I chose the GARMIN GPSMAP 376c - Here's why. - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 2006, 12:16 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
radiowazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 173
I chose the GARMIN GPSMAP 376c - Here's why.

After months of agonizing about the "best" GPS unit for my Zebra, I've decided on the Garmin GPSMAP 376C. Here are the details:

GPSMAP 376C, aside from being a full-function GPS unit, offers XM radio and XM weather. The new 378C is the same hardware with the full City Nav maps built it. So, the first dillema was to figure out the difference.

376C comes with the GXM antenna that is required for the XM radio/weather functionality, but it doesn't come with the City Nav maps -- this you need to purchase.

378C comes with the City Nav maps built in, but no GXM antenna.

For me, I wanted two primary functions:

1. The ability to create a specific route (for example, a 300-400 mile day trip that starts/ends at my house) and load it into the GPS and have it guide me through the route.

2. XM weather (Nexrad, etc.) overlaid onto my map display on the GPS so I could actually see where the weather was and, if I saw something nasty along my route, I would re-route accordingly.

3. XM radio. For tunes!

So, given these needs, NEITHER the 378C or 376C met my requirements out of the box.

The 376 comes with the GXM antenna, but not the City Nav maps/software.

The 378 comes with the City Nav maps, but no GXM antenna and just the basic "waypoint" manager software (that offers limited trip planning).

So, I was either going to have to buy a GXM antenna or the City Nav software.

After some painful research and price shopping I decided on:

- GPSMAP 376C (comes with the GXM antenna)
- "Auto Kit" for the 276/376 which includes some additional mounts, a RAM card, power cables and the City Nav software

All in, cost works out to be right at a grand. When I priced getting an equivalent package based on the 378 + GXM antenna it worked out to be about 100-200 bucks higher depending on where you purchased.

While I get the simplicity of firing up your unit with the maps built in -- for me, I am not interested in "on the fly" directions coming from the GPS as much as I am in following a real predetermined route. So, I have to load the City maps the first time -- whoopie -- I'm loading some trips anyway!

Finally, I agonized over the new 2820 - with bluetooth and also the ability to store/play MP3's. As cool as these features sound - I really don't need to talk on the phone while riding. And, the Autocom communication unit I'm getting has a blue tooth module that will let me do this if I want. What I won't get with my setup is the caller ID displayed on the GPS screen, nor will I be able to control my phone with the GPS unit. Not a biggie for me.

Also, I'm a bit of an audiophile (hell, I run an internet radio station in my spare time!) and I have three iPods. I also rip all my music at pretty high end bitrates - so they are LARGE files. Even with big RAM cards, the 2820 won't ever hold as many MP3s as I would like -- sure I could resample to lower bitrates - I get that at 90 MPH the difference between 64k and 300k is pretty much a wash. But, again, with the Autocom I can plug my iPod into it and have it mixed right in with the VOX and directions from the GPS unit. I can't control the iPod with the GPS unit, but I usually throw it on shuffle play anyway.


And, weather. The 2820 DOES support XM radio and XM's limited traffic/weather service - but it's only forecasts and warnings. No radar or anything like that. To me, this is a big deal -- the really good XM weather packages are only available on the 376/476/378/478 and other "marine" units. As I said, I want to see the Nexrad and other images of real weather.

Some final points that took me to the 37* series over the 2830: 1) the 376 can run on bike power or on its internal lithium rechargable battery; 2) the 2830 is about 200-300 bucks more expensive BEFORE you buy the City Nav.

Finally, as to mounts. I also purchased the Gadget Guy setup for the K12. I got the Type III mount with the 7.5" cross bar and the Base Plate II GPS mount (the kind that screws into the auto mount for really sold mounting). I also got the mount extender deal that will allow a little more flexibility in placing the mount above the tank bag, etc. All this was about $220.

I'll take receipt of the unit and mounts this week and will tell you more about my experience. I'm comfortable that as a GARMIN the quality will be there -- all about knowing your needs and "configuring" your purchase. We'll see how well I did.

