The Garmin Nuvi 765T GPS Review

I’ve been a longtime fan of Garmin Nuvi’s. However, lately I’ve been carrying my much lower priced Navigon 2100 with me when I travel. Why would I carry a less feature rich device you ask? It’s actually quite simple. Although I love just about everything about the Garmin Nuvi, the one thing I fell in love with on the Navigon is something they call "3D Reality View." It seems that whenever I’m in an unfamiliar area (which is why I’d be using my GPS in the first place), I would always be in the wrong lane. This would either cause me to miss my exit or exit too soon. On the Navigon 2100 whenever I approached a complex highway exchange, the Navigon would throw up photo realistic highway signs that displayed the exact text that was on the real signs with markers for the lane you’re supposed to be in. Once I drove around California with this feature I was hooked! Recently Garmin sent out a survey and I answered the survey about what I liked about the Nuvi and what I wished were better. The one feature I wanted was this form of "lane assist" and the next thing I knew, it was here! I happened to notice an ad for the Garmin Nuvi 755T, 765T, 775T and 785T and all of these units include a feature called "lane assist." Had I just seen that in text, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to it. However, it was the screen shot that got me!:

 

Next it was simply just a matter of deciding which of the four models I wanted. This was the one feature that was keeping me from using my existing Garmin and using a lesser model. Don’t get me wrong, the Navigon 2100 is a great GPS for the money (it’s my most frequently read review with well over 110,000 reads)! However, the Garmin Nuvi offers so much more and as well it should since it also costs 3-5 times more. I ran a comparison of these four models to see which one was right me. I immediately eliminated the 755T because I wanted Bluetooth. Garmin Nuvi’s with Bluetooth allow you to also use it as a handsfree speaker phone while you’re driving. Since I use my portable GPS mostly in rental cars, this feature is a big plus. The 775T seems to come with maps of Europe and the 785T comes with MSN support. Neither of these two features were important to me nor did they justify the huge difference in price. So it was the 765T for me! 

 

Speaking of price

Don’t let Garmin’s retail prices scare you! Nobody would pay these prices! The Garmin Nuvi 765T lists for $599.99 or Garmin’s site. There’s NO WAY I would pay that much for a GPS these days. I started doing some price shopping. Unfortunately I wasn’t seeing the 765T for much under $435 (still much better than retail). I was all set to ask for gift cards for the holidays and I would pool them together to get one. Then it happened! I was looking at Amazon.com a couple of days before Thanksgiving and it was there for only $349! I was stunned! Was this a mistake? I paused for a minute, and then I went for it. The next day after I ordered it, it went back up to the regular price of $435. Prices do fluctuate on Amazon.com all the time. So keep a watch on it. Although it was sold through Amazon, it was actually Car Toys that delivered it. I see right now that their price is a little cheaper right on the Amazon page (on the right side of the page). 

 

Taking it for a spin

 

I couldn’t wait to put it to the test. So although I was home and have a GPS built-in to my car, I put the Nuvi 765T on my dash board and ran some errands. It was GREAT! It was fast and responsive. Plotting good routes (all GPSes plot wacky routes at times). Then I came up on an intersection and BAM! There it was, a beautiful photo illustrating which lane I should be in. Although this was it! This was the feature I’d been waiting for Garmin to release, there is still room for improvement. My only issue with the 3D view is that it simply doesn’t stay up long enough. If you’re concentrating on the road, you could actually miss the display when it pops up. It seems to stay up much longer on the Navigon. It’s not the end of the world and it’s something easily fixed via firmware update. So Garmin, if you’re reading this, let’s get this display to stay up a few seconds longer. I also noticed that the Nuvi 765T now displays the current speed limit of the road you’re on. Another cool feature of the Navigon. However, it seems that all the 765T does is display the speed limit whereas my Navigon actually has a programmable warning if you exceed the limit by a set amount. I went 15 MPH over the limit on the Nuvi and not a peep.

 

 

True Lane Assist

 

In addition to the 3D photo that pops up to show you which lane you should be in, the 765T also displays another form of Lane Assist in the upper left corner, which shows you which of the lanes you should/could be in. For example if you’re approaching a 4 lane pass, you may only be able to take the upcoming exit if you’re in one of the two far left lanes. This feature will highlight the lanes you can be in and still make the exit. I like this feature A LOT! 

 

Why am I back to the Nuvi?

