Garmin zūmo 660 -
zūmo 660 GPS Review
by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
Part 4: Riding With The Zūmo
I haven’t put the 660 through all its paces, yet.
But for typical riding
activities - back home in the cooling north or down here in the wetter but
warmer temperatures of the south, the newest zūmo is performing quite well
Snapping the 660 into its cradle that is in turn mounted on the Touratech
660 cradle and securing the device by locking the security arm in place
provides further protection for the instrument and, better security.
absence of any locking mechanism or provision for using one with the OEM
cradle continues to bug me.
With the power button pushed and the default screens dealt with, the
system is ready for navigation in half the time the 550 still takes.
well, the Quick Settings menu is a great feature that I use often to adjust
screen intensity and audio levels on a moment’s notice.
Operating speed is much improved over the 550, especially the speed with
which map and features are drawn and selected tools or features are
The large, sharp screen display is much appreciated, not only for the
additional real estate but for general information viewing, especially since
the default icon size has been increased. The touch screen, at least to me,
is more sensitive than many others, including the 550.
Some users lament the absence of input buttons along the sides of the
chassis, as the 550 and the Navigator provide, and while I still (sometimes)
think of these buttons when using the 660, I don’t really miss them.
From a general map display perspective, even with the latest map update
installed, there are still far more gaps in coverage and errors in the
database than I think are appropriate. Like the 550 the system still seems
to have trouble resolving route options or addresses, although a couple of
the new routing enhancements, if used, can mitigate these issues to a large
With light to medium gloves on, the touch controls work just fine, even
the QWERTY keyboard can be manipulated without much issue. However, if
heavier gloves are being used or other conditions dictate, then the Large
Mode or ABCDE layouts provide viable alternatives.
If the Media Player or Phone application are in use, small Blue Music or
Handset icons will be displayed on the centre right of the map screen. Touching either will bring up the applicable application for immediate use
or application adjustment.
In keeping the 660 up to date via the WebUpdater, the device has never
failed to securely pair with the assortment of Bluetooth communications
systems and headsets on hand or with any of the Bluetooth enabled phones
presented to it for hosting – so far, so good.
But on what is likely a related issue, my 660 keeps losing its Bluetooth,
which results in having to do a full reset, with resultant loss of any data
held on the device. This is now happening on a regular basis and keeping the
device fully updated has not resolved anything. And for what its worth, the
issue only seems to raise its head when running on the internal battery.
What It Should Do
The zūmo 660 was released to a pretty expectant and pretty critical
audience. The anticipated fine-grain analysis and feature by feature
comparisons have/are being made and depending on what article you read or
forum one browses, the 660 is an abject failure; a clear cut winner, or a
new device with potential.
I haven’t made up my mind yet. In most regards. I find the 660 easy to
use, as intuitive or more so than the 550, more relaxing to view and its
processing performance is a big step up over the speed of the 550.
What I do miss, in a collective sense, are the features and tools that
Garmin could have and should have provided. Given a two year window to
collect, analyze and review requirements, especially in light of a very
large and active 550 user base, the next iteration should have been far more
progressive and far more capable.
The fact that the 660 is priced at $100.00 less than the 550 is, to me, a
big clue, even appreciating that some technology costs, along with
production costs, have been reduced. The zūmo 550 in many ways is still more
capable than the 660; it is still (slightly) better in the trip planning
department and it supports external radio interfaces.
As a user, the desired features are pretty clear to me -- enhance and add
more complex route planning tools, do some QC on the map data provided,
provide interface capabilities other than the traffic services, allow for
additional screen use by external peripherals and finally, if absolutely
necessary, increase the retail price.
Review: Garmin zūmo 660
Product Review Details and Owner Comments in
Part 1: Introduction
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