Garmin StreetPilot i3 Portable GPS Navigator
 
List Price: $428.99

Our Price: $168.95

You Save: $260.04 (61%)

 

Product Description

Package Includes:StreetPilot i3, windshield mount, 12V power adapter cable, USB cable
The Garmin StreetPilot i3 is a compact, affordable GPS that makes any trip easier. The bright TFT color display and built-in speaker let you follow along with mapping directions, while having instructions read to you, so you never have to take your eyes off the road. Offers 3D mapping perspective or overhead 2D view Up to 6 hours battery life on two AA batteries Includes vehicle suction cup for easy adjustment and quick release USB interface Dimensions(WxHxD) - 3 x 2.74 x 2.15 Weight - 5.3 oz.

No larger than a baseball and priced with affordability in mind, the StreetPilot i3 GPS navigation system is a great fit for commuters, college students, and corporate travelers looking to experience the ease and enjoyment of satellite navigation for the first time. Don't let the small size fool you; the i3 boasts many of the same powerful functions as Garmin's premium vehicle GPS navigators. The StreetPilot i3 features a unique and convenient click-to-enter scroll wheel and a Back button that makes it easy to select a destination from the unit's menu-driven interface. It also offers voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions through a built-in speaker, and should you miss a turn, the i3 will automatically recalculate the route to put you back on course. And perhaps most conveniently, the unit moves easily from vehicle to vehicle thanks to the integrated suction cup mount, so you don't need to go through a cumbersome process each time you change cars.

To get you from point A to point B, the StreetPilot i3 includes a MapSource City Select North America NT DVD, which contains mapping detail of the entire U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The DVD's nearly six million points of interest range from hotels and restaurants to gas stations and ATMs, along with local attractions such as amusement parks and museums. Simply load the City Select data onto the included 128 MB Transflash data card via a fast USB connection and you're set.

As an added benefit, you can now import customized points of interest with the help of Garmin's free POI Loader software. For instance, you can upload safety cameras or school zones, and then receive a warning if you are traveling too fast in these areas. In addition, an optional proximity-alert feature notifies you of upcoming custom POIs. Maps are displayed on the i3's 32,000-color, sunlight-readable TFT, which includes a backlight for difficult lighting conditions. Motorists even have the choice of multiple perspectives--either a 3-D mapping angle or an overhead bird's-eye view. For added convenience, drivers can power the unit with either two AA batteries (six hours, typical use) or the included 12-volt adapter cable.

The StreetPilot i3 measures 3 by 2.74 by 2.15 inches (W x H x D) and is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

What's in the Box
StreetPilot i3, America's Lite Routable base map, City Select North America DVD, PC/USB cable, 12-volt adapter cable, vehicle suction-cup mount, dashboard adhesive disk, 128 MB Transflash data card, setup guide, user's manual.

Features:
  • WAAS-enabled 12-parallel-channel vehicle GPS navigator with suction-cup mount
  • Built-in speaker offers voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions via intuitive menu-driven interface
  • Includes City Select North America DVD, with nearly 6 million points of interest in U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico
  • 128 MB Transflash data card receives mapping data; 32,000-color sunlight-readable TFT display
  • Runs on 2 AA batteries or included 12-volt adapter cable; 3 x 2.74 x 2.15 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty
Customer Reviews:
  • PIECE OF JUNK
    when it works (very rarely) it is fine. i have had problems with this unit within a year of purchase. it has trouble locking into satellites. yes, i tried all garmin's suggestions. been working with them for 8 months. tried everything, sent back to mfger, installed new software updates, the 3 button trick away from buildings, blah blah. garmin is stalling. let's see if they eventually DO THE RIGHT THING....more info
  • Owned mine for two years
    I've had my Street Pilot for two years now and am surprised to see it is still selling for such a high price. While a great gps that has served me well, the scroll bar is very time consuming and inconvenient compared to touch screens and the screen is quite small. I got my money out of this machine but can now buy a new touchscreen for only $40 more so this one is no longer worth the price!...more info
  • Excellent Entry-Level GPS
    I bought this GPS a few years ago prior to taking a week-long road trip. Since that time, this has become a "must have" item that is always in my car and goes with me into rental cars. I cannot count how many times I have relied on it to get me where I need to go. Using this GPS is extremely simple and the menus are very intuitive. I will be upgrading to a larger model soon and giving this one to a friend. The only gripe I have had with this GPS is the fact that it can take a fairly significant amount of time to re-compute your route if you miss a turn. I've been in a situation a number of times where I've had to pull over and let the unit "catch up" with me before I could continue, otherwise, by the time it calculated where I needed to go, I would already have gone past those turns too. All in all, a terrific product and definitely worth the money....more info
  • A good, basic GPS that needs a significant price cut.
    I've reviewed other Garmin GPS units; please see my other reviews for comparisons. Also, my star rating is largely dependent upon price. See the last couple paragraphs here for details.

    This is one of the lowest-end GPS units available from Garmin, though at the time of this writing the Garmin "i" series (i2, i3, and i5) has been officially discontinued. (Note: When I refer to the "i3" in this review the same information applies to the i2 and i5 unless otherwise noted.) Still, this is a decent enough inexpensive GPS, particularly if you shop around for a bargain. The three "i" series Garmins are identical but for basic features. The i2 has a monochrome screen and no preloaded maps. The i3 has a color screen but is otherwise identical to the i2. The i5 is identical to the i3 but contains preloaded maps.

    Included in the box is the GPS itself, a 128MB MicroSD memory card, the MapSource DVD (version 8) containing maps of the United States and surrounding areas, a suction cup mount, 12 volt power adapter cable (for your car's cigarette lighter), an adhesive dashboard disk, a USB cable (A to mini), and a reference guide and some other bits of paper.

    Physically, the GPS is downright puny. Occupying about as much volume as a tennis ball, the i3 looks like a tiny original iMac computer. The face has a clickable scroll wheel, like pretty much any computer mouse today, and operates in the same way. This is your primary interface for the GPS. Flanked on either side of the scroll wheel is a "back" button on the left and the power button on the right. The right side of the unit has a mini USB port, slot for the MicroSD card, and a cover for the battery compartment (it takes two AA batteries, not included). The single speaker is on the bottom.

    Initial setup is easy. Install batteries, make sure the MicroSD card is installed, and turn it on. Install the software on your PC (alas, full Macintosh support is STILL not available from Garmin) and plug in the USB cable when prompted. The first thing you'll need to do is download maps into your GPS. The 128MB card is really pathetic, but I was able to fit three or four of the smaller northeastern states into it. I found a cheap 2GB card which allowed me to put all of the maps on it, so I recommend anyone who buys an i2 or i3 to do likewise. Once the maps are installed you may also want to run Garmin's online updater which will update the system in your GPS. Mine came with the most up-to-date system but had a few other updates, mainly for the different voices, which took about 15 minutes to download and install.

    Once you're done you can unplug the Garmin and start driving. Because the i3 uses batteries you can either keep using batteries and replace them (or use rechargeables) when they're dead, or you can use the included power adapter for your car's cigarette lighter. The i3 draws power through the USB port so in a pinch you could even power it off your computer's USB port. If you use rechargeable batteries, the i3 will not charge them when connected to a tethered power source.

    I've previously used other Garmins (2820, c330, c550, and Nuvi 310) so I was expecting much the same interface. I was right, but I was also wrong too. The i3's biggest drawback is a lack of touchscreen; all selections go through the click wheel. You can think of it sort of like moving through an iPod. You scroll to the next menu, click to select, scroll to the item, and click to select. You use the "back" button to back up one menu, like the MENU button on an iPod. It's a simple enough navigation system which won't cause any difficulty for most people, but at times it can be laborious.

    The real effort comes when it's time to put in an address. Imagine having to "type" your address on an iPod. Scroll to select a letter, click, scroll to the next letter, click, etc until you're done. It works but it's clunky. To Garmin's credit they did a sort of "auto-complete" with this process; as you enter letters (and numbers) the Garmin displays a list of possible matches on the side. At any time during the text entry process you can stop entering text and move to that list of matches. Then you just scroll to the one you want and select it. There's some delay involved in this process, particularly if you don't enter a lot of characters and/or if the region you've selected has a lot of similarly-named streets or cities. Even so, it's usually still faster than typing in the whole name through the scroll wheel. Users of the i3 will definitely want to make use of the "Favorites" function to store commonly-used addresses.

    Once you've got the address in, the Garmin's navigation system takes over and it's quite nice. Being a low-end system you get no fancy features; you get no street name announcements, no traffic uplink, no Bluetooth, no MP3 playback, etc. It DOES give you voice prompts (e.g., "turn left in 400 feet"), automatic route recalculation in case you go off route, and route avoidance (you can tell it to avoid highways or toll roads, for example) which are all basic GPS features. Given that the i3 uses the same map data as the higher-end Garmin units, accuracy is very good.

    As a test I put the i3 next to my 2820 and entered the same destination into both, and as I expected both units gave me the same directions to my destination. I did notice two things in that test though. The first was that the i3 took significantly longer to pick up the satellites than my 2820. It took about 20-30 seconds for my 2820 to pick up satellites and begin calculations for the course, but it took nearly three minutes for the i3 to do the same thing. In fairness this may have been due to motion vs non-motion; I was parked while the 2820 was calculating but once it was ready to go I started driving. The i3 was still calculating while I was driving so that may have caused an increase in calculation time with the i3.

    The second thing I noticed was that the i3 got a little confused as to my current location than my 2820. While sitting at a traffic light surrounded by 5-6 story tall buildings my 2820 didn't even flinch, but the i3 would occasionally jump around and put the vehicle as much as a block and a half away from my actual location. Once I started moving, however, the i3 caught up fairly quickly. I am guessing that the satellite antenna isn't as sensitive in the i3 as the 2820 (which would also account for the longer delay in finding satellites).

    The biggest downside to the i3 is the quality of its screen. Like the StreetPilot c300 series (see my previous review of the c320) the i3 tends to wash out in even mild sunlight making visibility difficult at best. Worse, the i3's screen is highly reflective; it is impossible to read in bright sunlight due to the glare. Fortunately there's a great product called GlareStomper which adds a shade to the GPS unit that cuts the glare down to nothing. The i3's viewing angle is also far narrower than the c300 series. Having the c320 on the dashboard and angled towards the driver, the passenger can easily see the screen. Not so on the i3, where the screen gains a noticable blue cast as your viewing angle increases. If you're going to use the i3, make sure you can see it "head-on" or as close to it as possible.

    All that being said, let's summarize.

    GOOD: Inexpensive, particularly if you check out a certain auction web site for remanufactured units (and GlareStompers). Color screen (personally, I'd avoid the i2's black and white screen altogether). Good speaker volume. Accurate maps. Solid basic feature set. Battery power to take it with you if the need arises (e.g., if your car breaks down and you have to walk to the nearest service station). Small size makes it highly portable. Uses industry standard MicroSD cards.

    BAD: Terrible screen if you don't have a sun shade and/or if you're not looking at it head-on or as close to it as possible. Kludgey scroll wheel navigation system really makes you want a touch screen. Slower acquisition of satellite signals and route calculation. Batteries don't charge in the unit so you'll need to make sure you always have good batteries in it. Cheap 128MB MicroSD card is lame; Garmin should have AT LEAST a 256MB or 512MB card in there. Historically terrible customer support from Garmin, including a lack of promised Mac OS X support.

    Overall, the bad things don't really overwhelm the good things so I would judge it an "okay" basic GPS. HOWEVER, I have to give it low marks simply because of the cost issue. As of this writing Amazon is selling this unit for $270. At the same time Amazon is also selling the higher-end StreetPilot c340 for $60 *LESS* and the higher-end StreetPilot c330 (refurbished) for almost half the cost of the i3. Either of those c300 series units is far superior to the i3 in every measurable way, so why would anyone buy a less-capable i3 instead?

    In my case, the answer was simple: I didn't buy mine from Amazon. I bought a remanufactured unit through a very popular online auction site and paid less than $100. For that price, and likely not a penny more, the i3 is worthwhile. Otherwise, not so much. That being said, if you can buy this unit for under $100 then I give it four stars. Otherwise, I give it two stars. Therefore it balances out to three stars....more info
  • Garmin is great
    This is the second garmin gps our family has bought ( for two seperate cars) They are quick to respond to everything. This was a refurb and it is totally fine. ...more info
  • Great Little GPS
    I won't rehash all the reviews here. Basically, this GPS is small potatoes compared to my brother's do-everything GPS that is 3 times the width. But my wife can operate this GPS with no help from me and the audible directions are good enough that you don't have to look at the tiny screen if you don't want to.

    Some features are not well-explained or documented. Three handy tid-bits from my experience:

    1) It's easy to roll the wheel while pressing it to make a selection. Your experience will be much better if you plant the bottom edge of your thumb first (so it won't slide) and then continue to engage the top of your thumb to press the wheel in.

    2) You can add waypoints to your trip. Start by adding your final destination first, then work backwards. As you add each new location, the GPS will ask if you want to add the new destination as a waypoint. If you say "no", the new location will overwrite the previous destination.

    3) Get a faster microSD card, if possible. You'll thank me when you search for something and your GPS tries to give you a gazillion hits. microSD cards usually have no speed ratings listed at all, so this can be a problem. However, I've noticed that the Japanese made Kingston 1GB cards tend to be quite speedy and 1GB should be big enough for the lower 48 states. The Taiwanese-made Kingston 1GB is quite slow, but the 2GB I have is quite fast. Go figure. I've heard that the PNY cards are pretty fast as well. This is as of mid-2007....more info
  • Great product..even in Canada
    We used The Garmin StreetPilot i3 on a recent trip to Canada. Although it did not give us the exact route we wanted, it compensated well when we missed a turnoff. This unit does not allow for heavy traffic areas which we were anxious to avoid. We used back roads which were navigated well. We were very pleased with the unit and its performance....more info
  • My favorite Real Estate Toy!
    When showing or previewing property, I need to get where I'm going. The Street Pilot lets me do that in the shortest amount of time. This is by far my favorite Real Estate Toy.

    If I'm in an unfamiliar city I can always find a restaurant, shop, hotel, etc, and the phone numbers are displayed, so I don't have to pay for a 411 call on my cell phone. It easy to use, and since it is so simple, there is less to break or go wrong. I know other agents with more sophisticated navigators, but simplicity is hard to beat.

    Be sure to have extra AA batteries around. Even though it plugs into the car's power adapter, it won't run with dead batteries.

    If anything ever happens to my Street Pilot, I will replace it with an identical one....more info
  • best gps for the price
    very easy to use. at the time, it was well worth the money. won't leave home without it....more info
  • Its perfect
    Simple- accurate- no issues with it what so ever. Had it out of the box- maps loaded and in my car in about 20min- I've been on the road with it now for almost a month and it has been dead on every time....more info
  • compact and accurate
    Nice compact navigator. I added a 2 gig chip to have the whole US on it. Never know where I may be going. Have had no problems with directions. Occasional lose of signal but short lived and the turn by turns let me know where I was going. Tried to confuse it by not taking turns and it was able to recalculate route with accuracy. Great for a cheap navigator....more info
  • Awesome!!
    This GPS works flawlessly. It is small,compact and portable it runs on batterys!!! Of course you can plug it in to your cigar lighter also....more info
  • GPS
    Garmin should discontinue manufacture of this unit. This unit is not very user friendly. To much trouble to enter data. I sent it back and purchased the Nuvi 350 (great product)....more info
  • NO GOOD DOES NOT WORK
    HI MA NAME IS TOM , AI CAME TO YOUR SITE MY FREINDS HAVE RECOMDED IT, THE GARMAN NAVAGITATION IS WELL NO GOOD IT SENDS YOU IN THE WRONG WAY, AFTER SPEEKING WITH THE GARMAN SERVICE REP, REPROGRAMING THE UNIT, IT IS VERY SAD TO SEE CONPANY'S SUCH AS ELECTRONICA DIRECT AND AMAZON NOT WILLING FOR ME TO RETURN THIS PRODUCT, NEVER AGAIN WILL I BUY FROM THIS SITE OF ANY COMPANY,S YOU WORK WITH

    TOM NARDONE...more info
  • Garmin Street Pilot Review
    I was not happy with this product. I have difficulty installing maps and have not used the devices yet....more info
  • It does the job.. Just little slow!!!!
    It does the job.. Just little slow in catching the satellite signals !!!!... but good for it's price....more info
  • Excellent Product
    I have had several navigation systems in cars that I have purchased in recent years. This device works as well as they do and it is portable. The unit was purchased for use in a rental car for a planned trip to another part of the country. The device worked without a flaw on the trip and I have since moved it to a vehicle which does not have navigation. Because the device is so small, it requires very little storage space. I did buy a 1 gig chip to expand the capacity of map storage within the device as the chip that came with it wasn't big enough to store several maps. I recommend that anyone buying this get a 1 gig chip for it....more info
  • Great value and easy to use,
    I originally bought this for my girlfriend who can get lost driving home from work, and I like it so much that it has yet to see the inside of her car. It is tiny though so if you want a big screen GPS keep looking. I paid around $175 for it and it was definitely worth the money. It is very accurate and chooses routes which are quick. If you stray from the path it has chosen for you it will quickly (<30sec) recalculate a route for you. When I first saw how little it was I was pretty apprehensive, but it shows you all the information you need to get you to where you are going. If you do a lot of long trips, you may need to download map info (from their website) into it because it can only store a handful of states at a time. The scroll wheel can be a little cumbersome when entering data, and the lack of spoken road names is a bummer. Overall this is a great gadget, and if you are considering spending some serious $$ on a fancier system, pick this thing up for cheap to get an idea of what you really want from a GPS system. Then, go out and buy your big, nice GPS and give this to the wife or girlfriend (or one for each!)....more info
  • Nice Product for the cost
    Hi I bought this GPS because We were getting lost enough to need one good product, I read reviews on amazong because it had colour screen i went for i 3 than i2 street pilot.

    Though the software and box which electronica direct shipped has i2/i3 both wrtten on it...

    Out of the box , i installed software..and it went smoothly...it can store 3/4 state maps not more than that..thats enough for me.

    Registration did not work from software, it said communication error, I did register on garmin website....and it went on well

    Webupdate also worked well, i updated maps from 3.20 to 3.40...it does it nicely...

    some instructions on, quick start guide are not technically right meaning windows xp do not show the screen which they mention in guide...

    I figured out reading next steps and skipping current ones.

    GPS showed my house on the screen and It showed me gas station rightly..

    I will use it for my wisdells tour...

    For those buying firsttime, buy i3 or i5 !

    Over all good product, shipping is very slow, newegg ships in 2 days. this took 5 days (18 may- 23 may, 7 pm)

    Thanks

    Upendra...more info
  • Not as good as I expected
    I bought this model because it has one of the highest ranking scores among similar GPS units and because it was recommended by Consumer Reports. I was totally disappointed with it.

    First, the directions are not always accurate. A few times it asked me to make a right turn when there was no turn within a mile radius. Once it got me so lost in a residential area, that I had to consult a paper map (the directions were totally out-of-sync with my location).

