RoadMate 500/700 which is the direct
competitor of the SP2610. Both have plusses and minuses with
respect to features. The Magellan 700 is THE simplist to use of
any car navigator we have reviewed. It is also the only unit to have
"all USA maps" installed right out of the box. On the other
hand, it has far fewer "normal GPS features" as compared with the
SP2610/2650 series. The SP series has slightly better guidance
information in complex expressway interchanges and with optional memory
can also be configured to hold the entire USA and available Canadian
maps in a single Compact Flash memory card. Which one is "best"
depends 100% on your needs and on your interpretation of what features
are "essential". In this review, we will tell you about the
rich feature set of the SP2610/2650 units. Our Magellan RoadMate
review can be found in our product review listings.
Street priced at about $800 (Can be bought for up to $999), (Check
Latest Prices Here.) the SP-2610 is one of
lowest priced Automatic Car Navigator -and- One of the best performers.
With the SP-2610 and a copy of Garmin's
derived) CityNavigator 5 mapping program, a user will have the most
detailed highway and residential street level maps available for the
today. The USA coverage area for NavTech maps is
the entire USA plus a bit of Canada. The SP-2610 allows a
user to automatically route using both the CityNavigator maps and/or
Base Map. Thus, with a "routable base map", you can
automatically route from an address in New York City to San Francisco
with only CityNavigator map sections for NYC and SFO loaded. The
base map will provide information (and "road lock") for all highway
routing between metro areas. Garmin provides the only
autorouting system that I am aware of that can do this sort of
routing without the need to load intermediate maps as you go from one
NavTech region to another. (There are 10 NavTech regions in the
USA and Canada combined.) Garmin is shipping the SP-2600 with its new CityNavigatator 5/MapSource 5 map system. (CityNavigator
automatic routing maps are only
available for the USA, Europe and Australia as of Sept
tells us that they plan to have a City Navigator 5 release available
for Europe, but have no immediate plans for a CN5 version for
areas of the world. Note that with the huge (up to 2GByte)
map memory capability of the SP2610/2650 there is little reason
to worry if
your basemap is, say, for the USA and you want to load European
maps. Still, I would advise those in countries other than
the USA that having the basemap of your own area IS a great
convenience. As an example, European basemaps do a passable
job of covering Eastern Europe for which other maps are not available.
SP-2610 comes with a set of permanent "base maps" showing all state and federal
highways and major thoroughfares in towns
and cities throughout the USA and in fact North America as well. These basemaps can be used for
navigation on interstate and major highways so you do not have to load
detailed maps for your entire journey. As with In
addition, SP-2610 can be loaded with CityNavigator RESIDENTIAL street
level detail maps (furnished as part of the SP-2610 kit) of any USA area and (optional at extra cost) a variety of
overseas locations including much of Europe and many cities in Australia.
The large CF memory modules (standard/can be purchased locally) coupled
with the routable basemap can totally eliminate periodic map
loading. A 256meg cartridge can load detailed maps for about 10
states (varies with road density). Twice that for a 512meg CF cartridge. As a rough planning guide, a rule of thumb for
calculating storage card capacity is: 4 megabyte for every million
population in North America
maps include: CityNavigator (NavTech Maps, the best GPS routable
maps available in areas covered), MapSource MetroGuide USA (Etak
good maps but not quite as up to date as NavTech and only USA version
has autorouting capability within SP-2610). Roads &
Recreation, USA Topo, and WorldMap CD ROMs also work with SP2610, but
without automatic guidance. Probably most other Garmin maps will
load into the SP-2600, but Garmin supports only the above.
64, 128, 256, 512, 1GB and 2GByte megabyte CF memory cards are
available. Our recommended
minimum size is 128megs which is the size that comes bundled with the
StreetPilot 2610 is straightforward to use, and the manual is a bit
better than average. Still, there is no substitute for a
hours of "playing around" with the unit in consort with the
manual for quick learning and
discovery of available features.
The CityNavigator (NavTech) map offering is
necessary for the Automatic Address-to-Address routing to work to
address level. We have reviewed the VDO Dayton, and the
Datus RouteFinder A2A/VCO, and the prior StreetPilot III systems, the
Garmin iQue 3600 and
have used the Magellan
750Nav units. The SP-2610 provides automated guidance on a par with
any of these and in fact much more routinely gives routing "the same as
I would have chosen". A number of routing errors noted on the
prior SP-III have been corrected. Sometimes the route generated
OK", but after all, SP-2610 is just a machine. The
downside for SP-2610 as compared to the $3000 models is that many of
more expensive models have some sort of "dead reckoning" capability to
permit navigation to continue for short intervals when signals are
lost. Such signal loss can happen in "city canyons" such as NYC,
Chicago, LA, and London where high rise buildings can block the
This "dead reckoning" capability will be available in the (coming soon)
Garmin StreetPilot 2650. The 2650 will require a connection to
the automobile speedometer output and backup light to be able to
function in dead reckoning mode. Without these inputs, it will
function as a SP-2610 so it can be used portable as well as fixed
install. Connections for the speedometer and backup light signals
are located on the side of the speaker case. Note that the
SP-2650 will ONLY be sold by dealers who INSTALL the SP2650. This
is because Garmin feels that most people are prone to get into all
sorts of trouble if they attempt to find and interconnect with
under-the-dash car wiring.
As to CityNavigator map sizes, the
four central Atlanta "map chunks" are about 1.5 megabytes each, and
other area "map chunks" range from 400 kbytes to 2.0 mbytes. To see
EXACTLY what CityNavigator maps look like for YOUR area, click HERE and
select CityNavigator on the map viewer. Keep clicking on the
map until you get your area in whatever detail you want. You
can route to covered highway intersections just using the
basemap. The SP-2610 comes with a 128meg CF card, but as with
many things, MORE is better. The latest firmware version
for the SP-2610 can load up to 2025 "map chunks" and the entire CN5
takes 1050 "chunks" and
1.44Gbytes. It seems that the SP2610 will not run out of "map
capacity before you fill up your 2GByte CF card.
Selecting individual "map chunks" when
you want to load maps for 10 states can take quite awhile.
MapSource 5 has a new (slightly hidden) feature to make this
EASY. With the map tool selected in CN5/Mapsource 5, simply hold
down your mouse button and drag. You can go to this link and watch the MapSource tutorial, which will explain how the new LARGE AREA map selection feature works.
