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21 January 2010

Nuvi 765

The Nuvi 765 adds 3D buildings, lane assist and Bluetooth on top of the standard feature set of Garmin car navigation units.



WHILE most smartphones today come with built-in GPS, there’s really ­nothing like a purpose-built device for car navigation.

In practical terms, having a GPS in your smartphone is actually quite useful for a number of reasons — such as when you’re walking around looking for a restaurant or even using one of those funky augmented reality applications to find out more about your ­surroundings.

However, when it comes to in-car navigation you really don’t want to receive a phone call while you’re using the smartphone’s GPS.

Not only is it a tad dangerous, but it would actually interfere with the turn-by-turn voice navigation on the device when you’re answering a call, not to mention possibly taking you out of the navigation interface to receive the call.

So the best solution if you need a GPS is to get a car navigation unit like the Garmin Nuvi 765, which is not only purpose built but has several other niceties that no current smartphone has.

Build

The Nuvi 765 is actually one of the higher-end models in the Garmin Nuvi line and offers a Bluetooth handsfree connection to your mobile phone, junction view with lane assist and 3D buildings on the map.

These features aren’t new if you look at the other brands on the market, but it is new on a Garmin, which until this model, only supported junction view.

As far as handling goes, the Nuvi 765 is much the same as its other siblings — about the same size and shape (but heavier) and now comes with a non-slip coating on the back so it’s more secure when you’re holding it in your hand.

You also get a generous 4.3in LCD screen which is bright and easy to read even in bright light.

The biggest change is that the Nuvi 765 comes with an all new connector at the bottom and a new suction cup windshield mount, which means accessories meant for the lower-end models probably won’t work with the Nuvi 765




NEW CONNECTOR: A closeup of the new connector on the bottom of the Nuvi 765. Note that the mini USB sync and charge port is retained and still works with the original charger.


The Nuvi 765 comes with its own car charger which again, is not based on the mini USB standard — instead, it has its own proprietary connector which connects directly to the windshield mount.

There is no wall socket charger, but that’s not such a big deal, since you can charge the device by connecting up the Nuvi to your PC using a standard mini USB cable.

Yes, the Nuvi 765 still retains the mini USB connector, which sits right at the bottom of the device, right next to the proprietary connector — I tested it and you can indeed still charge from this connector if you wish.

Other notable features are the SD card slot on the side, a 3.5mm ­stereo minijack port and an external aerial port on the back.

The 3.5mm stereo minijack port is a hint of one of the new software features present in the Nuvi 765 — yes, it comes with a music player which supports MP3 files and Audible.com audio book files.

There is however, no video file support, so music is all that you’re going to get on this device.

Photo viewing is also carried over from the previous Nuvi devices and allows you to store JPEG photos on the device or in an SD card and view them on the Nuvi 765.

Last but not least, the Nuvi 765 comes with Bluetooth A2DP support, which means the GPS can also act as a speakerphone for your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone.

Performance

As far as navigation goes, there are no surprises here — like all Nuvis, the interface is familiar, uncluttered and it works.

I quite like the Garmin interface as the icons are large and easy-to-understand and there’s no ­confusion when accessing the various features.

GPS lock was pretty quick at under a minute from cold start, and typically only a few seconds if you’ve turned it on recently.

There wasn’t any surprises for navigation either although in the time that I used it, there weren’t that many 3D buildings and junctions that I could see — some buildings, like the KLCC and major junctions were represented, but I find it still a little lacking compared with some other brands.



SHOW ME: The 3D buildings on the Nuvi 765 are pretty well represented in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, although further away from the city, fewer of these are found.


Nevertheless 3D buildings aren’t really important when it comes to actual navigation, though junction view and lane assist are.

I did manage to pair my phone with the Nuvi via Bluetooth, and as a speakerphone, the 765’s speakers were pretty loud and the ­microphone sensitive enough to pick up my voice even though my windscreen (and consequently, the Nuvi) is pretty far away from my head.

What didn’t work so well is the text-to-speech function which reads out road names. As usual, since our road names are not in English, the text-to-speech mangles most road names.

For example Puchong is read out as “Pah-chong” — let’s not even get into how Jalan Tun Sambanthan is pronounced.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) there is no text-to-speech for the Bahasa Malaysia language turn-by-turn directions, so you don’t get road names read out to you (or mangled) when you drive.

Conclusion

Overall, the Nuvi 765 works very well and the 3D buildings and ­junction view are always a welcome, but not essential, addition to the basic GPS car navigation feature set.

At RM1,150, the Nuvi 765 is a bit on the expensive side and ­considering that you can get more features in other GPS units that are a few hundred cheaper, you might want to look around at some other brands if 3D buildings and Bluetooth connectivity are important to you.

In defence of the Nuvi 765, it’s important to note that in countries like the US, the unit has an extra feature — a traffic avoidance system which is based on publicly ­broadcasted information on the FM radio channel.

If this feature were possible in this country (it’s not because we don’t have an FM radio traffic broadcast system in place) it would make the Nuvi 765 a lot more attractive a buy, since having traffic information available on the map would make a big difference in the navigation experience.

As it is, all we’re getting is a more expensive Nuvi with features that aren’t really worth paying extra for, so you might also want to look at a few lower-end Garmin Nuvi models if you just need navigation.

Pros: Feature-packed; nice rubberised feel.

Cons: A tad expensive.



Nuvi 765

(Garmin Ltd) Standalone GPS car navigation unit GPS chipset:

SiRF Star III Memory: 4GB ROM
Storage: SD expansion slot
Display: 4.3in (480 x 272-pixels)
Battery: Lithium-ion
Other features: A2DP Bluetooth
Weight: 184g Dimensions: 12.2 x 7.6 x 2.0cm
Price: RM1,150
Website: www.garmin.com

Review unit courtesy of Aeco Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, (03)-9285-8062

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