    When directions were correct, I noticed that they were not the shortest (or fastest). For example, I needed to go from street A to street B, which had an intersection. For some reason, instead of just letting me make a left turn from A to B, it asked me to pass the intersection, drive about 2 miles, make a turn on street C, drive about 2 miles back, and turn right on street B (adding about 3 miles to my route). It also does not pick the fastest way to my home from a freeway, but my friends' in-dash GPS suggests a similar route, so it may not be the fault of this particular model.

    I think that it loses satellite reception more often if it's located anywhere but the dashboard (for example, when I put it in the cup holder), so to get a better reception, keep it closer to the windshield.

    I have no good words for the scroll wheel. I did not realize what a pain it was until I started using it. I will never buy a GPS unit without a touchpad.

    I decided to return it when it failed to start. I had it plugged into the cigarette lighter, but no mater what I did, it did not come on (it did eventually come on after 4 hours).

    On the bright side, it gave me good directions on a few occasions.
    ...more info
  • g.p.s. unit
    great item and great price.
    tells turn by turn and is on point..
    ...more info
  • Too good
    It lets you drive without any tension of getting lost.. Too much. Very well organized directory....more info
  • sometime it works ,sometime it is not
    hey

    it is a GPS for a known route,.not for a new route,.
    Most of the time,.you can hear a recorded voice "Lost satellite Reception"...more info
  • almost ready for Mac
    Garmin i3 arrived March 10, 2007 with no Mac software. Email to Garmin elicited this response on March 12, 2007: "Unfortunately, Mac users will have to wait later this summer for more updates on MAC programs for our devices, along with the mapping installs as well, my best advice would be to find a family or friend with a PC and download the installs on there machine to update your Streetpilot I3."

    At my office I borrowed a PC. Succeeded to load maps (all CA and northern FL) from included DVD. Entered address of my home and successfully navigated there using Garmin. Being a beginner, I don't know yet if I am missing any other significant functionality.

    One more detail. Before uploading maps, I ran "Web updater for Mac" from Garmin site. Might not have been necessary....more info
  • A wonderful little treasure
    You'll never get lost again when you own and use this remarkable little item. It's unerring accuracy and clearly audible and timely voice directions make getting anywhere you want to go a simple matter. It's only shortcoming is that it's difficult to see and follow the map images on the small screen, particularly on a bright, sunny day and when driving alone (one can't divert his attention to the screen without risking an accident!). But the voice commands are so clear and timely that viewing the screen is not essential.
    Data entry is simple, though a little tedious and one can't play the radio or CD player too loud while using the i3 else he might not hear the otherwise clear directions....more info
  • Awesome and Unobtrusive
    This was my first GPS system of any kind. I wasn't sure what to expect. I have a small Mazda Miata so I wanted a small-screen GPS that did not overwhelm my small dashboard and this did not disappoint. I was afraid that the screen would be too small, but it's perfect. I don't think a bigger screen would do anything more than take up more space.
    I live in New York City and before putting it in my car I walked with the GPS unit in my hands. Perhaps because of the tall buildings and the slow walking speed it took more than 30 minutes for it to initially receive a satellite signal. I was convinced it was defective. It's not. Once I put it on the dash of my car and began driving it acquired a satellite signal within a few minutes.
    This unit comes with a 128Mb Micro SDcard onto which you can load a few state maps at one time. I ordered a 1Gb Micro SDcard along with this GPS (for approx. $11 on Amazon) and loaded ALL of North America at one time. This eliminates the need to re-load maps when traveling anywhere in the country. It's worth the extra effort. This unit can be quickly moved from one car to another, especially a rental car anywhere in North America.
    My very first test of this thing was on the very complicated underpasses and overpasses in northern Manhattan and the Bronx. It was flawless! It's impossible to get lost with this thing. Occasionally I've made a turn too early or too late and within seconds it will re-calculate the best route. The combination of the voice prompts, the highlighted route you need to go, and the current and next street(s) at the top are excellent. Also, the estimated arrival time in the lower left is nice, but does not account for traffic jams. The arrival time will just keep getting pushed back the slower you travel. It's kind of a "best traffic scenario" prediction.
    This is so easy to use I'm thinking of buying one for my 68-year-old mother who doesn't have a clue when it comes to technology, but I'm convinced she could use this without a problem (once I've loaded the maps for her.)
    If not having bluetooth and all the other latest bells and whistles on a GPS system doesn't bother you (as it doesn't bother me) buy this, you won't be sorry!!...more info
  • Really good for the money
    It's a nice little unit, lacking some of the bells and whistles, but for 198 dollars in March of 2007 it's a pretty good deal. Screen isn't too small to see, really, and you can put it in your pocket. The suction cup mount is great! Little quirky entering addresses. Great for the money!

    ...more info
  • Beware!
    I bought my i3 in Europe and enjoyed it very much until time came to upgrade it. The upgrade that I bought and paid $75 for will not work with my unit, even though the people at Garmin say it will. I am being bounced back and forth between tech support in Europe and North America. To add insult to injury, the last rep that I talked to in America was very rude. This purchase was not worth the hassle and the ripoff that ensued....more info
  • Inefficient and Ineffective.
    I've owned this unit for about one year.

    This unit suffers from 5 problems.

    1. The unit gives poor directions. On a route from Long Island, close to an entrance ramp onto the LIE, to a destination close to a different exit ramp off of the LIE, it told me to take local roads. That's 100 traffic lights I would hit over local roads. I did not have any avoidances set in the settings. This is not an isolated circumstance, but it happens all the time in NYC.

    In addition, it's constantly trying to take me over toll roads, even though I set an avoidance to toll roads. I get the feeling that the unit does not really know what toll roads are. It also likes to take me over roads with lots traffic lights (see previous paragraph). Although they might be the most direct, this device does not take into account time wasted at traffic lights. Oy vey!!!!

    2. The maps are not updated. I tried to go to Home Depot through the business search function. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the "destination" - Home Depot was no where to be found.

    3. Speech directions are often given too late to actually make the turn. The unit also gives me turn directions after I've already made the turn. Moreover, the screen updates slowly. After you've made the turn, you look at the unit and it still displays your position prior to making the turn.

    4. The unit processes so slow. Searching for businesses by name/category is completely useless. It literally takes 10 minutes to find an business by name. Its faster if I text google for the addresses with my Treo and manually enter them into the i3.

    5. The input device is really cumbersome. You really need a keyboard or touchscreen. Scrolling back and forth through numbers is a giant pain. In addition, this unit does not speak street names; only left, right, turn, bear, u-turn. I want to spend time looking at the road, not trying to decipher directions on a tiny screen, to figure out where to make the turn.

    This unit is really useless. At least in NYC, where there are many roads.
    I've wanted to hurl this thing out my window on several occasions.

    Don't waste your money on this. Buy something nicer (that actually works) or buy it from a store with a liberal return policy....more info
  • garmin street pilot GPS i3
    We like our street pilots. However, they could be more user friendly. You have to scroll up and down an alphabetical list to put in street names and sometimes it takes a long time to acquire the satellite signal (may not have to do with the model). It also doesn't have a lot of the businesses in the area listed, so often have to scroll in names to find them. Although we are happy overall, this is our first GPS system purchase. Next time we would probably spend more for the upgraded model....more info
  • Love the GPS!
    I got this for my birthday from my dear husband. It works like a charm! I love the way once you find your destination, you can also look up nearby resturants, shopping centers etc. ...more info
  • Business "Door Prize"
    This GPS was purchased as a "door prize" for a business conference. Considering the price, it was not as impressive in size as we had hoped, and we almost returned it. But since the next biggest screen size was almost double the price of this one, we kept it. It was well received by the recipient....more info
  • Can't Ask For More On A Compact GPS For Vehicle Use
    I bought the Garmin StreetPilot i3 for a cross-country trip that spanned 3,100 miles. I loved the fact that it always found the nearest Starbucks for me so I can get my caffeine fix on the long drives. I love the fact that it offered many lodging choices along the way. The i3 can be attached to the dashboard just as easily as it can be attached to the windshield--by law you cannot use the windshield as attachment base if you're in CA or MN.
    The little i3 offered excellent "Voice" navigation that sounded loud & clear even when I was listening to CDs during the long drives. The fact that it can operate for several hours on AA batteries meant that I could take it out of the car and use it for navigation when I'm walking along unfamiliar streets. The only knock is the memory capacity was'nt large enough to store information on all the states I traveled through. But I can't ask for more from a handy GPS at a good price too. ...more info
  • Garmin i3 is a gem
    My wife is ecstatic that she no longer gets lost on our city's confusing streets. We have used it on road trips to various places and even took it to CO for a recent trip - it came through perfectly EVERY time! And the feature helping you find nearby amenities: shopping, food, gas, etc, is wonderful! A steal of a deal for the price......more info
  • Good one!
    Its a good device for a good price.Just 3 things:
    1.It says "lost satellite reception".But never gives an indication when it gets connected back to satellite.So all the time u are under the impression that its not working.
    2.It doesn't tell u the name of the street you are to take left or right on.
    It just says "Take left after 0.2 miles".I think this problem is fixed in i5.
    3.It takes a little while to detect satellite and get started.Little slow at starting....more info
  • Almost perfect
    I got this for my wife when I moved her to yet another city. She didn't know her way around our area we lived in and it is pretty confusing. Plus if she needed to head downtown, she would have felt uncomfortable possibly without a GPS. It was one of the best DEALS I cound on Amazon and thought I would give it a shot.

    It works great! Once you get use to the wheel, you can save favorites. I even saved our new home address (which she hadn't been too or seen except in photos) and when her Mom and her drove in, once they got close to the city they turned it on and it took them straight to our new home.

    We have used it going back to Iowa for Christmas and it was pretty neat to see the estimated time of arrival (very accurate). Every time we would stop to feed the baby it would add on 20 mintues or so. Kind of cool when calling home and saying I'll be there in exactly 4 hours and 23 mintues.

    It's small and easy to take off and put in the glove compartment. Rechargeable batteries work pretty long in it if you don't want the cord out.

    We can't wait to take it with us to a city like Atlanta when visiting her sister and get right to their house first try.

    I give it two thumbs up or 4.5 stars, wheel is the only thing, but I was the one to cheap to buy a more expensive touch screen.

    Zak...more info
  • I Love It
    Very good product/solution. The maps are quite precise and the routes indicated are also very accurate. I use it in São Paulo - Brazil which has very narrow streets and does not have a standarized road system/signs like in US and it still works really well. I have also used Garmin's support to answer some questions and they were quick in responding them. ...more info
  • SATISFIED
    GOOD LITTLE NAVIGATOR. I AM A GEOCHACHER AND WAS A LITTLE DISSAPOINTED THAT IT DIDN'T HAVE LONGITUDE AND LATTITUDE ON IT. ALL IN ALL GREAT PRODUCT....more info
  • Garmin i3 is great
    Great Value for this product, everything I wanted in a GPS and more, for alot less money!!!!
    ...more info
  • Great, except slow startup times
    I have this now for over 4 months. There are only 2 problem that I find with it. One has to do with the startup time. It takes good couple of minutes or so for it to acquire signal on start, and additional 20+ seconds to build the route. When you are in hurry, this causes frustrations. Their maps are not 100% accurate when it comes to divided highways and jug-handle left turns (only in NJ).
    I have not used any other portable GPS system, and hence can't provide any comparative review.
    Other than that, I am extremely happy with all the features:
    1. detour (too good)
    2. database of nearby things (unbelievable)
    3. voice clarity (fantastic)
    4. menus simplicity and navigation (5 stars)
    ...more info
  • Works as Expected
    Setup was easy, but be sure to be outside with a clear view of the sky during the initial bootup. Works flawlesssly, and slips into the glove compartment when not needed....more info
  • Great little device
    Has exceeded my expectations. Very easy to use and accurate. I got lost going camping in a rural area and the Garmin gave me a route where I arrived before the group I was separated from.
    Only Con is it can be a little slow is establishing contact with satelites (45 - 1 min delay).
    Note: remember these are very portable and easily stolen. My Garmin was taken about a month after I received it (one of my kids left the car open and it was attached to the windshield)
    I was just waiting until after Christmas to buy a replacement. It will definitely be another Garmin.
    ...more info
  • Good 2 Go
    The I3 is great for whatever your needs are. The screen is quite small but it does the job. Great for travel and slapping in a rental car....more info
  • Excellent Entry To GPS
    I knew several people who had purchased Magellan GPS units and had bad experiences, so I chose a Garmin as my first GPS unit. I bought my i3 about 3 months ago, so I have had some time to test it out. I have used it in Boston, Phoenix, NYC, Upstate NY, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and Connecticut. I have only had to change maps once, to take off AZ and add PA.

    Pros
    - Tiny and unobtrusive when mounted to windshield, yet clear and comprehensible display
    - Loud, clear announcements
    - Have not had any problems with suction cup windshield mount even when mounted in 100 degree heat in Phoenix and 20 degree chill in Boston (and driving through bumpy, pot-hole plagued roads)
    - Acquires satellite within 10 seconds of powering on and keeps very strong signal
    - Only once has it given a bad direction - the announcement was to make a left at an intersection that a right was supposed to be made at. Interestingly enough, the map displayed a right turn arrow, and fortunately I knew the correct direction was to the right.
    - Has had all but one POI that I have searched for by name, many of the POIs were relatively new hotels and restaurants

    Cons
    - Doesn't announce street names with direction (i.e. "Turn left" rather than "Turn left onto xxxx street"). This can be very annoying in a city like Boston where every intersection has 3 different right turns and 5 different left turns. BUT, a quick peek at the screen will show the street name and arrow with the angle of the upcoming turn.
    - Scroll wheel is cumbersome to enter long addresses
    - Processing power of unit is very weak. This translates into:
    * Slow display refreshing, especially when zoomed in and using the 3D or Track Up views. I have set mine to North Up view so that it has less to redraw
    * Slow search times for POIs and when entering street addresses - often the unit will freeze for a split second and if you aren't paying attention and scrolling through a list, it will compensate when it unfreezes and scroll past what is being searched for. Doh!
    * Slow re-calculation of directions when there are many turns involved. This is most problematic when driving through a city and missing a turn since the unit will attempt to calculate directions from the next turn (block) and will not have completed calculation as the next turn is passed. . .causing another recalculation. Double doh! Best to pull to the side of the road or into a parking lot for a long recalculation.
    - This is more annoying than anything, and I'm not sure if other units do this or not, but when on a highway with a multi-lane exit (I suppose can be considered a fork) the unit will announce to "Keep left" or "Keep right" which basically just means stay on the highway. This alters the distance that it reports to travel on a road - if you need to go 10 miles and there is an exit/fork half way, it will have two steps of 5 miles each.

    Despite the Cons, this unit is an excellent choice for an inexpensive, entry GPS model. Now that I am a little more experienced, I would like the bells and whistles of more expensive models (touch screen, real-time traffic alerts, pre-loaded maps) - I suppose you get what you pay for. But I won't be upgrading any time soon, I simply can't justify the price tag of the nicer models. Especially since this does it's job nearly perfectly!

    After using it for 3 months, I was so impressed by its accuracy and ease of use that I purchased the i3 as a gift for my parents as their first GPS....more info
  • Very disappointed
    I did research and purchased the Garmin i3. What a disappointment it has turned out to be. The initial setup was interrupted because the unit did not ship with the latest software and I received a message to contact tech support or go to the Garmin site to download the latest software. After downloading and updating the latest software, the maps would not load on the i3. Eventually I uninstalled and reinstalled everything from scratch and the maps did load.

    Sometimes on startup the unit appears to not have any maps loaded and tells you to connect it to a PC to install maps. After several off/on cycles when it does realize that maps are loaded, the i3 takes several minutes to locate a satellite (I live just north of Philadelphia) and loses satellite connection too frequently. There are several areas where it does not know that you cannot make a left or right and keeps telling you to do so. Re-calibration happens often and takes time.

    The suction cup holder does not stick to anything for any length of time (windshield, center console, dash, etc).

    I thought I was purchasing a reliable GPS with great features for the price. For what I paid ($250) I am extremely disappointed and will probalby end up returning the i3....more info
  • Bought it for my tech-challenged dad and LOVED IT!!!
    We bought this for my father who is definitely tech-challenged. After driving all over my very rural area to test it out, we were all highly impressed. My dad could program it with no problem. I highly recommend this unit for the less tech-savvy. Great price, great product!...more info
  • EXCELLENT GPS unit
    This was my first GPS unit, and I am thoroughly impressed. Very easy to use, and accessing the menu with the scroll wheel is a breeze. I recently went south two states away into a state I have never been, kinda "getting lost", just to give my Garmin i3 a workout. Then I turned on my GPS, and found my way back home with no problems at all. I also chose not to take any freeways, and just secondary roads, and the GPS guided me with no problems at all. I had my stereo on, but the voice was nice and clear and I could hear it although music was playing. It's like having a navigator right beside you. I don't even pay attention to the screen most of the time, just the voice guided directions.

    I give this unit a definite 5 stars, and recommend it to anyone. Especially directionally-challenged people like myself! :)
    ...more info
  • Brilliant piece of work.
    I did a lot of research before buying this. I'm glad I picked this unit.

    It's nice and small, so it fits unobtrusively under the rearview mirror. It's never lead me wrong. The voice is loud and clear. The memory card that comes with it has enough room to fit most of the East coast, so my usual driving is covered, with plenty of room to spare....more info
  • Pretty for the price
    I wanted to get a basic GPS. This fits the bill at a relatively cheap price. It does not have all the features of more expensive models, but it helps me get from point A to B. I really hate the wheel compared to the touch screen, which is much faster. You can't save points of interest, but if you know the address you can save it in your favorites. It's really bad about not telling you which lane you're supposed to be in, so I sometimes missed my turn (especially when a road splits). Also, there is not way to repeat directions if you missed them. Also, the directory is not very comprehensive- it's missing some national chains.

    It's not the best, but I like it....more info
  • Packs a Punch; a Few Drawbacks
    I've owned mine for about 3 months and used it in 5 U.S. states - west coast and east coast. It's my first GPS and it was a breeze to set up and begin using. I love the portability of this unit - being able to take it on a business trip and use in a rental car, or throw it in the glove box, is key. The downside to the small size is the scroll wheel interface for entering addresses. Frankly I don't mind it and the device does intuitively finish entries for you, saving you from scrolling through the alphabet to spell out a complete address or city.

    Some things that are lacking: the memory card can only store 5 or so states at a time (depending on how dense the road system in each state is); it does not ship with a protective case; and the power supply was not designed to work with rechargeable batteries.

