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Thread: Garmin nuvi 500 crossover GPS

  1. #1
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Garmin nuvi 500 crossover GPS

    I ran across this new to me Garmin unit and I was wondering what some of the members who are a wizz at GPS thought.


    The specs look pretty good-motorcycle friendly, waterproof and a user replaceable battery-something I like. Screen looks a bit small but I haven't seen one in person.
    The specs are here- https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=13424

    TIA, Gary
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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  2. #2
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Gary,

    I have been using the N??vi 550 on a bike for the last 3 years and love it! It has a long battery life (4-6 hours), is reasonably bright, and has gone through several monsoon rides with nary a hiccup. Mine is mounted on a Wunderlich Navigator mount above the dash and I find its size/position to be perfectly fine. It is also responsive to touch by a gloved hand.

    I opted for the Garmin motorcycle mount for the N??vi 550 which includes the cradle (mounts to the Wunderlich Navigator) and all the wiring you need to connect it to a switched connection. When fueling, the unit remains on (battery) to allow trip stats to remain updated. After parking, I can quickly disconnect the unit and stow it in the glove box. The cradle has a faux jack into which the cable's plug is stored when disconnected.

    Of course, the 550 accepts route downloads from BaseCamp and MapSource. I have also seen this unit on a cruiser with a Glare-Stomper hood and it seemed to improve the readability quite a bit in bright light. That's probably my next upgrade.

    I find that it does everything I need in a GPS, though some might find the following limitations off-putting:

    1. There is no bluetooth support;
    2. there is no audio jack;
    3. there is no "reverse route" feature;
    4. the volume is too low to be heard with earplugs;
    5. there is no MP3/XM support.

    However, a price of $250 makes it quite appealing if the five points above are of limited concern. Oh, and I ALWAYS carry an extra N??vi battery and paper maps (just 'cause I like to look at them for the "big picture" when on the road).

    HTH,
    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  3. #3
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Hi Theo, the one I was wondering about was the 500-not sure how that compares with the 550. +1 on the maps, I've been doing map, compass, sun so long it's what I am used to. Bluetooth and volume shouldn't be a big deal, reverse route or in the case of my 76cs MOB (man over board) which I fudge the other direction and while I like some of the features of XM, I'm about subscriptioned out-if you know what I mean. Thanks, Gary
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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  4. #4
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Gary,

    HERE is a comparison of the 500 and the 550.

    It appears that the 500 includes TOPO maps and the 550 comes only with street maps. The street price of the 500 is about $270 and the 550 is about $250. If the TOPO feature isn't a must have, you might want to put the $20 toward a hard case and an extra battery.

    Cheers,
    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  5. #5
    Registered User realworld51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEO View Post
    Gary,

    HERE is a comparison of the 500 and the 550.

    It appears that the 500 includes TOPO maps and the 550 comes only with street maps. The street price of the 500 is about $270 and the 550 is about $250. If the TOPO feature isn't a must have, you might want to put the $20 toward a hard case and an extra battery.

    Cheers,
    Note that the TOPO maps take up memory space that you will need for street map updates, if not immediately then down the road (no pun intended).

    And BTW, the screen is the same size and ratio as the Zumo 450/550.
    Steve W
    Canton, MI USA
    2012 K 1600 GT (from 8/6/2011)

  6. #6
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEO View Post
    Gary,

    HERE is a comparison of the 500 and the 550.

    It appears that the 500 includes TOPO maps and the 550 comes only with street maps. The street price of the 500 is about $270 and the 550 is about $250. If the TOPO feature isn't a must have, you might want to put the $20 toward a hard case and an extra battery.

    Cheers,
    Thanks Theo, I'll take a peek at the comparison. When I look at all the different models it reminds me of trying to shop for sneakers-how can there be so many!

    Quote Originally Posted by realworld51 View Post
    Note that the TOPO maps take up memory space that you will need for street map updates, if not immediately then down the road (no pun intended).

    And BTW, the screen is the same size and ratio as the Zumo 450/550.
    I hope you were trying to say they are old eyes compatible.
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200
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  7. #7
    Motorradfahrer
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    Funny you post about this tonight. I was looking at these last night and purchased from GPS City for $215. That is for the 550.

