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Garmin Nuvi 680

Jan
4
2007

Gamin has released information about the upcoming Nuvi 680. The new 680 is one of the first devices from Garmin to offer MSN Direct. This service will allow network connectivity with the GPS. With this service data connectivity to your GPS will allow you to find local movie listings, receive traffic alerts, compare local gas prices, and get weather forecasts.

Preinstalled maps for North America come on the device. The display is a widescreen, 4.3″ display. There is also a MP3 music player and photo viewer for your multimedia needs. Bluetooth is included for hands free calling and dialing POIs.

The Garmin Nuvi 680 comes with a 1 year service plan for MSN direct.

33 Responses


  1. If you’re outside the MSN Direct coverage area for traffic information can you still access weather, movie times, and gas prices? I would think so because MSN’s website has this information nationwide (at least they do for weather). I can see why traffic reporting would only be terribly useful for metropolitan areas, but people in smaller cities (like me) still care about gas prices and catching the next showing of a good movie.

    Lee - July 3rd, 2007
  2. Lee, it is my understanding that the MSN Direct signal itself is not available in all areas. Thus independent of traffic, they still have coverage maps and separate traffic coverage lists. So if you go outside of the area covered by MSN Direct you won’t be able to get the weather/movie times, etc.

    Tim - July 3rd, 2007
  3. Just wanted to post a bit about the 680 seeing as how comments are scarce so far. There are a few on Amazon. I’ve owned the unit a month and have found it to be a great tool, especially after relocating to a new city.

    Pros: The interface is really intuitive. My wife has no problems picking it up and plugging away, unlike past devices. The speed of calculating/recalculating is amazing, never taken more than 5 seconds. The Bluetooth feature is great. The text-to-speech makes it fun. The MSN direct is nice, but the data is not as complete as I would hope. Gas stations are fine, but it misses lots of movie theaters and some construction. The construction delay notification is very helpful and appears accurate when it’s got the data. I’ve not figured out how to change the current weather location either. It has never locked up on me and the size is perfect. The POIs are just as useful as the navigation. We’ve found stores that we wouldn’t have otherwise, sort of shopping roulette.

    Cons: The FM transmitter feature is useless, it works horribly, regardless of freq or proximity. The touch screen can be flakey and mis-senter a press, I’d call it selective mis-calibration. I wish it displayed the speed limit. We’ve noticed several times that the routing is not optimal (sends you out through no-mans-land instead of around on the interstate), but it’s been minor. So you still have to be smarter than the machine.

    Overall it’s been a great tool; I’d buy it again in a heartbeat. I wish there was a way around the MSN direct receiver so I could swap the unit between vehicles but have a second mount to avoid dragging wires around, but the subscription is tied to the receiver in the mount apparently.

    Bill - July 10th, 2007
  4. I have been using the Nuvi 680 for about five months. The unit itself works great for finding locations. There are two issues I have with it. First after the unit kept falling off of the windshield it finally broke on my gear shift. When Garmin replaced it they sent me a weighted dashboard base for it for free. This is a must have. Second, although MSN Direct lists Nassau County Long Island in their coverage area it is apparently in what the call the edge of the zone. They told me it should work most of the time. It has never worked in most of the Nassau County Long Island area and my numerous calls to them over many months leaves it un-resolved. They still list my area on their website as in the coverage.

    Bruce - November 5th, 2007
  5. I’m looking for the model that can pre-plan a route similar to what one can get from Mapquest. This route can be from any location to any location and at least one waypoint should be able to be designated. Does the Garmin have this capability? Does the Tom Tom 720 have this capability?

    Jim - December 7th, 2007
  6. Hi. Could anyone suggest the best GPS for an over the road truck driver? I don’t believe my husband would need information on movies, POI’s etc. I am looking for somthing that would give directions from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ (acturatly) and factor in that it is a tractor trailer and not give directions that included an 12 foot underpass. Any suggestions? Please???

    Lori - December 13th, 2007
  7. Does the 680 have external volume controls, I read that the 660 does not. Is that important?

    Geannene - December 16th, 2007
  8. It does not, Geannene. None of the Nuvi devices do. I don’t consider it a big deal.

