NEW GARMIN DEZL 780 & 785
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Tried the 780 for a week: as with their previous models, they are both superior & inferior to equivalent Rand McNally units.
Build quality, feel, screen, polish, interactive traffic, magnet mounting implementation, & Route Shaping is superior.
Mount design, minimized bezel, device customization, POI, concurrent & total information available is superior on the Rand.
The Garmin 580/780 & Rand 540/740 are all Android based, the Garmin based on Android 6.0, the Rand Android 5.1.
The Garmin has a lot more available options both within Android settings, as well as preinstalled Android apps like a Browser.
While the 780 finally has a decent truckstop/truck POI database & parking space listing for the major truckstops, (something Rand still has not done, even though they do have Rest area parking spaces) the overall user interface of searching through multiple menus & duplicate data makes it somewhat of a chore. I admit being bias toward the Rand which I have used for years.
There is also just a lack of total information, especially while navigating; can only choose between arrival time, or mile marker, or arrival mileage, or leg arrival mileage, etc. while the Rand can display everything and more at once without crowding the screen.
The x40 Rand series seems like a step back from the x30, lot of things seem incomplete & disjointed vs the previous offering; one of the biggest problems is the absolutely unforgivable tiny font & more complicated navigation screen with useless icons they added as well as wasted space in the layout which contributes to the lack of space for larger font.
Rand continues to innovate at the expense of the entire package with some features/redesignes that are unnecessary while not implementing essential features such as a decent traffic notification system or a similar Route Shaping feature.
I returned the 780 as I have the 770 & 760 before it, & picked up a 540 to try out.
Every iteration Garmin seems to make useful improvements & add functionality without compromising the entire package; the 580/780 is the best version to date & if I were not so used to the Rand way of doing things for the good and bad, I would pick one of the new x80 Garmins.
A problem I had was the 780 wifi updated the system (360mb or so) just fine but when I went to update the maps (6.5gb) I could not complete update.
Also there was not enough free space to download the update without erasing previous map which the unit warned me about; consequently I ended up with a unit that had the previous map erased & would not complete a map update.
Updating on a computer might be possible in that situation.
Be warned, the 780 is HUGE, not just the screen but the bezel & structure around it.
Where I normally mount the GPS, it just took up way too much visibility & I would have to get the 580 if going with a Garmin.
This is also the nicest & highest quality GPS i have ever held/used; would bet dollars on long term reliability vs a (current) Rand unit in everyday use as well as rough handling.
In contrast, the Rand feels fragile but is much more size efficient, keeping the exact same screen size as my old (still functioning 510) while cutting the bezel down to nothing making the unit smaller than the average smartphone; minimizing the blind spot on your windshield.
The Rand uses the same 2 axis (ball socket + lever arm) that has far more adjustability, brings the unit much farther out from windshield, & both adjustment points can be tightened with a simple, reliable screw/tooth design eliminating mount movement.
The Garmin uses a 2 axis (ball socket + lever arm) friction mount which while keeping the unit solidly mounted via the magnet, the mount itself allows the GPS to lose orientation on bumpy roads.
IMO, go with the x80 Garmin, you will be happier.
I want the FM traffic receiver, and I have a hard time spending all that money for the Garmin 780 then have to cough up another $70 for the Traffic Receiver power cord. My money is on the Garmin 770. I don't care anything about the the wifi connectivity or potential problems it my introduce.
Also, the quick release mount on the 770 is the same as past models and I know it works good, I'm not sure about the revised mount they're doing on the 780 and have my doubts.
Although the benefit is the traffic data is more widely available then the FM based traffic, which usually is in large metro areas whereas the data connected version has maximum coverage.
Can use the HD FM receiver cable but would need to buy it separately while the 770 comes with it.
I have no qualms about the implementation of the magnet mount on the 780, it is very well done, only mounts in one orientation, & has a deathgrip on the unit. (put your finger in between the mount & GPS I bet it will hurt when it snaps together)
My issue is with the mount design itself as the 780 is so large & heavy that the "friction" adjustable hinge & ball are not strong enough to maintain orientation.
It will only get worse with time, wear, temperature changes which is why i wish they had ability to tighten the adjustment points.
I agree the magnetic mount is a solution looking for a problem type situation but is incredibly satisfying & convenient if you take it off often to input destinations.
Think it would be better suited for the much lighter 5" versions as they are not as heavy reducing the strain on the magnets.
Only time will tell about its long term durability. (The Rand mag mounts have already proven to be crap but the implementation is different & superior on the Garmin for sure.)Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
Reason for edit: Adding infoSTexan Thanks this.
With my current older Garmin, I rely mostly on my smartphone Google Maps app to keep me updated with traffic, and considered the Garmin's FM traffic receiver a second pair of eyes and ears, and confirmation of what my smartphone was showing (if in range) but this new generation of internet based traffic info [communicated via bluetooth] would change that "work flow" for me, if it works as I think it may, and I decided to go that route.
I don't know how the carrier would regard the data; you are still transferring data through the Bluetooth connection although it is not very much at all (data efficient) & even though Bluetooth tethering has been around for a long time, it generally is not thought of in the same vein as WiFi tethering because of data transfer speed limits.
I did not keep very close track of the data usage of the Garmin Connect app (on Verizon unlimited) other than noticing it had very low battery drain & total data usage; looks like Garmin has a good "all in one" connection through the Bluetooth.
In the same way as the Dezl 570/770, you can use its Bluetooth connection as a hands free way to talk to people on the phone. (Has onscreen notifications of incoming calls as well as buttons to answer/end calls & voice commands for both phone calls and navigation input.)
I am unaware if the traffic/weather service is disabled while using it in this way during a phone call due to Bluetooth bandwidth limitations as I never tried this out. (my buddy uses his 770 for phone calls occasionally & there is little to no noise cancelling like most Bluetooth headsets causing a lot of background noise if driving; unsure if it is improved with the 780 as I did not test that either.)
The traffic that I did encounter with the 780 was reported accurately and ahead of time, though no alternate routes were suggested in my cases. (on I81 in middle of BFE Virginia so understandable.)
Word of caution, for some reason it seems the 780 does not ship with tamper seals on box as far I could tell. (probably the same with 580)
Inspect EVERYTHING in the package carefully to make sure you are not getting a previously returned unit.
If you can, try picking one of the x80 units up from Pilot/Flying J with your points preferably (never have to pay cash for GPS, Bluetooth headsets, or Road Atlas) & you will be able to return it within 7 days if not happy for full refund.
I don't know if they have the 780 in stock yet, only have seen the 580.
Loves usually gets new electronics way ahead of PFJ for some reason, though Loves does not have the excellent return policy PFJ does.
Found out the hard way Loves does not allow returns, only exchanges.
I convinced the original store where I got the 780 to let me swap it out for the Rand & refunded the excess points onto our account.
I have trouble with the traffic from phone app on my 580 but I’m iOS. I haven’t been using it too much. 580 just too small of a display and resolution is junk. I started just using google maps. Not truck routes but I only go to hubs so it works for me.
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