Garmin Nüvi 760

I got a Garmin Nüvi 760 for Christmas. It was quite a surprise, since my Garmin iQue 3600 still works, although it had some stability problems in the summer.

The iQue is a hybrid Palm/Garmin navigator, which means that it has the benefit of being able to run most Palm software. The killer application for a navigator turned out to be Fastfinger, which let’s you record macros for anything, and run a macro with a single touch. I configured the REC key to open the Fastfinger quick launch screen where I configured 11 actions for things like: route home, next gast station on route, next Starbucks on route, cancel next via point, nearest parking, nearest hospital and so on. Combined with the highly configurable navigator options, the possibilities were basically endless. The downsides include short battery life (and needing to restore from a computer once this happens), needing to use the stylys to write, long time to acquire satellites, and no custom points-of-interest support. I also haven’t tried it with Linux, but I doubt I would be able to synchronize the map data.

The 760 is obviously more advanced, but it took me a while to start liking it. It uses Garmin proprietary OS for which there does not seem to be many hacks, meaning you are stuck with whatever Garmin put on the device. The screen has different orientation, the UI is really dumbed down (to a stage where I had to read the manual to figure out how to add a via point), text-to-speech (TTS) can be somewhat hard to understand (although it beats having to look at the navigator for the name of the street you need to turn next to) and it shows the current speed limit. Out of the box the 760 comes with two options for sound: either use the FM transmitter and turn your car radio to the channel, or use the builtin speakers. The former does not work well in areas that have lots of radio stations available like the Silicon Valley, nor is it convenient on long drives where you pass through areas that use different frequencies. The volume level from the device itself has been configured a tad too low, although it seems there is an easy hack to make it louder.

The 760 also comes with a free 60 day subscription to traffic alert service. Supposedly you can buy a lifetime subscription for an additional $60. It seems to have worked pretty well on my freeway commute (101), but it doesn’t seem to include support for small roads. When it works it is pretty nifty: you get a little alert icon in the display that tells you how much traffic is going to slow you down, and automatically calculates you the fastest route taking traffic into account.

I haven’t really confirmed it, but it seems to me the 760 isn’t giving me as accurate driving information. For example, it gave me directions to a restaurant but failed to inform me that to get to the restaurant I needed to drive one more block and make a U-turn. I think the iQue has always told me to do a U-turn if needed to get to the right side of the road.

I was pleasantly surprised that my system running Ubuntu Linux recognized the 760 as a USB storage device when I hooked it up. I can access the SD card via this way as well. Of course, since the system is so locked down there isn’t much you can do besides uploading music to the SD card.

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3 Comments

  1. Gene:

    Thanks – what is the hack to making the Nuvi 760 louder. I have the same problem with the volume.

  2. Heikki Toivonen:

    On the linked page the instructions state:

    Open the VPM voice file with the hex editor, look for a string

    <voice_volume>65</voice_volume>

    Try changing that value to something between 65 and 85 and save. People have reported voice quality suffers if you try to go higher than about 85.

  3. conseils emarketing:

    I love my 760. For anyone that doesn’t know, Garmin is the user friendly choice in navigation. If you don’t like reading instructions Garmin is the brand for you. The 760 has Three awesome features. MP3 player, Bluetooth and an FM Transmitter. Imagine the possibilities. My 760 was rated #1 out of 39 units reviewed by Consumer Reports. Widescreen is the way to go as the letters when spelling destinations appear in Qwerty keyboard form and are bigger so they are easier to push.