Cheers,
Howard

GPSMAP 376C


Gadget Guy Type III mount (note, I got a shorter cross bar):


Gadget Guy Base Plate II:


Gadget Guy Extension Joint Assembly

When I'm not rockin' @ radio.wazee I'm screamin' around Denver on my 2003 K1200RS!

Click here to view my photo gallery of bike pics!
radiowazee is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2006, 1:14 am
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 138
Sounds like a rerun of my decision making process when I bought my 276C! Except I wasn't interested in radio, weather information etc.
zzrman is offline  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2006, 12:07 pm
Rookie
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Macedonia, Ohio, USA
Posts: 47
I知 contemplating between the two units myself.

In reference to the 378 coming with only the Trip & Waypoint Manager did you get the City Select instead for the 376 and not the City Navigator?

I知 trying to figure out the real difference in all this software.
Motorwerk is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 2006, 7:55 am
dbw
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Posts: 68
GPS thoughts

I also am trying to decide what to get for a gps for use on the bike and it the car. Looking at the 60/76 series and the 2730/376. I've got sat radio (sirius) in the car and would like sat radio on the bike. Adding up the various things, hardware and maps, comparing whats included..... The 60/76 while a great unit the screen seems a little small but til I get a chance to try one out I won't know. With the sat radio there's always the option of a roady but there's definately appeal in an all in one unit. The 2730 has a fm modulator(for use in the car) where the 376 doesn't. Lot's of things to kick around while making a decidsion. Please excuse all the rambling. Dave
dbw is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 2006, 2:14 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
radiowazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorwerk
I知 contemplating between the two units myself.

In reference to the 378 coming with only the Trip & Waypoint Manager did you get the City Select instead for the 376 and not the City Navigator?

I知 trying to figure out the real difference in all this software.
The Trip and Waypoint manager will allow basic maintenance of waypoints and also allow some basic trips to be programmed and sent back/forth from the GPS unit. For example, if you save some trips or waypoints on your GPS while riding, you can clean them up using your PC ... you can also create and save same on the PC and load into the GPS.

The big thing you get with the MapSource City Select North America package is very detailed map info and also a huge point of interest database. You see this immediately when loaded onto the 376C. Out of the box, the 376 has "america's automap" loaded, which is a low detail roadmap of the US/North America. Once you load the City Select data from the CD onto the unit, you see much more street/road detail, you also see names of POI's on the map (you can set the level of detail you view to EXTREME and see every Taco Bell and Starbucks and Gas station right in the map!)

In addtion to detailed map info and Points of Interest -- the City Select/NA disc has all the "turn by turn" and routing data you need to get driving directions. This is significant. Without this data, your unit a) may not know about all the roads/streets available to take for a route and b) won't know what kind of road/street it is -- you travel 65 on a highway, but 30 on a country road and 15 on dirt --- without this data the unit can't give you accurate routing (like using the Hertz neverlost system or other similar thingy).

Having CitySelect/NA maps loaded onto your computer you have a full trip planning and routing application you can use to plan/create routes on your PC (versus sitting with your GPS unit to do it). So, you can say "give me the fastest route from Denver to Salt Lake"; then you can take that route and tweak it to take the best cycling roads -- then save it and load onto the GPS unit). This is much more enjoyable than using the unit.

So, having the detailed maps on your computer allows you to really use your computer to plan and play with the data -- and its not locked onto your unit. The 378 comes with this detail in the unit, but the bundled trip and waypoint manager will have just VERY basic map data and no POI database and no routing data. So, you can still play on the PC -- but you won't be able to see that if you chose to stop for the night just two exits further on highway 70 you'd be next to Bob's BBQ. Which, you would see using the full CitySelect/NA software.

The SOFTWARE/PROGRAM you use to "map" with Garmin is MapSource; that's the interface with the functionality. From there, you are paying for more detailed map data and POI data. So, Trip and Waypoint, City Nav and City Select all use the same software interface -- you just get different map data.

