Uniden GNS 8600
- Large 5.6" screen, excellent visual directions, comprehensive features
- Too large, no internal battery, slow interface
We like the idea of a large touchscreen but the Uniden GNS 8600 is a little too big to be practical, despite its excellent features. The lack of an internal battery, slow interface and high price tag all count against what could have been an excellent product.
Price$ 1,599.00 (AUD)
Here at the GoodGearGuide, we spend a lot of time fantasising about our ultimate GPS device. Curvy and sleek, this stylishly designed unit will possess the holy trinity of GPS design - ease of use, a large touchscreen display and pinpoint navigation accuracy.
When we first read about the GNS 8600 from Uniden, we thought perhaps our prayers had finally been answered. Here was a unit with just about everything we could want. However, as we were soon to discover, there are some significant flaws with this product which mean we'll have to keep dreaming for some time longer.
As you will quickly realise if you ever get to take a good look at one, the 8600 is huge. Bulky in the extreme and heavy to boot, the 8600 tips the scales at just under 500 grams. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the biggest and heaviest GPS unit we have ever seen.
The reason the 8600 is so large is simple - the front of the device is dominated by an enormous 5.6" LCD touchscreen, allowing us to experience maps and driving directions in a level of detail we have never seen before. Practically, this meant no more squinting at the map in vain trying to read street names, having to reduce the detail of the display, or scrolling around madly trying to figure out just where we were, as the 5.6" screen displayed the Sensis Whereis maps in all their glory.
The problems with a device of this size soon became apparent when we actually took it for a test run. Realistically, the 8600 can only ever be used in a car. Don't even think about carrying it around because it will occupy a huge chunk of space in your bag - not mention adding half a kilo to what you're lugging round. Another headache we encountered is that while we didn't want to leave such an expensive piece of equipment in our car, we couldn't put it in the glove box because it simply wouldn't fit. In the end, we had to settle for sliding it under the back seat - perhaps not the most secure location for such a pricey piece of hardware.
Weight also counts against the 8600 when mounted in your car - since the unit is so heavy, the included vehicle mount can't fully support the weight and it tends to wobble and jerk from side to side when driving. To prevent this, Uniden recommend adjusting the mount so the 8600 rests on the dashboard. While this alleviated the problem somehwat, it did not eliminate it entirely and in the end we found the shaking highly irritating.
Despite the negatives associated with its size, some users may choose to overlook these and buy this product just for the large screen. However in our opinion, the major flaw of the 8600 is surely the fact that no internal battery is included. This means you can't plan a route when walking around, or in the house, or even in the car, unless it's plugged into a power source. We also experienced problems when using the 8600 in our car. When we got into our vehicle, we turned our ignition switch once (to the ACC position) without actually starting the engine, connected up the 8600 and happily planned out our route. Then, when we actually turned the engine on, the unit switched off and then back on again and we had to wait a few minutes for it to power up a acquire a location. While it did retain our programmed data, this delay was an unnecessary hassle and we feel an internal battery is a must have on a GPS.
Where this unit did score points was in features - as the 8600 is equipped with a multitude of navigation, safety and display options. We found the map display on the 8600 unit to be relatively clear, but not as bright as on other units we have tested and a little difficult to see in direct sunlight. Still, with such a big screen, the turn instructions were displayed clearly and the audio quality was excellent, so we never missed a turn. Voice prompts are generated before you take a turn and also at the turn itself, with the unit directing you to stay in the correct lane to ensure the turn can be made.
The map display itself can be viewed in 2D, 3D or displayed in day or night modes. Users can also toggle the map display if they like and adjust brightness, volume and calibration settings, as well as add their own Points of Interest (POIs) to the database of 500,000. Advanced routing options are also available, such as the using quickest or shortest route and including or excluding tolls, highways or other road types.
The 8600 ships with a range of safety features, such as a safety mode and warnings for red light cameras, speed cameras and accident blackpot areas. This warning was so accurate, we actually saw an accident take place just as the unit said "Blackspot Ahead"! A trip computer is available from the menu which displays both speed, time and distance data. Uniden has also included a 'route demonstration mode' as well, making this one of the most complete GPS units we have seen in terms of features.
We found navigation was simple on this unit as was searching for an address. While Uniden claim that the software for the 8600 was developed exclusively for them, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the software we've seen on the MIO units, such as the Digiwalker 268. It even comes with the same address searching functionality that relies on a predictive keyboard - one of the easiest we've used. As with the MIO 268 though, we were confronted with error messages in 'pidgin English' which really detracts from the professionalism of the interface.
Despite having such a large touchcreen, the menu, navigation and system option buttons are only displayed at certain times on the map display, and are not clearly labelled, so at times we weren't sure how to access certain functions. The 8600 also has four buttons and a four way navigation joystick under the screen, but again we were unsure what they did. We found out the Mode button actually lets you enter the GPS, play two games (a puzzle and Othello) and enter the system setup. The other buttons are shortcuts to often accessed functions but this isn't the most intuitive interface we have used.
Apart from useability, our second issue with the interface is speed. The 8600 is agonisingly slow. From the time it turns on, taking over a minute to fully start up, the 8600 tends to just hang or freeze for about 10 seconds, especially when calculating routes. Not only does this affect the interface, but also the rerouting, with unit taking precious seconds to realise we were off track and recalculate a new route. We don't mind a little lag now and then - but Uniden really need to upgrade the processor on this device to improve the performance*. Having said that, once up and running, we had no problem acquiring satellite signals quickly.
Unlike the majority of GPS units currently available, mapping data is not stored on a memory card, but rather on the internal 256MB memory. Map data can be updated by connecting the unit to your PC using the included USB 1.1 cable.
*Uniden have informed us that they now working to address slow processing issues on the GNS8600
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Apple iPhone X
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Toys for Boys
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Xbox One X
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Latest Spartan sports watches hit the scene
- Early iPhone 7 reviews: You'll miss the headphone jack, but the camera and battery life are tops
- Watch out: iOS 10 install is reportedly bricking some iPhones
- Google's Pixel Launcher leak hints at the demise of the Nexus brand
- It's official: iOS 10 launches with huge improvements to iMessage, Apple Music, Siri, and more
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- Get set for Amazon Australia Black Friday launch
- Destiny 2 PC review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCTest Analyst - BrisbaneVIC
- CCWintel Messaging Engineer l Office 365 / Exchange / Skype for Business / AzureNSW
- FTJava DeveloperOther
- FTMarketing Manager - IT ServicesOther
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperQLD
- CCCloud Orchestration and Automation SpecialistNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Telco - Melbourne CBDVIC
- FTTableau DeveloperOther
- FTPermanent .Net Developer roleACT
- FTMICROSOFT DYNAMICS CRM DEVELOPER - BASELINE CLEARANCE REQUIRED - CANBERRAACT
- CCServiceNow ConsultantVIC
- FTService Delivery Specialist - $61 per hourOther
- FTAgile Delivery Project ManagerOther
- FTSenior Change ManagerOther
- FTIT Project Coordinator | Gold CoastQLD
- TPApplication Support AdministratorVIC
- FTSenior Android DeveloperOther
- FTManager, Platform Wealth OperationsOther
- CCService management Business AnalystNSW
- FTTest ManagerACT
- FTNetwork Services ManagerOther
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCLean Six Sigma Process Improvement Specialist - MELBOURNEQLD
- FTTM1 Application Management AnalystOther