I am a gadget freak. I like all things electronica, except music (with the possible exception of “Warm Leatherette” by The Normal and a few songs by Heaven 17), so it is even better when I can combine my love of gadgets with the joy of driving. My faithful Garmin Nuvi 255 finally gave up the ghost after almost 5 years of service, which is a full life for a small electronic device. In my quest for a replacement, I was leaning toward Garmin, but did not rule any available model out. At a minimum, any new unit would at least have to have to all the features I liked on the 255, plus the ability to import a custom route via computer and some kind of warning about which lane to get into for an upcoming exit.
During a recent trip to Pittsburg, I had a hell of a time getting out of town because I didn’t have a clue where I was going. I had come to rely on the GPS so much that I was incapable of navigating my way out of the proverbial paper bag. The lack of proper lane placement, added to the fact that the Nuvi 255’s processing speed for recalculating routes was only slightly faster than my old Commodore 64, left me in a mental funk. I missed several turns and merges because I was in the wrong lane or didn’t realize there was a turn to the left immediately after my turn to the left. The GPS had let me down for the last time (it’s never my fault!). In the middle of rush hour traffic with all of Pittsburg trying to leave downtown on the same bridge across the Monongahela, I swore (among other things) that my next GPS would have lane assist. I have fulfilled my vow.
Although not the top of the line, the Garmin 2555 (clever numbering convention) is an improvement over my old unit. It has a larger screen (the better to see you with my dear), it allows custom routes, and it has lane assist. Not only does it tell you what lane you need to be in to make your exit, it shows you a picture! All this and it tells you what your next turn to give you time to prepare for that brilliant cut-off move you have been practicing.
Garmin still needs to work on the voice though; I think Morgan Freeman or Samuel L. Jackson would be cool. I’d even settle for Johnny Depp.