Here's a quick comparison of the various configurations

Trip and Waypoint -- pretty much just simple map data for you to create manual trips and waypoints using a very basic map dataset; think of it as MS-Access running only the "sample" database that comes with the software to demonstrate the functionality. Maybe a little more robust than that, but you get the idea.

City Navigator and City Select are essentially the same level of map detail (which is EXTREME) and a monster points of interest database (also EXTREME). The difference is that City Select supports the concept of "auto routing" to the POI's and Navigator does not. This comes from the auto routing data in Select that doesn't come with Navigator.

So, if you use a GPS that supports auto-routing like the 376/378 does (take me from Denver to Las Vegas the FASTEST way you can; or making the most use of dirt roads, etc.) you want the City Select. This is whats loaded onto the 378 -- and City Select is what comes with the 276/376 "auto kit" that I bought (which also includes a cig lighter power cord/speaker, auto mount and 128M RAM card - for holding all that map data!)

Whew -- sorry for the long response. But, you want the City Select if you're using the 376C. If you get the 378C you will get that full map and POI and auto-route data ON THE UNIT, but you won't have access to the data on your PC.

Howard

When I'm not rockin' @ radio.wazee I'm screamin' around Denver on my 2003 K1200RS!

Click here to view my photo gallery of bike pics!
radiowazee is offline  
post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 2006, 2:47 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
radiowazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 173
So, I received my unit earlier this week along with the Auto Kit package (which includes the hyper detailed map, poi and routing data in City Select).

Some initial observations....

First, the unit if VERY VERY good quality -- it has a good solid weight and feel to it, the high grade plastic housing and rubber jack covers are very nice and appear really rugged such to hold up to lots of use.

THE SCREEN IS FANTASTIC! Even in hard-core, direct, high-noon Denver/mile-high super bright sunshine the screen is EXTREMELY visible. In addition, the colors and fonts and layouts of all the screens are very good -- there is definately a lot of great "user interface" design experience at play in this unit!

I loaded Colorado - with some overlap into NM and UT (this is my normal riding area). I also loaded southern and norther CA as I go there on business often (figured I would take my unit). This data fit easily into the 128M RAM card (took about 100M) -- these are pretty hardcore areas (at leat northern and southern CA) so I was pleased with that. [for those of you who don't know, you have to load City Select data onto the 376C. The Auto Kit I bought comes with the CS data and also a 128K RAM card. You can get bigger cards that will hold the entire City Select/NA database, but the 128K came with. No biggie, I could easily fit a nice 200 mile wide route across the country onto the 128k]

Once I loaded the detailed map data -- WOW! You can scroll and zoom around and see all kinds of Points of Interest on the map. The directory of POI's is insane! All the hole-in-the-wall places I know where in it. The ability to "find nearest" and auto-route to it is really cool!

I played with Map Source and created a route. Was very easy. I loaded it into the GPS and there it was. I'm all ready for my weekend ride!

Will report more ... initial impressions are very good.

So far, I feel that the unit is priced accordingly -- very good quality!

When I'm not rockin' @ radio.wazee I'm screamin' around Denver on my 2003 K1200RS!

Click here to view my photo gallery of bike pics!
radiowazee is offline  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2006, 12:59 pm
Rookie
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Macedonia, Ohio, USA
Posts: 47
Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this in detail. I really appreciate the effort.

I've only been considering the 378 for the built-in map so as not to have to worry about the required memory card(s).

I知 summarizing that with the 378 it will route but the same map data is not available on the PC and the T&W Manager has limited functionality creating the routes. And to get most out of the unit you want the same map data in both the PC and GPS, which of course all makes sense now. It seems City Select can be compared to something like Microsoft Streets & Trips with auto routing while the other packages do not have this capability or level of detail. Also, MapSource is the interface to all the different levels of map data. Correct?

I would also like to have the data on the PC as well. If the 378 is already loaded with City Select why is it not available for the PC and they give you T&W Manager instead? And not just that how would it even be able to be updated if there is nothing to update it with?

