Garmin, already a popular brand in the GPS market, should win a few more fans with its 660. Combining an impressive 4.3in touchscreen display with Bluetooth hands-free calling, portable entertainment and a full set of features, this is satnav heaven. If only it didn't rip holes through your pockets with its hefty price tag.

The highly programmable 660's navigation is virtually flawless. It uses postcode navigation, spoken street names, automatic rerouting and custom points of interest to direct you without hesitation along the fastest possible route. Garmin has addressed all types of user, offering modes for cars and motorcycles, pedestrians, bikes, trucks, buses and even taxis. The only fault we can find is the absence of any multistop route planning.

Navteq maps providing full European coverage are preloaded, leaving the SD card slot free for photos, MP3s and audiobooks. Although the audio is a bit tinny, we appreciated the MP3 player's intuitive interface and the fact that it mutes the sound when instructions are being dispensed. The currency converter, world clock and foreign phrase book will all prove useful additions when travelling abroad.

The 660 uses a cute icon of your choice to indicate your position on the road. This is a handy antidote to the confusions inflicted by the HP (reviewed here). While it doesn't use its Bluetooth connection for internet browsing, law-abiders will appreciate its use of the technology to make mobile calls without touching their handset. And it matches the HP's password protection with its secure Garmin Lock.

Aesthetically speaking, the Garmin is a winner. In order to fit in the extra screen width, the device doesn't have any buttons on its casing. And while you must rely on a touchscreen, those with larger fingers will benefit from the larger menu icons that a widescreen display allows.

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Garmin nüvi 660: Specs

  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 4.3in LCD
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • mains charger
  • windscreen mount
  • USB cable
  • carry case
  • preloaded Navteq City Navigator NT EU maps
  • Bluetooth
  • SD card expansion slot
  • 124x74x230mm
  • 190g
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 4.3in LCD
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • mains charger
  • windscreen mount
  • USB cable
  • carry case
  • preloaded Navteq City Navigator NT EU maps
  • Bluetooth
  • SD card expansion slot
  • 124x74x230mm
  • 190g

OUR VERDICT

The nüvi's 4.3in LCD stands out from the crowd, boasting navigation perfection that doesn't compromise portability. It achieves the wow factor through hands-free calls, but is this enough to justify its price tag in comparison to the HP?

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