ROUTE GENERATION with SP-2610
with its GWS** mhz ARM processor is
the fastest I have seen on any stand alone GPS Car Navigator. On
route" the calculation of a 400 mile route usually takes about 5
to 10 seconds. This compares to close to a minute with the
SP-III. One trial route from Atlanta to an
address in Los Angeles took about 2 minutes with the SP-III and 20
seconds with the SP-2610 which seems extremely fast by
comparison. Offroute, reroute recalculation with the new "Partial
Reroute" algorithm typically takes about 1 second and it (generally)
tries to take you back as quickly as possible to your ORIGINAL
route. It does this the first THREE times it goes "off
route, recalculating". On the fourth "off route" it figures out
you are serious about not going back to the original route and does a
complete recalculate which on a local (25 mile) route usually takes
just a few seconds. (SP-III ver 2.50 is using this same algorithm
and it seems to be confusing some folks, but I personally like the
speed so much I am willing to put up with the first three reroutes not
necessarily taking you the optimum route. If you do not like the
"partial reroute" offered, you can always press the ROUTE key and then
CityNavigator offers the capability of
generating a route automatically
ON THE PC as well as within the SP-2610. This permits users
to generate a series of automatically generated routes and load these
into other Garmin GPS receivers as well as the SP-2610.
Frankly, using the PC is not the thing you will USUALLY do as the
SP-2610 is much easier and more convenient to use as compared with
generating routes on the PC and then
having to download routes to the GPS navigator. If you do
download routes to your SP2610, be prepared for it to leave your
and reroute you
the first time you leave the precalculated route UNLESS you turn off
automatic recalculate. The
CityNavigator (NavTech) maps offer
coverage of the covered USA Metro Areas AND much of the rural areas
with superior road detail.
Details as to which lane to be in and which way to turn onto exit ramps
at complex expressway interchanges is frequently included. The
a USB connection for map and data loading. Note: Garmin
tells us that MapSource version 5 has the capability of loading maps
much faster if you take the CF card out of the GPS and insert it into a
CF card reader/writer installed in your computer.
CN5 has a total of 1.414Gbytes of Data and 1050 map sections for those curious.
NMEA data I/O is NOT available on the
SP-2610. However, it IS to be available on a
separate-from-the-USB RS232 serial port on the SP-2650. This
RS232 port is designed to be used with certain OEM automobile
applications. The NMEA data format is to be NMEA 0183 ver
SP-2650 also has a TEXT OUT facility giving fixed column ASCII output
of position, track, speed, etc. The 2650 requires a sine wave or
square wave speedometer signal for operation. The older analog
speedo signal will not work. You should consult your car dealer
about this item BEFORE buying a model 2650.
Note: As of this
date, NO OTHER map products (from alternative vendors) can be
uploaded into Garmin GPS receivers except those offered by Garmin for
the purpose. This same proprietary relationship exists for other
vendor's consumer GPS products as well.
This new SP-2610 is designed principally
automobile use and its size, the high power drain, absence of an
internal battery, and
lack of off road or marine features make it unsuitable for hiking or
What's new in StreetPilot
The SP-2610 DELUXE kit contains: SP-2610
128meg CF memory Card, Speaker/power cable, USB data cable (for memory and
data load and NMEA output), Dash Mount Bracket, "bean bag" portable
mount, AC power module for use in loading memory,
CityNavigator 5 CDROM, and Manual.
The SP-2610 gets rid of almost
ALL of the error effects of GPS measurement error that bother so many
people. When you use CityNavigator the SP-2610
will "lock" your vehicle track to roads as long as
you travel on the road. (This feature does not operate with
MapSource R&R, USA Topo, or
WorldMap.) Automatically generated routes using CityNavigator maps
"rubber band" to the roads in the route. Once in a great
while, you may find an isolated road segment where the map is so
far off that road lock will jump off the road, but it is
rare. In addition, with the 2650, you get a built in acoustical
gyro which (when given an external speed input from your speedometer)
can give you precision car guidance even in downtown city areas where
buildings, trees, etc. block the signal for short periods. The
gyro recalibrates itself each time you make a turn onto a new
street/road so you can go for an indefinite time without the GPS
signal. (Maybe there is a new product hidden here.)
CityNavigator (and MetroGuide 4.01) maps is that (when not in
guidance mode) all
approaching cross street names are displayed prior to
arrival. Note that MetroGuide 5.x maps are really not too
useful in a SP2610 as they do not offer automatic route generation.
found the SP-2610 audio and visual guidance directions very
satisfactory. SP-2610 automatically varies its
"turn here" warning time to give you more warning time at
high speed than at lower speed. A typical audio/visual sequence
would go something like this:
all times, the map on the left half
of the screen shows your progress and a thick pink line shows your
project route on the map. On the right is the text information:
speed, time to go to next turn, distance to go to next turn
and written directions/information as needed. At any time, you can
press the "speak" key and get the latest directions in audio
form. The text information display on the right can be varied
from a white background (black letters) to translucent (so you can see
the map outlines through the background) to black translucent to black
(with white letters). The size of the text information display
be varied from about 1/3 of the screen to 1/5 to just the upper right
corner. This feature mix should have something everybody can be
happy with. A half screen "pop up" display appears
momentarily with information specific to the turn as you approach each
- <audio> In 1.5 miles exit right.
<screen> shows arrow to the right, distance to
go, speed, time to go and "Exit right to I-285 West"..
- <audio> In .3 miles exit
right. <screen> shows Exit Right to I-285.
- <audio> In 1.2 miles exit right
<screen> shows Exit Right to Roswell Road NE
- <audio> In .3 miles exit
right. <screen> shows Exit Right to Roswell Road NE.
- <audio> In 800 feet turn
left. <screen> shows Turn Left on Roswell Road NE.
- <audio> In 1.2 miles turn right.
<screen> shows Turn Right on Mt. Paran Road NE.
- <audio> drive .3 miles to
destination <screen shows .3 miles to destination.
- <audio> drive .1 miles to
destination on right. <screen> shows .1 miles and the destination
- <audio> destination 500 feet
ahead on right. <screen shows destination waypoint/address.
An alternative screen shows a listing of
turns to come. Another screen display is the trip computer.
AUTOZOOM zooms the screen
in and out automatically as you approach waypoints and turns so you
always have time to make
decisions. A blue pop up arrow on the left side shows distance to
go and direction of the turn as you approach a turn.
Route selections for CAR
or TRUCK or BUS, Motorcycle, Taxi, Delivery Vehicles, Bicycle,
Pedestrian, or EMERGENCY
vehicles are provided so you can be
properly routed depending on your
The accessory CityNavigator now features
about five million (USA) "points of interest" on board. These
and drink, Lodging, Attractions, Entertainment, Shopping, Services,
Transportation, and Emergency and Government. In our area, there
were a few restaurants we
had not known about and a few
prominent ones are missing. Despite some obvious updates
and additions, the
restaurant listing (still) appears to be about 2 years old.