    Tim - December 16th, 2007
  9. Lori
    I do not believe any Garmins will tell about overpass height. Most basic model 200 units will probably serve you. I think the nuvi 350 is the sweet spot price/performance wise.
    Geannene
    The volume is easily adjusted on nuvis. Press the power button and the volume control pops up. Then you can change volume or mute voice.

    Gregory Han - December 21st, 2007
  10. The Nuvi 760 allows you to program point “a” to point “b” along with waypoints. The Nuvi 5000 which can be ordered but is not yet out, has a larger screen, shows speed, and has several other features the rv or truck driver would appreciate. Also not yet in stores, the Nuvi 880 will do all the above and allow you to command it by your voice rather than touch.

    Donna - January 14th, 2008
  11. I’ve owned the 680 now for a few weeks. Generally I’m rather disappointed with it. Compared to my last GPS, a Magellan Crossover, it lacks many features, costs twice as much as my Crossover did, and performs some things poorly. Here are the worst problems I have with it:

    – Voice is not very loud. Even with a low radio, its hard to hear, and my car is a Lexus.

    – The POI database is O.K., but icons for each POI aren’t displayed on the map like my Magellan did. With the Magellan, you can even select which categories of each display. Not with the Garmin.

    – Maps are a bit hard to read and don’t display many road names, even when set to the most detail. My Magellan displays much more detail while driving.

    – My Magellan can speak POI that I have added, like it can say “Speed Camera.” Just a tone on the Garmin.

    – Magellan has your next street on the top, your present street name on the bottom. Garmin only has a line on the top for everything and it can be confusing. On occasion the top line has told me that I’m approaching apartment complexes by name. Who cares. I want to know the street I have to turn on.

    – With the Magellan, you specify “fastest route,” “shortest,” “no highways,” “all highways” when you enter your route. The Garmin only has “fastest” and “shortest” as a setting, so you have to set the settings before you enter your route.

    – Garmin only has ETA, not trip length. Also, it seems that its ETA is less accurate than the Magellan. I’ve been on 10 mile trips, where with 2 miles to go, the ETA displayed was the current time. I don’t think so. ETA is always very optimistic.

    – Routing is very weird sometimes, especially when you get close to your destination. I’ve had the Garmin telling me to drive all over the place when my destination was simply 1/4 mile up the road.

    – Suction cup mount is hard to mount on my SUV window because my window has a steep slant. Several times its popped off the ball mount.

    – Garmin’s POI loader sucks, but there are other free 3rd party ones out there. Still, for a company as big as Garmin with as many GPS as Garmin has, you’d think that they would put more effort into it.

    Overall the 680 is not terrible, but I think there are many others that are better for the price. I got it for MSN, and that works well, but I don’t think I’d buy another Garmin again.

    Allen - February 29th, 2008
  12. People have been complaining about the price [snip, see comment policy] coupon I had. Thus, the price isnt as big of an issue and I am sure it will go down. However, Allen’s review is pretty spot on. I have been rather happy with it but the things that bother me the most are:
    – the volume just wont go louder and even though it will play through a radio – it doesnt work that well as you have to pick a station that has nothing on it. My other GPS will interupt the radio with a DING and speak clearly and then return me to the radio – which the Garmin doesnt do.
    – I have been extremely happy with the MOVIE times and Gas prices in the area from MSN. Its a great feature and I use both – especially the movie times.
    – I also entered in my home address into a tomtom, Magellen and the Garmin and the Garmin was the only one that could get to my address. Its a new home – so the maps are pretty up to date.
    – The other feature I expected that wasnt there – is my other GPS will show resteraunts, gas stations, atms, etc on the detailed map when I have the detail set at MOST – the Garmin doesnt have that.
    – The garmin does have a number of things my other GPS doesnt have – currency converter, calculators, language translator, the ability to use it as a MP3 player (but again no way to really hear it), photo viewer, and reviews on places to go.
    – I also like the ability to use it as a hands free speaker phone via blue tooth.

    Overall I have mixed feelings – it does a fine job as a GPS in such a small package – the price doesnt bother me – the volume level does. If I could find a GPS that does more for the price – I would probably take this back and go for the other one.

