I purchased the Garmin Nuvi 300 from Amazon for just over £110 back in December 2008. I am not a good navigator when I am driving and I consider this an essential tool for making the entire jouney less stressful. I love it, really I do - but it does have some minor things that could be improved.
Lets get the bad points out of the way first:-
For a semi-expensive sat-nav system the battery life is really rather poor. You'd be lucky if it lasted 4 hours. Thankfully a cigarette lighter power adapter is included in the package which is easy to use and a lifesaver. In all fairness I only had an issue with the battery life while my cigarette lighter wasn't working. However, as some cars are not equipped with this power source it can be an issue.
Dashboard and Windscreen Mounting.
The mounts supplied with the unit are OK. There are two ways to attach the mount to the car - on the windscreen and the dashboard. I dismissed the windsreen option due to lack of places to put it without obstructing my view. The dashboard option required a special disc with a strong adhesive. It stuck well, but the suction cup on the arm lost suction after a while and became a dangerous distraction when the sat nav fell from the dashboard whilst driving. The only fix I managed to find was to purchase a completely separate mounting system where the arm actually slots into the base unit and locks but this was an extra £14 on top of the system. Other mounting options which I tried that was far cheaper (but less than ideal) was the vent mount.
Home Power Cable.
Yep, it doen't come with a home charger plug either, these are cheap though so it wasn't a big issue.
Despite the let downs above the Garmin Nuvi 300 has a lot of good points.
The display is as good as all the more expesive sat nav models. The mapping is clear and easy to follow and it is easy to navigate around the device. The map mode is at an angle which I find much easier to read than the top-down view. The touch screen is an additional bonus that just makes the device a dream to use.
You can even find your way without actually looking at the maps. The voice system talks you through the directions, even telling you to keep to the left or right when there is a feeder lane on the motorway or which lane you need to be in when you exit the motorway or when you are navigating the more complicated junctions. There is a countdown to the distance left before a turn or roundabout which I find helpful particularly when approaching roundabouts as I need time to work out the logistics involved.
It took less than a minute to find my way around the sat nav. Keying in your destination is easy. Finding destinations that you have saved is also very quick and easy with just a few touches of the screen and you're all set. Unclipping it from the mounting arm is just one action, making it quick and painless to remove from the car.
Some other sat navs take forever to find the satellites. This takes only a minute at most. The only exception I have found to this rule is when there is thick vegetation overhead (i.e. in a forest)
The size has got to be the best thing about this sat nav. It is compact but practical and it easily fits into my handbag. In fact, it lives in my handbag. You wouldn't believe the amount of times I have needed to use the sat nav for emergency travel situations. The size means you can always have it with you without it taking up your entire handbag (or pocket) space.
Speed Camera Upgrade
For £30 a year you can upload changes in speed limits all accross the UK. It has saved me countless speeding tickets and most probably a lost license. Well worth the money.
Automatic Route Re-Calculation
Yes, even with a sat nav I still manage to lose my way sometimes. The Garmin Nuvi 300 automatically re-calculates the route; so even in situations where you have absolutely no idea where you are or where you are going the sat nav will get you back on track.
Additional Features Which I haven't used.
The Garmin Nuvi 300 has additional in-built features. I am unable to write a review on these features as I have yet to use them, but I thought it best to list them anyway:-
Audio Book Player - Upload an audio book and listen to it while you drive
Digital Photo Slideshow
Traffic Alert - Available with an additional traffic receiver sold separately.
and probably lots more...
Despite the pitfalls mentioned at the top of the list the Garmin Nuvi 300 is an great affordable sat nav system. I don't know how I managed to drive anywhere before I had this little gem. If you are prepared to fork out a little extra for the must have accessories (better dashboard mount, home adapter plug) then you can't go far wrong with the Garmin Nuvi 300.