Listed "Attractions" include theme parks, museums, schools, parks and
such. The listings were quite satisfactory
though the placement of a particular restaurant or
gas station might vary plus or minus a few hundred feet
(once, half a
mile) from the actual location.
This feature could be very handy in a strange city.
The user can give the GPS a Street Address
or Street Intersection or select one of the, for
instance, Restaurants in the accessory map data base
module and it will LOCATE this address or location automatically
and plot it on the map screen. The SP-2610 can then
automatically create a "turn-by-turn" route to this destination from
wherever you are. This is a very useful feature and it has worked
very well in our tests. Be prepared for a few well known items
(such as my local library) to be missing from the "attractions"
list. Still, if you are unfamiliar with an area, what
IS included will be quite useful.
Are 128 megabytes of MAP MEMORY enough?
SP-2610 has a map memory of 128megs "standard". We think the 128 megs will be enough for most users-- at least for starters. And..buyers
can purchase CF memory cards up to 1Gbyte (about $200) or 2GBytes ($650) if
more memory is needed. The fact that the full USA coverage
basemap can be used for navigation on interstates and major roads and
highways mitigates the need for full coverage of the high detail maps--
but... Personally we do like to have the full detail maps loaded just
in case we need services or a good restaurant while on the interstate
you need complete detail for a PARTICULAR city or rural
area you are going to visit, you can load (from your laptop or
other IBM type Personal Computer) high detail maps from
CityNavigator 5 into the CF memory card. Map Memory can be loaded
either via the USB cable or directly into the CF memory card using
MapSource and a CF card adapter and MapSource version 5.xx or later.
So.. If you are going from, say, Chicago to San Francisco and
back to Miami with a stop in Denver, you might load detailed maps
for the four urban areas of interest and let the basemap be your guide
for other areas and still have lots of empty memory in your user map
cartridge for other areas. The unit automatically transitions
from the basemap to the detailed maps when the detailed maps are
available and back again as you move out of the detailed map
areas. While it is quite easy to load new maps from a laptop
computer into your SP-2610, you could just have multiple map
cartridges and plug in a new (preloaded with maps) cartridge for
various areas if you did not have ready access to a computer on a
lengthy road trip.
We may not be able to afford the 2Gigabyte map memory we all wish for,
but smaller map memory is quite flexible and the basemap goes a long way toward making 128megs
of map memory sufficient for most users. That said, DO NOT
expect that the basemap is as accurate as the CityNavigator maps from
NavTech. There will be some areas where the map error is larger
than 150ft and the SP-2610 will think you are offroute and will claim
must recalculate. This is a minor irritation for some people but
if you just ignore the problem when it (fairly rarely) occurs, things
work out fine.
are the Technical
Specifications of the SP-2610?
500 with (up to) 10 character name and graphic symbol
(Autorouting does not use these waypoints.) Autonumbers each
waypoint but allows users to change waypoint name using remote control
or touch screen.
- Track log: 2000 track log points
- Trip Information Page: Speedometer, Resettable odometer,
Compass Ribbon (moving), time of day, driving time, stopped time, total
time, Multiple Mileage Logs, average and
- GPS Receiver: 12 parallel channel GPS
receiver continuously tracks and uses up to 12 satellites. (WAAS
not included and not needed as the SP2610/2650 have automatic road lock
to keep your cursor on the roadway.)
- Acquisition times: Warm: Approximately 15
seconds, Cold: Approximately 45 seconds, AutoLocate:
Approximately 2 minutes
- Update rate: 1/second, continuous
- Position Accuracy: Position: < 15 meters (49feet), 95%
clear sky view and good DOP
- Velocity accuracy: 0.05 meter/sec (.035mph) steady state
- Dynamics: 6g’s
- Interfaces: USB (ver 1.1) with NMEA 0183 version 3.01 (No RS232 serial port except on SP-2650 where it may not be "standard".)
- Antenna: Built in GPS antenna with external MCX-type connector
jack. Accepts external amplified antenna.
- Physical Size: 3.2"H x 5.6"W x 2.0"D (8.0 x 14.3 x 5.0
cm) (Slightly smaller than the SP-III)
- Weight: .93 pounds (420 g) (Just 2/3 the weight of the
- Display: Finger Touch Screen, 3.3"W x 1.7"H (8.4 x 4.4
cm), (305 x 160
pixels), high contrast, 256 color LCD with backlighting (Same
resolution as the SP-III screen but 0.1" smaller in each dimension.)
- Case: Rugged; fully gasketed to IPX-7 waterproof (only with
the CF card slot cover closed). Remote control NOT waterproof.
- Temp. range: 5°F to 158°F (–15°C to 70°C)
- Data storage: Indefinite; no memory battery required
- Map storage: Data cards store detailed map data. SP-2610
compatible with Compact Flash (CF) types I and II. Comes with 128
megs but can use 64 through 2048 meg (2GigaByte) standard CF
cards. Note: Garmin says it cannot guarantee that ALL CF
cards will work. We have tried Sandisk, Kingston, Mr. Flash, and Toshiba
branded and all worked OK.
- The SP-2610
uploads MapSource maps
at up to 12mbit/sec using the USB 1.1 port. Your throughput
will be less than this theoretical maximum speed. If your
computer is fast enough and not burdened by too many TSRs you might be
able to load maps at over half this maximum speed. You can
load even faster using MapSource 5 and a CF card adapter in your
laptop's PCMCIA slot.
Specific Questions Answered:
- Does the SP-2610 have
savings time? Yes, it works in the USA (only). Daylight saving
time rules in most of the rest of the world are too "flexible" to
make it practical to include other areas at this time.
- What is the battery life? The
SP-2610/2650 operate ONLY from an external source of 10 to 24vdc and
have no internal batteries.
the color screen viewable in
sunlight? Yes. We think the 26xx models have the best screen for
viewing in the car that we have seen. Naturally, Direct sunlight
washes it out a bit, but if it is in
your car on the dash, it is quite satisfactory in all conditions we
tested it in. If your screen is in DIRECT sunlight (say on a
Motorcycle) try adjusting the contrast. We have been able to get
a viewable screen image in direct sunlight by this means.
memory cartridges does it
use? SP-2610 comes with an industry standard 128meg Compact Flash (CF)
card, but Compact Flash memory
cards are currently available to 2 Gigabyte. We have not heard of
any standard CF cards failing to work and it does not seem necessary to
buy the (more expensive) high speed CF cards to achieve good map redraw
- Does SP-2610 have a trip computer like
earlier SP's? Yes but with more features.
