GPS Genius

GPS Genius

Looking to take love out on the open road? Let a GPS lead the way.

ANNE'S TEST Cole is a great guy for a lot of little reasons. For one, he isn’t afraid to say he’s lost. Which is good because he gets lost a lot. I suspect Cole might even get lost as an excuse to stop and get directions at a place that sells potato chips. It’s as if he needs to leave a trail of chip crumbs to get home, which—as Hansel and Gretel have already shown—doesn’t work. So then we need to stop again and buy more chips and maybe an iced tea and some candy. The Garmin c330 StreetPilot GPS Vehicle Navigator is a real calorie saver.

I was a little worried when I took the StreetPilot out of the box. I couldn’t find the directions. Well, that’s how easy it is to use. Plug it into the car’s “cell phone lighter,” and you are ready to go anywhere in the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico.

The StreetPilot has a simple touch-screen interface that prompts you along. Our six-year-old—thick with the pride of a new reader—figured it out in minutes. Of course, he also quickly realized that we now had no excuse to hit the Quickee Mart for the j-food. Luckily, he was able to find a bag of cheese crackers in the backseat. (Don’t ask how old the crackers were. I’ve always said we could wait out a blizzard foraging in the car.)

There are several ways to get info from the StreetPilot. Maps can appear in either the traditional “bird’s eye” view or in a three-dimensional format. Or you can choose written directions. The StreetPilot also talks and can tell Cole exactly where to get off.

Using the StreetPilot to drive around your rural backwater hometown, you quickly discover that the GPS has geographical limits. But when we used it on a weekend trip across the state, it was 100 percent correct. I even typed in the name of our bank and it told us the nearest ATM.

Cole is a great guy for a lot of little reasons. Like when we stop at the gas station, happily knowing exactly where we are as we drive with our StreetPilot, and he buys potato chips—and M&M’s, just because he knows I like them.

COLE'S TEST StreetPilot is my copilot. And Anne couldn’t be happier. I’m usually pretty levelheaded, but put me behind the wheel of a car and I become, well, a moron. Ask me to go somewhere new, or to attempt the unholy nightmare called “city driving,” and it’s like I’ve been blindfolded and thrown into a Tilt-a-Whirl. Simple concepts like “right” and “left” and “stop sign” lose all meaning. Literally and meta­ phorically, I’m lost. This makes me anxious, which in turn makes me stupid. And, like many guys, I deal by yelling and embracing the clichéd refusal to stop for directions. Stopping for a snack, however, has never been a problem.The StreetPilot c330 GPS navigator from Garmin doesn’t care about any of that. She looks past my limitations and tells me in her soothing voice that everything is going to be just fine if I only “turn left in 40 yards.”

GPS connectivity is only the beginning for the StreetPilot. Garmin comes pre-loaded with an amazing amount of detail through City Select® map graphics, including six million North American points of interest—banks, restaurants, hotels, on and on. Just plug in the StreetPilot, type in your destination, choose from the search results, and go. You can save your favorite destinations and check your travel time and average speed; it even recalculates your route if you miss a turn or exit. Which has been known to happen.

I’m relieved I’ll never again have to ask which way to the interstate. I will, however, still stop for a snack. Say, why is Anne typing in the address of the gym?

Cole Odell & Anne Moore Odell

(For product details see next page.)


WAAS-enabled 12-parallel channel GPS.

Price $749.99.

Built-in patch antenna; MCX-type connector for optional external GPS antenna connection.

Pre-programmed, internal memory. Audio and visual navigation instructions and warnings. Integrated suction cup mounting system.

2.8" W x 2.1" H (3.5" diag.), 320 x 240 pixels.

Unit Dimensions
4.4" W x 3.2" H x 2.8" D.

9.45 ounces.

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Battery type
Built-in, up to eight-hour lithium ion battery.