    Tom - March 12th, 2008
  13. I’ve gotten very dependent on the 680 and generally it has not let me down. As others have mentioned it will produce some very strange routes that are obviously wrong – sort of a mystery with a unit in this price range. Using the Bluetooth with cellphone picks up a ton of road noise which trips the VOX causing a very poor conversation – too bad since the hands free option is nice to use and would be safer if it worked better (I even went to the external mike with no better results). My big issue has been extended periods of lost satellite locks for hours or days in areas where signals are always 100%. I’ve reset the unit and installed the newest software 3 times per customer support and continue to have the same issue. I was told by other owners that this is not an isolated problem. It’s very frustrating since I depend on the 680 nearly every day.

    Bill - March 19th, 2008
  14. I got this gps and it was my first gps ever. I was impressed with all the extra features it had but two things made me return the unit after the first try on the road.

    1. The unit was totally lost in in the area of my home, as already mentioned by others. And I do mean it, totally lost. On the way out it stubbornly tried to get me on what it thought would be better path for me and after I ignored it twice and followed the most obvious route for everyone who lives in the area it suggested that I made a U-turn and it did it 30 meters before the main road – the algorithm is puzzling – to say the least.

    On the way back, after I ignored the unit’s directions again and picked a much more straightforward (at least for humans :-)) route to my place the unit recalculated and gave me directions that would add about 6km to the trip, even though both the destination (my place) and the roads leading to it were displayed on the unit… Only after I ignored the unit again it recalculated and gave me the right directions. This was really disappointing.

    2. The unit appears to have no trip planning capabilities and it allows only one via point which is not enough for a trip. You cannot save/retrieve trips, etc. This would be a pure software feature so I was surprised and disappointed that the support for it was marginal (one via point) and in practice non-existent.

    I am sorry to say that but for what it costs the unit is not worth it, at least not for me. :-(

    Peter - April 7th, 2008
  15. Very disappointed in the Nuvi. Constant issues with routing such as getting of on the wrong exit. I tried all the navigation settings and worked with Nuvi support. Based on Nuvi support, this is a known issue in the US because the NUVI was designed for Europe. If you don’t mind being routed through small towns with 100’s of traffic lights, the Nuvi will do the job. Otherwise, you will be late for meetings and spend extra time in traffic.

    Ken - May 20th, 2008
  16. I think routing of the Nuvi is quite poor. For example, I have it set for “fastest time” and may pick a location 10 miles away. Then I drive the route, but instead of taking its directions I take a different route that that I know is faster. When it realizes I am going a different way, it does its “recalculating” thing, and every time I can watch the ETA displayed on the screen dramatically drop. It other words, not only is the different route that I am taking faster than the one it picked, but it in fact knows it is as well. So why didn’t it pick it in the first place?

    I’ve had it pick routes that are two or three times as long as were required for no reason that I can see. Instead of taking a 0.2 mile road that shows on the map, it will take a 1.1 mile route around the block. Very frustrating.

    Allen - May 20th, 2008
  17. Okay, I am a little new to these things, but can anybody tell me where the MSN 18-pin plug connects to the Garmin 680? I can’t fine any other slot but the mini USB and SD card.

    HELP would be welcomed.

    anthony thomas - July 18th, 2008
  18. The 680 is compatible with the GDB 50 MSN Direct Receiver. That receiver plugs into your vehicle’s power one one end and then the GPS’s mount on the other end. Then the GPS plugs into the mount.

    Tim - July 19th, 2008
    • LOL.. Thanks had sam problem.. trying to plug it in unit all morning. I feel like I have a dunce cap on head..ROFL

      Dot - January 23rd, 2009
  19. I owned the TomTom One but it was time to upgrade to get the bluetooth calling and traffic functions – my Blackberry phone was not supported – so I bought the Nuvi 680. It is taking some getting used to. The interface is not nearly as nice as the TomTom. The POIs don’t show on the screen, rather you must select one as a destination to utilize it. I like to be driving and see things as I go, just in case it is about the time to stop and get a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts, etc… This was very useful last year while on vacation. I hit every HomeDepot & Walmart along my route until I found one that carried what I needed. On the Garmin I would have to make a special trip to the HomeDepot or Walmart… one at a time. Who knows where I would have ended up!