You might be asking at this point, if the Navigon that I already owned had the most important feature to me, why would I spend more money on another Garmin Nuvi? That’s a valid question and here’s the answer. While the Navigon had the one feature that I really loved, the Nuvi had everything else! The Nuvi is more than just a GPS. It’s also a media player, language translator, audiobook player, etc. Sure I have most of these features in my iPhone, but it’s nice having all this in my GPS because it also sports an FM transmitter built-in. This way I can have all of this sound play over the car speakers. The Navigon 2100 has none of this. While these features are nice-to-haves, the most important thing that sets the Nuvi 765T apart is performance and UI. The Navigon units can be sluggish to operate at times. They also have small text that is hard to read depending upon your eyes. The Garmin units use nice big icons and respond almost instantaneously to the touch. Another great feature of the Nuvi is the integration with my computer. With the Nuvi I can mount it on my desktop and drag files to it. I can also download custom points of interest (POI) files to it. I found a great site for getting custom POI files of your favorite stores, restaurants, etc. For example, I have all the PF Chang’s in my Garmin (probably not a good thing :) ). No matter where I am, it will tell me where the closest one is. Same for Best Buy, Apple Stores, Morton Steak Houses, etc. etc. 

 

The Bottom Line

This is by far the best portable GPS I have owned to date. It’s not perfect, but it does offer the perfect blend of features, price and performance. It is very customizable and Garmin has free utilities for both the Mac and PC. Turn-by-turn voice navigation, fast responsive user interface. Several cool features and the new rubberized coating feels good to the touch. Mine came with the 2009 Map File already loaded and Garmin is pretty good about making timely updates available. If you’re looking for a top of the line, feature rich GPS, this is it!

 



  • http://www.thewarriorseye.org/blog Tom

    Hi Terry. Have you used this with your Camera GPS yet?

  • Jan W

    Nice review, Terry.

    I have a Garmin 760, and Im kind of dissapointed with the quality of the bluetooth function. It is practically unusable being slow and very noisy for some reason. Could be speaker related too. I hope that would be fixed in the 765. I would love to have the lane assist function and that is one of the reasons that Im currently browsing around for a different brand than the Garmin. The second reason is the relative poor map coverage I get in the region I live in..(northern Ontario). Wrong road names, poor accuracy and so on.
    In other words, I think ill shop around for my next GPS and it will most likely not be a Garmin.

    Jan

  • http://www.thewarriorseye.org/blog Tom

    I’d be curious Terry if you are going to try this with your camera for geotagging. If it works I’d purchase it.

  • Terry White

    Tom, I hadn’t really giving it much thought as I already have a dedicated GPS for my camera that works great. I wouldn’t know where to begin to try to adapt this Garmin for geotagging.

  • Robert Jensen

    I also own a Navigon 2100 and I’m curious if you’ve done a side-by-side comparison in display brightness and clarity. One thing that I’ve had numerous problems with on the Navigon is glare obscuring the screen. Does the Garmin display have the same problem?

    I’m curious if anyone out there has found some sort of a hood for their GPS unit to shield it from sunlight? I’m about ready to make one of my own by cutting and bending some black plastic sheeting so it just clips over the top of the unit. The side panels will keep it from slipping off the unit. That way I can just pop it on and off as needed, no Velcro or adhesive tape needed.

    • JWLeake

      Robert, there is a company called glarestomper that makes hoods for just about any GPS on the market. They are well made, with free shipping and cheap! I bought one for my 765 and one for my C330 and they are the best on the market. Go to http://www.glarestomper.com. They work like a charm!!

  • Ford

    Terry,

    Great review. I just upgraded to the 765t from the Garmin Quest II. I’m very happy with it. I’ve yet to see the lane assist pop up. From what I’ve read it doesn’t work everywhere.

  • Jim

    I have had my 765T since just before Thanksgiving. Tne only problem I have had is mine would reboot itself now and then. In fact it did it 4 times on a recent trip from Pittsburgh to South Carolina, and 2 more times on the way back. It would actually power down, back up, and after reacquiring the satellites, would resume the route!

    After posting my experience at the poi-factory site, a couple of other owners reported a similar experience and stated that updating the firmware from 2.30 (shipped with that one) to 2.50 cured the problem. I haven’t had an opportunity to take it on a similar long trip again yet, but so far in two weeks of daily commutes to work and back, no reboots.

    One more thing to share. The mp3 player works very nicely, and I use mine in my Honda CR-V with a cassette adapter to play through the car stereo. This way I can listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks on a trip, but the nuvi can still override the mp3 player to provide spoken directions, and then resume right where the track was playing. Here is the tip. You are limited to 1000 tracks. If you exceed this, you will get some erratic playing behavior. Oh, and the player supports m3u format playlists, which I create on my PC (you can also create them on the nuvi itself.

