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Not happy with Garmin

We are really struggling with our rented Garmin in San Sebastián and northern Spain. The visuals are not helpful enough to navigate thru city streets. It is impossible to drive with just the name of streets since names are long and difficult to see. Google maps is much better with visuals. Garmin has been a waste of money.

Posted by
3041 posts

Double check how you have your Garmin setup. You should be able to get street by street directions with full screen map visuals showing roadways, bridges, road name where you are, etc. Since you have Internet access you might want to go to Garmin website and look at the instruction manual for the model you've rented. Take the unit to your hotel room, stand near a window so you have a signal and play with it for a while. If there's a rental office near you from whom you rented your car, they should be able to help as well.

As good as Google maps and Apple maps are, I still prefer a dedicated GPS while driving. My Garmin has guided me through Turkey, Italy (l would still be in Palermo without it!), Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal.

Posted by
5649 posts

Of course, Garmin has made many different GPS devices and they are not all the same. I have had two. The newest one - now 4+ years old I guess - has guided me through Czech Republic, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia, though in some cases the map I had was out of date. (I bought the most recent Europe map for mine earlier this year before my trip, but it was still out of date especially in Bosnia, which is not surprising.)

In the future, I'll probably use my Android as a GPS for the most accurate results. I do like some of the Garmin's features like current speed, etc. and may take it along with me on a future trip with the old map.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the replies so hung in there with Garmin and have had much better success out on the open road. Also was holding garmin in lap as opposed to on the window so maybe that was a factor. IMO not as good as google maps but since I rented it I will keep using it

Posted by
31068 posts

The machine can't see all the satellites if it is in your lap in the car so it can't be as accurate.

It needs to be in the windscreen.

Posted by
5828 posts

My Garmin Nuvi has a suction cup attachment to mount the display to the windshield. Having a "heads up" display is a lot safer than trying to view your device looking down to your lap.

Does your turn by turn sound Spanish?

Posted by
11294 posts

"Also was holding garmin in lap as opposed to on the window so maybe that was a factor."

As Nigel said, that was a huge factor. Like a satellite phone, a GPS needs to be able to "see" the satellites to work properly. When you use a phone for navigation, it can find position by cell signals and Wi-Fi as well as by GPS satellites; a stand-alone GPS unit doesn't do this.

Posted by
6704 posts

In some European countries the mounting location of a GPS is regulated by law. I hope you weren't the driver when it was in your lap! Is that because you usually text while driving?

I find that the flat map view, travel direction up, is the easiest to follow. The 3D effects can be distracting.