07 August 2010

Garmin Nuvi 755T

I purchased a Garmin Nuvi 755T two or three years ago and for the most part I've been fairly satisfied.  I even bought a life-time map subscription for it, though recently I've been wondering if that may have been a mistake.  Why is that?  Read on!

First, I have to say that 90-95% of the time the 755T does what I want a portable GPS to do... give me driving directions.  I forget whether the 755T has additional features like playing music or showing pictures, features I could care less about.  I picked up the 755T because it came with both Canada and U.S.A. maps, had a decent screen size (at the time) and had reasonably positive reviews.

Unfortunately, the map updates haven't been entirely successful.  I say that because I know of three different big-chain, international retail store locations in my area that the 755T places on the wrong side of the street.  This despite updating my maps less than a month ago and the locations being there for years.  I know a Sony Style location where my GPS takes me to the completely wrong exit with no Sony Style in sight.  No shopping mall, either.

All of the above I can live with.  What now has me doubting the longevity of the Garmin Nuvi 755T are two incidences which I describe as epic fails.  Actually, perhaps I should say three instances, though the third may be partly my fault, too.

  1. Last year sometime I was in Niagara Falls, NY little more than one hour drive from my home in the Land of Tim Hortons.  The 755T had been completely successful guiding me there.  The EPIC FAIL occurred when I tried to get the 755T to guide me back home.  The route calculation stopped at 99% and no further.  I turned the GPS off, waited a couple minutes, turned it back on, and it still wouldn't work, still stuck at 99%.  In disbelief I repeated this process with no improvement in outcome.  It was quite a quandary.  Since I'd followed the GPS directions to get there I hadn't paid particular attention to the roads I'd taken, making back-tracking problematic.  Anywhoo, to cut this particular story short, I eventually managed to find my way back, though along a different and longer route than I'd hoped.  Once I got home I was so frustrated I ignored the 755T for a while, and when there was a firmware update the 755T worked again, so I thought the problem solved.  Not quite.
  2. Fast forward many months and full moons.  My 755T FAILED AGAIN in the exact same city.  I was once again in Niagara Falls, NY, and once again when trying to get directions home the 755T route calculation stuck at 99%.  AGAIN.  Something very strange is happening with Niagara Falls, NY.  I purchased the 755T when I was still living in the U.S.A. and it worked (except for a time in the dead of night somewhere in PA where I lost all satellite signal for a critical 5 minutes or so, sending me off in the completely wrong direction).  So... something odd with Niagara Falls, NY.  This incident wasn't quite so stressful because I had a clearer memory of how to get back to Whirlpool Bridge.  This time I managed to "recover" my GPS while on the QEW.  Simply powering off, waiting a couple minutes, powering on again still didn't work.  Here's what did work for me:  My GPS was powered up and plugged in to the 12V outlet.  I pulled out the 12V adapter and let the GPS shut itself off automatically after the 30 second countdown.  I left it off for at least 10 minutes.  I turned it back on and the 755T was back to normal, no longer stuck at 99% and I could now successfully get new directions.
  3. This last incident I'm going to relate was partially my fault.  I was on the U.S.A. side of Niagara Falls.  I was 10 minutes away from Whirlpool Bridge, my preferred border crossing.  I asked the 755T for directions to the bridge and was on my way.  This is where blame rests partially on me.  I glanced at the "time to destination" on my GPS and saw "10" so I thought, good, it's correct.  I should have looked more closely but I was on the road for about 20 minutes before I realized the indicator was saying ten HOURS and not ten minutes.  Eh?  What had happened was that the 755T was guiding me to the Canadian side of Whirlpool Bridge without actually taking me across Whirlpool Bridge.  Mind boggling.  As far as I could gather in my stressed out state, it was taking me far, far, far north to cross the border, then all the way back south to reach the Canadian side of Whirlpool Bridge.  Turning off the 'avoid toll roads' feature didn't do anything.  No amount of swearing and re-routing fixed the problem.  Nowadays I have two addresses programmed in for Whirlpool Bridge -- one for the Canadian side and one for the U.S.A. side.  If I'm in NY going to Canada I get directions using the latter, if I'm in Canada heading to the U.S.A I have the 755T use the former address.
  4. Oh, yeah.  I updated maps plus firmware several days ago.  Yesterday, in the midst of a single trip the 755T asked me to input my PIN... TWICE.  What's even more odd is that the audio directions apparently still worked; it was just the map/picture that was kaput until I re-input my PIN.  Not the most convenient thing to do while driving at highway speeds.
The 755T works adequately in the Land of Tim Hortons and Toronto,  It worked fine in the Washington DC beltway and surrounding environs.  It worked fine for two round-trips driving from DC to Canada, but as I said something strange is going on with Niagara Falls, NY.  All of this has made me start wondering whether I should get a new portable GPS, and if so whether getting another Garmin (but different model) would just be asking for trouble.

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