Garmin Nuvi 660 Sat Nav Review

Camera

The Nuvi 660 is positioned at the higher end of the Nuvi range and is aimed at people who like extra features like TMC, Bluetooth and an FM transmitter.

There is also the newer Garmin Nuvi 760 which is similarly priced to the Nuvi 660 but with an improved spec. This review will help you decide which system is for you.

Box Contents

This is what you get in the box.

Garmin Nuvi 660
Preloaded City Navigator® NT maps for UK and Europe or North America (full coverage)
Vehicle suction cup mount
FM traffic receiver with vehicle power cable
Dashboard disk
USB cable
Leather carry case
Quick start manual
CD Rom containing user manual
AC charger with interchangeable 2-pin and 3-pin configuration plug
Detailed Specifications

Unit dimensions: 4.9″W x 2.9″H x .9″D (12.4 x 7.4 x 2.3 cm)
Display size: 3.81″W x 2.25″H (9.7 x 5.7 cm); 4.3″ diag (10.9 cm)
Display resolution, widescreen: 480 x 272 pixels
Weight: 6.2 ounces (176 g)
Battery life: up to 7 hours
USB connector
SD Card Slot
Speed camera warnings out-of-the-box
Text to speech. Speaks road numbers as well as street names, e.g. “Turn left in 200 yards onto the A4” and “Turn right in 200 yards onto West Street”
MP3 player
Picture viewer
FM transmitter

First Thoughts

The Nuvi 660 looks similar to the other widescreen models in the Nuvi range. It has the same good looks and easy to use interface.

A USB cable and AC charger is included plus you get a leather carry case. It’s nice to finally see a Nuvi with all these items included, normally one item or the other is missing. The Nuvi 250W for example doesn’t include a USB cable and the Nuvi 770 doesn’t include an AC charger, which is all extra money to pay out for.

Garmin have included a quick reference guide which covers the basics you need to get started. The system I reviewed also included a CD-ROM containing the full user manual. The full user manual is also available to download from the Garmin web site but the CD-ROM version of the manual was a welcome touch.

GPS Receiver

The Nuvi 660 has an excellent GPS receiver, just like the other systems in the Nuvi range. A satellite signal was established within a couple of minutes. There is no need to stand outside to get a signal. You can get a signal indoors providing you are situated fairly close to a window.

I was amazed how strong the GPS receiver on this system is. Even standing 10 feet away from a window with the blinds closed it still managed a satellite signal. In terms of GPS reception it is the best Nuvi I’ve tested so far, outperforming the 250W and 770. This is probably due to the fact the Nuvi 660 supports WAAS/EGNOS which is covered later in this review.

The Nuvi 660 uses a flip-out GPS receiver which is a different approach to the 250W and 770 which both have built-in GPS receivers. There are plus and minus points to this approach.

Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS Receiver

On the plus side, as soon as the GPS receiver is folded away the GPS receiver is turned off. This is good if you want to conserve battery power. This is probably one of the reasons why the 660 has a 7 hour battery life compared to the 5 hours for the 250W and 770.

On the minus side, it does make the 660 more bulky to setup in the car, as you need to allow a bit more room for the flip out GPS receiver so that it doesn’t touch the windscreen.

In addition the flip out GPS receiver makes the Nuvi 660 more difficult to hold in pedestrian mode. When testing the Nuvi 770 in pedestrian mode I could keep the 770 inside the leather carry case whilst walking around. The flip out GPS receiver on the 660 makes this impossible and I feel you’re more likely to drop the 660 with the GPS receiver opened.

Maps

The Nuvi 660 includes full coverage of either the UK and Europe or North America depending on where you buy the unit. Like all other sat nav systems in the Nuvi range the map data is very detailed and covers individual street level detail. I tried browsing the maps around several European countries and found the level of detail to be excellent.

Navigation

Planning routes by the fastest time or shortest distance are supported, plus there is also an ‘Off Road’ profile which enables you to navigate from one place to another without regards for roads.

There are options to plan journeys using other vehicles such as lorry (truck), bus, emergency vehicle, taxi and pedestrian. A bus profile for example would allow the Nuvi to select bus lanes when planning routes, whilst pedestrian mode would allow you to walk the wrong way down a one-way street.

The routing profiles offered by the Nuvi 660 is an improvement over the 250W and 770 which only offer the basic automobile, bicycle and pedestrian modes.

First Thoughts

The Nuvi 660 looks similar to the other widescreen models in the Nuvi range. It has the same good looks and easy to use interface.