    Some things I love about it: the portability, the accuracy, the small size, battery life, and the price....more info
  • good find for the price
    The GPS system that I have purchased has been put to great use. It is efficent in giving directions and comes with a few additions like park locations and resturants in the area. ...more info
  • Needs some improvements
    The Good:
    1) Very user friendly
    2) Memorizes the last 20 addresses you went to.
    3) Lets you memorize your favorite addresses
    4) Yellow Pages on the go. Lets you find business while on the road (i.e. Fuel stations)

    The Bad:
    1) Takes about 20 or 30 seconds to get a satellite signal.
    2) If your car is in door it doesn't get the satellite signal at all.
    3) If you get to far from big metropolitan areas it may lose it sense if direction (isn't that why we got a GPS?) and get you lost.
    4) If using with batteries they don't last very long.
    5) Have been using it for 10 months now and the female plug that connects both power and data is already broken.
    6) The mount that comes with StreetPilot i3 will not stick to your windshield (very unsafe) so you will need to buy a new mount if you don't want it to fall off while you are driving....more info
  • great !!!
    FIRST I HAVE EVER OWNED.I AM IN OUTSIDE SALES AND I USE IT EVERY DAY.
    YOU CAN NOT BEAT THIS FOR THE MONEY .
    ...more info
  • not bad for the money
    Not a bad gps for the money. very easy ,intuitive menu, just a bit slower than the big boys going for $600+
    small and very accurate....more info
  • Exactly what most people need
    In the land of GPS feature bloat, this GPS is very refreshing. It does everything that most people need to navigate, and is a GREAT boon to getting around on roadtrips, out of town, or even just going around my own city. So far in the last 3 months of pretty heavy usage it hasn't been wrong once, and does a good job of routing me where to go.

    This unit is super-small (about the size of a baseball) and easy to pack if you need to take it out of town, and can even run on AAs if you don't want to remember to pack the 12volt adapter.

    If your main concern is finding locations, getting around, and not having to constantly futz with stuff to get the right results (and don't need a built-in e-book reader/mp3 player/bluetooth speakerphone) then I highly recommend this unit or one of the other lower-end Garmins like the StreetPilot C320, whose only difference is a touch screen.

    Small, accurate, easy to use. The i3 has been a winner in every sense, and far exceeded my expectations, all for a VERY small amount of money....more info
  • Great product, great value!
    I've had my i3 for about 2 months now and I have no regrets on the purchase. It has gotten me to all my locations safe and sound. One thing to keep in mind is that the screen is small. If your eyes aren't great or you have to have 100% focus on the road, this GPS might not be for you... you may want to step up to one of their other models. The other models have bigger screens. They also call out street names, which would be helpful if you can't look at the screen. Especially in the city, there could be multiple streets within a very short space and you have to look down at the GPS to see which street you're supposed to 'turn right' down. I think this is an outstanding product, though. I travel to places that I wouldn't, if I wasn't armed with this gadget....more info
  • Garmin Street Pilot
    We have used it several times now & it does a very good job. It is easy to use & very accurate. You can only access certain parts of the country on the card it comes with. It would be nice if we could access the whole country. It also says it cannot locate our home address so we have to use a location close to us for our home location but for the money, I would recommend it....more info
  • Street Pilot
    I purchased this item for my husbands birthday and I was a bit sceptical as he is not very handy with these types of things, but he loved it. It is very easy to use and has proven to be extremely helpful...more info
  • Awesome product
    This is a great gps, for a great price. When i finally got mine and started using it, i was actually mad at myself for not buying it sooner. However, the software is extremely annoying to upgrade to the current version. You have to send away for an upgrade disc, register on Garmin's site, and enter in about 6 different codes during the process. I wound up having to call their tech support and being on the phone for 20 mins to get it upgraded.

    It was such a good product i bought my girlfriend the same model. Too bad i'll have to upgrade hers too. :(...more info
  • Good for those non-power users
    For me, this little unit is perfect. I mainly bought it for those rare times I get lost and have no clue where I am, and for those car trips to places I am unfamiliar with. On to a few notes:

    The screen is small, but surprisingly easy to see. I would consider it's diminutive size a plus, as it does not take up much space on the windshield. Also, I have not had any problems in direct sun light with seeing the screen. Overall, for it's size, I would say the display is impressive.

    I also appreciate the enormous amount of POIs. You can enter addresses manually, but most activities (dining, malls, parks, museums, stadiums, etc.) are already loaded in the Garmin.

    Voice commands are loud and clear with the built in speaker. Further, I have found that turn commands are given in plenty of time to safely make the turn.

    So why didn't I give it 5 stars? Here are my main caveats:

    First and foremost at times the Garmin can be painfully slow in re-routing. It's odd, because there are times it re-routes in 2 seconds, then there are other times where it takes more than 10-15 seconds. This turns into a problem when you drive past the Garmin's re-route, as it must calculate directions again. I'm not sure if this is something future software updates could fix, or if this is just due to slower processing speed than some of the more expensive GPS devices.

    Secondly, the Garmin often doesn't take in account one-way streets, or streets where it's illegal to make turns. This problem is not limited to the i3, more expensive Garmin models have the same problem.

    Given the price I think the i3 is a very good navigation system despite the aforementioned problems. However, if you plan on using your GPS machine frequently I would consider stepping up to a more expensive model that may fix the slow re-routing (I have friends with more expensive models where re-routing is instantaneous).

    A final note: if you purchase the i3, you are entitled to a free update to v.8 maps. This is something you should take adavantage of, because v.7 does have some inaccuracies that are corrected with the later version. ...more info
  • I love this thing.......
    I have to admit it, when I bought the Garmin StreetPilot i3 I wasn't sure if it could do what it was supposed to do. I tested out in my home area for about 2 weeks. I took a small trip with a couple of friends we were about 60 miles from home. My friend has a brand new luxury vehicle with a GPS that she didn't know how to use. I had my StreetPilot i3 so we used it going down. I was pleasently surprised to find out that the voice response on the Garmin StreetPilot i3 was loud enough to hear over our conversation. There were three women in the car talking and we could hear the turn by turn voice instructions loud and clear, and accurate on the Garmin StreetPilot i3. On the way back home we had figured out how to use the cars built in GPS so we programed it and set out for home, we could hardly hear the turn by turn instructions on the cars system so coming back home was a little quiet (boring) because we had to be quiet so that we could hear the instructions.

    The Garmin StreetPilot i3 is very easy to setup, and it gives you door to door instructions. I love the voice responses, they are loud and clean with an adjustable volume control. Normally when I travel I have a map or two, as I write this review I am about 700 miles from home and I have nothing but my GPS. Everytime you make a wrong turn it recalculates your route and takes you to your destination. I LOVE THIS THING....more info
  • great GPS
    This was my first GPS and had been using for last 8 months it works great . Highly recommended . Now i bought Garmin C320...more info
  • great unit with low cost
    I wanted to buy GPS unit with low cost. This definitely falls into that category. Picked one up at Costco which as on sale this month. The unit works great, picks up satellite in most cases and calculates route fairly quickly. However, it did loose signals going to LA from SF while on Hwy 156 mountains and also on Hwy 5 which is flat. Great audio and screen resolution.

    Does anyone know any descent custom POI's (point of interest) for this unit? Garmin shows [..], but I did not find any interesting.

    Cons:

    + Screen size is small.
    + Don't like GPS holder that comes w/ it.
    + Use of microSD instead of SD card for maps. End up costing more.
    + No GPS case included. I was not happy about this.
    + No hardcopy of manual.

    Still, overall, I like this unit as it is low cost unit. I am still learning how to use GPS, so maybe I'll like it more once I get used to it....more info
  • Great little gadget !!!
    I have been using this gps for the last three days and so far I have been very satisfied with its performance. I have been looking for a gps for a while now but the expensive prices has kept me from buying one I saw this gps in the ads and did some research on it and found out that a lot of buyers were satisfied with it the same way as in other expensive models. I ordered the gps online and downloaded the maps and had it running in about an hour it is simple enough to use and gets the job done, the size of it's screen although small is just perfect because it doesn't distract you too much as compared with other brands that might give you more of a blind spots while driving. The sound volume of this gps is good and loud enough for me, actually I set it up on vol 4 only because vol 5 was too loud for me so even if youre listening to the radio while driving the sound of the gps is more than adequate. This gps has a setting which makes you choose between quickest route or shortest route so customize what type of navigation you want I guess if youre just driving locally you could opt for the shorter route and discover some back roads that you never knew about and for longer trips wherein you'll go to major roads just set it for quickest route. Overall I am very satisfied with this product it doesn't have all the bells and whistles as in other higher end models but it gets the job done without breaking the bank. As far as I'm concerned this little gadget is a 4 star!!!...more info
  • Garmin is the best for GPS
    I spent a lot of time trying out GPS units, and have compared Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, and several factory GPS units. All of these GPS units tell you how to get somewhere and will re-route if you make a wrong turn. However, Garmin is my absolute favorite, and here's why:

    1. The most important thing about Garmin units is the user interface. It is simple to understand and easy to use.

    2. The Garmin unit uses a built in database of sunrise and sunset times (based upon your location) to automatically change from daylight mode to night-time mode. This is important because the daylight screen is much too bright for use at night. With the Tom Tom, you must make this change manually.

    3. If you have the Garmin unit plugged into your car power, when you turn off the car (and the cigarette lighter power goes off), the Garmin unit will detect that and automatically turn itself off (it gives you 30 seconds to override and keep the unit on).

    4. When you start your car again, the Garmin unit will detect that too and automatically power up. If you were in the middle of a trip, the Garmin unit will pick up where you left off, and you won't have to tell it where you were going again.

    5. Unlike most factory GPS units, Garmin will allow you to select your route and make changes while you are moving.

    6. The Garmin units have an extensive database of locations and the excellent interface makes it easy to search the database to find what you want. Do you want food or gas? Just click three buttons and a list of locations (sorted by distance) will appear. If you know the name of the place you want, you can type it in on the on-screen keypad and Garmin will find it for you. You can even add your own locations using the favorites feature. I first started using this when I was out of town, but its amazing what you'll find near you when you look.

    7. While you are driving, the Garmin unit will both prompt you to turn and give you a written explanation of the turn (including the street or highway name and direction) at the top of the screen. The Garmin unit also shows an estimated arrival time (usually a few minutes earlier than you'll actually arrive) and the distance to your next turn. A separate screen gives you detailed trip information, including how far and how long you've been driving and your maximum speed. I used mine on an airplane once (yes, it is allowed - read the back of the airplane magazine), and it now says that by maximum speed was 590 miles per hour.

    8. I often use the Garmin even when driving locally, becase it often finds better, faster ways to get there then the way that I usually use.

    9. Garmin offers a variety of installation options and accessories. My favorite is the friction based dashboard mount (three weights connected to a center stand) which is much more convenient than the supplied mounting system.

    10. If you turn off the GPS receiver (see settings) and then look up another location, you will get the option to set this new location as your present location. This will allow you to use search Garmin's points of interest for the new location. This is a great feature when planning trips, because Garmin's points of interest database is quite extensive and includes all of the typical tourist attractions, plus food, shopping, gas, banking, etc.

    11. Be sure to check for the latest map and firmware updates at Garmin's web-site....more info
  • THIS THING RULES! :-)
    I've been using the i3 for about a week now. The screen is easy to read, the display states the street names clear and accurate. The voice prompts are fantastic and i'm able to hear them over the radio. The scroll wheel did not take long to get used to and the POI have not failed me yet. Even when looking for small places like bookstores and Starbucks. Plus i got this on sale at PC nation for $245.00 with free shipping. you can't go wrong for the price and quality. The only thing i MAY do is get a bigger sd card. but the one supplied is plenty for now....more info
  • Do NOT Buy This One---Buy The Garmin C530 Instead
    The following was written for the i3 but it also applies to the i5 in many respects. At least it'll help you decide between the i5 and the i3 because they're both the same except that the i5 already has the maps installed but costs about $80 more than the i3.

    I wasn't expecting too much from a $250 GPS gadget---the i3. I've used Magellen in Hertz Rental Cars. I always wanted a GPS but the then going price for Magellen of over $1000 discouraged me. But this one is extremely good and it's only $250.

    I didn't think I'd like the "scroll" mechanism as compared with the "touch screen" on the C330, C340 and C550 and Nuvi. But, I don't find the mechanical scroll all that much more effort. And the price is more than half of some of the other units. And, they didn't "scrimp" on this model---the maps and functionality are "first class".

    Some things you might want to consider when buying the i3 or i5: 1) I thought I might miss the voice saying the name of the street and that that function was "important". I find that I don't miss that the i3 doesn't say the name of the street because you can read the name of the street in CLEAR letters on the top of the i3 so you actually don't need the voice telling you what street it is., 2) I thought I might miss the "bell" that Magellen has when it rings at the exact time to make a turn. But, with the i3 some genius figured out the plan of putting a LARGE WHITE ARROW when a turn is coming up. You can then SEE the icon for your car as it enters one end of this white arrow. You can see the car icon moving toward the "crook" in the white arrow so you can easily determine when to make the turn. 3) Some people complained that The Garmin "puts you on side streets instead of on freeways". I worried about that but I found, at the suggetion of someone on Amazon, that you SET "THE VEHICLE" function under "settings" to "Truck" and also to "fastest route" instead of "shortest route". Thus, I've had no problem having the i3 put me on slower side streets when I would prefer to be on a faster freeway. 4) I was worried that this "lower end" GPS i3 wouldn't "find the satellite" very rapidly. But, the i3 seems to "find the satellites" rather rapidly...maybe within 2-3 minutes from a cold start--unless you've moved far away from where you last turned it off---then it takes 5 minutes or so. Therefore, if the i3 doesn't "find the satellite" it would seem that this would be caused by the satellite being "weak" or being "behind a building" rather than being the fault of the i3. However, I haven't had occasion to try the i3 in a "high rise" area like Manhattan yet. 5) As for mounting, I don't think it's realistic to expect the "suction cup" to work 100% properly on a hot windshield 100% of the time. Obviously, at some point, it's going to inevitably fall off--like when it "dries out" for example. However, the i3 is so small and light you can actually simply place it on the top of your dashboard with the cup assemply attached to provide more weight and stability but not "suctioned"---just laying there in front of you. Then, you can easily pick up the i3 to program it as needed and you can easily remove it from the car or put it away in the glove compartment when not in use. It is alittle "wobbly" when just sitting on top of the dash but I find this "the best" way to "mount it" so far---and it's right in front of you. 6) I was wondering "how hard" it would be to LOAD the maps on the i3 as compared to the i5 which already has the maps loaded. I found out it isn't hard at all! It's a sinch. So, if you want to save about $80 get the i3 over the i5. But, if you want ALL of the US, say for a long trip across the US, and you have the i3, you can buy another Mini SD Card of 1 GB for about $40.

    If you're a realtor or are using a GPS constantly you might be better off getting a Nuvi 350. But, if you're like me, just occasional use on infrequent long trips and possibly a trip to Europe in the future, I doubt it's worth twice as much to get the more expensive units. And "the smallness" of this one is an ASSET because it doesn't dominate your dash board, it is inconspicuous and less likely to be noticed or stolen, and it's "cute"!

    The only two possible deficiencies are: 1) There is MICRO SD memory Card in this one instead of the regular size SD Memory Card. There isn't much of a "downside" to the "micro" SD. You can buy an extra Micro Card for about $40 that has 1 GB. The 1 GB will hold all of North America and most of Europe---so who needs a larger memory capacity. 2) The Nuvi and C530 have the new "Sirf" receiver inside. This "Sirf" is supposed to be more sensitive when near tall buildings or near trees. I may do some comparisons later to find out how much better, if any, the "Sirf" is to the regular receiver.

    All in all, this is a VERY GOOD GPS for it's small size and price. I think you might just "fall in love" with it! Email:boland7214@aol.

    AFTERWARD: I had to return my i3 today. The reason is that I noticed over the weekend that it is VERY HARD to see the screen of the i3 in bright sunlight! It was about 2PM when I was returning from a Sunday Brunch when I noticed I couldn't see the screen---it was "dark". So, I asked my wife to "make it brighter". She told me that it was already set as bright as possible. This is a "deal breaker" because you NEED to be able to SEE what's on the screen so you'll know when to turn. Looking at my options I decided to order the new Garmin C530. The C530 has a NEW BRIGHT SCREEN which should be easier to see in bright sunlight according to what is written in the specifications. And, thanks to the internet I shopped around and found one for about $465. Where? Send me an email and I'll tell you if Amazon will let you to contact me, that is!

    FINAL FINAL WORD: I've had the Garmin C530 now for several days. I suggest you get the C530 instead of this one. The C530 is "State of the Art" because of the new Sirf receiver. That receiver is alone worth the extra money becauuse it is FAST and STRONG! I can get satellite reception even inside my house, for example! (I found out how important this is on one cold night in Berlin in March 2006 when I came out of a concert about 11PM and wanted to go back to the hotel. The "Never Lost" 760 Megellen I was using on a Hertz Car could not "acquire a satellite". I drove around for about an hour waiting and hoping to "acquire a satellite". Finally a friendly taxi driver told me how to get back to the hotel.) The bottom line is this: for about $465 or about the same price as a C340 you can get a "state of the art" GPS. And, if you shop around you can get the C530 for about $465 or less. Go for it! :o) Email:boland7214@aol. (If you email me I'll tell you where I bought my C530.)

    After Afterword: Stop! My C530 just died---won't start. I'll let you know what happens later.

    ...more info
  • Excellent GPS unit!!!!
    The Garmin i3 is exactly what I was looking for in a GPS unit.....small, easy to use, reliable and accurate. The StreetPilot software was simple to install on my pc and is current up to about 2005. I noticed some stores and restaurants over a year old were not available. However, you can download Points of Interest from various 3rd party internet sites to update some missing locations. If you plan on traveling throughout the US I would suggest purchasing a larger memory card. The supplied 128mb card will only hold about 7-10 state maps. Overall I am very pleased with my purchase. ...more info
  • Great Economical Unit
    It does what it is supposed to do. I have not experienced problems. I would recommend to anyone except people with vision problems or the elderly (becuase of the small screen size). It is very accurate and the voice commands are clear. Great value for the money. ...more info
  • Great product!
    I use this GPS regularly. The only thing I can comment negatively about it is the attachment disk. In hot weather, the adhesive on the rubber pad will release. I got rid of the rubber pad and went with an exterior grade of padded double back tape. Works great now.

    Recommend getting a visor for the StreetPilot....more info
  • Excellent value!
    I have zero complaints with the Garmin i3. I hear others complain about the screen size and the lack of touch screen, but I think the screen size is perfect (wouldn't want it any bigger) and the slide wheel works well for entering input.
    ...more info
  • Garmin i3 GPS
    I bought this item as a gift for my husband and it works great. ...more info
  • Get's you where you want to go--great value!
    One of our cars has the factory nav system from Honda, which works really well. We bought The i3 to use on vacations with rental cars and for use in our second car at home. I've done pretty extensive side-by-side driving comparisons in the Honda, and the Garmin really performs well. The thumbwheel is easy to use, the display is clear enough to provide useful information while driving, and the voice (while a little bit annoying sometimes) is easy to understand. We used this during a family vacation in Utah that involved a scavenger hunt and found it to be invaluable (example--several of the items we had to find were old coins, so we entered the word "coin" in the search by location feature, and voila--ten or so coin shops within driving distance). Similarly, a flat tire was quickly fixed at a tire shop--found through a similar search.