- Is the SP-2610 the same size as the
SP-III? No. It is the same shape, but slightly smaller and lighter. It
uses the same mounts but has a different antenna connector, power
connector and data connector and has no batteries.
is the speaker for the audio
output? It is mounted on the power cable near the 12vdc power plug
(car end). The audio output comes from the same connector as
the power input. There are no external connector pins for
external audio output. Motorcyclists and others who want to tie
the SP2610 into their vehicle audio system will have to open the
speaker case and bring out the two speaker wires -or- break into the
speaker-to-GPS cable. ANY MODS SUCH AS DESCRIBED WILL TERMINATE
YOUR WARRANTY. The speaker wires in the cable are the brown and
white pair and they are "push pull" and neither should be referenced to
ground or noise pickup can result. The voltage across the speaker
wires is about 2.5v peak-to-peak at normal volume. I recommend
you locate a small 1:1 audio coupling transformer and use it to couple
into your motorcycle audio system. Radio Shack is one source of
such transformers. NEEDLESS TO SAY, making any such change
as this voids the warranty and if you cause any damage, Garmin is
not likely to look favorably on a warranty repair for your unit!
AND.. If you do not PRECISELY understand what is stated above,
don't attempt this modification! Garmin now offers a Motorcycle Mount Kit which is available with audio cables.
- Is there
enough audio volume available
to use SP-2610 in a noisy truck? In a <normal> car, we
judge the volume will always be ample. Audio is fine in a Ford
F-150 truck and we think it will work OK for a fairly noisy truck as
well, but you can always connect an external audio amp and speaker
or even earphones (will require opening the speaker case and voiding
the warranty and perhaps some additional connector/hardware).
- Is the audio clear and easy to
understand? Yes. We think the audio quality of the female
voice is quite clear and understandable. It also comes standard
in US English, UK English, Dansk, Nederland, Francais, Deutsch,
Italino, Espanol, Swedish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish,
Czech and Hungarian.
- Is there a MUTE switch for the audio?
Answer: Sort of. If you press VOLUME twice in
quick succession, it first goes to full volume, and then mutes and then
goes back where it was before. (Thanks to Mike Abrams.)
- Are the contrast and brightness
adjustable? Yes, there are about 10 brightness steps and
contrast control resolution is maybe 50 steps. The available
viewing angle of this new display is slightly more than in the SP-III
so both the driver and passenger can usually view the screen at the
same time (if the unit is placed in the middle of the dash and forward).
- Is CityNavigator included? Yes.
The USA SP-2610 kit includes "all region unlock" for the USA. Included in the USA
edition is unlock for the USA and Canada.
- Will my old SP (or SP-III) cable work
with SP-2610? No. The connectors are different and a new
speaker/power cable comes with SP-2610.
do I load map data in a
reasonable time? Using the USB cable with a 128meg card plugged into
the SP-2610, map loading time for a 128meg cartridge has varied from
been around 30 to 45 minutes at different times on my laptop
(Theoretical USB 1.1 speed is 12mbps which would give 128MBytes in
about 10 minutes but actual times will be less than this depending on
the capabilities of the machines on both ends of the circuit.) In
another test, a 256 meg cartridge load took: a) Build index
files 12 minutes, b) Build Map set 1.5 minutes, c) Download
249mbytes to GPS 45 minutes. This last with a 2.4Ghz computer
with CityNavigator maps loaded to the HD. People with slower
computers can expect proportionally slower map creation and loading
times. In every trial load, the maps selected had to be no
more than about 97.5% of the memory size or the map loader generated a
"maps too large for GPS"error and could not finish. For example,
the CN "map size estimate" of 249 mbytes was the largest "estimated
size" maps which would actually fit into a 256meg cartridge. These
approximately 256megs of maps covered Fl, Ga, SC, NC, TN, AL, and
Parts of La, and Va. You can also download
directly to a CF memory card and PCMCIA adapter installed using
MapSource 5 in a standard
PC. It is possible to fill a 512meg CF card with
maps in less than 15 minutes if you use this method in a regular PC
instead of using the USB port in the GPS.
- Does SP-2610 come with a dash
mount? Yes. Similar to the older SP-III mount with the same
mounting foot. Also included is a portable "bean bag" type
friction mount for use in rental cars or where a fixed mount is not
desirable. The portable mount seems pretty secure.
- Does SP-2610's "road lock" feature work
on the basemap? Yes. Can "road lock" be turned off in SP-2610?
No, It is ON with CityNavigator, with the basemap, and with
MetroGuide maps (USA)
and OFF otherwise.
- Can I upload/download
waypoints/routes/tracks to the SP-2610? Yes, using MapSource.
Third party applications such as G7ToWin and others will require I/O
protocol update for compatibility.
- Is <my> street shown on the new
CityNavigator maps? Garmin now has their MapViewer
working with CityNavigator shortly so you can check for your area.
- If I deviate from the calculated
route, what happens? SP-2610 can be set to automatically recalculate a new
route to your destination without operator intervention.
I "TrackBack" on a tracklog with
SP-2610? No. This feature is not supported. Instead, you would use
AUTOROUTE and enter the destination address -OR- you can use the
new feature called "Return to Start" that will take you back to
where your route started. It doesn't actually "backtrack", it
just recalculates a new routeback to where your current route originated.
many waypoints can be in an automatically generated route? I am not
sure. I have tried cross continent routes from Atlanta to Los
Angeles and they work fine. Waypoints created by automatic
routing do not reduce the 500-available user waypoints. User
waypoints can be used to initiate an automatic routeand/or add "Vias" to a route.
- Can I operate StreetAtlas 9 or 2003 externally with
Not unless Delorme comes up with a USB Garmin compatible driver and an
interface for Garmin's protocol.
- How do I upload SA8 Maps (or DRG, or
TravRoute or whatever) into SP-2610? You can't. No
way. Can't do it. Only Garmin maps can be uploaded into SP-2610. You
can connect SP-2610 to your laptop, and run CN5/Metroguide 5 on
your laptop and plot your travel path using your laptop if you want.
- Can I use my SP2610 on my airplaine?
Well.. I guess you can if you want road directions in your
airplane. :) One enthusiast says he has plugged his unit
into his 28vdc buss on his airplane and everything works fine.