  • Dalkeith Clarke

    I am thinking of buying the Nuvi 765t. however I need some help. What is the difference between havingFM traffic and using MSN? (i.e the 765t and 785t?).

    Also, I see where insted of the free FM Traffic Service that comes with the 765t, I can opt to puchase FM Traffic Service from Clear-channel. Some reviews advised that the Clearchannel FM service is better – including no continuous pop-up adversisments. Any comments? Thanks in advance for your help.

  • http://hidyusa.com Clarence

    I have had my 765T now for 2 weeks and I’m disappointed with it. The specs say that the battery stays charged for 5 to 7 hours. I read the instructions before using the one I have and it said to be sure to fully charge before using then don’t charge again until the battery is discharged. I followed their instructions and my 765T is really lucky to hold a charge for 1 hour for beeping ‘low battery’. The bracket for mounting to the dash or window will not hold in the Texas heat. Yesterday it kept falling off and came crashing to the floor. It is going to get super-glued to my wife windshield before long if it keeps doing that. Mounting on the dash blocks my vision and don’t have the money to buy a new car to mount it on!! Also, the touch screen sucks. Calibrating the screen made no difference either. Works good 99 percent of the time but seems like 1 per cent really comes too often for me.

  • Peter

    I have had an absolutely terrible experience with Garmin and the Nuvi 765t. I had it a couple of months, did the required update and it crashed and would not boot back up. Went through Garmin customer service and they made me pay for the return under warrantee. They sent it back to me a couple of weeks later and it worked fine for a week and then crashed again, it lost the maps and would not recognize the usb to computer connection. Sent it back, they had it for a week and a half now its on its way back to me. Did I mention the hold times for Garmin Customer Service or help is over a half hour wait!

    Peter is not pleased with Garmin.

  • Danny

    I bought the 755 for the lane assist also where it shows the interstate signs and which lane to be in, I am VERY disapointed with it as I have drove with the 755 for almost 5,000 miles traveling interstates and have only had it to work and show the signs one time !

    I contacted Garmin and they said that the updating for this feature wasnt complete and would be several years before they completed it…I told the representative that I felt it was false advertisement for them to advertise a product to have features that dont work, that was the main reason i spent a lot more money and bought the unit i did to begin with.

    Another problem I have had is, it wants to take me off of the interstate and direct me to state two lane roads and routes, I have sat all the parameters in the options and it will not keep me on the interstate the way I want to go.

  • Ralph

    I purchased a 765T about 3 weeks ago. The unit has worked great. As someone else has mentioned, the only problem is getting the rubber mount to stay put on the texas heat.

    Interestingly, the unit has prompted me to calibrate the monitor on a couple of times. Anyone knows how to force the calibration process?

    • brian k

      hokd the on key to the right for a few seconds

  • brian k

    the 765t in no way compares to the TomTom – the routing software is not as well designed, the time to recalculate a route is too long, the bult in speaker is horrible – for you to say this is the best GPS you owned to date – well that just too bad

    • http://terrrywhite capt morgan

      WOW…sounds like sour grapes!!!!
      You did’nt even mention any good features of the TomTom.
      Are there any?

      • Frank

        >”WOW…sounds like sour grapes!!!!
        >You did’nt even mention any good features of the TomTom.
        >Are there any?”

        I have had both the TomTom 730 and the Garmin 765t. I prefer the latter but the TomTom had strengths that made it a very difficult decision.

        On the TomTom 730, The touch screen works far better. The FM transmitter works better. Customization and unit navigation were better (personal preference). The routing was fine (but the constant u-turn requests are very annoying). The computer software is better.

        That all said, I returned my TT730 and purchased the Garmin 765t. Purely on it’s ability to load topo maps and take it off-road (usefull for the logging roads). The 765t is easier to see in the sunlight and routes better then the TT730(personal preference). The touch screen on the Garmin really bites compared to the TT response is slow and the inaccuracy is VERY annoying. If Garmin fixed it, added better computer software and more ability to customize there would be no comparison. Everyone would buy it over the TomTom.