    This unit is well made and well-engineered, in that while the manual is very brief, the good news is that you really don't need a lot of instruction in order to use it. I highly recommend it....more info
  • Very pleased.
    I think this is a great value. Of course it has it's problems but it was not made for the shuttle. It is a very helpful tool to get you where you want to go. The size is maybe the best feature. So small, but easily read. The voice commands are the added help to keep your eyes on the road. There are times when the voice does not match the map or reality. Just keep an open mind and know if you made a wrong turn, it will re-calculate and get you there. I would say, don't waste your money on the $500 units unless you really have a need to spend the extra dough. This one will work for most of us out there....more info
  • Garmin i3
    Although Amazon delivered it after a big road trip I took, I was able to use it for a few others.
    Simple to set up, easy to load maps. I purchased a larger memory card, and loaded the whole US. I also purchased an external antenna(just in case).
    The size may seem small, but not really a problem navigating. I can carry it inside and load routes or look for retaurants in the area.
    I travel for my kids ball games, so it's real handy to get you there and find places to eat once there.
    Overall it's a great unit, very portable and affordable....more info
  • Good product for the price
    The low price of this product makes it well worth buying; but if you can afford it, go for something better like the c330/c340. This is probably the best value of the Garmin StreetPilot series. The i2 does not have a color display and the i5s features aren't really enough to justify such a sharp price increase. Instead of buying an i5, I reccomend upgrading to a 1GB microSD card which enables you to load almost all of the maps and still comes out $40 cheaper.

    Pros of the i3:
    - Small size minimizes obstructed view
    - Low Price
    - Easy to use
    - Has most of the same features as pricier models.

    Cons:
    - Suction cup mount sometimes falls off (Dirty windshield or extreme heat)
    - Accuracy is sometimes iffy: Some roads are not the same on the map as in real life, sometimes addresses are off by as much as 100 yards, some addresses are on the opposite side of the street where the i3 says they are, i3 doesnt understand the concept of one way streets.

    I've been using this product in several different areas (Normal, IL, Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI) and its performance has been consistent. ...more info
  • Great basic GPS
    Very easy to use. Performs all basic functions without any problems....more info
  • Tiny giant
    The Garmin i3 is tiny with a lot of info. I have trouble reading without my glasses and as it's so small, that could be a problem but because it speaks to you, it's OK. It does the job that a GPS much more costly could not have done better. By the way, on water you can see the names of the roads on the shore. That helps in looking for a land location from the water that my boat GPS does not do....more info
  • Pretty Good GPS + 5 Star Customer Support
    I have the Magellan Roadmate 300 for the comparsion.

    I like the size and the shape of the i3 and the ease of use; and the use of 2 AA batteries making the i3 very portable. A pair of AA can run for almost a day. Using the wheel is like using a mouse. It is no problem for me at all. The Roadmate 300 on the other hand must plug to the 12V to work. And the 300 is pretty big. However, the 300 does have a touch screen.

    The reception from the i3 is not as good as the RoadMate 300. Sometimes, the i3 picks up the signal very fast but sometimes it seems forever (maybe 50/50). But once I am going, the i3 has no problem picking up the signal. The RoadMate 300 can pick up the signal in no time 99% of the time.

    I don't traval much but many times the i3 saves the day for pointing me to the right direction when I am somewhere of nowhere. I personally use the i3 as a map to show me where I am heading and where I am.

    Looking for places seems ok. You can load up to 5 states to the 128Meg memory. However, if you fill up the 128Meg memory, it is going to take a long time for the i3 to locate a place. So, if you are a city slicker, just load only one state to the i3.

    The screen in the i3 is very small but readable. Basically, you don't need to look at the screen for direction becasue the voice prompt is very loud (but not as loud as the RoadMate 300). The screen in the 300 is brighter and bigger too. However, the i3 does not speak the name of the street. It only tells you to "Turn Left in 0.2 mile". And the i3 only tell the distance in "mile". So instead of tell you to turn left in 500 feet, it tells you to turn left in "Point Two Mile". So, if you miss the "Point" thing, you may miss the turn.

    For way points, the i3 always show you the place that is closer to your current location. I find this not too good becasue the list of my way points always move up and down. I cannot make the list in the specific order I like. For example, I have my "Office" in the list. Sometimes the "Office" is in the beginnin of the list but sometimes it is at the end. I need to constantly looking where my "Office" is in the list.

    Bottom line is that I like the i3 better than the RoadMate 300.

    However, I broght the i3 in May. Two months later (ie July), the speaker stops working. The heat must kill the speaker. Emailed tech support and got the first reply in 4 days. One email exchange and got a RMA# from another email in 2 days. So, this is not too bad. Spent $10 buck to ship my i3 back for RMA. Hope they will fix it with no question ask. Otherwise I will not buy anything from Garmin anymore.

    On the other hand, my Roadmate 300 has been sucked on the windshield and be baked in the sun for over 1 year. The 300 never fall down and no problem at all. It may just be a matter of luck or it may be the RoadMate is a better unit I don't know.

    I'll let you guys know if I get my i3 back from Garmin.

    Update:
    Mailed my broken i3 to Garmin on 7/29. They mailed me another one on 8/9 via UPS 2nd Day Air. Not bad at all. 5 stars for thier customer support....more info
  • Great help for directionally challenged drivers...
    I feel so empowered! This great product saved me in Dallas so many times. The only time I had a problem was when I didn't trust the unit and made my own decisions or when we ran into new construction areas. But Gia (our nickname for our GPS) always got me back on track, thank goodness. I am the family joke regarding getting lost and always turning the opposite way than I should have. Now I am not so nervous to drive in a big city. My husband did have some trouble loading the maps, but he worked it out relatively easily. It took me a little bit to learn how to use it, but it is very user friendly so I was able to figure it out without wasting too much time. I also love that it is light enough for me to carry it on the plane easily. It will travel out of town with me always from now on. ...more info
  • I love it!
    Though it does seem small, Garmin gives you all the info you need without clogging the screen with too much info. I have used it extensively (even threw it in my suitcase and brought it on vacation) and never had a problem! It has taken the stress out driving when you don't know where you're going!...more info
  • Great GPS
    I love this thing. It's pretty economical, especially compared to some of the other GPS units out there. The Street Pilots are awesome. You can find all kinds of stuff with this and it will take you right to it. Gas stations, restaurants, streets, just about anything you can think of. It is small and portable but has a good sized screen. It is easy to use, easier than I thought for just having a couple of buttons. A fun toy for those that like gadgets....more info
  • Great value for the money
    I've had this GPS for several months now, and I have used it in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, California and probably a few other states that I don't remember offhand. It's a terrific buy for the price.

    There are some quirks with it. One is that it frequently "recalculates" your route right in the middle of heavy traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. That can get annoying. This happened to me a lot in Boston which drove me nuts. Another problem is that when you first turn it on, it can take a couple of minutes to connect to a satellite. In one instance, it took about an hour and a half. Ouch! After all that, why would anyone buy one? Well, if you have never used GPS before, you're in for a real treat. I'm hooked on GPS, and I don't know why anyone would bother using a map anymore except on those days when it takes an hour and a half to connect to a satellite.

    This particular device is a bargain. For one, it's portable meaning you can put it in any car you want, particularly a rental car when you're on vacation. If you own two cars, you can switch it back and forth.

    Do not buy the carrying case from Garmin! Those things are the pits. Way too small. I bought a basic overnight bag where I put spare batteries, a battery charger and other small gadgets in. I highly recommend getting rechargeable AA batteries as well. The adapter for the car works fine, but I had one rental car where it did not work. The other reason is that when you are driving, if you stop for gas and turn off the engine, with no batteries, the power goes out meaning that you have to retype your route and connect to a satellite again. Having the batteries in at all times means that when you stop, you can just leave it on. I highly recommend that.

    I have used mine for dozens and dozens of driving hours in several different states, and I will NEVER travel without a GPS again. If you have never tried a GPS before, rent a car from Thrifty or Enterprise or whomever and pay the $10 per day for the GPS. I'm absolutely wild about mine.

    The points of interest part of it works fairly well. Basically, if you're in town somewhere, you can simply hit the fuel button, and it will tell you all the nearest gas stations. Well, if one has closed, you're out of luck. I tried to find a Chevron once and ended up at a Shell station. I also tried to find a pizza joint with the food button, but it said "arriving at destination" while I was cruising south on the New Jersey Turnpike. Okay, it's not perfect, but I can say that most of the time when you're looking for a restaurant, you'll find one. Same with hotels, gas stations and particularly parks. I LOVE that function. I was on my way to Fort McHenry for Flag Day back in June. I think there were detours on the road. I searched for historical landmarks or parks, and I clicked on Fort McHenry. It took me right there.

    I annoy friends when I visit because all I ever ask for is an address, but they start giving me directions. The only people who don't like or understand GPS are those who have never used one. Once you start, you'll never stop. Vacations are fun, but they're more fun when you spend time getting where you're going and not fumbling around looking at a map. Time is money.

    I recommend this device over the more expensive one because technology changes so rapidly. You'll upgrade eventually anyway. Also, I would buy a larger chip. It comes with 128 mb which is enough to load a couple of states. The only annoyance is that I have to load states into it whenever I travel. If you're using it for home, no problem. On 128 mb, you can fit the western U.S. on it. I upgraded to 512 mb because I prefer to store more states. Also, you need a DVD drive to load the software. I recommend having a laptop computer with DVD drive to take with you when you travel. Just in case, you can reload the maps onto the GPS from your laptop. Once you load the software from the DVD, you don't need to carry the DVD with you.

    I absolutely love GPS technology. It's going to become very commonplace very soon. Don't waste your money on a device installed in your car. It will go out of date sooner or later, and you can only use it in that car. You can't transfer it to another one. Eventually all cars will have one, but until then, get something cheap....more info
  • Garmin i3 GPS
    This is a great GPS system. It is very versatile and exactly what I was looking for. It is able to give me turn by turn directions but also will find a place for me even if I don't know the address. I would highly recommend this unit to anyone, experienced or not in how to use a GPS....more info
  • Great size Easy Navigation
    I originally bought this due to the price point and didn't realize how good it was until I hit the road. Easy to change views using the click wheel and back button. Unit only has three buttons. Other reviews really fill in the other details. My only complaint is one-way streets don't show up. I wan a unit I can drive anywhere with and not get lost. Being told to turn down a one-way doesn't help. It does recalculate your route very quickly so you can just go to the next street and you'll get there....more info
  • Good unit - but consider the i5
    Great little unit. Got a chance to play with it, and used Amazon's offer to add a 512MB transflash microSD card also. However, when loading up the unit, found out that the 512 card doesn't have enough capacity to load the whole US map (got everything west of the Mississippi, most of the midwest, but didn't get the far NE or SE). So, if you consider that buying the i3 plus a 1GB transflash card, plus the time loading all the maps, for only another $60 or so more, you could get the i5, plug it in and go. Something to consider if you don't want to mess with using a PC in the process.
    The Good:
    Great starter GPS unit, especially for the price. Got us where we needed to go, and worked reliably. Volume was good, screen was crisp and easy to read (even though it's pretty small!). Loading the maps, aside from the time taken, was very, very easy. PC with DVD necessary. Also could download a utility that updated the firmware. Thanks, Garmin!
    The Bad:
    Took 2 or 3 minutes to acquire satellites. We had to stop at the side of the road and wait until it acquired before we could drive off. Not a surprise - all GPS units take some time to acquire satellites. Just remember that it's going to do that, maybe start up the unit as soon as you get near the car, before loading up.

    The pricing that I talked about at the top of the review....more info
  • Does what it's supposed to do
    I was originally concerned that the screen may be too small but it is not if you mount it on the windshield next to the rear view mirror (this idea is from a picture posted for the i5 model). Added benefit is that you don't worry about the sun since the GPS is shielded from the direct sun this way. You may have to adjust where you put the GPS if you want the visor down.

    (Garmin should change the screen so that it is not so reflective.)

    I checked the GPS every time I stopped at a light to see if it showed my exact location and it was 100% right on the dot every time. (This was suburban driving -- no tall buildings to block the signals.)

    I got a 1 gig microSD card and I was able to load all 50 states plus Canada on it with room to spare.

    Some of the points of interest are out-dated, but a simple phone call ahead will confirm if something is still in business,etc. Not a big deal.

    If you will only use the GPS in your car, it may make sense to get the C320 since it has a 3.5" screen for only $50 more and it has a touch screen which the i3 does not have. It is not worth saving the $50 to get the black-and-white i2 because the screen just does not look as sharp....more info
  • happy with the i3
    I wasnt at all disappointed with the i3. So far it has worked really well in the MA and NH areas. It is my first GPS and it has given me the freedom to explore places without the fear of getting lost and going around in circles. Only 1 negative and that it has trouble contacting satellites amongst tall buildings, but this might be a trait for all gps. I like the fact that with extra batteries i can use it outside of the car without having to ever recharge it, unlike all the other gps models. ...more info
  • Took it half way 'round the world
    I've got my i3 for six months now. Other than the occasional hard-freeze (requiring the removal of car adapter power AND opening the battery compartment door to kill power and restart) and also some inaccuracies in the map data (I don't attribute this issue to the unit per se but the data provider), the unit has been well worth every cent I paid for it.

    I live in Seattle, but I took my i3 along with me to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico (about 2000 miles away), and also to Singapore (over 8000 miles away!), and in both cases, the unit was able to figure out where it was after it took well over 10 minutes acquiring satellites. It just doesn't have the correct data to work in those places. Thought that's something fun to know....more info
  • Saved me
    This past week I drove from Atlanta to Naples, Florida. Coming from the northeast, I didn't realize how bad and unpredictable rain storms were over Florida. I bought the Garmin i3 about a month ago for this trip in mind. I couldn't praise the little unit anymore then I could. During one of the many terrible rain storms when visibility was only a couple feet, the i3 navigated me perfectly to my exit. I got to my destination on time and didn't let the rainstorm deter me. If it weren't for this purchase, I would have been lost on the road without a clue during that storm.

    The i3 of course has a couple limitations. The i3 comes with a 128 MB Transflash card, which only allows you to hold only so many states. I actually bought an additional 256 MB card just to cover my southeast drive. Sliding cards in and out of this unit depending on where you are driving can be frustrating, especially if your start point is on one disk and your end point is on another. I know all the models up from the i3 have all the North America maps preloaded for you already. For the amount of money you would spend in Transflash cards you probably might want to look into the more expensive units.

    The i3 isn't very big and the screen can be hard to navigate with, but it is ideal for people that don't want to lug around large devices in a travel bag. It fit perfect in my camera bag with room left over to throw in my ipod.

    Overall, the i3 is a great buy for what it does.

    Note: I've read in previous posts about the horrors of the suction cup mount not holding up to the windshield. It's not a defect, but merely needing to apply some moisture to the suction cup before attaching it to glass. I actually dampen the suction cup with a little water and then attach it to the windshield. Hasn't dropped from the windshield since this method. ...more info
  • It is good when it is accurate
    I lived in NJ Suburbs, our place got lots of trees. It easily losses it's signal with the satellite. Then I tried it from my home going to my work in Parsippany. The device got me lost. I tried to stick with it's direction, I am following it turn by turn. I never miss a turn but it keeps on recalculating the route. It's good I know my way.

    The good thing is if it worked it is awesome. Just don't give 100% trust on the device.
    ...more info
  • It will EXCEED your expectations!!!
    After reading the reviews, I decided to by the Garmin StreetPilot i3 (only $50 more than the black and white i2). Once I installed the hardware and plugged it in, I began to realize how intuitive the i3 is its use. You really do not even need a manual. I ordered the i3 with a 1GB smart card. This allowed me to load up the entire US, Canada and Puerto Rico... with room to spare. Then I went on the road and tried it out. It performed flawlessly. On the initial acquiring of satellites, the i3 takes about 30 seconds. After that, your position is always certain. Once you select a destination, the i3 takes about 5-10 seconds to map it out. If I ever deviated from the selected route, the i3 would recalculate in about 5 seconds.

    I have been using the i3 for about a month now. I have NOT had any problems with this GPS system. On the contrary, I have fully incorporated it into my driving. I recommend downloading the POI loader and the Web Updater (both free from Garmin's website). Once you get the POI Loader, you can download those intersections within some cities that have traffic cameras. Once loaded onto your i3, you can be warned when you approach such intersections, thereby avoiding tickets. It has come in handy numerous times already. In addition, if you purchase MapSource from Garmin, you can create an almost limitless number of Waypoints or "Favorite locations" that can be uploaded to your i3. Ever person in your phone book can now be positioned on your i3 and navigated to with the touch of a button. If you decide not to buy MapSource, there are some other GPS utilities that are free (e.g., Easy GPS). I still recommend MapSource for ease of use.

    So, as you can see this GPS system outperforms most vehicle installed GPS systems. With the ease of POI loading and the automatic updates from Garmin, you're always up to date in your navigation. You can even have a voice with different languages. And because it's mobile, you can take it with you as you fly to other cities and rent vehicles in those cities. It can even be used in Europe (if you buy the European map version). A SIDE NOTE TO CALIFORNIA DRIVERS... California Vehicle code will only allow you to place the i3 in the lower corner nearest the driver or in the lower corner furthest from the driver. Obviously, you will place it nearest the driver. But it's more convenient there than in the middle of the windshield anyway. Other than that, the i3 is an awesome device. I whole-heartedly recommend it!!!!!!...more info
  • The i3....The size of a baseball. Scores a Double at the Most. Accept It's Limitations and You'll Be Happy.
    First I should state that I have had the full-featured Garmin 2610 for almost three years. The 2610 is larger, heavier, and nothing like the i3, which weighs little and is (as Garmin says) "The size of a baseball". I wanted something smaller and lighter...something I would not have to be concerned about stowing or carrying when I parked the car. The i3 fit my requirements. (No stand-alone GPS unit should be left on your dash or windshield when you leave your car. It will be a sitting duck for thieves.)

    Upon opening the i3 box, a quick set-up guide instructs you to insert a DVD into your computer which loads the software and maps. When instructed to do so, I plugged the unit into the computer USB connection. Once my computer recognized the unit, I installed the maps onto the MicroSD (Transflash) card that is in the i3. The maps are much easier to install on the i3 than the 2610. The standard 128 MB card can hold several states. If you know you will never drive out of a certain region, then the 128 MB card should be all that you will ever need. I was able to load about 8 New England/Mid Atlantic states onto the 128MB card. However, I decided to take out the 128 MB card and buy a 1 GB card which can hold all continental 48 states....you never know where you may have to drive to..do you?

    Why buy the i3 vs. the i5? The i5 uses a micro hard drive which has all the state maps pre-loaded. It also comes with a 128 MB MicroSD card which is for additional maps or data. The i3 and i2 use a MicroSD flash memory card. My feeling is that anything that has delicate internal moving parts (such as a micro hard drive) is more prone to failure, plus may even be slower than a flash card. I can't see how over time a micro hard drive can withstand the everyday bumps and shakes of moving the unit between your windshield and glove box, or car to car, or whatever. The maps on the i5 hard drive are not upgradeable as they are with the i3/i2. Finally, the cost of the i3, plus a larger card is still less than the i5. You don't need to be tech savvy to load the maps onto the i3. Just follow the easy instructions and you are on your way.

    I wont go over all the features of the i3. You can find that on the Garmin site. However, since I have had a Garmin 2610 for awhile, I will compare the i3 to it.

