GPS technology is highly versatile and today’s smartphones clearly illustrate that fact. People may not even have to buy a dedicated GPS device since smartphones have numerous apps that let you use the GPS functionality for driving, hiking and other purposes. But companies like Garmin continue to excel in the hardware front making their dedicated GPS products still necessary if accuracy is highly important. Garmin also provides special accessories and features for their niche products. For instance, the Garmin zumo devices are marketed towards motorcyclists and the Garmin zumo 660LM is one of the models to consider if you want some extra features.
The design of the Garmin zumo 660LM looks a bit dated compared to some of Garmin’s newer 2013 products. It also doesn’t have the rugged look that the slightly more expensive zumo 350LM has. Instead, this zumo looks more like an older Garmin nuvi device that you can actually mount on a motorcycle. Even the 4.3-inch screen means that you get an experience that is similar to Garmin’s nuvi products. The only difference is that the touchscreen still works even if you are wearing gloves.
The design doesn’t look too bad though and what matters most is its durability. It still feels rugged and the IPX-7 certification means that the device is completely waterproof. You can keep relying on the GPS device even if it rains while you ride. The overall unit is also resistant to ultraviolet rays and fuel spills. The special motorcycle mount makes it easy to mount this GPS device to your motorcycle. But a car mount is available as well if you wish to use the basic functionality with your car.
The Garmin zumo 660LM has a feature set that is quite similar to Garmin’s mid-range automotive products. The 4.3-inch looks nice and makes the text and graphics pretty easy to read. It also does a good job in rendering some of the 3-D buildings that may appear on the map while driving. Of course, staring at the screen while driving your motorbike is never encouraged which is why the text-to-speech feature come in handy. Like other Garmin products, the device can speak the street name after giving the instruction so you know exactly where to head while being focused on the road. There is also this handy feature called TracBack which lets the GPS device create a route back to your starting point using the same route you traversed.
If you want to create custom routes, you can use the free BaseCamp program which you have to install in a Windows or Mac system. Then you can transfer the planned routes to the GPS device so you can immediately start your trip without worrying about route planning on the touch display.
The zumo 660LM also comes with Garmin’s widely popular Lane Assist with Junction view feature. It works exactly the same as the Garmin nuvi devices which gives you a better look of the highway along with graphical indicators telling you what lane you must be in so you won’t miss the turn. The photoReal Junction view is supported as well and highlights the zumo’s ability to show off some amazing photorealistic graphics of junctions. All the necessary details are present including the surrounding landscape and important road signs.
Because of the “LM” suffix, you won’t have to worry about the accuracy of the map because Garmin has a good reputation of keeping their maps updated. “LM” stands for “Lifetime Maps” which means that you can retrieve the latest maps from Garmin’s servers. It doesn’t matter how old the device is because map updates will forever remain free.
There are other neat things you can do with the Garmin zumo 660LM as well such as using it as a compass. You can also bring up a digital fuel gauge to see if you need to make a fuel stop based on the number of miles you traveled. Going for the zumo 660LM rather than a basic model like the Garmin zumo 350LM has some exclusive features like MP3 and photo support. You can use the built-in Bluetooth functionality to connect to a Bluetooth headset so you can listen to tracks. You can also connect a Bluetooth headset or helmet to better hear the device’s voice prompts. Connecting your smartphone to the GPS device allows you to place and receive phone calls as well.
All of these motorcycle exclusive features come with a heavy $650 price tag. But there are hardly any better alternatives that come out cheaper. There are plenty of positives to consider like the rugged build quality, lifetime maps, Bluetooth support, friendly interface and simply Garmin’s amazing GPS hardware. If you haven’t purchased a GPS device for your car, getting the Garmin zumo 660LM may also eliminate the need to buy a separate car GPS device as long as you are okay with the lack of traffic updates.