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Discussion Starter #1
I don't have any experience with GPS so take it for what it is worth, here is my opinion of the Zumo 550 Unit itself. The computer installed software is a separate issue that I will develop an opinion as I learn a little more about how to use it.

Screen:

Incredibly sharp and clear. It is a touch screen and does not leave fingerprints or depression marks where I press it. Easily viewable in sunlight if you are looking directly into the screen from face on.

Picture viewer:

I put in a 1GB SD memory card from my camera and it showed a grid of all of my photos. The screen is not to big but it beats the heck of of my Cannon SD400 for seeing what I have taken. Press on an image and it pops up.

Music:

Nice feature. Offers a choice of sources between XM and MP3. On MP3 it has full controls for track, continuous play, shuffle and volume. When you adjust volume you do it for MP3 and Navigation by percentages from 0 to 100 for each of them. This makes a balance control and volume control and it's easy to see and do.

Icons:

The icons are large and easily visible. A gloved finger can work this unit. Each icon leads to the next logical screen in a menu system. The touch screen works just right, a light touch does it.

Orientation:

I like the ability to set the unit for constant north or to have my route be dead straight in front of me, that is my choice. There is a choice of icons for bike, car or truck. It's cool to see the bike moving on the screen.

Routes:

These are easy to create on the Zumo but I think that the PC will be the way to go here. Love the "Go Home" feature, that will lead me home at the press of a button. With the ability to enter 50 routes I will load up all of my favorites and have plenty of room to plot trips too. I need to use it for my favorites because I get road focus and loose track of where I need to turn.

The Map:

The map is easy to read and clearly visible. The map screen shows speed and turn info in a simple format. There are touch icons to zoom in and out too. My route is shown in pink so that it does not get confused with anything else on the map.

Ease of use:

This is it's best feature. You don't need an owners manual to work it. This is my favorite feature. I don't have to think and I don't have to strain my eyes to see it and I can press the buttons with my summer gloves on. It may not be true but I have always thought of these things as complicated and did not want one on my bike but that is not true here. If nothing else this thing is easy to use, I love it.

Conclusion:

I will never use all of the features in this unit but I will use many more than I thought because it's easy to use and they are kind of handy. On a scale of 1 to 10 I will give it a 10 because I can not find a single thing that I do not like about it and it does everything that I want it too and is easy to use. It also comes with everything that we need except the mounting ball. I would repurchase.
 

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uneasyrider said:
...It also comes with everything that we need except the mounting ball. I would repurchase.
Nice review, thanks.

It comes with the RAM single-ball handlebar mount that most already use, as well as a U-bolt assembly more suitable for cruisers with round bars and a B-202 round base. What other mounting ball do you need?
 

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Isn't the screen size on the 550 rather small however.
 

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Size is relative and very subjective... I'll do some real-world comparisons over the next couple of days and post some pictures.

Here's some dimensional comparisons:

 

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Uneasyrider: Nice review! I'm sure most casual users will have similar feelings and I note it shares a number of the same feature nuances of the Nuvi 660 I just picked up (which I'm quite pleased with). Otherwise my Zumo is scheduled to arrive November 28th.

Oldguy: If you, like most people, consider the screen size of any of the Garmin 26xx, 27xx or 28xx series as large enough, you'll be happy to know that the Zumo's screen size is even larger (5.61 sq. in. as opposed to 5.88 sq. in., respectively). Obviously Garmin wouldn't make a GPS specifically engineered for a motorcycle to be anything less than adequate. However, for those who are used to an Iway, understandably, they'll probably never feel a Zumo (or much else) is large enough for them.
 

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mbresso said:
Obviously Garmin wouldn't make a GPS specifically engineered for a motorcycle to be anything less than adequate.
IMHO, Garmin missed the boat when they didn't design the Zumo with a screen size at least as large as the iWay 500C. We "baby boomers" with failing eyesight want something we can see.

Bill
 

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The Zumo sounds sweet, but have a 2720 already and now a 07 with the nav, don't see one in my future soon anyway...

Screen size, maybe that's why I like the built in nav, screen size..

Nice review, most will find this very informative... :D
 

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bcope01 said:
IMHO, Garmin missed the boat when they didn't design the Zumo with a screen size at least as large as the iWay 500C. We "baby boomers" with failing eyesight want something we can see.
I don't agree that Garmin missed the boat but I understand what you are saying. I'm middle-age myself and ostensibly larger is always better in GPS screen size unless it starts to get obtrusive; and personally I think the size of an Iway looks proportionately too large on a motorcycle. Similarly, a 65-inch TV would be easy to see, but I really don't need more than a 30-inch TV and it would look like a real eyesore in my living room too....

Still, I'd bet you dollars to donuts that those who have not used an Iway before will have absolutely no complaints with the Zumo. Remember there's plenty of other GPS units (for cars, hand-held for trekking and even on cell phones) that are significantly smaller still than the Garmin 26-28xx series, a Zumo, or any number of modern vehicular GPSs, so as Jon says above, it's all relative.
 

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mbresso said:
... a 65-inch TV would be easy to see, but I really don't need more than a 30-inch TV and it would look like a real eyesore in my living room too....
Are you saying that a 42-inch flat panel HDTV hung on a wall mount would be obtrusive in your living room? :wink:

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jon said:
uneasyrider said:
...It also comes with everything that we need except the mounting ball. I would repurchase.
Nice review, thanks.

It comes with the RAM single-ball handlebar mount that most already use, as well as a U-bolt assembly more suitable for cruisers with round bars and a B-202 round base. What other mounting ball do you need?
Jon I have an ST1300 with an MCL riser plate that has a 1/4" tap for a Ram ball. It makes for a really clean install on that particular bike.

I find the screen size to be quite nice. The icons are clearly readable seated on the bike.

The text to speach feature is great. It works just like my wife. Turn left on Main St. in 1 mile... turn left on Main St. and it makes the first announcement based on speed so that you have time to change lanes or prepare to turn. Great feature.
 

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The spec sheet on one site says this about the zumo:

"Can add only one via point (stop) to a route. Once you drive past that via point you can add one more".

All the other Garmin models, you can add 250 via points. Should this be a big concern?

Also, does the zumo show altitude?

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #12
RickM said:
The spec sheet on one site says this about the zumo:

"Can add only one via point (stop) to a route. Once you drive past that via point you can add one more".

All the other Garmin models, you can add 250 via points. Should this be a big concern?

Also, does the zumo show altitude?

Rick
That would be wrong on the spec sheet Rick. I entered several via points on a route today. I do not know the limit, it may be determined by available memory, but the owners manual that comes with the Zumo on CD is the one that is online.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I learned two more things today.

One is that the screen colors change for day or night. During the daytime the screen is a variety of yellowish colors and at night they are blues.

Second is that the Zumo has and audio out and a microphone in. I talked to a guy at Autocom who said that they were making a cable for it so that the blue tooth interface would be duplex. This would mean that a blue tooth cell phone interface or a blue tooth helmet would be ready to pair with the Zumo.
 

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A bluetooth headset will pair up to the Zumo today, right out of the box.

RickM: The Zumo will not display altitude.


I'll be posting some of my observations in a separate post shortly.
 

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We have a brand new Blue Tooth helmet set up on our Dawgndoc.com site going way cheap.

Brand new in the box, never been out.

Bulldog
 
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