  • Laurie

    I too have a Navigon 5100 that I bought about 2 years ago, but am looking for a GPS for my sister. I really like most of the features of my Navigon (except for sound), but am not buying one for my sister because Navigon is pulling out of the US market, and has left only one office in Chicago to service all of its customers. Noone can get a response. Hopefully the

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixyst David Apeji

    I bought the 765T purely on the recommendation of this review and I am thinking that was really careless of me! It has been a big disappointment to say the least. The headline features – lane assist and 3D buildings – I have never experienced in 2 weeks of constant use. It frequently takes me to POI’s that simply don’t exist – yesterday it was a Radio Shack and HSBC, today it was an Office Depot. You follow the turn-by-turn instructions until it tells you that you are arriving at your destination except that the destination appears to have moved before you got there. The startup is sluggish, so that when I am entering my PIN, I have to wait for the system to catch up with me. The touch screen accuracy is pathetic with no obvious means of calibration. Bluetooth pairing is cumbersome with my Nokia E71. It does not remember pairings. The latest episode is a memory full message – rebooting appears to have no effect. All in all a big regret.

  • Alan

    We have had Gramins for quite some time and they are only as good as the technology as of todate. We bought a 765T before a business trip to Ottawa, Canada, we’re from California. The maps worked OK. The thing I hate the most is that they should allow you to drive the car and not have to watch the screens a much. A problem I always have is that the voice commands to turn don’t come soon enough. This gets worse on highways where you are traveling at high speed or complex inter-changes and intersections. I have missed the turns way to many times. Try it. Come up simple on a right hand turn and see how soon it tells you to “Turn Right! I want the “Honey the turn is coming up” like the wife will provide. Not the “Turn Now”. Which is then followed by “Re-calculating”. These products are still children. It will take a few more years before we never miss a direction again. Like Google Maps showing where your hotel is and then the street view is an empty dirt field! Close but not quite!

  • Waz

    I own a Garmin 880 and I use it every day and I have no regrets, I bought my wife a 765T. The 765T is replacing a Garmin 750 that I bought for her 2 years ago. The 765T has much smoother transition, has speed limit postings and lane assist plus FM lifetime traffic. We live in a rural area of NE Tennessee and the FM traffic doesn’t work in our area, but it works great for travel. My 880 has speed limit postings and the speed I am traveling which is great when driving my 1984 Chevy P30 stepvan. The P30′s speedo isn’t very accurate at all so the Garmin 880 works great for me but everybody has a speedo in there vehicle so this very high priced GPS isn’t for everyone. The 880 also has Speech Recognition and it works perfect, my wife isn’t into gimmicks like MP3, Bluetooth , Picture viewer, and everything most guys like. So tghe 765T is perfect for my wife. It does have all the addon’s that us guys like but she doesn’t use them. The 765T works much better than her old 750 and if she is happy I’m really happy. When we travel I use my 880 on my side and she uses her 765T on her side This makes traveling with my wife much more enjoyable. I bought the 765T at Amazon.com and I paid $220.00 with free shipping which I believe is a great deal. Also if you don’t know this, Garmin lets you download new updated maps and add-on’s FREE for 60 days after your purchase of any Garmin GPS. And if you plan on keeping your Garmin GPS for a long time they offer up to 4 updates per year for lifetime for $119.00, but if you want to get the most up to date GPS every other year or so you can and you want to update every year you will pay $100.00 per update.

  • Waz

    Sorry, I wanted to mention one more important feature of the Garmin 765T that some reviewers said there’s didn’t do. I hope you know that Lane Assist only works when you put your end destination address into the 765T. It won’t just tell you what lane to be in if it doesn’t know where you are headed. And the 3D view will show gray buildings around the address or building where you are going to. I haven’t tried this yet on the 765T but my 880 shows a TOPO view of the large surrounding area, all you have to do is tap the minus symbol in the upper left corner of the GPS a few times and the map will show your cursor icon and the topo area you are in. You may also go to Garmin.com ant to downloads and then to accessories and download many different cursor icons like Trucks, Planes, Helicopters, Motorcycles, sleighs, snowboarder’s, and my favorite a slice of Pepperoni Pizza. So download your favorite Icons and personalize your Garmin GPS.

  • Armand

    Had a Garmin 205, I loved it, then I gave it to family when I wanted to “upgrade” to get Bluetooth and traffic since I live in DC.. I got the 765T and my god, the nav system is horrible. Horr-i-ble. The routing is so backward and stupid I can’t believe this is from the same company. I turned off ALL of the avoidances and traffic too, and it still re-routes me away from clear highways onto awkward back roads and side streets adding so much time and pain to traveling.. I have turned it off on too many occasions. What is wrong with this thing?