Since the SP2610 is only rated for 10 to 24vdc input, this
obviously voids the warranty and so is not recommended.
- Does the SP-2610 allow entry of route
preferences? Yes. Options are: Avoid U-turns, Avoid
Toll Road, Avoid Highways, Avoid Unpaved Roads, Faster Time, Shorter
Distance, Quickest Calculation, Quick Calculation, Better Route,
Best Route, Off Road,
(turns off road lock and allows GOTO). Also, Calculate routes for CAR
or TRUCK or BUS, Motorcycle, Taxi, Delivery Vehicles, Bicycle,
Pedestrian, or EMERGENCY
vehicle. (No.. We do not know where the pedestrian or bicycle
rider will get his 12volts at 1/2 amp power.)
- Then exactly how do you figure out how
many "turns" can be in one route? Garmin says: There is not a
limit to the number of turns per se. Along
a route -- there are several types of points that are
"dropped". The first being via points. The second are
"guidance points" - where a user basically has to make a decision on
which way to go (keep left, etc.), and the third are "nodes". Nodes are
dropped along a route every time a road classification, name
change, turn, etc.... There are a max of 1200 "nodes". If you
are creating a route along an interstate, there won't be very many
"nodes" dropped, because all the attributes of the road stay the same
(for the most part). But, once you begin adding in lots of via
points, where the detail of the map gets very complex, then there are
more and more "nodes" dropped. "Nodes" are not seen by the
user. Basically, they do show up if a person were
writing third party software and sucks out the NMEA data, but that is
the only place a user would see it.
- Can I buy a SP-2610 in the USA (to save
euros) and then use it in Europe (or Australia) using CityNavigator
maps. Yes. But a USA purchased unit will have a USA basemap
and the European basemap(such as it is) will be essentially not
useful. The reverse is also true. If you are in Europe with
a USA basemap, this means you will have to load maps from
CityNavigator for your entire journey if you want autorouting all the
way. This all works just fine. But, if you have the European
basemap, you would only have to load the start city area and the
destination city area of interest. The basemap could be used for
routing in between. It
<IS> useful to have the basemap for
your principal area of interest, but you can get along without
it. ESPECIALLY now that you can have a 2GByte CF Map Memory Card. It is possible to install MapSource World Map as an underlay in
conjunction with European CN5 for high detail roads if you have a USA
SP-2610 and want to take a trip in Europe. (Thanks to John Grantham for confirmation.)
about MetroGuide Europe? Australia? Can
I use it for Autorouting in Europe same as MetroGuide USA can be used
for Autorouting in the USA? No. MetroGuide Europe has
autorouting capability but ONLY in the PC. MetroGuide
Australia is not able to autoroute on either the PC or in a StreetPilot
or iQue. The initial edition of MetroGuide USA equipped with
capability because (at that time) CityNavigator USA did not have
complete USA map coverage. The latest MetroGuide USA does not offer
autorouting on the GPS, only on the PC. Now with CN 5.01, CN has
map coverage as does CN Europe for covered European states. CN
Australia does not have full
I add VIAs to influence SP-2610 to
do a route "my way"? Answer: Yes. You can add as many vias
as you want in the 2610. The new firmware version 2.95 beta has
greatly enhanced via editing and now makes it possible for you to
pretty much set up a route the way you want and easily make minor edits
when you want. You can select Vias from Waypoints, Stored
Addresses, POIs, etc.
- I want a GPS for use in my Car, for Hiking, for
OFFROAD driving, and for MARINE use. Will SP-2610 do the job for
me? No! We do not recommend the SP-2610 for any of your
proposed applications EXCEPT for Car Navigation ON ROADS which SP-2610
optimized for and where its performance is quite good. For Offroad
driving, the unit provides no guidance directions and it only
operates as an electronic map showing your position on the map. The
same is true for Hiking and for Marine use. For Hiking, the story is
even worse since the 2610 has no internal battery. In general there is
no GPS which is optimized for
all your proposed applications, but the Garmin GPS-V is
about the best compromise I know of in a stand alone GPS unit.
- Is it possible to use a SP-2650 (with internal Gyro feature)
in an automobile without the speedometer and backup light connection as
I might want to do in a rental car? Yes. Leave off the
speedometer connection and the unit will operate same as the SP-2610 in
a temporary installation.
Long does it take to generate and download an ENTIRE CityNavigator 5
map set (all USA/Canada/Alaska/Hawaii) to a 2GByte CF data card and how
much space does it take? Answer: Thanks to Garmin Dealer
GPSNow.com for loaning us a 2GByte CF Memory module to test. In
loading the full 1.44GBytes into the CF card (using a PCMCIA to CF card
adapter instead of the USB into the SP-2610), the time broke down
approximately as follows: Map Creation Time ~ 2 hours, Map
Indexing Time ~ 2 minutes, Map Data Transfer Time into CF module using
a PCMCIA to CF adapter ~ 20
minutes. This using a 1.8GHz laptop with 512megs of memory.
Slower and Faster computers will take more and less time. Rumors
that it takes longer to compute routes if you have a 2GByte CF card
instead of <say> a 256MByte CF card are simply false. I
measured 21 seconds to compute a route from Atlanta to Hendersonville
Tennessee using both the 256MB and the 2GB cards. It does take
maybe 30 seconds on power up to load the 1050 map indexes on the 2GB
card as compared with just a few seconds for the 150 indexes I have on
my 256MB card. Garmin seems to have done all their work
very well in getting route computation time down to reasonable.
- Does the SP-2610 have a DETOUR FEATURE to reroute you around
road work and other obstructions? Yes. You can select
various distance values and the SP-2610 will leave your current route
at the first opportunity and take you the "best available" alternate
route for your selected detour distance and then compute an optimum
reroute for the remainder of your journey.
- If I create a route on MG-4.01 and download it to SP-2610
(turning off automatic reroute) will it Audio and Video anunciate
and execute the route just as normal for SP-2610? Answer: Using
MetroGuide USA, version 4.01 the StreetPilot 2610 will route and voice
communicate just as with the CityNavigator data. When you download
a route to the unit from MapSource using MetroGuide or CN data you do
need to be right at the start point otherwise you may get an off-route
- Which of the
mounts for the StreetPilot III will the SP-2610/2650 fit? The SP 2610
base fits perfectly into the Garmin stick-on base and beanbag base used
for the SP III. But, it will require a different Touratech mount, it
won't fit in the SP III Touratech mount. The new SP2610 Touratech
mount (about USD$130) is very well made and can be seen HERE.