    The i3 is very basic, but certainly functional. It turns on as soon as it gets power from the car, or you can turn it on using the power button. It takes 2 AA batteries (claim to last 6 hours), but when in the car, I always run it plugged in. The batteries power the unit when I am out of the car and need to look things up.

    Most people who buy their first GPS unit think that once they start their car, the GPS is immediately available for use. Not really. Like all GPS units, the i3 may take several minutes to acquire satellites when starting out from "Cold", meaning you haven't used it for hours, or when you are in a different area from where you last turned it off, since it needs to find different satellites than it did before. Most of the time it is ready to operate in less than 1 minute, but it can take up to 5 minutes to find satellites. In addition, it must have a clear view of the sky to function, meaning no trees, buildings, etc. are blocking it. Satellite acquisition has always presented a problem for me when I first turn it on. Do you start driving, hoping you am going in the correct direction as you wait for the unit to find the satellites, or do you just sit there with the motor running waiting for it to tell you what to do? That is a decision you have to make.

    The i3 has a clean interface, with only three things you can push. 1 button for power, 1 button to return to the previous screen, and a scroll wheel/button to scroll and select. The scroll wheel is tedious to use compared to the touch screen on the 2610. You have to scroll through letters and numbers, then press your selection. However, the software is intuitive, in that it narrows down your choices as you select things. Of course this is the way it must be, since the screen is too small to be touch-sensitive. Cant have it all.

    In terms of readability, the 2610 is the winner here. It is big, bright, and sharp, easily read even in the sun. The i3's screen almost washes out in the sun,...whether the sun is directly shinning on it or not. I have the screen always at the maximum brightness setting, and even then there are times when it is tough to make things out. (I have read about this gripe in other reviews.) The 2610 screen has a matte-like surface. Unfortunately the i3 screen is very reflective. Not a good design for the car during bright days.

    While the screen of the i3 is not as sharp and readable as the 2610, it is still not so bad that I would not buy the unit again. It just is not as good as the better models Garmin makes. (Remember, I have been using a full-featured unit for the past few years. If I never did, I would have nothing to compare the i3 to. If I bought the i3 as my first unit, I would not know any difference and be very happy). As to the size, I thought I would have a hard time using such a small screen., but I don't. It displays only what is really needed. It is acceptable. Besides, most of the time you use the voice prompts to guide you, and one only makes fleeting glances at the screen to confirm the name of the street, highway, or a direction. I just care about where I should be heading, right, left, etc. I don't have to know the names of everything around me. One shouldn't be always looking at that screen anyway. One should be concentrating on the driving first and foremost. Safety is more important than anything. One shoudnt be fiddling with any of the buttons on the unit while driving. All GPS units need much more attention from the user than when using something like a car stereo. One should input all data before the vehicle starts moving. If the driver trys to input data while driving, that is very unsafe. In addtion, in most states you can be ticketed for distracted driving.

    There are the usual set-up options, but much fewer than the 2610. There are points of interest such as food, fuel, lodging, attractions, shopping, etc. Of course the points of interest are a few years behind from what is current. That is true for all mapping programs.

    The i3 uses a suction mount that attaches to the windshield. When it stays put, it is fine. However; too many times it has come off unexpectedly, causing the unit to hit the dash. This has happened so many times, I recently gave up using the suction mount completely and got a friction dash mount. Garmin needs to address the problem with the suction mounts, since it seems to occur with other models that Garmin makes.

    The processor in the i3 is not fast. It is slow...really slow. Route calculation and searches for points of interest take much too long. However, it does work. You have to decide if the processing time is too slow for youself. Is it worth it for to you to spend hundreds more to save a few seconds off the processing time?

    The i3 has does have many good points. The price affords GPS to an entire market that was not able to enter it before this. The small size enables you to keep one of these in your glove box or center console for ready access. We all have had times where we had no idea which way to go. This unit will lead you to your desination on a leash. Why spend 2 grand for a OEM GPS unit, when for less than 300 dollars you can have this? Finally, this is a great thing to move from car to car. Give it to different family members when they need it. Never be lost in a strange area again. Take it with you the next time you take a airplane trip and are renting a car at the airport. Upon picking up the rental car at the airport, I put the unit on the dash, then wait a few minutes for it to find the satellites. It leads us me to the driveway of our hotel miles away. When on vacation, it is also a great tool to find stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc. I would use the GPS (with the unit in GPS off mode) in the hotel room to investigate all the places I wanted to go the next day (using battery power). They were saved on the unit. Once in the car, the list of the places I wanted to go to was already there under "Recent Finds". I selected my choice from the list, then I choose navigate and it routed me there from wherever I happened to be. One of the best things about it is that I was never afraid of "getting lost". Sometimes we would just drive around exploring new areas. When we were done and wanted to go back to our hotel, I just scrolled to the hotel in the list of recent finds and it got me back easily.

    The Garmin 2610 is certainly the more advanced unit. If I have a trip planned and I am driving my own car the entire way, I would choose the 2610. But....when I take my next airplane trip and am going to pickup a rental car, the i3 will be packed in my carry-on. It can't do everything that the 2610 can do, but the size and weight of the i3 makes it more practical for use in a car other than your own. Plus, it is much more practical if others will be using it (such as your children), since if something happens to it you wont feel so bad since the price you paid wasnt exhorbitant.

    Yes, the i3 has it's limitations, but that is reflected in the low cost. You are buying price, not the features of a higher end, larger GPS unit. You want something better? Garmin makes many different models. They are trying to cover all market segments. This unit may not be for you. However, if you are reading this, you are somewhat interested in the unit, and you know that you may dont always need to spend more money on something. It all depends on your needs. Do you want a Honda Fit or a Honda Accord? They will both get you there, but in different ways. What do you feel comfortable with, plus what is your budget for this?

    If you are debating about buying any GPS unit, an important thing to realize is the secure feeling you will get just by having a GPS system. The security of knowing you will never be lost in a strange area may be the single most important reason for purchasing this. Make a wrong turn during a route? In a few seconds it automatically calculates a new route to get you back on track. Also...another wonderful use for this is searching for an address at night, especially in a dimly lit area. How many times have you tried to find an address in the dark, in a suburb or a rural area? You go up and down the road, hoping to end up at the right house. Try doing that during a heavy rain, and it even gets harder. This unit will work invisibly to lead you where you have to be.

    In closing I would like to add that I feel that Garmin has great customer support. (Isn't it amazing how some companies can get away with charging you to speak with them about the problems you are having with the product that you just paid them a significant amount of money for?) You should know that at times you may have to wait up to 30 minutes to talk to someone at Garmin, but the call is toll free, and the support is free for life. Few companies still offer perks like that.
    ...more info
  • Great cheap accuarate GPS
    I bought this device before my trip to LA. I live in Silicon Valley and through out it proved very very useful. It acquires satellite signal almost immediately. I have used it in San Francisco Finanical District and it works great in there. In general this is a good investment. People warned me against the size and memory capacity: but i have put in 5 states in the GPS and thats more than i will ever travel in one trip. It has all of california, nevada, Utah, oregon, and Arizona in just 128 MB and there is sstill some space.
    The size shocked me when i got it. I suggest you draw a bbox with the dimensions as mentioned for the display size and ask yourself if you are going to be fine with a small display.

    I have had no issues with the display even though its small! its very handy because of the size. you can fit it in the dash when you park your car in an unsafe parking lot or locality! If you get the big ones you will have to leave it at home and if its not in the car its of no use!

    The one inconvenience was entering addresses with a scroll wheel. It does have the auto complete feature which means u can enter 3 letters of the street name and it will show u the options, which makes it easier! but i think i will go with the scroll wheel if it saves me 200$.
    Down side is in less than a month this dropped 25$, i bought it for 295 and this is now selling for 270!
    Get it and start roaming around! its fun when u never have to go to maps.google.com or mapquest!...more info
  • Incredible value!
    I bought one of these new from Amazon at $199.99 with FREE SHIPPING! All I can say is WOW! I travel a great deal for work. I drive approx 40,000 miles a year to mostly locations that I have never been to before. This i3 has made my whole working life so much easier. I am on time everywhere now with no delays from fumbling with a map. My stress level is way down and I am more relaxed with customers when I do arrive. It also has the feature of being able to take you to shopping, food, etc. I use this feature every day!

    I have also used this for a three state trip with my family. it worked beautifully with one notable exception. When on the return trip we were driving through Chicago the unit did not know the highway it put us on was under construction. We missed our turnoff and got pretty well off-track. However, the i3 guided us through some pretty nasty areas with out having to stop and we made it home about 15 mins later than planned. Not too bad!

    At the price I bought it for or even the current price, this thing is a huge bargain. It is not updatable so construction and closed roads will get you BUT you have to spend hundreds more to get that kind of help!...more info
  • Better than I had ever anticipated
    I am a first-time GPS user (but an experience tech user), and the i3 has literally changed my driving experiences. For anyone who has never owned a reliable, highly performing auto GPS, having the i3 as a travel companion makes going to out-of-the way places, new locales, and new cities a sheer joy, as opposed to the usual high stresses accompanying getting lost.

    I use this regularly in my hometown of Massachusetts, but I recently took it to Los Angeles where it was a lifesaver - great route calculations, and ease of use. I found all the locales that I was headed for easily, got re-routed within seconds when I accidentally missed turns or got blocked off by heavy traffic, found local gas stations & post offices & restaurants, and got consistent reception everywhere except areas of the tallest skyscrapers. It even does an incredibly good job at estimating where the actual house number is - in my address lists, it never missed by more than 30 feet.


    I actually did lend this to my girlfriend, (who is NOT a tech-fan) who at first opposed the idea of having a potentially annoying driving coach in the side-seat, but after 1 local trip, she was sold. She then took it with her to San Francisco, and it made driving a fun, pleasant, stress-free journey despite the fact she had no knowledge of the area and only one prior trip with the i3. (She's demanding one for herself now.)

    It's easy to use, it's small, it's inexpensive for what it does. Add to the fact that it has a virtual yellow pages built in (including phone #s and addresses - call ahead for reservations!!) and this unit is unstoppable. I like this thing so much that I feel that EVERY car should come with one off the showroom floor.

    The main criticism I have is that entering text/numbers is a bit slow with the scroll wheel. Not bad, but definitely on the clunky side.

    This is one of the few technologies that I've encoutered that are truly life-changing. If you're not a GPS user yet, try this one - you can't go wrong (most of the others are >$500), and you'll see the road in a whole new light.

    ** Just to comment on some prior incorrect critiques:
    - The 128Mb card is spacious. Holds 4 dense map states (NY/MA/NJ/NH)with some small room to spare, or MANY less dense maps (most of the Midwest.) Definitely NOT just 1/2 a state.

    - The screen is more than adequate in size & brightness. I have NEVER had to squint at it - the text is big and bold, and the brightness works even in sunlight.

    - I've never had a problem getting it recognized via USB on a PC. In fact, it's one of the most reliable pieces that gets recognized for me.

    - Alas, the suction cup issue is true though. It's a fancy suction-cup complete with manual lever, but it will invariably fall off if the temp changes a lot, or especially when you're twiddling around with the zoom wheel. Remember to reset the lever every 3 hours, or after a lot of manipulation, and it'll never fall off again....more info
  • Very pleased with this GPS!!!
    First of all, this unit is well worth the purchase. I won't waste time by repeating the pros and cons that most every review below lists out, but I will share my opinion. I have used this for approx. 1 month, and I love it. I travel around the Atlanta metro area for my job, and this GPS has saved me a lot of headache and wasted gas. The directions are 98% accurate. I have only had one instance where the directions where not accurate, but in defense of the unit, two roads that were on the route were closed due to construction. The unit finally recalculated and got me to my destination.

    The only "annoyances" I have found so far are:
    1. In the city, the unit takes a little while (30 to 60 secs) to acquire the satellites. This is due to the tall buildings blocking the signal. This happens with all GPS units, so it is not an issue with the unit, but still annoying.
    2. The points of interest are out of date. Several of the ones I have tried no longer exist. This is mostly due to the fact that businesses come and go in Atlanta almost weekly, so I can't really hold this against the unit.
    3. You really have to use the "Avoidances" setting, and select/deselect "Highways" if you plan to take back roads or side streets. If you do not choose to avoid highways, the unit will constantly try and steer you to the interstate, instead of realizing that the side street/backroad you are on is taking you in the same direction, and adjust accordingly. It gets very annoying to hear "When safe, make a U-Turn" at every intersection when you get off of the highway to avoid a construction or a wreck. The only way to choose to avoid the highway is to go into settings, which means you have to take the risk while driving, or pull over.

    Overall, I am very pleased with the unit. You must remember that with all GPS units, they are not 100% accurate, 100% of the time. I have also used a factory system in a Mazda, and it suffers from the same issues, but it was a $1500 upgrade. I got mine from Amazon, and they seem to have very reasonable prices for this GPS....more info
  • Everything I was looking for!
    I've owned this unit for about 3 months now and I've taken it on both long trips and short ones. I mostly keep it in my glove compartment and if I need it, can't find my way, or I get lost I just pull over, mount it, and wait for the satellites to acquire (anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds usually).

    SCREEN SIZE:
    I must have gone to the store 3 times looking at the i3 then comparing the screen size to the larger c330. I finally ordered the i3 and hoped. I was not disappointed. First off, remember that this is not a TV. The screen is there for direction verification (IE if you are unsure of the voice directions). I don't think that the screen is too small and I actually prefer the size because I don't want something much larger on my dash or hanging off of my window.

    ACCURACY:
    Very happy. The unit has lead me to about 90% of my destinations without fail. A few times it will drop me a couple of houses short or it will state that it is on the left when it is on the right but I'm O.K. with that.
    Please note that it is a computer program not an actual person. And by that I mean it is not smart enough to know when rush hour is or if there is an accident up ahead or anything like that. There are some other models that will provide that information in certain cities but I have never used them so I can't comment.

    STORAGE: It comes with a mini memory card that is 128 MB. I put on MN, IA, WI, MI, NE, SD, ND, IL and a couple of other states that I will never go to and still had a little space left. You can get a bigger card pretty cheap if you need the whole USA but how many of us actually NEED it. If you do much traveling you may consider getting the i3 and upgrading the memory card (maybe 50 bucks at Best Buy?). That will save you around $100.00 bucks over the i5 and you don't loose any functionality.

    OTHER:
    --Garmin just released an update and it is a good one. It has a bunch of other enhancements for other countries but the main one is that they voice is much better at giving directions at the correct time. For instance, it will warn you 50 feet from your turn now instead of 10 feet in city driving.

    --This is not made to operate and drive at the same time. You can but please don't get into an accident. Pull over and spend 60 precious seconds safely.

    --Yes, the screen is a little hard to see in the sunlight. I know that the other garmins (c3xx series) have the same problem.

    --Lastly, when I went to the stores the clerk tried to convince me that the more expensive models had better maps and navigation ability. This is just not true. You get the same maps and the same software with the ix series as you do with the c3xx series. While the c3xx series can do a few more things, the i3 will give the you the same directions from point A to point B as will a GPS in the c3xx series. Don't be fooled.

    --ANTENNA
    I was a little worried about how such a little unit would handle satellite reception so I got on e-bay and bought an antenna. I'm sure that it will help a little but so far, I have never needed to use it so it just sits in my glove compartment.

    CONCLUSION:
    I am more than happy with my decision for the smaller GPS. It does exactly what I wanted. I too was getting caught up in all of the extra features and stuff that other units provided but now I know that they are just fluff to add more money to the price. I would recommend this to anyone who asked.
    ...more info
  • Worth every penny
    This sucker has relieved me of so much stress! No worries about getting lost, arriving late. Planning on traveling out-of-state next weekend, and I'm actually looking forward to it, because I'm not stressed about being on the right path!

    Screen size is NOT an issue. The voice prompt is clear and loud. Absolutely worth every penny!!...more info
  • Another Motor Coach gadget
    Motor Coach and RV owners tend to be gadget crazy. I purchased this from Amazon for a motorcoach I recently purchased. Unfortunate that the dealer didn't order the coach with a factory installed GPS, but I calculate I saved 2000-3000 dollars. I am not repeating all the other pro's and con's of other reviewers but for those that are driving 40 foot coaches and pulling a tag, it is invaluable for crowded city driving. You are audiably warned well in advance which lane to be in and thus avoids those dreaded missed turns because you are in the wrong lane. I agree the screen is small for us oldies over 25, but the voice is loud enough even for us old folks to hear that your turn or destination lies ahead. I have a larger screen GPS in my tow and that would be nice, but for the dollar spent, this is a good investment. ...more info
  • Tiny screen, downloading make this PIA
    This totally sucks. People who like this apparently only buy it so they can walk their dogs around the block. C'mon, folks, the screen is a joke. It's so tiny. Anyone older than 25 will find the screen not useable in real driving. (Or maybe all you guys *want* to get into a crash so you can sue the pants off Garmin?) The screen is also barely readable in daylight, and the buttons are stiff so pressing them while driving *is* dangerous. Unlike the more expensive i5 which contains North America map, this one only has 128MB of flash memory (not upgradable!) and less than that is actually useable. So you can store probably half a state of data in this thing, maybe less. The USB is supposedly fast, but half the time I couldn't get my PCs to recognize the i3. And Macintosh users, forget about the whole thing. This is totally poorly designed. And it kills your eyes and significantly increase your chance of dying in a crash.

    If you want a GPS system, get a Garmin C330 or above which at least has larger screens and (slightly)easier to use buttons. Your life is really worth more than a novelty gadget or a few hundred bucks -- at least I hope it is....more info
  • User friendly
    I recently bought the i3 because my new job requires lots of driving. It is TERRIFIC. Easy to download maps. Easy to program your destinations. That little lady's voice has steered me right so far! Oh and $299 is a very good price for all that you get....more info
  • Great price for performance
    Pro's:
    - Very small (size of baseball) makes easy to store (or hide after parking) & take on my trips. Screen size (some complain it's too small) + voice prompts is plenty good enough to follow the routes.
    - Transrelective screen can be seen in strong in daylight.
    - Reasonably accurate, large database of locations
    - Battery option very handy. I usually use with recharable batteries, and prefer the convenience of no chord.
    - After it locks on satellite, seems to be fairly sensitive. I can put the unit in pocket near the gearshift and it tracks no problem.

    Con's:
    - Takes 1-2 minutes to get satellite lock after first powering on. This is a annoying.
    - In Manhattan, had trouble maintaining lock (I assume due to tall buildings blocking signal). Not sure if other GPS units would do better though.
    - Uploading new maps to flash memory is bit slow. Takes 15-25 mins depending on size of upload. Can be addressed by using 1 or 2GB transflash (not available yet) which can store entire US....more info
  • Awesome little device
    First off, im glad i did not spend >$500 on a gps, i spent only $300, and this little thing brings me everywhere. I had doubts about its capabilities, but i was amazed at its accuracy. The 128 meg card that comes with the drive is enough to fit 5-6 states which is plenty for me.

    The only thing that bothered me was the fact that entering a new address takes patience, which you need anyway since u shouldnt be an aggressive driver.