    Also don’t like that you cannot “manipulate” the user interface on the nuvi like you can on TomTom. I am referring to the bottom readout… on the Nuvi it shows the time of arrival and the distance to your next turn (on the main screen) I have not really figured out why I would want most the information on the second screen… it looks impressive but is of little or no use (miles per hour ave, moving ave, max speed, stopped time, moving time, etc… I am sure someone uses some of it – but certainly not the average person. On the TomTom you can have the front screen hold as much information or as little as you like. I like that I can have my speed, current time & time of arrival, direction, and the distance to and direction of my next turn. This is all valuable. I am sure in time I will be able to “dumb” myself down to having less… but until then I will sure miss it! I cant wait until TomTom supports the Blackberry and I can go back! Until then – safe driving!

    scott - November 23rd, 2008
  20. For the seasoned GPS users, there will certainly be some issues with the 680. There is no “perfect” GPS out there though! The nuvi is convenient in size and its features are funtional but not fabulous. I use all the features except the MSN (I received a free upgrade from the 660). The refresh rate is good, the routes aren’t perfect but they are reasonable. You aren’t buying this to save 3 minutes on a 10 mile drive are you? The MP3 player is fine, but it literally plays MP3s and nothing else. The FM transmitter is fine but you will notice interference (not Garmins fault, FCC regs). I heard there is a hack to boost the power, but haven’t found it yet. Bluetooth works, but not with all phones (I had to switch from a chocolate vx8550 to a motorola v3m because it was hit or miss). All in all it is a good product for the price, looks great, but some minor issues.

    ben - December 20th, 2008
  21. I continue to be unsatisfied with my 680. Aside from the useless MSN feature, the navigation capabilities are the worst in the industry. I get better navigation from TomTom running on my Treo. If you are interested in taking the long way or being late for customer meetings… the Nuvi 680 is perfect for you. I am still confused as to why in the US, avoiding traffic means avoiding the highway. The logic is seriously flawed for use in the US.

    Ken V. - December 22nd, 2008
  22. Hey im just wanted to know should i get the new NUvi 750 or 680 the 750 seems good but im looking into the 680 which is better,???/

    Cody - December 31st, 2008
    • Depends what “better” features you might be looking for, but the 680 is two generations old and the 750 is one generation old.

      Tim - December 31st, 2008
    • If you want a 680, I’ll sell you mine cheep. Buy a TomTom

      Ken Voigt - December 31st, 2008
  23. Hey i kno the 750 is newer but for the price is it worth it to just get a 680 nearly the same features with a better price.
    PS i would mabey like a tom tom also but which one has a 4.3 screen with voice streetnames and voice prompts.I would also like features like the garmin “where am i” mode with the fire,gas, and poliece stations.
    I NEED IMPUT thanks.
    —Cody

    Cody - December 31st, 2008
  24. I have been using the Nuvi 680 for more than six months now and I still don’t understand its routing algorithm. I used it for a longer trip (Minneapolis to Rockford, Ill) and instead of keeping me on I-94 to I-90, it tried to route me onto every side road and every small town between the two cities. I find it kind of useless for longer trips.

    I have also experienced the same issues that the ETA lowers when I don’t follow its directions. That just makes no sense.

    Jim - January 19th, 2009
    • Sounds like you could have a routing preference set incorrectly– perhaps setting shortest versus fastest route or some sort of avoidance set. It could also just be a mapping anomaly.

      Tim - January 19th, 2009
      • Its maping as designed. No setting will fix this problem.

        Ken Voigt - January 19th, 2009
  25. Jim – I’m with you. read my entries from May 20th, December 22nd and December 31st. There is nothing you can do. It is designed to be used over in UK and Europe where avoiding traffic means avoiding the highway. Garmen will keep you chasing you tail with suggestions on changing your settings. What you have is usless junk. One good thing about the Nuvi, it will get you to you destination, unfortunately it may take you 10 miles out of your way. If you are ok with the long way and being late for meetings, the Nuvi is for you..

    Ken Voigt - January 19th, 2009
  26. I was fast forwarding an audio book I was listening to. Now the voice doesn’t work any more even for the navigation.If I tap the screen with my finger it works for a second or two then stops

    John - February 1st, 2009
  27. I like the garmin nuvi 680. i got it for 30.00 from a guy and it works great for me. living in california i get lost all the time and it helps me alot. i will keep it for a while

    heny ford - February 21st, 2009
  28. I’m having hard time with my GPS Nuvi680. It;s always full charge and a s a I pluggd the cable in my car the map vanished & only can follow the voice. Could you tell me if this is wright? or somthing is wrong cith the setting?

    JAMIE - September 1st, 2010



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