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Do I Need A Gps?

Reviewing: Garmin Nuvi 350  |  Rating:
By mrru on
Badge: Author | Level: 1 | Mobile Expertise:

Garmin Nuvi 350 This is the first model in the Garmin line with advanced features and portable utility that provides talking voice directions.

It is lightweight, portable, and has a great color touch screen system.

It allows for and includes a car charger, USB connection, and a standard plug for recharge.

I found connecting to the internet using USB to be easy and quick. There are often updates that improve the functions and software available for the unit.

The antenna opens up from sliding part of the back of the unit. The antenna is well designed and automatically turns on and off if it is opened or closed.

The unit has speakers and allows for add-on memory cards.

I used two add on content cards, and found that I could load the entire content into the device and then put the two cards away without needing to keep the add-on content cards in the unit!

The unit comes with the entire map information for The United States, Mexico, and Canada.

The standard screen shows the time, battery life indicator, and settings controls.

The Positives:

-Unit comes with light illumination which can be set to preference, and light and day mode is built in. I was driving close to sunset, and when it became too dark, the unit activated nighttime lighting mode automatically.

-The unit contains a map of the immediate area, which can be zoomed and moved based on sliding your finger on the touch screen device.

-The unit allows you to customize the types of landmarks displayed on the map. For example, I set mine to show gas stations, markets, and restaurants.

-The ability to find places is easy and fast. You can type an address, the intersection of a street, the name of a place, or there is a special category that allows you to get a listing of a hotel, a gas station, and a restaurant. Listings show phone number and exact address.

-Voice commands can be customized, including voice gender, voice languages, and specific instances where a voice prompt will occur. I have set mine to an Australian woman's voice, and find that this voice is pleasant to hear.

-A representation of your current position can be customized, such as a picture of a car or motorcycle.

-The basic map shows street names, current speed, and a compass. The views within the map mode allows for customization. I can check the next few set of directions in advance before the voice prompt occurs, or I can get a screen which shows a trip meter, the estimated time of arrival, and a compass.

-If I miss a turn or cannot make a suggested turn, the unit automatically recalculates my directions without me having to even touch the unit!

-I can also tell the unit not to show me directions that involve the freeway, unpaved roads, toll roads, or u-turns. I can also allow the unit to give me the fastest time or the shortest distance.

-There is also an MP3 player, an audiobook player, and a picture viewer within the unit. You can put your own audiobooks, MP3's, and pictures on the unit using the USB interface.

-There is currency converter, world clock, measurement converter, and a calculator.

-There is a section that has basic foreign phrases which are spoken so you can hear the phrases. An add-on pack greatly increases the language options available for travel. I added the extra content card for the travel based language part, and this expanded the dictionary and phrase options tremendously.

Negative Aspects:

-The battery life is not as high as I would have liked; however, this issue is easily resolved by using the included car charger kit.

-The antenna can take a few minutes to connect in some locations. For example, I have been in mountain areas, hills, and underground parking structures. In these places, the satellite signal can be limited or weakened. In the underground parking structures, the signal was restored when I left the parking structure. In hill and mountain areas, the signal never cut-off, but sometimes took up to three minutes to initially connect.

-The controls and menus might appear to be a bit difficult to navigate in the beginning, as some feature menus are not as intuitive as you might expect. However, within 30 minutes, mastery of the device is possible and it become very easy to use after this learning period.

-I found that when using the MP3 player and the audiobook player, the navigation controls to switch between finding a location and using the MP3 and Audiobook options, was not as easy as I would have preferred. The controls could have been made to be easier to switch between listening to music or books to monitoring a location destination.

-The maps in Mexico are not nearly as detailed as those found in Canada and The United States. This might be due to the different structures found within Mexico, but more detail would have been a nice feature.

-The unit was mostly accurate, but on occasion, the information regarding locations did not reflect some changes. For example, hotels no longer existed or a new street was added.

Overall, I recommend this unit and find it to be very impressive, practical, and worth the money I spent.