    Also, you should put the gps on the bottom of your windsheid in order to get faster satalite receiption, i had it near the cup holders, rear view mirror and it lost signal a couple of times, but once i put it in the front of the car near the wipers, it performs brilliantly!

    I would recommend this device to anyone wanting a GPS device and do not know electronics very well. The screen is small but why would you want to look at the screen anyway when it tell you where u should be going! To me the screen size is a useless concern since you should be looking at the road anyway. ...more info
  • Sweet little unit
    I've had the i3 for about 6 months now; used it all over the Northeast and took it on vacation to the Phoenix area. Upgraded to a 512MB chip so could add western US to east & midwest. This thing works great - very visible, voice is handy, small size is appreciated - I tuck it up next to the rearview. Very simple to use, I loan it to my kids (who have terrible senses of direction) so they don't get lost. Highly recommended, with a couple of issues:

    1) Agree with other folks that the suction cup isn't great - but it does work better if you clean and moisten the window area and the suction cup itself;

    2) This may be unique to my car (2000 Maxima w/ Bose sound) but when I use the CD player, the unit loses the satellites! It took me the longest time to figure this out, and it's kind of inconvenient! Fortunately, I mostly listen to the radio . . .

    Otherwise, I'm a happy i3 user!...more info
  • Directs you into buildings, hope you've got good insurance
    All kidding aside, the fit, finish, and look of the maps on this device are top notch. However, the maps apparently are not updated as frequently as Garmin would like you to believe. We were directed to driving directly into the wall of a store that was built a few years ago. Also, directions on freeway splits aren't obvious or accurate at all. Buyer beware, if you need to return to Amazon because of these reasons, they will charge you about $60 for doing so....more info
  • warning to Macintosh users
    The software provided for the i3StreetPilot will not load with a Macintosh. I researched the information about this model and did NOT see anywhere that it had to be loaded using Microsoft Windows. I was distressed when I received it to find that I could not load it using my Macintosh. I had to return it as I do not have access to any computer except a Macintosh. I THINK, but am not sure, that the Garmin StreetPilot i5 comes preloaded. That would solve the problem (I hope). I am now researching that option....more info
  • Worth the price
    I have used it from Phila to Long Island NY and in St. Louis and Oklahoma City and have had great success. I had two times when I was driving down a road and it tells me to make a left or right were there is no turn and then it corrects itself. Volume is very good, easy to read in daylight and night driving and is easy to use with a friendly interface. The extra $100 for color screen for me was worth the money. Always a good idea to do a quick check on a map before a long drive....more info
  • Great Little Device!!!
    I bought this for my husband as he has to travel for work. He hates to use printed directions because it's a distraction. This gadget is great!!! He absolutely loves it.

    If he kind of knows the area that he is in and takes a different route then given him by GPS it recaculates the route and shows him the way!!!

    It's great!!!...more info
  • Two things I like it.
    1. After you set an address to go, it will suggest you a route. When you drive out of the route, it will recalculate a new route from your current place to the destination.
    2. After you set an address to go, it will suggest you a route. It might be far away. On the high way you don't need the GPS, so you can turn off the unit. When you are close to the destination you can turn the GPS on and select view the map. It will continue the route....more info
  • I don't know how I ever got along without it!
    This is an amazing little device. I been using it for 2+ months now and love it. i don't know how I ever got along without it! ...more info
  • Good things come in small packages.
    I'm a Realtor in Los Angeles so needless to say this device changed my life (it's my 1st GPS).
    The good: The size is wonderful. I don't think the size of the screen is a problem at all. The wheel system is not a problem either. The vocal prompts are clear. The 3d maps work well and are very easy to understand. The display aslo changes colors at night so it easier on your eyes.
    The bad: A little slow to acquire satelites under cloudy weather. The inscructions say this problem can be aleviated by putting batteries inside instead of just using the car power outlet. A little slow to calculate complex or long itineraries. The unit occasionally freezes and the only way to unblock it is to unplug it. I order to accelerate the entering of addresses I wanted to limit the maps to just Southern California, but I was not able to do that. Finally, I regret that the settings do not give the option to avoid left turns, which I hate. ...more info
  • Never be lost again!
    I moved to New Jersey a little over a year ago, and the roads here are ridiculously confusing and never failed to get me hopelessly lost. Being from California and then Las Vegas where all the streets are a straight line and addresses are printed on street signs and buildings and the like, it was a shock to come to NJ where you can't turn left or right if there is a jughandle (and you never know if there's going to be a jughandle or a left and right turn lane), where the streets resemble curly fries and spaghetti, where there are no address signs to speak of and half of the businesses don't even know their own street address, where roads are named with numbers instead of words, and where the cities used on business cards are actually boroughs that are "nicknames" for certain areas, not the city registered with the zip code for the area. Not a nice place to drive if you ask me.

    So I asked for and got this little baby for a Christmas gift from my mom!

    I have actually tried the Magellan Roadmate 300/360 before and I prefer the Garmin StreetPilot hands down. It may be a cheaper unit, but suffice it to say that less expensive doesn't necesarily mean less quality.

    Wondering which model to buy? Let me start by comparing the two! I used the Roadmate for a four-day long roadtrip with my friend who owned it (I was the only one driving), so I had a pretty good feel for it by the time the four days were up.

    The Magellan Roadmate took up to 15 minutes to pick up the sattelite signal, my Garmin i3 has never taken more than one minute to boot up, save the initial use which took about 4-5 minutes. This is particularly important when leaving to go somewhere and you are running late, or if you drive under a brige and the signal is lost. For the more pricey Roadmate to take an extra 5 minutes to reboot itself with the sattelite signal is absurd while you are driving around aimlessly in the meantime.

    Another thing that annoyed me about the Magellan roadmate was that it made this absurd low buzzing noise everytime it would give a voice command, which got pretty annoying after a while. My Garmin i3 has never made any strange noises at all.

    The Magellan also has less accurate maps than my Garmin does. There were several times, when driving with the Magellan that we would hit a dead end or closed road and it seemed to think that the road still existed. Even on roads that had obviously been closed off for years. While my Garmin is not foolproof when it comes to maps, I had more false roads and nonexistent points-of-interest locations with the Magellan in 4 days than I have had with my Garmin in three months.

    It is probably obvious, but I haven't been lost a single time since I got my i3 streetpilot. If I had bought one of these when I first moved here instead of waiting a year, it would have already paid for itself in gas. I would buy this thing ten times over, because (pun intended!) I would truly be lost without it!

    Don't worry about leaving the unit in your car or it being exposed to extreme temperatures. I leave mine in the glovebox (with the car locked of course!) and I have never had a problem with it despite many freezing nights and days.

    And don't worry about the screen. I have never ever had a problem seeing it clearly, be it night or day, rain or shine, glare or no glare. It is big enough to see very well without being bulky and huge.

    Now for the pros and cons of this unit:

    Cons:

    It is going to spoil you in a very similar a manner as to that of having a cell phone for the first time! You will wonder how you ever got on without it.

    It cannot search a city by zip code, only by city name. Or you can skip that and search all cities if you don't know. But that broadens your search quite a bit!

    There have been a few times where it took me somewhere besides the exact address of my destination. I am not sure if this is just because NJ is wierd when it comes to roads and addresses (because it is) or if it is because the map is off, but when it happened it was only a short distance from the destination, close enough for me to easily find my way there, anyway. It could also be because there are sometimes a 400 North Main Street and a 400 South Main St. that may not be specified if the streets aren't long enough. But the Magellan did this too, so it doesn't really count much when making a comparison in this price range.

    Some of the Point of Interest destinations don't exist. This seems to happen mainly with gas stations for some reason. One time I put in a gas station and it took me to a residential area. So the destinations aren't always guaranteed, but for the most part they do exist.

    The suction cup on this unit could be a lot better. That was the only thing that the Magellan won out over this system, and really the only thing I hate about it. If your windshield is overly cold it might fall off the window and sit on the dashboard, or worse, onto the floor or into an open cup of liquid in the cup holder! I usually moisten mine and fasten it relatively low on the windshield of my 2005 Hyundai Accent so it stays stuck on, and if it's really cold I put on the defogger so the window stays warm.

    The unit doesn't have any internal memory. The Magellan has 60 mb of internal memory, so if the memory card suddenly goes kaput, you are not totally screwed. But that can easily be remedied by carrying an additional inexpensive memory card in the car incase yours malfunctions.

    My other complaint is that the memory card that came with this unit did not work in the GPS. For some reason it works in my digital camera, but the Garmin couldn't read it and I could not upload the maps to the card. I was going to buy a larger 250 mb card anyway, so it didn't bother me much, but it was still annoying. The new card works just fine, the first must have been defective. My GPS was purchased at Costco, which was only $289.00, but the memory card WAS broken!

    Pros:

    I never get lost, and I can decide to go somewhere on a whim without worrying about printing confusing directions from mapquest or being at the mercy of people wih good intentions who give out bad directions.

    It saves me tons of money on gas. If you get lost frequently or have moved to a new city recently, or are military like me and move or travel a lot, this is your ticket!

    The menu with its little built-in phone book is absolutely fabulous. I have been out so many times in unfamiliar areas and wanted a particular restuaraunt or type of food (I have found many awesome restaraunts by doing this) and looked at the menu to see what was nearby. Same thing with wanting a certain store like Target or Sporting Goods or a mall, and not knowing where one was. Now I can go wherever I want and find things I normally would never have found or known existed if I didn't have the GPS.

    Liberty! This wonderful gem gives you the liberty to take road trips without getting lost or lugging around heavy books and confusing maps to tell you where to go. And if you decide you want to go to a certain spot while you are out, just punch in the address or look it up in the database, and you're there! You can go wherever you want on a whim.

    No more wondering "How long does it take to get there?" The StreetPilot gives you an arrival time that is pretty damn accurate.

    Never pass another freeway exit or miss another turn (and if you do, don't worry! It automatically recalculates a new route for you). It tells you to "keep right" or "keep left" in .4 miles or whatever and dings right where you are supposed to turn.

    Never be confused about forks in roads or anything of that nature. It tells you to "bear right" or something of that nature in confusing situations such as forked roads, freeway interchanges, airports, and roundabouts.

    It will teach you how to navigate the area. After using it for a while, you will learn how to get places that only got you lost before when trying to follow mapquest's written directions or a confusing map.

    It is fun to drive with! I like having it on even if I know where i'm going, it adds a measure of security and I love the voice that I chose (The lady with an English accent).

    It has a detour setting. That means if you run into a closed road or something, just go into the menu and select "detour", and it calculates a new route for you!

    That's pretty much the gist of it!

    And here's a tip for anyone living in New Jersey. A lot of businesses insist that they are in a certain city when it is a nickname and doesn't really exist. THIS IS NOT THE GPS's FAULT! This is a bad habit of NJ residents who like to give their city areas nicknames and aliases! You can easily circumvent this problem by going to a website (google "zip codes") that looks up zip codes, and type in the zip code for the destination. You will find that certain cities are actually technically other cities by the zip code, and there should be a list of "aliases" for your city name. 10 times out of 10, if the GPS doesn't show the city I am looking for, it is because of this problem. Know before you go!

    And good luck getting a simple street address from anyone in NJ over the phone! I have noticed that most New Jersey-ers take pride in giving confusing verbal instructions and most of the time have no clue what the address is! They think their instructions are easy to follow for some reason and look at me like i'm batty when I mention I have a GPS. Have fun!...more info
  • it sucks
    the gps doesn't work very well and when i programmed it to go back to new york it took me to pennsylvania. Not worth $200...more info
  • great system!
    Very convience!
    Just one problem that it won't tell me which way to turn at first. Only after I turn into the road will it start to tell me how to navigate. The sticking cup sometimes does not work and falls down. In general, I am quite satisfy.
    ...more info
  • a pleasure to travel with
    been using this unit for 2 months now with excellent results. it has all the features I need with accurate directions, clear voice and bright screen. click wheel is adequate but I don't travel over 2 or 3 times a month. when you enter a destination and start navigation it displays an estimated arival time so that I know if I have time to stop enroute. baring traffic delays, the arival time has been right on.
    I used to dread traveling out of town but the I3 gives me plenty of confidence that my trip will be trouble free...more info
  • Garmin StreetPilot i3
    I purchased this 2 months ago and have used it ever since. It is very easy to use and seems very accurate. Outstanding value for the cost....more info
  • Great GPS
    This is a great GPS and easy to use. One fault is the stickyness of the GPS.The suction works great at first then not at all.
    The machine itself is really great though!...more info
  • great little device
    i really like this device. it is small, works well and is easy to use. I highly recommend it....more info
  • Road Warrier
    This was a present for my wife who is a Pharmaceutical Rep. She drives every day to see doctors all over Orange County. Her schedule changes without notice and she has to change plans on the fly. Street maps weren't doing it for her, because she had trouble seeing optimal driving routes over multiple pages, and she didn't feel safe reading and driving simultaneously. She loves this thing!! She can quickly add adresses, follow the color screen, and clearly understand the system voice.

    This model has a smaller screen than some competitors, which also keeps the cost down. Larger screen models were over $1000. The functionality is great and the sceen is big enough to be effective. It's also small enough that we through it in the suitcase and take it on vacation or business trips when we have rental cars.

    A word of caution, our first unit had a problem with sticking buttons and scroll wheels. We replaced it after a few weeks. The replacement model has been going strong with no problems at all. I am a pilot and have two Garmin aviation models in our plane and I swear by this company. Great technology, extremely user friendly, and reasonably priced....more info
  • A Technological Breakthrough
    I was totally amazed by the performance of this tiny device and I am absolutely satisfied with this product. Garmin is the best in GPS products and specially this streetpilot i3 is an affordable and efficient buy. Before I had Magellen Roademate 300 and I wasn't satisfied at all and returned it for refund. Comparing with this i3, i3 is 99.9% better product. I am completely satisfied and Amazon is one of the best place to buy it. ...more info
  • Good unit
    For the price and what its intended for its the best. Simple interface, extreme poratablity and good intelegence. It knows when I shut off my car to shut its self of. I thought screen size would be a problem but with the unit infront of my vizor it wasn't and issue. The speaker is loud almost too loud, very clear. Navigation is good as good as any I have tried. Usually gets a lock unless I am indoors but I don't drive in my office....more info
  • Garmin Street Pilot I3
    It is small but very very good. First I had problems with the distances because I'm from Germany so I didn't realise that everything is in Miles. But afterwards it works perfect and I can get wherever I want!...more info
  • great little product
    I can't say enough about this device. It beats spending tons of money on some fancy product that has to much junk on it that you will never use. The garmin is to the point and easy to use giving great directions. I use it in the Baltimore and Washington DC area with many confusing streets and the Garmin has yet to fail me. This product is sure to satisfy, save those extra dollars and stick with this little fella.

    The only reason not for a five star rating from me is the two minor issues I have had with this device. First of the suction cup has fallen off the widshield a few time and scared the hell out of me and secondly the Garmin has froze up on me in mid route twice. Not sure why it has froze up but I hope it will not happen anymore. Other than that I am perfectly happy with the Garmin and would recommend it to anyone....more info
  • Excellent little device
    I was hesitant at first to buy this because of its small size. However, my fears were unfounded. It's definitely small but the screen is bright and easy to see. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

    I've used this in the states around where I live and on a trip to CA. I've had it for about a month now.

    Overall I'm very impressed with it. The memory card that ships with it holds plenty of map data so I haven't had to upgrade to a larger card yet. Maybe if I drive coast to coast...

    The maps are reasonably accurate. I've found some new construction missing from the database. After registering with Garmin you get 1 year worth of database upgrades for free so perhaps that new construction will show up yet. Garmin has a nice update utility that downloads straight from the web and into your i3.

    There are 3 ways to view the maps: track up, north up, and 3-D. I've found uses for all 3 modes of viewing. If you're driving around town or short distances on the highway, 3-d is the best mode to use. It makes it easy to see where to go. I'll use "track up" if I'm going moderate distances, under an hour of driving time. For longer distances, like state-to-state (out here where the states are small) I use "north up". Keeping north up is a more akin to using a road map and really lets you see where you are.

    You can change the scale of the map in any view by using the wheel. When you slow down to turn or because of traffic the view zooms in, then returns to your setting when you speed up again. The map has two color modes, day and night. There is an auto setting that changes the mode based on the time of day (I'd say the the i3 calculates sunset based on the unit's location).

    The directions are overall pretty good. Sometimes I'll get routed a way I know isn't optimal because of traffic patterns, but I've never been steered wrong because of this device. The "Detour" function is handy, though using it twice will return you to your original course.

    If you miss a turn the unit will automatically recalculate your route to get you on track. This can get a little annoying, for example if you get off the highway to get food. The device will keep telling you new directions to get back on course. I suggest turning off the device if you make an unscheduled stop, then turning it back on when you're ready to continue. The i3 remembers where you were going and while you'll be asked "where to?" when it starts, just hitting the "back" key will return to your previous navigation.

    Data entry is easy. I thought it would be a chore without the touch screen but the wheel/button and back key make using the menus a snap. The wheel can be tricky to use while driving, but since you're not supposed to do that it's really not a valid complaint. The database of attractions, restaurants, ATMs, and the like is comprehensive and handy to have. In CA I used it on more than one occasion to find a nearby restaurant, store, or post office. As other reviewers have noted it won't tell you what's ahead. I've found the results screen will update as you drive so just look for which restaurants, e.g., are getting closer. Every 30 seconds or so the list will re-sort so the closest destination is near the top.

    You can enter waypoints, or "via points" as the unit calls them. There doesn't seem to be an easy way to manipulate your route once they're added, such as removing a point, so I don't use them much. If you have a particular route you want to take I've found it handy to insert a via point of some restaurant along that route to get the i3 to go that way. For example, sometimes I want to bypass DC traffic. I have a saved "favorite" destination that's along my alternate route. I insert that as a via point and I'm all set.

    If you have favorite "points of interest" that you'd like to use, Garmin made available a free utility to load those points into the database. The format is standard CSV. Search a9.com (for the Amazon discount!) for "free poi files" or something similar and you'll find a few available.

    The voice is clear and easy to understand. It would be nice to have a volume control on the side of the unit though. The only way to reduce the volume is through the settings menu. This is probably my biggest gripe about the device.

    Battery life is adequate, certainly not impressive. As the batteries die the voice shuts off and the screen dims. You definitely want to run this off the plug when possible.

    I place my unit right next to the rear view mirror. I don't have to look far from the windshield when I glance at it, and it's close enough so I can see the screen clearly.

    I've only had two temporary problems with the i3. Once the unit claimed there was no map data loaded. Turning it off and on fixed that. Another time it just turned off, even though it was plugged in to a powered outlet. I turned it back on and it worked fine. I haven't seen a repeat of either glitch so perhaps they're one-time occurrences.

    I recommend this unit. It's not only affordable, as GPS units go, but has quite a few nice features as well. Why spend $1000 to get one in a new car when you can spend 1/3 that and have one for all your cars?...more info
  • Very impressed with this little wonder
    Ive not thought much of Garmin until I read the reviews here and I asked my wife to gift me this baby on my birthday. The unit is really the best purchase I have made in recent times. Beautiful little screen - not too big , not too small. Right size, Clear voice prompts, accurate voice, scaringly precise tracking and speed sensing. WAAS capable, acquires signal easily after shut off, intuitive operation, night and day mode, extensive list of features, upgradable memory, supplied car adapter and on and on and on.........

