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Garmin StreetPilot c550 Review

Our Verdict

This high-end device combines handy features with a simple interface.

This is the reason to spend more for a GPS device. Not the Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 player, or integrated traffic receiver (three months free subscription)-which are nice to have-but the beautifully simple interface, the excellent-looking maps, and the clear spoken directions which pronounce street names. Using the c550 to get from point A to point B is an incredibly pleasant experience. You also get a bright, sharp display, which doesn't show a bit of glare in bright sun.

The c550 is on the large side, but it comes preloaded with North American maps, and offers 670MB of storage for songs. (You can also load them on an SD Card, which isn't included.) We love that the device has no physical buttons but only onscreen controls (save for the on/off switch), and that it works surprisingly quickly when looking up a POI or creating a route. Our only quibble is that one of the routing views doesn't constantly show you which direction your next turn will be; it only tells you when you near the turn.

We also liked how the c550 presents traffic data: You can browse all the trouble spots in your area on one screen, so that you quickly know where the problems are. Subscriptions cost $60 per year, and traffic data is available in 49 metropolitan areas.

The unit comes with a ball-and-socket mount, which is easier to adjust than the clamp-style mount of most devices. Yes, the bells and whistles are cool, but the Garmin c550 is splurge-worthy because of how it takes the work and waiting out of GPS navigation.

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Tech Specs

Size4.4 x 3.2 x 2.8 inches
Weight9.4 ounces
Touch ScreenNo