I operate the SP-2610 touch screen with my gloves on? In the rain? In
the rain with gloves on? Yes. The touchscreen works just fine with
gloves on, works just fine with wet gloves on, works just fine with wet
gloves on when riding in the rain on a motorcycle. No problems reported
with using this new GPS on a motorcycle.
the SP-2610 compatible with the IBM/Hatachi MicroDrive unit which can
be plugged into a CF memory card slot? Answer: Yes.
The IBM/Hitachi unit is compatible. However, it is reported
that the "MagicStore" brand of MicroDrive units IS NOT compatible and
that there are no plans to make them work with the 2610/2650.
(Joe says: A microdrive seems ill advised in the environment of a car's
dash. The unit will get lots of vibration and disk drives do not
have long lives in high vibration. Stick with the CF card FLASH
memories if you can.)
- Will the
SP-2610 operate properly with an XM Radio in the car? Answer:
Generally Yes. It is known to work OK with "aftermarket" Sony and
Delphi SkyFi XM radios as well as all of the OEM XM radios we have
heard about. The only problem reported to us has been with the
Delphi Roady radio and a SP-III. The Delphi Roady model is said
to have caused interference to the Garmin SP-III until cables were
separated and rerouted between the two units.
is the difference between the new SP-2620 and the SP-2610?
Answer: The 2620 is Garmin's answer to the Magellan RoadMate
700. They have simply added a micro Hard Drive (about 2.2GBytes)
to the 2610 and pre-loaded all of the USA and available Canada
CityNavigator Maps onto the hard drive. The 2620 is designed for
the "computer unready" people who would rather not have to interact
with a computer to load maps. My personal preference would be for
a 2610 with a 2 GByte Compact Flash memory card, then load all of the
CN maps into that. The vibration and general environment in a car
is not ideal for longevity of any HD.
there a sturdy motorcycle handlebar mount for the SP-2610/2650?
Answer: Yes, Garmin has a new model and RAM is reported to have a new version as well. See the Garmin model HERE.
StreetPilot 2610/2650 Feature and
We do not recommend SP for hiking or marine
activities due to its reduced feature set optimized for automobile use.
The SP-2610 used for this
review includes no basemaps outside the Northern part of the Western
Hemisphere. The unit has has a rudimentary political map for the
world but essentially no roads are shown outside Canada, USA and Mexico
and Central America. . The basemap of North America
includes maps of USA interstate, national, primary and secondary
state highways, cities,
larger towns, waterways, rivers, and
coastlines and high population parts of Canada and Mexico. (Note: See Garmin Base Maps
for more information on Base Map content.) Base Maps are
included in the SP-2610's internal memory while USER Uploadable
Street Maps on CD
ROM provide street level or topo detail of user selected areas which
are loaded to the 64meg to 2048meg (2GByte) CF memory
Additional SP-2610 features
The trip computer is improved beyond the
SP-III. With SP-2610, you will
notice that, like the SP-III, when you come to a stop, the estimated
times do not go to
infinity, but hold a realistic value. The GPS calculates estimated
times based upon road classes
in your Route and modifies the estimation by your actual
speeds on the various road classes. It also computes
the actual road distance between turns (waypoints) instead of
using straight line distances. The results give fairly
accurate estimated time to various points, even when using different
road classes, like traveling on the freeway, and then exiting later on
some local roads. Your estimates will not only be
based upon your current highway speed, but by the combination of
speeds you are using, or will be using on the various road
classes. We note that the SP-2610 was within 10 minutes on one
400 mile highway drive we made after it "learned" our driving speed
The GPS has the standard HOST
mode which allows the upload/download of
waypoints, routes, tracks, etc., OR use the GPS for
tracking with the NMEA output WITHOUT having to change from GARMIN to
NMEA mode and vice versa. The SP external power/data
cable and active antenna MCX connections are different from other Garmin
GPS equipment including earlier StreetPilot models. It is
doubtful that as of September 2003 any third party software is
available to interconnect with Garmin's USB data port on the SP-2610..
data fields, on the main display screens ARE configurable.
By pressing the MENU button, and tapping Tab Setup, you can select
Customer Tabs from the Mapping option as a Tab Style. While still
on that page, you then press the MENU button again, and you can choose
which tab data field you would like to configure and chose from a list
of optionsthat will be listed.
includes: Recent Finds, Cities, Exits, Addresses,
Intersections, Points of Interest, Food, Lodging, Services,
Entertainment, Attractions, Shopping, Transportation, Emergency
and Government and Waypoints. However, some of
locations of restaurants, hotels, etc. are misplaced by
considerable distances. Since the data is at least a year
old, some businesses are "missing" but overall the data is quite
accurate and useful.
When not routing, a "Driving Status"
line on the Map display indicates such
information as "Driving South on Roswell Road near
This can be quite useful in cities where you don't
exactly know which street you are on. Also as you are driving, the name
of each approaching side street is displayed allowing finding side
streets in the dark.
A photocell in the rear of the unit senses ambient light level and automatically dims/brightens the display as needed.
Datums- The 2610 (like the SP-III) only
provides WGS-84 so any external mapping program which
cannot use WGS-84 directly OR convert WGS-84 to its required datum will give larger than normal map
45 ICONS are available in the SP-2610
to identify user waypoints and mark routes. Icons include
airport, bank, boat ramp, car, dam, post office to zoo for a total of
pricing of the SP-2610 is about US
$800 or less and includes: 128 meg memory cartridge, speaker/power
cable, CityNavigator CDROM (full USA/Canada license), Glue down mount,
Bean Bag (portable) mount ( which we find works amazingly well on
curved dashboards), USB data interface and cable, AC 12vdc
PSU for indoor use loading maps
Since we wrote the
review, there have been a number of software updates some with
major feature enhancements. Version 2.95 (beta) has some of the
more useful updates including:
daylight savings time is now available for the whole world.
2) Time zones by
name for the entire world are now available (all with DST
3) At tight zoom
levels (300 meters or less when set to default map settings) the residential
streets are now drawn with a thicker white pen, this makes it much easier for us
"over 45" types to read them. Also, the arrows that guide you through the
turns in the "next turn" popup boxes are also drawn with bigger arrowheads and
hollow bodies, which makes them much easier to read.
(Satellite Based Augmentation Systems), including the American WAAS
(Wide Area Augmentation System) and the European EGNOS (European
Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) systems, are now supported.
This feature is actually unnecessary for Car Navigation with the SP2610
due to the availablility and normal use of the roadlock feature,
but enough customers apparently asked why it was not included so
that it became a "marketing essential" feature. If you know where
your car is to within 10 feet or to just 25 feet, it is not going
to make much difference.
