Garmin Streetpilot i2

portable auto gpsSince we like digital toys, and also like to travel, we wanted to upgrade our in car navigation to something more compact to the bulky laptop. We tried using our PDA with Microsoft streets and trips, but it wasn't working out.

I was browsing the Internet for a better GPS software for the PDA, and ran into a Garmin's Streetpilet i2. With an unexpected surprise. I wanted a voice guided navigation system and I could have easily spent over $200.00 just for software. We decided to go with the Garmin i2 for the same price you could have an entire GPS with the maps and everything else you need in a small package.

I always assumed that all the entire navigation systems were may out of my price league. When I stopped at the local stores most of the prices were at least $700.00. That is way too much for my wallet.

At first I wanted to go with the color version Streetpilot i3, but decided to go with the i2 because it didn't seem like color would make any difference, plus I could save an extra hundred, with the same options, and the battery life doubled on the i2.

We went to all the local stores that listed them online, Staples, Circuit City, Best Buy, but none of them had it in stock, all they have was the more expensive i5 units which were listed for $500 plus dollars. So I had no choice but to order it online. Three days later, the UPS guy knocked on the door, hurray!

First Impressions

After taking it out of the box, the first impression was, "Wow, this is a cute little unit." I installed a set of fresh double AA but the USB cord to my main computer and to the i2 and turned it on. Installation was real easy, all I had to do was follow the instructions on the screen. The software comes on a DVD, so make sure you have a DVD drive on your computer before you buy this.

It comes with a 128 mg flashcard, which I thought would be too small to put enough maps for my needs. To my surprise, I was able to load New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont and I only used half of the card. I don't even think I need to upgrade this card unless we are going to travel across country.

It took about ten minutes to download all these maps, and I was ready to navigate. Notice I did all this without opening the manual. After the installation was complete, it tracked four satellite inside our house, and it asked me if this was our home location.. Yes, indeed.

Installing it in the car

My first thought was to mount it on the windshield above the mirror. I went for a test drive and found it to be to distracting to take my eyes off the road. I thin found the perfect spot on my dashboard. It covers the oil gauge, but who needs that? Now I can keep my eyes on the road, and it only takes a second to glance at it when I have to.

Settings and Options

I'm really amazed at all the options the i2 has to offer. Considering the small price I paid, I am really impressed. I feel like something like this should cost at least $700 or more. The list of Points Of Interest is huge. You have restaurants, gas stations, auto services, dance clubs, parks, and the list goes on and on. Not only does it tell you where it is, it also shows you the address and the phone number before you even decide to go there.

For example, let's say we decided to go to Massachusetts for a weekend getaway. We want to book a hotel and we want to eat all the seafood we can get our hands on. So we go to "Options," "Where to," "Lodging," and we have a list of all the hotels in proximity, before we even drive there we could call and find out if they have rooms available.

Update: It stopped working!

Shame that it stopped working in the middle of a trip last summer. I just bought a new 1gig card for it too... Not sure why, but it's not seeing the map data on the new or old card. Everything downloaded just fine.

Since then, I bought a new Garmin C330. I still miss the I2 though, it was great for the long bike rides. I may have to fix it someday. For now I'm using the E Trex Venture GPS


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