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Garmin Street Pilot Comparison Review - SP III Deluxe vs 2610 vs 2650 Date 2003

Review by Dave Burrows

  

Garmin have had the Street Pilot III and Street Pilot III Deluxe out for a number of years now and it's been a favourite for most who want a transferrable in-car satellite navigation system without the hassle of a PDA. But how does the Street Pilot III stack up with the new Street Pilot 2610 and 2650 ? That's what this review is about. Please note that this is not a full review of the 2610 or 2650, that will come a little later.

 

So, what have Garmin done to the newly re-vamped Garmin Street Pilot III Deluxe to make it better. Let's find out!

 

Feature Comparisons

12 Channel GPS
12 Channel GPS
12 Channel GPS
500 Waypoints
500 Waypoints
500 Waypoints
50 Routes
50 Routes
50 Routes
2-20 Hours Battery Life
No Battery Support
No Battery Support
1.8" x 3.4" screen
1.7" x 3.3" screen
1.7" x 3.3" screen
16 Colour LCD Display
8-bit Colour Touch Screen
8-bit Colour Touch Screen
160 pixels (H) x 305 pixels (W)
160 pixels (H) x 305 pixels (W)
160 pixels (H) x 305 pixels (W)
Detatchable Antenna
Built-in Patch Antenna
Built-in Patch Antenna
2000 Tracklog Points
2000 Tracklog Points
2000 Tracklog Points
1.3 lbs (Weight)
0.93 lbs (Weight)
0.93 lbs (Weight)
Audible Alarm with Voice Prompt
Audible Alarm with Voice Prompt
Audible Alarm with Voice Prompt
IPX7 Waterproofing

IPX7 Waterproofing

(Compact Flash door closed)

IPX7 Waterproofing

(Compact Flash door closed)

2.6"H x 3.2"W x 6.8"D
2.0"H x 3.2"W x 5.6"D
2.0"H x 3.2"W x 5.6"D

Garmin Storage Cards

Supplied with 128mb

Any Compact Flash Type II card

Supplied with 256mb

Any Compact Flash Type II card

Supplied with 256mb

2 Level Backlit Display
Autodimming Display
Autodimming Display
No Remote Control
Remote Control Supplied
Remote Control Supplied
No Internal Angular Rate Sensor
No Internal Angular Rate Sensor
Internal Angular Rate Sensor
No Speed Sensor Input
No Speed Sensor Input
Speed Sensor Input
No Reverse Light Input
No Reverse Light Input
Reverse Light Input
Ext Garmin Antenna Support
External MCX Antenna Support
External MCX Antenna Support

* Any new features or modified features have been highlighted in BOLD.

 

So what is different ?

Basically Garmin have really looked at two major ways of improving upon the current Street Pilot III Deluxe. The first part is in size and weight and the second is in the touch screen technology and how you operate the Street Pilot. Lets face it, the Street Pilot III Deluxe, although it's served the market well, it has been a little on the large size. Garmin have reduced it's dimensions making it less tall, and less deep. This has come at a price, Garmin have removed the support for batteries. However, the Street Pilot 2610 and Street Pilot 2650 when switched off, will remember your last route and continue with this route, so you don't really need any support for batteries anymore. This makes the 2610 and 2650 a little lighter (not by much), but it really does look smaller sitting there on the dashboard. Also with a built-in patch antenna which works extremely well, there really isn't any problem picking the 2610 and 2650 up and taking it with you away from the car, where as the older SPIII Deluxe was a little fiddly especially with the rotational antenna, and although I have never dropped one, I have always thought this would be the weakest point of the SPIII apart from the screen of course!

 

 

Screen Technology and Input

Garmin have done something new here, and have decided to not only up the screen display from 16 colours to 8-bit colour depth but they have also supplied a touch screen. Now although this is rather good, I really haven't found a need for the touch screen because Garmin give you a remote control. In-fact, once the Street Pilot 2610 or 2650 is sitting on the dashboard, the only time I need to touch it is to switch it on and off via the rocker switch. This must be the most noticeable and welcome change in the newer Street Pilot models, and makes me feel like I'm operating a DVD player on the dashboard.

 

So what features haven't been updated which are in need of update ?

Well, some like the maps (I do), but they're not as appealing in looks as other products out on the market. Garmin's MapSource maps still make roads look like single sticks and not a proper road. Although MapSource has been updated to a newer release, and with newer maps, the maps still look the same. I was kind of hoping that Garmin would include support for the following new features:-

  • Better looking maps
  • 3D maps
  • Postcode support (why oh why is this missing ?)

Other modifications

Garmin have completely re-worked the menu system on the newer Street Pilots, most probably for better support via remote control, it does somehow make it look like there are a lot more menus, but there really isn't. The remote control really is great, and if there's one thing that would make me jump from a Street Pilot III Deluxe to a newer Street Pilot 2610 or 2650 then it's got to be for the remote control.

 

  

 

Differences between 2610 and 2650

The main difference between these two models are the 2650 is the big brother that allows for things like Speed Pulse Sensors and Reverse Light Input, so it's not 100% reliant on the GPS technology to gauge where you are. For instance, this extra technology would come in handy for instance if you went into a long tunnel, the 2650 would be able to tell the direction you are travelling in and the speed, and still retain your position on screen for you without the need for the GPS (for a short time). However this is reflected in the price. For most the 2610 will do just fine! One thing that should be said about the 2650 is that it needs to be installed by a Garmin Installation Centre, so you can't just pick one up and put it in the car like with the SPIII Deluxe and the 2610 (where you can).

 

  

 

Garmin Map Support

Like with the Street Pilot III Deluxe, both the 2610 and 2650 come with either the following depending on where you purchase it.

  • America
    • Basemap - Americas Autoroute
    • Street Maps - City Navigator North America
  • Europe
    • Basemap - Atlantic Autoroute
    • Street Maps - City Navigator Europe
  • Australia
    • Basemap - Pacific Autoroute
    • Street Maps - City Navigator Australia
  • South Africa
    • Basemap - Atlantic Autoroute
    • Street Maps - City Select South Africa

Conclusion

The newer models work and feel pretty much the same as the award winning Street Pilot III Deluxe, so you'll feel right at home if you have used a SPIII Deluxe before. Apart from that, I was a little disappointed not to see any major advancements in the map technology. I suppose Garmin have to keep a fairly level playing field so that the CD's can be used on other devices, but still this was my main disappointment.

 

 

Comments ?

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