5) You can now find
waypoints that are "along your route", which means if you are searching for a
bathroom on an interstate highway, it will only find bathrooms that are both
ahead of you, and on your side of the road.
For a complete list of software enhancements, see HERE.
Features and Operation
The SP-2610 has a direct and easy to use
routing system. The user:
The SP-2610 has essentially NO CAPABILITY for
off road guidance. It is not suitable for Marine or Hiking
use. (You can do a GOTO if you select OFF ROAD as your routing
- Enters an address, an
intersection, select a restaurant, hotel, or other Point of
Interest using the TOUCH SCREEN or IR remote control for data entry.
- selects ROUTE to it
- SP-2610 automatically generates a route
to your destination and cues the user with both audio and visual
The SP-2610 operates (only)
from external power in the range of 10 to 24 volts
DC. The SP-2610 uses FLASH memory internally and has no
battery. The LED backlit display lighting has a
rated design life of 100,000 hours. The SP shuts down when power
is removed and (uniquely for Garmin equipment) turns back ON when external power
is restored. (Assuming the rocker power switch is ON.)
A special Power/Speaker cable is supplied
with SP-2610. The data/power cable used is NOT the same as
any prior Garmin cable connector. You will need the (industry standard) USB DATA
cable (furnished) to load maps into your SP-2610 and/or to upload/download
routes/waypoints/tracks to your PC computer. There is NO
capability with the SP-2610 for a standard RS-232 serial
cable. The SP-2650 WILL have an added RS232 data port for special uses.
The external antenna connector, a MCX coax
jack, is located on the right rear of the
unit just behind the keys. The MCX jack is powered (nominal 2.7 volts no load in our unit) and
has a current limit rated at 25 ma to protect the unit from
shorts on the antenna cable. The normal antenna is built inside the
unit and is not removable as in prior StreetPilot units. The
Garmin GA-27C (Garmin part number 010-10052-05) amplified
antenna, some from Tri-M, and other 3 volt rated antennas
work with the SP-2610. We
believe most other 3 volt antennas will work as well.
The SP-2610 does not support
NMEA-0183, DHCP and RTCM. The SP-2650 will include NMEA but
definitions are not now available. Garmin has included its
standard HOST MODE and no other option.
Operating temperature range is specified as
-15C to +70C. Unique in their class, Like Garmin handheld GPS receivers, SP is rated submersible to
one meter per IEC529 IPX(7) with gasketed memory door closed. The maximum altitude rating is
60,000ft and speed maximum is 999 knots.
The SP-2610 has a large number of
features and displays. These include:
- The MAP SCREEN
may include the MAP, plus (depending on operating mode),
Current location and road,
current speed display, heading, arrival time, time to next
run, and Next Turn display. These are user selectable/adjustable as to
color(B/W and density), presence and size and (to some extent) which
items are displayed. At TURNS, a colored arrow on the
left side of the screen will make right angles
or whatever angle is appropriate for the turn. Distance to the
turn is indicated beside the arrow. A large "pop up window" on the right will give special turn information about the upcoming turn.
moving map display is provided
to plot your course over ground. Outside of Canada, Mexico
and the USA,
base maps (on the USA models) are generally
less detailed. Waypoints saved in the
machine are displayed on the moving map page as they come within range
of the map scale selected. The map
screen has pan and zoom and scales from 120 feet (1/2 inch)
to about 800 miles (screen width). You can slide your FINGER on
the screen to PAN the screen in any direction as desired.
Pressing the UPPER LEFT corner of the touchscreen will put the GPS back
into regular "tracking mode". Automatic routing voice commands
continue during panning if you are executing a route.
- Route start/finish points can also
be generated from user
waypoints, city waypoints, points of interest, street
addresses and street/road intersections. There
appear to be 7 layers of map detail in the
base map and perhaps 7 more in the street level
- The map display may be set to north up,
or current track up. The map display provides an array of user
features such as AUTOZOOM, Map DETAIL control, Tracklog on/off,
Street label size,
Railroads on/off, North up/Track up,
Display waypoint/exit/POI controls, city/town text size
display map features such as restaurants, hotels, shopping
stations, tourist attractions, entertainment centers
and similar. The map screen also supports zoom and pan
features. On the SP2610, user waypoints can have
one of 43 symbols such as boat,
house, gas pump, etc. When you are
moving, an "arrow" pointer shows your direction
and leaves a "cookie trail" showing your track. Map accuracy is superb
on the CityNavigator maps in the
- The automatic guidance system USER
a big improvement over the earlier SP-III models. You can typically
enter and address and set up a new route in perhaps 30 seconds using the finger touch screen
- A simulator feature provides
display of simulated motion and simultaneously outputs simulated
tracking data to your
computer for test of mapping software, data gathering
simulations and such. However, the simulator can only follow
established routes and cannot just be set up to travel in
some user selected direction. This seems OK since the SP is designed to
facilitate automated automobile navigation which requires the input of
route. If you are in simulator mode and turn off
power, a power ON automatically restores normal mode
- There is no screen back lighting
timer feature in SP-2610.
- A colored screen arrow and distance to
go number pops up to show approaching next turn.
- When the unit is powered
ON, a Garmin introductory screen comes on followed by a screen giving
information on Memory Card data, then a Warning not to enter
information while driving, then after a timeout, you go to the map
display page. There is no need for manually pressing any buttons
to get to the navigation screens. You CAN press the OK button a
couple of times to speed up getting to the main display if you wish.
- The signal strength bars are box outlined in black if the GPS has found the SV
and has not yet downloaded ephemeris data and changes to solid black
when data is received from
each satellite in turn. Each signal strength bar
is marked with the associated satellite number. On the
polar plot, SV numbers are black on white when locked and white on
black background when locked.
- Waypoints may be named with
a ten character name plus a symbol (boat, gas pump,
etc.) which may be selected from a library of 45
symbols. The GPS permits you to select any waypoint
from the list and have the map "jump" to it.
SP has a multiple
track log system. Total track log
storage provides 2000 trackpoints. It is not possible
to "track back" along a
cookie trail with the SP-2610 but you CAN press RETURN TO START and a
route back to your starting point will be generated automatically..
SP-2610 does not have (or
need) WAAS, nor does it offer DGPS. Instead, SP-2610 locks
you to the nearest ROAD (in on-road navigation mode) and this is more
exact (since maps are more imperfect than the GPS signal accuracy) for
road navigation purposes.