  8. #8
    Motorradfahrer
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    Check that, $219 for the 550. BTW the 500 is more so there must be some deal from Garmin or they are overstocked on the 550. The 550 had North America maps too while 500 only has United States. I only bought this because I wanted a waterproof GPS and was tired of using sandwich bags. The bags work but they get foggy. I just cannot justify the extra for the Bluetooth option. I have Scala riders but you cannot listen to music and the GPS. I have gotten used to looking at the directions when needed. You can count off the miles so I really don't need to hear it and have traveled some 18k in the last year and half by doing so without a hitch. This unit should serve me well and yes they work well with gloves. Plus for $219 I won't feel so bad if someone steals it as I never take it off the bike.

  9. #9
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Regarding "old eyes compatible":

    I definitely qualify for "old eyes" status! Being in my sixth decade and having had cataract operations for both eyes, I am "vision-sensitive". Actually, after having those swell bionic lenses implanted in my eyes, my distance vision rivals that of my 26 year old son.

    Where I notice "old eyes" is when reading. That is one of the reasons I have the N??vi mounted on the top of the dash -- it is far enough away to view clearly without reading glasses. If I mounted it between the handlebars, that would not be the case! FYI - I use +1.50 reading glasses.

    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  10. #10
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEO View Post
    Regarding "old eyes compatible":

    I definitely qualify for "old eyes" status! Being in my sixth decade and having had cataract operations for both eyes, I am "vision-sensitive". Actually, after having those swell bionic lenses implanted in my eyes, my distance vision rivals that of my 26 year old son.

    Where I notice "old eyes" is when reading. That is one of the reasons I have the N??vi mounted on the top of the dash -- it is far enough away to view clearly without reading glasses. If I mounted it between the handlebars, that would not be the case! FYI - I use +1.50 reading glasses.

    That's funny Theo. A friend of mine had the same great results after cataract surgery. I don't play the games on the IPod either.
    I did look at the comparison you put up and it seems like the maps is the only real difference in the 500 vs the 550. For the all around both units look like a contender. Thanks, Gary
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200
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  11. #11
    Tame Racing Driver Stig's Avatar
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    Gary, when I wanted to add GPS to my RT last year, I wanted to stay within a $300 budget since I wasn't convinced it was something that I would use that often (I like paper maps and have a Droid cell phone that uses Google maps). Someone on this forum (forget who) posted a link to a company called Sports Chalet that was selling the Nuvi 500 for $150 shipped. Mounted it using a Migsel mount and powered it using a Powerlet 2 foot extension cord off the rear power outlet. Total cost was a little above $300, mostly due to the exchange rate when I bought the mount from Belgium. The point is that you can usually get these models relatively cheap if you shop around a bit.

    I like my 500, and as you noted, the only difference between it and the 550 is the lack of Canadian maps. Like I said, I have it mounted on the dash with the Migsel mount, which is solid and pretty easy to reach while riding. Obviously you can't hear the spoken directions, but I find it pretty easy to follow the on-screen directions without being too distracted. I really wish that the Garmin software labelled all of the streets when you're just riding around (not using the navigation) like the early Garmin GPS units use to do.
    Craig
    New York's Hudson Valley Region
    2009 R1200RT
    MOA #146131 IBA #55715

  12. #12
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    I have the 550 and I believe the difference is the 550 has the full North America maps (including Canada and Alaska) while the 500 has only the continental US plus the topo maps. Note that you can add an SD card to either model. I have a 2GB card (about $10) in mine. You can buy Topo maps from Garmin and add them to the 550 stored on the SD card. I bought the lifetime map subscription and have updated the maps a couple times since then. Updates are about 4 times a year. The map data gets a little larger each time, and the SD card is the way around if you are unable to fit a new update. My brother has a Zumo 450, and the last time we updated the maps on that model the full North America would not fit, so we had to leave Canada off until he gets an SD card.
    Glenn
    2003 F650GS Dakar

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