After two days of trying to make up my mind and trying to absorb as much information as I possibly could. I have just gotten done purchasing a refurbished Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS. I normally don’t purchase anything refurbished. Only new out of the box products. In the past I can think of only one time we have received a refurbished item. This was when I did business with the now defunct Amp’d Mobile. That company sent me at least two out of three phones as refurbished. Anyone who has read here for some time will know that my Amp’d Mobile experience was less than smooth. The first two phones both had various issues.
So why would anyone buy a refurbished product? Price of course. The Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS retails for $629.99 at TigerDirect. A refurbished unit of that same model runs $319.97. On the Garmin website they list the retail price for this unit at $857.13. So it is clear that for taking a risk you are getting a very reduced price for the product. As long as there are no problems down the road a great deal has been struck. Many people will tell you that they purchase nothing but refurbished products and never have an issue. I did consider buying a non refurbished Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS from TigerGPS. But in the end the pricing just seemed to good to be true. Since I have never done business with them I decided against taking the risk. My decision was also helped along by the fact that this company is based out of New York while TigerDirect is in Chicago. The last city mentioned is of course closer to me. I’m needing the items I ordered tonight by next Thursday. In the past TigerDirect has given excellent service in regards to getting me my ordered products fast. As long as UPS isn’t screwing around. I did decide not to chance it and went with Next Day Delivery.
TigerGPS claims to have the Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS not refurbished at a retail price of $369.99. The refurbished version is listed at $349.99. So in regards to the refurbished model TigerDirect would win on price. However TigerGPS website is showing a retail price of $369.99 when the same item is being sold for $629.99 at TigerDirect. How is it that TigerGPS can sell the new unopened non refurbished version for that low of a price point? Something just didn’t feel right about the situation. TigerGPS must not sell many refurbished models when they are priced only $20 less than the new version of the same product. While I would have preferred to pay an extra $50 and get a brand new product. The deal just didn’t seem to be on the up and up. When my radar has me asking questions I try my best to just avoid taking a chance. Since I’ve done a good amount of business with TigerDirect over the years I chose to make my purchase there. Even though I had to make the choice to go with a refurbished model to get some of what I wanted.
So what led me to purchase a Garmin GPS? I’ve been wanting to buy a GPS ( Global Positioning System ) for sometime now. It’s always just been a question of having the money. This year I didn’t have a large amount of cash to spend on a GPS unit. But there was enough to get a decent mid range system. For the past two days I’ve tried to do some heavy research into various models and the features they offered. Cheryl and I both ventured into our local Circuit City last night and tonight to play with the display models. This is something I normally do not do. This time around though I thought it might be worthwhile to explore the software being run on the units. We both decided that we liked the Garmin interface the best. The Magellan and TomTom models both had issues that caused me not to like them. All of these were interface related. I just felt more at ease when using the Garmin models. With the Magellan and TomTom models I always felt I was having to hunt for the option I wanted. It’s my opinion that the Garmin just seems a bit more polished.
Maybe with a bit more time and interaction with the other companies products I’d change my mind a bit. Then again why should I have to try and figure out how the product wants me to interact with it? The interface should be easy to use and take me to what I want without having to struggle. Some others might argue that other units offer a great value for your dollar. All I know is I felt more comfortable using the Garmin software versus the Magellan and TomTom models. Which is interesting do to the fact that I thought a big part of the TomTom marketing strategy was ease of use and functionality. Those TomTom commercials that I haven’t seen in ages may be good. But my interaction with their product left me unsatisfied.
In the end it would be interesting to find out how truly different the various products are. I’d venture to bet that these GPS ( Global Positioning System ) units aren’t using proprietary satellites. So the location data being received should be the same. What is different is how fast the data is received and how easy it is to understand and interact with. That is the point in which a smooth interface that gives you what you want comes into play. From what I have seen the past few days only the higher end GPS models are going to allow you to ask for directions and get a reply from the unit. None of the lower end to midrange products I looked at offered this feature. So you will be seeking your destination instructions by using your fingers. All the various manufacturers offered the same functionality in this regard. Basically after a few letters are typed you get options to choose from. This should hopefully prevent you from having to do more typing.
After looking over the basics of giving you the right map data and directions. Everything else in a GPS is just extras. You’re going to want a screen you can read under all conditions. A battery life that is acceptable for most everyday use. Quick acquisition time is a must. Without the unit being able to talk to the GPS satellite in close to real time you will be left high and dry in regards to being able to react effectively during your drive. Of course being able to easily update the map information is a plus. The level of interactivity and information you can receive goes up along with the price of course. Keep in mind that for some of the included features you may have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to access these services. In the end for most people the Bluetooth, MP3 player, JPEG viewer and many of the other extras won’t be put to use. Although the unit I chose has these I’m thinking that at most I might put the Bluetooth to use. This of course can only take place if my Motorola cell phone will play nice with the Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS.
So why the Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS? As I said above I liked the Garmin user experience from my limited testing of various models. Many retailers are currently selling discontinued Garmin models. While these GPS units will provide you with the service you need. I had reservations about buying a product that might not receive updates in the near future. Whether that be in relation to firmware or maps. The 680 series is still a current model. The 660 and a few others I looked at are on the discontinued list. What is interesting about this is the fact that you will still pay what I consider a premium price when purchasing these discontinued GPS units. The Garmin Nuvi 680 GPS offered most of the features I wanted – yes even some that I may not end up putting to use. With the Nuvi 680 we were also getting the screen size we wanted. Cheryl and I decided we really didn’t want a 3.5 screen. A 4.3 inch screen was our choice. The 5.2 inch screen of the Garmin Nuvi 5000 would have been what we really want. This of course was way out our price range.
Even though I did not purchase a GPS unit from TigerGPS I can say there is one thing I really liked about their website. For each vendor there was a chart either at the bottom of the product page or you can click to head for a vendor specific page that details and compares all the features offered from that manufacturers models. While the information can be overwhelming and you find yourself going back and forth a bit. I think this is something that can really help customers decided what features they want and which GPS unit is best for their needs.