Post by jmc
As I stated in another post, I'm looking for my first GPS. I'm still
pretty ignorant, but learning...
Been looking at the Nuvi 350, so far like what I see. What I can't find
in the reviews and specs (Maybe I don't know where to look?) is whether or
not I can load additional maps from different countries. I see that it
comes with North American maps and that maps of Europe are available, but
I specifically am looking for maps of Australia.
Also, anybody have the Nuvi and can comment on how much they like it/don't
like it? Pros, cons? Especially from a new user perspective?
For a new user perspective, I qualify for that. As background I'd used
Delorme Street Atlas and MS Streets before, usually with paper maps, and
both on a PDA, with Earthmate Bluetooth and Delorme Pocket Streets. Paper
maps really suck when driving alone and are only moderately better when my
wife is navigating. I could only rarely get the Earthmate GPS receiver to
work properly with the PDA and gave up on it. Getting the detail maps for a
trip from Delorme Streets to the PDA was a major time consumer due to
transfer time between the PC and PDA and one is forced to select the region
to transfer ahead of the trip. If your trip unexpectedly takes you outside
that region you are out of luck. I've traveled with a friend that uses
Delorme, Earthmate, and a laptop and that works a lot better but the laptop
takes up way too much room in most vehicles.
I've had the Nuvi 350, for about 3 months now and like it much better than
all of the above. The Nuvi is mounted on the windshield with that suction
cup thingy, which works much better than I'd thought it would. It's easy to
program in a destination on the device itself, and it will save more than
enough destinations (Garmin calls them waypoints, I think) for my needs.
The Nuvi only allows one via per trip and more would be better, especially
if one would like to customize a route. That can be worked around by
programming in two or more waypoints and using them in sequence - get to
Destination 1 and then load Destination 2 with a few screen clicks - but it
would be much better to have multiple waypoints on a trip built in.
I find it very easy to follow the route visually on the screen , though I'd
worried pre-purchase that it might be too small. There is usually enough
warning on upcoming exits to get myself in the proper lane. The voice
directions are loud enough for me to hear clearly unless the radio is turned
up pretty loud and it's easy to mute the voice when it gets too annoying.
The Nuvi starts up a little slowly but, once booted, seems to lock on to the
GPS satellites within 30-60 seconds.
The routing can sometimes be a little wierd and it's not uncommon for it to
take me a few minutes out of the way on urban trips of any length. That
doesn't bother me too much as it's more important to actually get to the
destination without meandering around as I'd often do with Delorme printed
maps. It recalculates pretty quickly when a turn is missed. It estimates
ETA really well on mostly Interstate trips but underestimates by quite a bit
on primarily secondary road trips with lots of stop lights. I haven't done
a detailed analysis, but suspect it assumes that one will travel at the
posted speed for the entire trip and does not take into account delays at
stop signs or lights.
It's pretty easy to find and select POIs, like food, hotels, attractions in
the middle of a trip, though I've found that restaurants I know about can be
hard to locate unless one searches by name instead of letting the Nuvi find
them from the list it puts on the screen. I do wish that the Nuvi had an
option to display only POIs that are *ahead* of your route. As it is, it
displays POIs in a class (restaurants say) on it's list sorted on the
distance from your present location with a little arrow to indicate which
direction on the compass you will need to detour to reach the POI. The list
seems to update as you progress along your trip, though you will have to
refresh the list to see the updates.
I don't use any of the extra features of the Nuvi, like MP3 files, so you
might want to consider a cheaper model if those are not important to you.
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