    Still with me ? Good. Just buy it . You wont regret it.

    PS: The unit has some minor annoyances like displaying a "very approximate" time to destination , its not perfect but its darn close!...more info
  • This little guy rocks!
    Who says big things don't come in small packages? This little guy delivers big time in the ever expanding world of GPS units. About the size of a ladies fist, I was a bit concerned about its "viewability", but I needn't have worried. The full color view is great, the sound suberb, the navigation (i.e., using the menus...) is incredibly intuitive. You'll spend about 20 seconds with the user manual. Battery life is more than adequate when not using the 12volt. My wife loves that she can just plop this little guy into her purse and take it anywhere which makes this really handy if your trip includes a walk (think large downtown areas) as well as a ride. Given I've used several GPS units, I was more than surprised at the SPEED of the SATELITE acquisition. It's darn quick (typically around 10-15 seconds in my neck of the woods). So in the end, what's not to love? It's easy to use, it's inexpensive, it's portable, the maps are as accurate as time allows. It's fast, it's unobtrusive on your dash and bottom line, it gets you THERE. In short, you can stop searching now. You've 'navigated' (sorry, couldn't help it) to the right GPS unit. And like you, I'm on a limited budget so I want my techno gadgets to be great deals. This one is. Pull the trigger, it will be one of the few buys you have that comes with no buyer's remorse, becase this little guy rocks!...more info
  • Garmin StreetPilot i3
    I may not be the one to write about the gps. I have not had it long enought. My son-in-law has had his for a longer time and he loves it. He takes it with him every where he go. He comes home and programs in another state and off he goes. We bought it so when we get off on the wrong road in a large city we can find our way out....more info
  • Very good product but it could be better
    Likes:
    _ Contains not only entire US street maps but all interests point such as restaurants, attractions, hotel, gas station ...
    _ Very accurate and if you miss the turn, route re-calculation is fairly quick.
    _ Data entry via a thumb wheel (scroll up and down to select one character at a time) combining with 'active' search - a genius idea to eliminate a keyboard.
    _ Very good design and easy to attach/remove from the windshield
    Dislikes:
    _ Next intersection announcement is sometimes too late (less than a mile). When you are not familiar with the area and driving in a busy highway, this is dangerous. It should announce twice, at 2 miles mark and then at 1 mile mark.
    _ Voice prompt does not tell you the street name that you are going to turn into. You can get confused if there are 2 streets very close to each other (i.e. 5 or 6 way intersections).
    _ Upcoming street name on the screen is too small - making difficult to read while driving. Should display in a bigger font.
    _ Bottom of screen display miles to next turn and arrival time at destination. This really bugs me. Why arrival time? I found this is very inaccurate and useless. i don't care if I arrive at 8:13pm or 8:04pm. Just tell me how many more miles till my desination, i can estimate the arrival time myself. i cannot figure out precisely how many mile based on the inaccurate arrival time. Just give me an option to display the data I want.
    _ It will not tell you how far to a new destination if you just search and select. You will have to save this location in your favorite before it tells you. This is extremely annoying.
    _ It has a problem telling how far you are to next destination based on your 'anytime' location. For example: if you just stop at a rest area and want to find out what restaurants around the area. You will have to tell the units what city you are in and search for local interests. Sometimes I have no clue what city I am in. This bugs me a lot. Why can't it tell me from my current position? After all it is a GPS device, tt knows exactly where I am. Or maybe i have not figured this out yet.

    I gave it a 4 stars based on its price and features. However, I feel that it could be a better unit. ...more info
  • Excellent choice for the price
    The Garmin GPS is incredibly easy to setup and operate. The screen looks small but is fie in a driving situation. The voice prompts are clear and quite loud, if required. I've got mine mounted on the center of the dash. Be sure to wipe the surface clean with alcohol before applying the permanent dashboard mount disc. The transflash isn't a problem at all. I was able to load up several states. As an upgrade you could get a bigger card if you had to travel through a LOT of states. The POI information is pretty good, but it's funny how it misses some restaurants in my area. The map data is sometimes a bit off when it comes to addresses. It'll get you there fine but I noticed sometimes the target address could be either 200 feet further down the road or behind you. No such problems with turns and intersections. ...more info
  • A great tool!
    The Garmin StreetPilot i3 is a great tool for travelers! I bought one before I went to Greenville, SC on business. It did an excellent job of helping me navigate to where I needed to be, regardless of where I was or how many wrong turns I made. It did automatic rerouting on the fly, it told me where to turn before the actual turn (allowing me to keep my eyes on the road instead of that little bitty screen), and it had a fair bit of knowledge about points of interest, restaurants, and the like, in the area. I particularly liked the auto-zoom feature - when you're approaching a turn, the unit zooms the map into the turn, so you can see exactly where to turn, instead of having to zoom and unzoom the map yourself.

    The unit plugs into a standard cigarette lighter and has a suction cup mount for the windshield, so it's a great unit to move between cars, or to use in a rental if you're traveling.

    I didn't have a lot of complaints about this unit, and the ones that I did are pretty minor:

    1. No external volume control or mute button - when I wanted to kill the volume to hear the radio, I had to navigate through the menus instead of turning a knob or pressing a switch.
    2. The unit is a little slow recalculating routes if you're moving - a couple of times I had to pull over and stop while it figured out an alternate route if I took a wrong turn.
    3. No ability to pan the map, so I couldn't see what was in the neighborhood if I wanted to.
    4. The points of interest database is out of date, and there's apparantly no way to update it. For example, Best Buy has been moved from the location shown for months, and the Tony Roma's is no longer in Greenville :( It would be nice if Garmin would come out with updates every now and then.

    The above is the only real reason I don't give the unit 5 stars - in all other ways, it's a great GPS for travelers! It even loaded the Garmin topo maps, although I had to turn off the loaded street maps in the menu before the topo features would show up, but if I'm out hiking, I could care less about roads....more info
  • Generally a Good GPS
    This is my first Vehicle GPS so I don't have any other GPS experiences to compare it with.

    Basically plug and play. Menus and scroll wheel are easy to use. With MapSource software (downloadable) you can input custom waypoints which when transfered to the StreetPilot appear as "favorites." Perhaps other units would allow you to organize your favorites in subfolders, but this unit does NOT. I haven't figured out how to add POI's, if it's even possible.

    While it has a very useful and nice feature of being able to search for nearby POIs (shopping, eating, entertainment, etc...)
    It would be nice to easily add new favorite POI's which then be searchable. Alas, it either can't, or I haven't found that feature yet.

    Is it slow? Or am I impatient? I don't know what an average or fast search time is for a GPS unit, but 2 minutes is not unusual for this unit to find a POI.

    Battery life really isn't an issue because this unit comes with a car-lighter plug/adapter.

    Memory: It comes with enough memory to load about 3 or 4 Western State maps.

    Color and size are adequate, but the voice prompting really makes this unit "pop." You can find cheaper units with maps and alerts, but having the voice feature is quite nice. You can adjust the volume so it is audible over the radio. Naturally, your needs will define the appropriateness of this unit for you; however, for a relatively small, inexpensive GPS with voice prompting, I think you'll enjoy your StreetPilot i3 (if you don't need color, you can save a few $$ with an i2)...more info
  • Product is good. Packing is not so good.
    The product is great. Sleak, light and easy to be portable. The menu is easy to use. The only thing I have to do is to add more memory (microSD). Am thinking about getting 1GB so I can put all the detailed US map to my I3.

    This product seems can run out of the battery very easily, using rechargable battery is a good idea or just by using the car kit came with the I3.

    One complaint is when I received the package, the box was not in good shape. The packing is no good. ...more info
  • great GPS
    My impression after using for 1 week:
    The screen is small but surprisingly easy to read and the 3D view, which I assumed was just a gimmick, actually makes it quite easy to navigate. The included 128 meg card was enough to fit detailed maps of all the states I'm at all likely to drive to anytime soon (Ontario, MI, IL, IN, OH). The the maximum memory card size it can handle is not listed in any of the specs, but one website I read claimed 2 gig, which should be enough to hold detailed maps of all of North America. Also includes major roads and routes for the whole US built in. Had no trouble acquiring satellites, even in heavy rain. Entering destination addresses with the scroll wheel is pretty easy. In fact, I think the fact that everything is done with a wheel that only scrolls up and down plus a back button really forced them to make the the device simple to use. I wish you could scroll the map around as you view it (when not driving), but i guess that's too much to ask for without some kind of joystick or touch screen
    I had a Pocket PC GPS mapping solution that was always annoyingly difficult to use so I rarely bothered with it. The i3, in contrast, is well thought out and a pleasure to use. I wouldn't switch back to a PDA based solution....more info
  • Impressive little package
    I bought this little device based on the positive reviews on this site. I'd previously owned the more expensive, larger and heavier 2710 by Garmin. I didn't like it nearly as much. This little beauty is small but packs a big punch. It's easy to use, the driving instructions (voice) are crystal clear (better than the 2710) and the little screen is remarkably vivid. The 3D mapping is extremely intuitive to follow. I even find the somewhat funky joy wheel used to enter names not a big problem. It's the achilles heel of the device; a simple way to guide you to entering the information needed to send you on your way. The wheel is a little balky and time consuming compared with a touch screen, but really not as bad as I thought it would be. Overall a super product - big thumbs up....more info
  • Greaaaaaaaaaat
    My first navigation system, and I was truly surpised on how easy it was to download and install. Very user friendly. It's what I expected and more. It is Greaaaaaaaat!...more info
  • GARMIN i3 vs. i5
    I had Garmin i3 for the past 9 month.
    It's great GPS unit for the money you pay.
    I give it a 5 star because it give you big bang for the bucks.
    I recently purchase i5 to see what is difference between the two model. In week of usage here is what i notice the difference below and returned the i3 for full refunds (Gotta Love Costco)

    1. i5 rcvd on 8/15 came with v8 version of the map, i3 came with
    v7
    2. i5 has nicer silver/black finish which match better with most
    car.
    3. i5 re-route time take no longer than 3-5 seconds vs. i3 5-15
    seconds. (this important when u drive in busy city like
    Downtown L.A.)
    4. zoom in and out with map is much faster with i5, where in i3 it
    seem to take 3-10 second to comply.

    5. Entire U.S. map is preload it in i5, vs you had to load the map
    yourself with limitation of 128mb that came with.

    6. i5's directory search time is about 2X-3X as fast as i3,
    so is the time to calculate and plan destination.

    If you can spare the extra $50 go for the i5
    if you truely on the budget go for the i3

    Overall both are great unit
    different people has different needs
    see what fit you best

    good luck...more info
  • What a great starter navigation system!
    When I got my new car about 6 months ago I had the option of the in-car navigation system. In the Infiniti G35, the nav system pops up in the center dash, very very cool...but about $2,000. I begrudgingly passed and figured I would find an after-market GPS sytem down the road.

    While the I3 is small, it is packed with goodies and I have been so thrilled with it over the last 3 weeks of owning it. I live in Los Angeles and was worried about the numerous details that I didn't think it would know, but it did, and more.

    I actually didn't expect all of the extra point of interest that downloaded when I set it up. I have used it to find a Verizon store in Vegas while on vacation, movie theatres, nearby restaurants, and so much more.

    Pros:
    * Packed with information and points of interest
    * Very accurate (the speed-sensing feature knows exactly how fast you are going, down to the single MPH...very cool)
    * Screen is bright and easy to read
    * Voice is clear and loud
    * Compact
    * Once you get the hang of entering manual addresses, it's very easy


    Cons
    * As everyone likes to mention, it's a small screen, but I don't really find it much of a con since you know that is what you are getting and it is still very easy to use and read off of, even in sunlight.
    * I wish the detour function would be a bit more intuitive, but then again, I live in L.A. with so many roads that it is simply trying to get me back the fastest way, though I often like some other freeways and surface street ways of getting around. Small issue, nothing major.

    For the price, this is a jam-packed device that is a great purchase for those who have never had GPS in their cars. Having been on vacation in different parts of California over New Year's, this came in so handy with finding our way around.

    You won't be dissapointed, it's a great buy (especially with the price coming down all of the time.)...more info
  • Works well, simple to use, inexpensive. What more can I ask?
    Exactly what I needed!

    The Garmin i3 does pretty much what big expensive systems do: provides voice navigation, shows color maps, recalculates directions when you make a wrong turn or exit the highway due to traffic, and directs you to nearby places like supermarkets and gas stations. Except the i3 is dead simple and a tremendous value. Sure there is no touch screen and there don't seem to be any sophisticated features, but, based on my 2 weeks of use, I don't need that stuff in the first place. I do wish some of the selections were easier to configure (e.g., shortest distance vs. quickest route) but that issue does not diminish the brilliance of this product.

    I plan on buying two more as gifts in the near future....more info
  • Excellent Budget GPS system
    There are detailed reviews, so I'll focus on my personal experiences:

    In general, a GPS unit is NOT NECESSARY for safe driving. It was really really useful when I drove to Philadelphia from Charlottesville, but I generally don't use it when I'm driving around my home town. The directions are SPOT ON. And when I selected the option to avoid toll-roads, it had be go on a 2 mile detour and somehow landed me on the other side of the toll gate. nice!

    1. Batteries are not required to operate this unit, but it wears out very quickly. Mine keeps saying that the battery is low, but I just ignore it since I just use the car adaptor.

    2. The LCD Screen: It's tiny, which makes the unit tiny and if you place the unit properly the unit will not block your driving view at ALL. The contrast and brightness is excellent, even in direct sunlight. However the screen is small and if you have bad eyes you won't be able to read the display text. (But if your eyes are good enough to pass the DMV test, you can see it fine.) By all accounts, the screen is NOT too small.

    3. The voice prompts are very loud and clear, which is nice.

    4. I have been leaving this unit in the car, and it seems like freezing weather is OK for the unit. I have yet to leave it in the car in HOT weather...

    5. When you are driving and want to stop at a McDonald's (for example), it just directs you to the closest McDonalds, even if it is behind you. There is no obvious way to select a place ON THE WAY.

    6. The unit doesn't have a touch screen, but the scroll button works just fine for me--I've never mistyped anything.

    7. The reception is excellent. The only times I've lost reception was inside a underwater tunnel and under a bridge....more info
  • excellent device, and extremely easy to use.
    I just bought the i3 from Amazon. I am a first time GPSer, and I fell in love with my i3. I have been traveling to new cities and the i3 works great. It allows you to pick a type of store or location that you want, lists them from closest to farthest within the given city, then not only shows you step by step how to get there, but also gives you the phone number in case you need to call ahead. I opted for the i3, over the i2, because the color really looks great. Each street is easy to see. I have not seen the i2, but I can only image that it looks just ok, while the i3 looks excellent. I do not need the built in maps that the i5 comes with, because I never go to that many states at once. The memory card that comes with the i3 and i2 holds about five large states worth of detailed information. You can always buy an additional memory card, or additional larger memory card. I would recommend this to anyone who ever has been lost in the past. This is an excellent device, and extremely easy to use.
    -Adam

    p.s. I enjoy the British accent that you can load from the DVD that is included.
    ...more info
  • Garmin I3 initial experience
    Garmin StreetPilot I3

    Software Version 2.70 (Updated from 2.30)
    Audio Version 2.00

    General Info:
    I purchased the Garmin I3 from Amazon.com for $323.00. I have used it to navigate around a small town and it has worked almost perfectly. I have an Astro van and use one of the coffec cup holders to hold the I3. The cup holder is located about half way down the front console and the Garmin seems to pick up the GPS signals with no problem. I have also taken three 2 ½ hour trips out-of-town and the navigation has been excellent. The audio is excellent and can easily be heard over wind and road noise. I used the garmin Webupdater [...] to update my unit from Version 2.30 to 2.70. The update is completely automatic and takes about 10 - 15 minutes to download and install the updated operating system software.

    The I3 has a simulation mode. You can simulate a trip by going to the System->GPS Mode and turning off the GPS. Return to the map mode and the unit will then simulate the trip. Makes for a useful teaching tool or a demo for your friends.

    The bad:
    I have had only two instances of the unit providing incorrect information. One was at my local post office. The unit directed me to turn left (incorrectly) on a one-way street and did not "know" about a new (about 2 years) off ramp on Interstate 15.

    The Via Points (Waypoints) are pretty much useless and you can only have one waypoint active at a time. I have not been able to find any instructions for setting them up in the on-line manuals or anywhere else

    The one bug I have found is that the unit will emit two incorrect turn instructions "go left, then go left" when it is first turned on and just after it finds the satellites.

    Wish list
    The screen is small but useable. If Garmin would update the operating software so that the unit issued statements like "turn right on main street " instead of "turn right in .1 miles" there would be little or no need to look at the screen at all. The more expensive StreetPilot Garmin units have this feature now.

    The provided suction cup mount will only work to a degree on windows. You can only use the mount in other places by first PERMANENTLY applying a round mount to your console. I chose not to do this so I don't know if this works. There should be a better solution.

    The description of the updates on the Garmin site is inadequate. They do not give a user any clue about what is in the update. I can detect no difference in the operation of the unit after the updates. It would be nice if Garmin would supply some info about the content of the updates.

    Despite the nit picks, I am very happy with the Garmin I3 and highly recommend it.

    Update:

    I have used my Garmin I3 for several more trips and I am delighted with its performance. Ironically it works well every where except for my home town. In my home town , two major chain stores (Wal Mart and Staples) are mis-located to the north of town and one of two Albertsons is not listed at all. I used the GPS twice for yard sales and all the residential addresses were correct. All in all the unit has performed exceptionally well. The audio directions have been superb.

    Just for info, you can get a pretty good picture of which maps are loaded by zooming all the way out (this works best if you turn off the GPS navigation first. ) In my case I had first loaded California and Texas, then had to cut back to Southern California and Northern Texas to make room for Arizona and New Mexico. The map on my unit shows full coverage for California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Actually I have only partial coverage of Texas and California. I sent a mail message to Garmin and asked them how much memory I would need to load all the States in the U.S. Their reply was 2GB. At this time MicroSD cards only have a maximum of 512MB, so we will have to wait a while to get full coverage.

    ...more info
  • My First GPS
    I just received this unit today about 3 hours ago.
    After playing around with it and taking it out for a short 20 minute drive, I think I got my money's worth.

    Installing maps to this unit took almost an hour.
    1. DVD setup copies everything to your computer. 25min
    2. Select states and it zips it or something. 15min
    3. Copy map to i3 unit. (<5min)
    4. Acquiring satelite. (~5min)

    I was able to add.
    VA, MD, NJ, NY, DE, PA, WV.
    I might have added couple more but I am not sure.

    I also added couple customer POI that I downloaded from some site.

    Screen Size.
    I was afraid it might be too small, but actually it's not that bad. Plus with voice prompt, all I had to do was glance at it from time to time to see if I am on the right track.

    Navigation.
    It might be the map, but sometimes when I pass an intersection, I don't see anything on my i3 unit. Or the name is different.
    I was navigating to my office right across the street, but i3 told me to make left turn and go around instead of just heading straight.

    I have 2005 Civic and mounting was kinda tricky.
    First, I placed it lower middle of the windshield, but it was hard to reach.
    So I placed it right on the center, it was easy to reach, but the cable bothered me.
    I need to find the perfect spot to place this, or get batteries.

    Being a first time GPS user, I am not 100% satisfied.
    May be I was expecting too much for this price, but I think the whole calculating/locating/navigating/getting from satelite could be little faster.
    But I am very satisfied for this price.

    I am going on a trip to NY tonight and we'll see if it was really worth $300 or I should've paid couple extra for a better unit.

    ---
    Edited Nov 29, 2005.
    I came back from my trip to NY from DC.
    It was great. I lost signal in tunnels and in the middle of NY city, skyscrapers, but it came back alive pretty quickly.

    I left the unit zoomed in, and it zoomed out automatically when I was on highway going over 60MPH. It zoomed back in when I got off highway. Pretty neat.

    It also zooms in when I need to make turn or exit.

    The only issue i had was the map.
    It would be nice to be able to setup the map to show gasstation, restaurant, restarea, etc..
    If I was looking for McDonalds, I have to search and see map on every single McDonalds from the POI to see which one is on my way and not far from my route.

    Another neat thing with POI is that they also provide phone number with address. No more 411 necessary.

    It was small enough to fit in my civic glovebox with the car adapter.

    I love it. ...more info
  • great first time GPS for me. but the map freezes from time to time.
    Amazing little GPS. You have to update your firmware from garmin's website for those who got software versions 2.5 or lower to prevent screen from freezing. My garmin streetpilot i3 came with version 2.10. But after I updated to 2.60 my map still freezes. The two lower corner's numbers of 'distance to turn' and time of arrival are fine. The voice directions are fine otherwise.

    Pros - ease of use
    - small size
    - bright clear screen
    - excellent directions before every fork (bear right etc)
    - adequate memory card. The 128mb transflash that came with the unit, I was able to load, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.
    - did not need external antenna in my case.

    Cons - There wasn't any clear way to delete maps you loaded to put on other maps. It's doable after a lot of trial and error.
    - map data might have duplicates such as Us-89 and US-89 which are not recognized as the same highway. And certain highways like Hwy 64 are not recognized points on the gps even though they are clearly visible in the MapInstaller.
    - map freezes up from time to time (ie every minute on my 30 minute drive home last night.) It can be reset by zooming in and out.

    note: take a look at garmin quest 2 which now goes for about the same price. ...more info
  • Updated review - very good with some quirks
    I have to edit this review, having used the product a bit more. I bought this having never owned a GPS before and still can't compare it to others, but can give a good first-time-owner's perspective.

    - Size. You can throw this GPS into a carryon on a flight and use it in a rental car when you arrive. It's totally unobtrusive, you can put it up next to the rear-view-mirror and it blocks none of your view. You can hide it in a car compartment when you're not in a safe location. It does not have a touchscreen - this isn't really a big problem, but this and the size make it slower to enter addresses. It's a tradeoff, but I believe I prefer the size of this unit.

    - Satellite tracking. Sometimes it'll take up to 30 seconds or so to acquire satellites when you power on. That's not too bad, but a little annoying. A bigger problem is that occasionally tracking seems to be lost. The GPS seems to think the car is pointed diagonally, or the map stops updating. Had these problems both in downtown Boston and coming from Virginia into DC on the GW Bridge. WAAS seems useless, by the way.

    - Route recalculation. Pretty quick - usually happens in < 10 s when you miss a turn. Recalculations are pretty good - and the whole route is recalculated, not a path to the previous route. Once in a while it thinks you're off your route when you're not at all - it has the route coordinates wrong. It readjusts quickly.

    - Routing/directions. Generally I think the calculated directions are very good. The program takes you on intelligent routes that are not always the absolute fastest but are pretty close. They could get annoying if you're living near an area in which they're inefficient or just wrong. In Harrisburg, PA it told me repeatedly to turn left on an expressway/bridge that you can't turn left on. If I were living close by (as I once was) this would be enough to return the unit. However, around my area they're fine.

    - Prompts/info: I suspect Garmin is getting all its routing info including prompts from Navteq, so these are really Navteq problems common to many GPS devices. Often neither the voice prompt or the screen gives adequate info on which lane you should be in or which particular exit/street you should be taking. This is the most frustrating problem with this unit. When you're downtown, or going past a complicated set of highway entrances and exits, the combination of the voice prompt ("Bear right in 0.5 miles" - there are no voiced road names), the screen text ("Right on Dobbs Highway"), and the map is inadequate to determine where you should be turning. I've heard the StreetPilot i5 has a somewhat better Navteq route info system than this unit does.

    Some very, very common situations:
    - Road curves right and also exits both left and right. You're told to "Bear right". Which is it, follow the road or exit to the right?
    - Two exits both to the right for the same highway, one North and the other South. You're told to "Turn right in 0.5 miles". The screen says "Right on Dobbs Highway". Which is it, exit North or exit South?

    - Map Storage: Loading the software and maps was a bit buggy and slow for me the first time. If you intend to bring this on long trips or on air travel it might make sense to pay the extra money for the i5, which has maps preloaded - otherwise you have to load new maps for where you're going.

    - Points of interest. Some of the points of interest are out of date or just inaccurate. This seems to be a common problem with GPS's, but it's really aggravating to drive someplace and find it doesn't exist, or that the GPS hasn't provided good enough directions to locate it.

    Also, I have no idea if any competing product offers this, but if I'm driving on a route and I want to find a gas station, I obviously would prefer one that is ahead of me along my route. I probably don't want one that is behind me, and one that's off to the side somewhere isn't particularly convenient. But all I get is "Shell 3.5 miles". Could be behind me, ahead of me, anywhere. As far as I know that's 3.5 miles as the crow flies, too. It could be 3.5 miles away but across a river for which there's no bridge close by. This is a commonly used feature that gets annoying - you have to look at where each POI is in relation to your route rather than just picking the first one.

    All in all I'm still quite happy with it. I certainly wouldn't pay double the price for a slightly improved one! The advantage at this price is that you can trade it out when newer technology comes out. Can't do that easily with a $2500 in-dash manufacturer nav system. ...more info
  • Affordable and accurate, but limited in words
    I bought this street pilot for $298 from an online retailer. This GPS has its good, bad, and neutral sides. Let me start with the good ones. Garmin has a good reputation for its GPSs. I did a lot of research and now that I own it, agree with this feedback. When I was having trouble registering my product on Garmin's web-site they immediately had a representative contact me and guide me step by step. If you buy it online make sure you obtain the original purchase receipt, or in case of warranty issues Garmin won't accept a product without a dated purchase receipt. It says right in their warranty conditions. The rep told me they had too many cases with people re-selling used units as new ones, and clueless buyers after receiving dead units tried to file for repair/replacement only to find out they were cheated. So, make sure you buy a unit with a receipt!

    Now, about the features I liked. When you are driving, this pilot knows the exact car's location, speed, calculates estimated arrival time and even shows blue water when passing a bridge! The map is pretty up to date and I would say its GPS accuracy is about 3-4 feet. The screen is about 2*2 inches, you can adjust the volume, screen's brightness (or set it to autimatic and as it gets dark outside the screen highlights the road in bright color while the background is dark blue - very easy to see in the dark), view map in several dimensions (2D, 3D) and close up or zoomed out, tilt the screen up-down and sideways. If you make a wrong turn, it re-routes itself in a matter of 30 seconds and tells you how to drive from there to go to the planned destination. You can even enter favorite places that you visit frequently, so no need to enter them over and over. Has a pre-loaded list of major destinations, such as parks, restaurants, etc. When you turn off the car, it turns itself off too to preserve the AA batteries (though normally it runs of a power cord you plug into your car lighter). This unit came with a dashboard and a window mounter, mapping software, computer cable, and a power adapter. I do not think you need an antenna, as the reception is very good. I never lost a signal, except once in the middle of a long underwater tunnel.

    What I am neutral about: you must own a computer to use this product because maps are not pre-loaded. Its memory card was big enough to load part of the east coast from NY to VA, but for a cross-country trip you will need a laptop to load the new maps as you travel.

    Now what I disliked: instead of taking major highways it kept telling me to get off onto smaller roads. I checked the settings to use the fastest route instead of the shortest route but it did not help. Eventually, I had to ignore it and kept going on a highway until at some point GPS picked up my desired route. Also, this GPS does not tell you names of streets or exits to take, it tells you to turn left or right, or take an exit in XX feet (Metric users, you can set it to use meters instead of feet). To avoid taking a wrong turn you must glance at the screen, which has the name of the street/exit written on the top part of the screen. Sometimes if the street's name is long, it is hard to read the name of the street on a screen because it reduces the font to fit the name. So if you have bad vision consider a more expensive GPS that announces streets or have a passenger to help you navigate.

    Recent update: the suction cup started falling of the windshield, causing the pilot to fall on the dashboard/floor. I called the company and they are sending a replacement for free. If you have the same problem, make sure to call while warranty is valid. Plus, the more they hear the same problem the more likely they are to re-design it.

    One more update: if you just bought this unit or own it, go to the Garmin's website and run update of the mapping program. The new version is a lot better: instead of just saying "turn in ... feet" it now also warns "turn R/L here" so there is less guessing whether you passed the turn or not.
    ...more info
  • BUYER BEWARE - UPDATED

    O.K. -- Garmin finally suggested I simply return the unit to Amazon for a replacement, which was great. The replacement came in less than a week and I sent the defective unit back. I've been using the new unit for over a week now and am very happy.

    *******
    Great unit, but beware of the customer service. After I set-up the unit, loaded the maps and mounted it in my vehicle the backlight went out, which makes the screen impossible to see. Total time from taking it out of the box to blackout - 6 hours. I contacted Garmin and they admitted the product was defective and to send it back for repair, but in order to send it back they have to give you a Return Merchandise Authorization number (RMA#). To get the number they want my credit card number and persmission to charge $99 for the repair, on top of me paying for shipping and insurance. ALL THIS ON A BRAND NEW UNIT. I am working with Garmin, and don't expect to pay the repair charge (since it is under warranty), but it certainly has been a frustrating couple of weeks owing a product that is defective.

    From what I saw, the unit will do everything I need and more, I just look forward to a owning a unit that works as advertised.

    ...more info
  • A superb product - easy to use and great value for money
    A superb product. Very easy to use and Garmin's software updates, available directly from their website (with email notification of subsequent updates if you wish) has overcome the early problems of the screen locking-up etc that I saw in early reviews. The screen looks small, too small, but don't be fooled. In use it is very clear and the spoken directions are loud, clear and concise. Speed camera listings etc can be downloaded from the web, for free, along with loads of other points of interest listings too. This is a great package and takes the angst out of route planning, particularly in urban environments. Strongly recommended by a short-sighted, difficult-to-please son of a gun!...more info
  • Great GPS, even up against ~$1000 unit
    Sadly I didn't get the i3 for myself, but rather for my extremely directionally challenged girlfriend. After scouring the internet for different options I finally found the i3.

    When I first got the unit I was surprised with the small size and had no idea how powerful this GPS unit was. Everything on the unit was very easy to use including setup, downloading maps and "navigating" through the menus. I have used a friends ~$1000 Magellan Roadmate on a recent road trip and honestly I did not find the Roadmate that much more useful, rather just a larger screen and no need to download maps (on DVD). The i3 only allows you to download a few states (we got 6) but 99% of my girlfriend's trips are around 5 states, so for most people that shouldn't be an issue.

    The screen size was another thing I thought would be an issue but the well designed graphical layout of content allows information to be easily seen and comprehended. The menus are nicely laid out and easy to find adjustments with a lot of customizable features, a lot easier than the Magellan I used.

    Some of the negatives include; some of the POI's seem to be a few years old so locations have changed, there has been an address it couldn't find and wouldn't let me map to, and the inability to input locations through your computer and save as destinations on the unit.

    Overall this product has surpassed my girlfriend's and I expectations and best of all, I no longer receive the frequent "Honey!.... I'm lost!!!!.." phone calls at work.
    ...more info
  • Very pleased with this 'basic' GPS system
    I've played with a friend's Garmin c320 and was impressed but I actually needed a smaller, simpler GPS for my small car. The differnces are significant, but I'll live: no multiple voices, smaller no-touch screen, more expensive microflash card.

    However, they use the same map data, POI's, and menus. The roller wheel works well but of course is dangerous to use while driving. The unit turns on and off automatically with vehicle power. The AA batteries are replaceable (a benefit IMO). The 128MB card fit Texas and 5 surrounding states. Cards up to 2GB (entire US and Canada) will be available. The screen seems a little brighter than Garmin C320/330, but there is still not an anti-glare coating. The speaker is clear and audible, even though I drive an S2000. The small size allows more mouting locations besides the windshield. For instance, it fits within my gauge pod (suctions to plastic) and only covers a few idiot lights.

    Setting choices are minimal compared to the fancier competition, but the essentials are there: 2D/3D, day/night/auto, WAAS/Normal.

    Some issues: the screen may be too small for those with poor eyesight. This is worse if your windshield is far away. The on screen only shows basic detail. It is impossible to find a place by looking at the screen alone - inputing an address or place is necessary....more info
  • GB
    I am very pleased with the Garmin StreetPilot i3 Vehicle Navigation GPS System. I spent a lot of time reading reviews and product descriptions and decided to try this unit even though at the time no reviews were available. I liked the small size and the simple way the user interface was laid out with just a scroll wheel and one button.

    This GPS is very easy to use and has worked seamlessly for me. I am moving from NJ to Ohio and I was able to load all of the states from NJ & NY to Indiana and more with the memory that came with the unit. I have used it in NJ and Ohio and it works very well in both places. In Ohio I did not know where anything was and it helped me to find various points of interest which was a plus. This include items like the National Rentals return location for rental cars as opposed to the pick up location for rental cars at the Cleveland Airport. The recalculate feature is great and automatic once you drive past a turn. I would highly recommend this GPS for anyone who does not want to spend $400 to $1000 on the others out there. It travels well in a laptop bag and does not block vision on the windshield. The text to speech feature found on other GPS units is nice but not worth the additional money required on units that have it. The size also makes it perfect for smaller cars. I also searched for the best price and found that Amazon had the best with free shipping.

    It has a map feature that allows you to drive with just that on and it makes it easy to see streets before you actually get to them. This is especially helpful at night and in areas that you are unfamiliar. It has a memory that remembers recent trips so you can easily access them without entering all the information again. The "My Favorites" feature is nice too for storing popular places.

    I have seen other GPS units and have looked at the more expensive Garmin GPS units that have received high ratings. But for my money you can't beat this small, easy to use, device.
    ...more info
  • Big help in a small package
    My requirements were fairly simple; a GPS that was small enough to fit into a laptop bag with limited space and an integrated speaker. There isn't a lot of real estate in my bag and I am not planning on growing my case. I rent a lot of cars and get a lot of windshield time with my job, so I am constantly spending money on Nav systems in the rental cars. I was seriously considering the Quest 2, but didn't want to drop $600 for the small package (even Quest 1 will run close to $400). I also don't like the external speaker. I picked up the i3 as soon as it was available; what a great purchase! Navigation is great and for the most part has been dead on. Like the other reviewer, I wish text to speech was available for street names, etc, but maybe we can hope for this feature in an update from Garmin at a later date? (hint, hint) The mount and charger fit nicely in my laptop bag. Goodbye Hertz Neverlost! If you are looking for a full featured GPS in a small package, this is the unit for you. I purchased a 256MB transflash card with the unit and can fit all of the Northeast, Northern CA, and GA; perfectly acceptable for my travel habits and since it is always with the laptop, loading new maps is no problem at all. Great value compared to other small units....more info
  • Just what the GPS doctor ordered...
    Althought this was orginally a way of getting a cheap GPS system, there are now better deals. I'd recommend the Garmin nuvi 350, for example. See my review of that unit on that page....more info
  • good for the money
    Like the other review I have'nt had the time to do alot of testing......But it sure looks good!!!!I was going to buy thr c-340 which tells you the street name...But!!!!400 bucks more....I will do with the voice prompts alone....I did order the Garmin antenna today....Because certain states will ticket you for blocking windshield + I want to keep out of sight...You can buy more memory...You can double.....Buy from Amazon not Garmin...Don't know how much you can add???Gotta check book.....Just need.ny.nj.conn.ma..Hope it's enough.....more info
  • Excellent Unit For its Price Range
    I received this unit yesterday and have played with it for a few hours. Prior to this unit I have used a Magellan Sportrack for Geocaching and for my car I have used my Dell Axim pocket PC with Ostia mapping software which is terrible, and more recently I have been using Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005 on my laptop. Streets and Trips is excellent however it does not have voice prompts for turn-by-turn directions and viewing a laptop while you are trying to drive can be tough.


    This Garmin I3 has excellent routing capability, very similar to MS Streets and Trips and has plenty of points of interests( POI). The screen is small but it is readable in both daylight and night. The suction mount holds very well on the windshield.
    The voice prompts are loud and clear.

    There is not much detail shown on the screen because of it's size, such as some street names and no POI's. The map will zoom in more as you are nearing your turn and the voice prompt's will tell you you need to turn in .5 to .3 miles and 400 to 500 ft before the turn.

    On the display is also shown the distance to your next turn and an estimated arrival time to your destination. The unit will automatically re-route if you take a wrong turn.

    Satellite acquisition time is pretty quick, and the manual states that you should keep batteries in it so that it will find satellites faster. The unit also comes with a cigarette lighter adapter. I do not think that the unit will recharge batteries though, and the battery level indicator is located on the "where to" screen only.

    The only controls are a scroll wheel that doubles as a button and a back button and a power button. It is fairly simple to use and easy to figure out.

    The included 128mb transflash card is more than adequate for my needs, I fit all of NJ, NY and PA and still had plenty of room.

    You can store places in your favorites by adding them in your address screen, or you can store your current position simply by pressing and holding the scroll wheel button in.

    Some cons to this unit is that it does not show the total distance of your trips, it just shows distance to the next turn.
    If you want to add a stop on your destination it only allows 1 via point, after you visit that point you have to add your next via point. As I mentioned before there isn't too much detail on the screen but it does show you where you need to go.

    I would highly recommend this unit above a pocket pc navigation, at least with Ostia software anyway.

    For the price of this unit you really can't complain about the cons. This is a simple GPS unit that does what it is supposed to do, get you from point A to point B.

    ********update 6/15/06***********

    Nearly a year and I still love this thing - navigation works great. Now that I am an experienced user I want a fancier touch screen, the scroll wheel is a pain in the neck. I also want a unit that you can put in multi-routes, like if you want to go to garage sales you can put in all the addresses and let the unit decide the best route. However, I will keep this unit longer before I thrown down a few hundred more for an advanced model.

    I still haven't found the need to get a larger memory card, I've driven in New Jersey, New York state, Pennsylvania and Washington DC, and Connecticut.

    [...]...more info