So, what痴 really the point of the 378 except for having all the map data loaded in the unit?

Even if I want the best of both worlds with a 378 and City Select according to Garmin痴 site it doesn't look like they are compatible. Only City Navigator can be used with it. And I'm assuming a memory card would be required as well.

So it looks like yours was the wise choice with the 376. Thanks again for all the useful info.
Motorwerk is offline  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Jul 1st, 2006, 10:51 am
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 52
Well, I try to only lurk here and keep in touch with some of the old gang that hasn't made it back to i-bmw.com, but, I feel a real need to add some comments here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorwerk
Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this in detail. I really appreciate the effort.

I've only been considering the 378 for the built-in map so as not to have to worry about the required memory card(s).
I agree, a very nice write-up and his decison makes sense for HIM. For ME the 378 is a clear winner over the 376c IF you travel on longer trips. Being able to load full detailed maps for all of North America into the unit is very nice. If you start purchasing larger/additional data cards, any $$ savings will go away quickly since these are proprietary Garmin cards. Plus, they don't even make one large enough to hold everything the 378 holds internally.

If you only ride in your own area, then loading the more detailed maps of your area once will suffice. For trips that fit, I too would be loading from my PC anyway. The key is "for trips that fit".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorwerk
I’m summarizing that with the 378 it will route but the same map data is not available on the PC and the T&W Manager has limited functionality creating the routes. And to get most out of the unit you want the same map data in both the PC and GPS, which of course all makes sense now. It seems City Select can be compared to something like Microsoft Streets & Trips with auto routing while the other packages do not have this capability or level of detail. Also, MapSource is the interface to all the different levels of map data. Correct?

I would also like to have the data on the PC as well. If the 378 is already loaded with City Select why is it not available for the PC and they give you T&W Manager instead? And not just that how would it even be able to be updated if there is nothing to update it with?

So, what’s really the point of the 378 except for having all the map data loaded in the unit?

Even if I want the best of both worlds with a 378 and City Select according to Garmin’s site it doesn't look like they are compatible. Only City Navigator can be used with it. And I'm assuming a memory card would be required as well.
Your comments were a little confussing to me (I think you are confussed too!) but let me try to summarize things this way:

Mapsource is Garmin's "umbrella" marketing name for all of their software. City Navigator, City Navigator NT and City Select are all basically the same thing, very much like Streets and Trips, but made specifically for Garmin units. I have been told that City Select does not have the same details as the City Navigator but have not verified with Garmin. The ONLY difference between City Navigator and City Navigator NT is the data compression scheme and, with versions before 8.0, they are NOT interchangeable (they only work with specific models).

Garmin sent me this info in an email (this is NOT a direct quote because I deleted the email, but is what they said to the best of my recollection):

Garmin has realized all of this is confussing, and, with the NEW City Navigator NT 8.0 release (June 2006), there are not any future updates planned for City Navigator or City Select. This new version of NT is compatible with all current and MOST old Garmin units. Putting this functionality into one software package not only makes it less confussing to customers, but easier for Garmin to support and update.

BOTH the 376c and the 378 require you to purchace the corresponding DVD if you want to do any route planning on your PC. This is because they are MARINE units with auto capabilites, so why make everyone pay (increased price) for something many of these will never need? The auto kit is the best value for the 376c if you are also going to use the unit in your car anyway. Same kit; same price for the 378 but is less of a value since you don't really need that 128mb memory card. They are supposed to start offering the City Navigator NT 8.0 as a standalone purchase soon and the target price is $150 ($85 for upgrades).

To clarify:

The 376c uses memory cards and has no internal memory. The 378 has internal memory and can hold the ENTIRE City Navigator NT without the use of memory cards. It DOES have a memory card slot, but that is intended for use with Garmin's BlueChart g2 cards which allow the unit to have the same coastal waterways data that the 478 has (just not built-in and on several memory cards) OR to add foreign coastal charts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorwerk
So it looks like yours was the wise choice with the 376. Thanks again for all the useful info.
If you don't travel outside your regular area often OR don't mind taking along some extra memory cards to change to as you leave the area that is on the one plugged into the unit AND you don't care about either inland lake info (378) OR coastal charts (478) AND you have ruled out the other offerings, then it is a wise choice and a very nice unit!