- External I/O signal modes
available are: Text Out, Garmin Data
Transfer (includes GARMIN and NMEA capabilities all in
one).. NMEA $GP sentence output list for the SP-2650
is (likely going to be): BOD, GGA, GLL, GSA, GSU, RMB, RMC, RTE, and WPL.
- Proximity waypoints are not
provided in the SP and North is always "true" north (no
Magnetic/True North heading reference
selection). USER GRIDS are NOT supported in
- When navigating a ROUTE, the pointer
points along the road in the correct direction
of travel. This happens EVEN IF the road is curvy and makes
many changes in direction. This is in
contrast with conventional ROUTE technology which has
the pointer constantly pointing at the NEXT WAYPOINT
(TURN). As each turn is approached, the SP delivers
a verbal warning
and a special POINTER automatically indicates the proper turn
direction and the command line switches to the next waypoint (turn) in
route list. There is no concept of "reversed route" in SP-2610. Each
automatically generated route is from "where you are
now" to a fixed destination. Each destination you want to travel
to is selected from one of user waypoints, POI, addresses, street
- The SP has touchscreen ZOOM in/out (+
buttons on the left size of the screen. You access by pressing
the lower left corner of the screen and get rid of the zoom
buttons by pressing the N in the upper left corner. Zoom
permits easy expansion or contraction of the map
display as needed.
- The SP offers 45 different waypoint
symbols for pictorially identifying waypoints.
This feature permits the user to show such objects as
anchors, boats, gas pumps, houses, cars, fish, etc., to
waypoints on the map display.
- Waypoint MARK is
available in the SP-2610. Waypoint AVERAGING is available in 2.20 software and later.
Subjective Observations of
- The SP is rated submersible to one meter
for 30 minutes like all
current Garmin handheld GPS receives in accord with IEC-529 IPX(7).
- You can FIND
waypoints by NAME, and you can review the "most recently used"
- The SP display can only be
operated in the HORIZONTAL display mode which is in keeping with its
design an automotive GPS
- There is a neat "zoom in" feature in the
2610. you can "draw a rectangle" with your fingertip so as to
zoom the map in. This is very handy. Just push the scale
button in the lower left (this brings up the tool palette along the
left side), then press the bottom icon to change it from a "hand" to a
"Magnifying Glass". Now, put your fingertip on the screen, and
move it diagonally. This will draw a rectangle, and when
you release your fingertip, the screen automatically zooms in on the rectangle you have drawn.
I have tested the SP on roads
and highways of North Georgia and Atlanta including several
interstate trips. Our SP has worked properly at all times as far
as we could tell.. Generally,
tracking worked well. No 3rd party support software or map
software is compatible with the SP-2610/2650 at this time.
The SP performed on a
par with other GPS units in every test for lock
stability, multipath performance, re-lock after
an underpass, and ability to suddenly change direction
without loss of lock. The SP laid down
smooth tracks on our highway maps during all
tests. No gaps, jumps, etc. (The SP-2610 has data
smoothing like the SP-III.)
We note that all SP models including the
SP-2610 have a form of
"dead reckoning" for moments when signal dropouts occur. For instance,
if the SP-2610 is tracking along and just before a sharp turn you
invert it and block its antenna, it will continue to track straight for
seconds. It also provides a very good data
smoothing filter to throw out random fixes that are
way off track. This results in an exceptionally smooth track on a
moving map display even with the "road lock"
option turned off. Even with this filter, there was no
apparent during quick stops, sharp turns, and similar
maneuvers when normal continuous tracking was taking place.
SP-2610 performance under tree cover
and city canyon conditions was about the same as the earlier
SPs, G-V, G-II+, G-12XL, and we rate that
as very good.
We found the display controls easy to
learn and use. The overall 2610 system is quite comprehensive and
complex. However, what the average user has to work
with on a day-by-day basis is very simple to understand and
manipulate. Users will find it much easier and faster to use than
similar data entry features on the SP-III. The menu system and
generally quite intuitive and easy to learn to use.
Since the SP-2610 and SP-III exhibited
essentially identical tracking performance in our
tests, we did not perform the extensive field
trials we made with the G-12XL, EE,
and others. For more information on
tracking results with our testing of the G-12XL, and
the G-II+, etc., see our reviews at: http://gpsinformation.net
Our overall impressions are that the
StreetPilot 2610 is a new
generation of low cost Automobile Navigation
Systems. While it is not the least expensive of the truly automatic
contained address-to-address car navigation systems (SP-III, iQue 3600, G-60C
and some other PDA based systems are less expensive), we consider the
SP-2610 to be the best in the low price class of Car Navigators. At about US$800, (Check
Latest Prices Here.) we think the SP-2610 is a great product for the money. In
fact, we think the GUI is the easiest to use of any car
navigator we have tested with the exception of the Magellan
Roadmate which has fewer features. With the SP-2610 and its optional
CF Map Memory Card, I believe we can eliminate
having to use paper maps for automobile road navigation (in the covered
areas of the world).
*What DON'T we like about
the StreetPilot 2610? 1)
As with other Garmin Car Navigators, entering street names can be
a problem. You might know a street name as AC Lewis Road, Ac
Lewis Road, or A C Lewis Road or Baywater or Bay Water or
Baewater and the spelling may/may not match the
local convention. The user MUST spell it like the Garmin/NavTech
database or the address cannot be found. This can lead to not
being able to find a street that you know is there. NavTech tells us that their convention is to run
initials together and use caps, so you might try that if you get
stumped with a street name with initials. 2)
POIs are often in "groups". There may be several groups of
restaurants by the same name (different franchises I am guessing) and
you do not readily know in which group the closest
store can be found. 3) POI
groups are incomplete (though they are VERY helpful). I find that
some post offices and libraries in my local area are not included, but
MOST are. 4)
On occasion, we see the router
generate "funny routes" such as taking a busy numbered federal highway
instead of a nearby freeway. Overall, the SP-2610 performs
as well or better than other Car Navigators we have used. NavTech tells me that these problems WILL be looked at if users will go to http://update.navtech.com and fill out the report form. Lets ALL do it! 5)
During Installation, you MUST install the MapSource software BEFORE you
plug in your GPS or things will not go smoothly. It is also
necessary to handle each disk more than once during installation.
Which GPS do I like to use now
when I go on automobile trips? The
StreetPilot 2610. Would I take it hiking or boating? No.
If anyone has any
additions, questions, suggestions, error
corrections other comments, please feel free to Email.
Notes: (*) Freshly changed items.
(**) means Garmin Won't Say.