A USB cable and AC charger is included plus you get a leather carry case. It’s nice to finally see a Nuvi with all these items included, normally one item or the other is missing. The Nuvi 250W for example doesn’t include a USB cable and the Nuvi 770 doesn’t include an AC charger, which is all extra money to pay out for.

Garmin have included a quick reference guide which covers the basics you need to get started. The system I reviewed also included a CD-ROM containing the full user manual. The full user manual is also available to download from the Garmin web site but the CD-ROM version of the manual was a welcome touch.

GPS Receiver

The Nuvi 660 has an excellent GPS receiver, just like the other systems in the Nuvi range. A satellite signal was established within a couple of minutes. There is no need to stand outside to get a signal. You can get a signal indoors providing you are situated fairly close to a window.

I was amazed how strong the GPS receiver on this system is. Even standing 10 feet away from a window with the blinds closed it still managed a satellite signal. In terms of GPS reception it is the best Nuvi I’ve tested so far, outperforming the 250W and 770. This is probably due to the fact the Nuvi 660 supports WAAS/EGNOS which is covered later in this review.

The Nuvi 660 uses a flip-out GPS receiver which is a different approach to the 250W and 770 which both have built-in GPS receivers. There are plus and minus points to this approach.

Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS Receiver

On the plus side, as soon as the GPS receiver is folded away the GPS receiver is turned off. This is good if you want to conserve battery power. This is probably one of the reasons why the 660 has a 7 hour battery life compared to the 5 hours for the 250W and 770.

On the minus side, it does make the 660 more bulky to setup in the car, as you need to allow a bit more room for the flip out GPS receiver so that it doesn’t touch the windscreen.

In addition the flip out GPS receiver makes the Nuvi 660 more difficult to hold in pedestrian mode. When testing the Nuvi 770 in pedestrian mode I could keep the 770 inside the leather carry case whilst walking around. The flip out GPS receiver on the 660 makes this impossible and I feel you’re more likely to drop the 660 with the GPS receiver opened.

Maps

The Nuvi 660 includes full coverage of either the UK and Europe or North America depending on where you buy the unit. Like all other sat nav systems in the Nuvi range the map data is very detailed and covers individual street level detail. I tried browsing the maps around several European countries and found the level of detail to be excellent.

Navigation

Planning routes by the fastest time or shortest distance are supported, plus there is also an ‘Off Road’ profile which enables you to navigate from one place to another without regards for roads.

There are options to plan journeys using other vehicles such as lorry (truck), bus, emergency vehicle, taxi and pedestrian. A bus profile for example would allow the Nuvi to select bus lanes when planning routes, whilst pedestrian mode would allow you to walk the wrong way down a one-way street.

The routing profiles offered by the Nuvi 660 is an improvement over the 250W and 770 which only offer the basic automobile, bicycle and pedestrian modes.

Garmin Nuvi 660

You can specify an address using the following options:

Address – you can enter either a post code (full 7 digit postcode entry is supported), or you can enter the city and street name manually. One irritating feature is that you need to select the country every time you enter an address. If you only ever use the Nuvi 660 in a single country then this will get annoying after a while.
Go home – if you have saved a home address then you can navigate to that address.
Point of Interest (POI) – you can navigate to the following POI categories: food, fuel, bank/ATM, lodging, shopping, parking, entertainment, recreation, attractions, community, hospitals, transit and auto services. You can also spell the POI name if it does not fit into one of these categories. Once you select a POI category such as food you can then choose a sub-category such as Asian, Chinese, Fast Food, etc. You can search for POI either near your current location, a different city, along your current route or your destination. This is useful if you want to find a fuel outlet or restaurant along your current journey for example.
Recently Found – the Nuvi 660 stores a list of recent destinations which you can navigate to again.
Favourites – these are a list of destinations which you have saved as a favourite. These could be things like the location of friends and family for example.
Intersections – this screen allows you to enter two road names and then navigate to the point where those two roads intersect.
Cities – if you just want to navigate to a city without entering a specific address then use this screen. By default the Nuvi will list cities closest to your current location and you select one from the list. Alternatively you can spell the name of a city if it is further afield.
Browse Map – you can browse the map and zoom in and out. Once you have found a location you tap the screen and navigate to that location.
Co-ordinates – you can also navigate to a set of co-ordinates. You have the option to use a variety of co-ordinate formats
(h ddd mm’ ss.s”, h ddd mm.mmm’, h ddd.ddddd, British National Grid)