I also have a boat. Couple that to me not wanting to mess with keeping up with memory cards or pulling over to change it to another one, I would choose the 378 over the 376c in a heart beat....the $200 savings would not be a factor for me.

I went through the same delima, but decided on a different choice....the 2820. Why?

I like music when I ride. I have done the iPod thing with the shuffle and even installed and AirClick RF Remote to give me SOME control. This works but I have more needs. The 2820 music interface with XM Radio, MP3 and ebooks does it for me (same GUI as the 2730) and is what finally sold me on it. The XM Radio interface on the 376c/378/478 is an after thought and is terrible!

I also like the idea of integrating my phone. I can't count how many times I was meeting a friend somewhere and one of us was running late and we played cell phone tag - I would stop and leave him a message, get back on my bike and ride. He would stop and get my message and call me (even if I put my phone on vibrate so I know a call is coming in, I get enough calls that I would never get anywhere if I stopped to look at my phone for every one of them!) but I don't get his message until my next stop. Sure you can "plan" a call stop for a specific time, but, seeing the number pop up on a large display is very intriquing to me! I also like the idea of my phone book being on that same display, so now I can simply pull over and choose who to call without taking my gloves off, etc. I wouldn't get any of this with the Autocom Bluetooth adapter (which seems to be vaporware in the US anyway!).

The ONLY thing that kept bringing me back to the 378 was NEXRAD radar....I really like the idea of it, however I started thinking about the way I ride. I typically have a planned destination and somewhat of a schedule. Using simple forecasts, NOAA and the Weather Channel typically is sufficient for when I leave for a trip since I will alter my plans if it looks like the weather will be bad the entire time. Coming home is a different factor...usually I don't have as much flexibility in my schedule.....I am getting home rain or shine (unless there are dangerous winds or lots of lightening forecast). In most cases where I ride, there aren't many alternative ways to get home, so how will this info really help me anyway?

Yes, you can argue that it may keep one from riding into a bad storm and I will give it that, but, generally, I can see the weather ahead and know when to pull over and take a break. I also avoid the coastal areas during hurricanes and check out NOAA for the really bad thunderstorms.

So, NEXRAD will let me see what I am heading into, but I will be heading into it anyway. Is it worth losing a great music GUI, more music options and the great phone GUI...things I will use every ride...vs. knowing where the rain is when I get caught in it? Also, is it worth $36/month when it probably won't alter my plans much, if any? Probably not.

Pricing for the 376c + the Auto Kit is similar to the 2820 + the GXM-20 (I have been told tha the CN 8.0 DVD and unlock codes are included with the 2820...mine arrives next week...I will find out for sure then!). Substituting the 378 adds about $200.

I would still love to have a unit that offered it ALL so I could choose, but this is MY rationalization for ME to justify going ahead and getting a unit before my big trip this month!! (MOA in VT. and on to Nova Scotia!).

Last edited by htheater; Jul 1st, 2006 at 11:04 am.
htheater is offline  
post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 5:44 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
radiowazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 173
Someone from Garmin product management/product marketing should read this thread -- give 'em an idea of how confusing their product line is!


When I'm not rockin' @ radio.wazee I'm screamin' around Denver on my 2003 K1200RS!

Click here to view my photo gallery of bike pics!
radiowazee is offline  
post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Jul 4th, 2006, 12:46 am
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 52
You've got that right, but first THEY would have to figure out their own products!
htheater is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
512 Mb Bummer . . . For Garmin jpalamaro GPS 3 Feb 3rd, 2012 4:26 am
Garmin GPS suing Tom Tom GPS aa3jy Bike Talk 4 Mar 9th, 2006 10:58 am
Garmin and Macintosh OS-X, at last! liamor GPS 0 Jan 11th, 2006 2:21 pm

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome