Garmin StreetPilot c510

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Garmin StreetPilot c510
  • Garmin StreetPilot c510
  • Garmin StreetPilot c510
  • Garmin StreetPilot c510

Pros

  • Value for money, text-to-speech technology, large touch screen

Cons

  • Sunlight glare affects display, odd order of address searches, bulky design

Bottom Line

The StreetPilot c510 is a solid budget offering, and has a few features that are usually reserved for more expensive models.

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The price of in-car GPS units continues to slide, thanks to an influx of basic, budget offerings that still provide all the functionality most users need. The Garmin StreetPilot c510 is one such unit, coming standard with a large touch screen interface, preloaded Australian maps and a 'text-to-speech' feature that is able to read out street names - all for a competitive price.

Navigation

The Garmin interface remains the same as previous units and it's once again simple, bright and extremely effective. Menu icons are accompanied by large, colourful boxes, while more specific sections, such as the address search, are clearly labelled with large text. The StreetPilot c510 software is intuitive to use. Street names are filtered by suburb, reducing the list of streets during searching to a manageable number. Oddly though, searches must be done in order of suburb, street number and then street name. The street number would be better positioned as an option after you select the street.

The main menu is very simple, with icons for 'Where To?' and 'View Map'. Here users can also adjust brightness and volume levels. Tapping the 'Where To?' button allows you to navigate to a specific address, your home, food and hotel outlets, recently found destinations, favourites and even the nearest petrol station. Users can also find intersections and cities but the option to enter a specific GPS coordinate (seen on the nuvi 660 and nuvi 300 models) is not included on the c510.

Voice commands on the c510 are above average, largely thanks to the built in text-to-speech technology. This means the c510 can read out street names. Most streets were clearly audible, but the unit struggled with longer and difficult to pronounce names. Conveniently, the volume scroll wheel on the left side gives quick access to volume levels while driving. In addition text-to-speech, the c510 also includes another new feature; an anti-theft system with a four-letter PIN to lock in case of theft.

Finding and maintaining a GPS signal took us between 30 seconds and a minute, and the c510 uses the popular SiRF Star III GPS chipset. Re-routing times were a mixed bag, as they sometimes took a little longer than we expected. The c510 uses City Navigator Australia 7 maps and these are pre-loaded onto the unit's 256MB of internal memory. The StreetPilot includes a range of default POIs (Point of Interest), but users can add their own destinations including alerts for school zones and speed cameras, and load them onto the unit using the included POI Loader software.

The c510 maps are simple and easy to read and can be zoomed in and out of using the large + and - controls on the touch screen. Users can select either a 3D or 2D view, with the map oriented to have either north up or track up (the direction you are going facing upwards). Tapping the speed button on the map brings up a convenient trip computer, which displays data about the trip, including overall average speed, max speed, total time and moving time, amongst others. Overall, the map interface on this device was clear, precise and easy to understand.

Keep in mind however that while the c510 scores highly in terms of ease of use, it does lack some more advanced GPS features such as previewing routes, moving the map around on-screen and customising warnings, alerts and distances.

Design

Designed solely for in-car use, the bulky wedge shape of the c510 contrasts with the sleeker models such as the TomTom ONE (New Edition). But what it lacks in aesthetics, the StreetPilot makes up for in reliability and simplicity. The unit measures 113mm x 82mm x 56mm and it weighs a hefty 269g. There are no buttons on the front, as the interface is operated solely via the large, 3.6in touch screen. We weren't too impressed with the display though; sunlight glare on bright days means the c510 can become troublesome to use while driving, despite a fairly good viewing angle.

For extra maps, an SD card slot is located on the left side of the unit. The right has a mini-USB port for charging and connecting to a PC, a volume scroll wheel and a power button. A power input is located on the rear, and this is used for both the in-car charger, and the AC adapter. The c510 also comes packaged with a case, a standard mini-USB cable and a window mount. The mount is small and easy to attach to your window. We had no issues with the c510 sticking to our car window, but Garmin does provide a dashboard mount just in-case. Battery life is rated at up to eight hours, but we experienced closer to five or six on average.

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