Techcraver Review: Garmin Nuvi 350

Introduction:

These days, GPS devices are so affordable and useful that we see them everywhere. The utility of having an updated map with us at all times that provides on-target driving directions is invaluable. However, with there being so many makes and models to chose from, how do you know how to decide amongst all the options?

My first GPS device to review is the Garmin Nuvi 350. The device is currently priced at $200 from Amazon. What do you get for your $200? Lets dig in and find out!

Feature Overview:

Out of the box, the Garmin Nuvi 350 includes:

  • Maps of U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico
  • Turn-by-turn directions, with automatic routing if you change or alter your course mid-trip.
  • Voice-directions
  • Can run off AC power or battery
  • SD slot for loading maps, holding applicable data
  • Photo viewer, MP3/audiobook player
  • Slim 3.87 x 2.91 x 0.97 incy design. Small enough to fit in small bag or purse

Design

The Nuvi 350 is a smart and attractive looking device. The display is bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight and is easily visible at night without being so bright that it strains your eyes. The display can show up to 64K colors and has a resolution of 320 x 420 pixels. The front of the Nuvi is dominated with by the large 3.5 inch screen, with a small foldable GPS antenna. An SD slot on the right hand side of the unit that allows you to insert memory cards for uses that will be specified later in this review. A speaker adorns the back and is very audible, even in my noisy Honda Civic. A suction cup holder attaches to your windshield hooks on to the back of the unit to hold it in place while driving.

Navigation

The Nuvi features the SiRF GPS chip that locks onto satellites quickly. In my experience, when I had a decent view of the sky, ie when I wasn’t in a parking garage or tunnel, I was able to get a satellite lock in under 15 seconds. Garmin has engineered the Nuvi 350 to be quick and responsive, enhancing the usability of the device.

To find your way to a destination, the Garmin gives you many options. I found it most useful to search by business name using the touch screen. Alternatively you can enter in an address or intersection to find your destination and corresponding route. When you search by business name, the search results come back with distance so you know if you type “McDonalds”, the Nuvi will allow you to choose the one you want based on how far away the destination is.

Garmin has designed the Nuvi to be small and usable enough to carry along if you are on foot as well. The maps are so detailed that you can find virtually any business or destination. The SiRF chip is fabulous at using a possible 12 satellites to accurately position you.

One feature of the 350 is turn-by-turn directions with “text to speech” which means the device will pronounce (with mixed accuracy) streets as you approach them. The Nuvi 350 does not handle traffic tracking, but with an optional Garmin GTM 10 FM TMC traffic receiver, will allow you to see traffic issues and route around them.

I thought I would try to test out the Nuvi’s ability to re-route me if I decided to alter my route mid-way through my trip. This is also applicable if you take a wrong turn or have to take a different route in case of traffic or road closures. To my surprise, the Nuvi 350 would say “Recalculating” and quickly guide me to a new route on-the-fly with minimal delay. In most cases, recalculating would take less than 20 seconds, sometimes taking up to 30-45 seconds to find the next best route when I tried to test it.

Conclusion

The Garmin Nuvi 350 is a functional device that gets you where you need to go with little fuss. Garmin has designed a user interface that allows you to quickly find your route and let you enjoy your journey. The $200 price point is perfect for this fully featured mapping machine.

I would highly recommend this navigation device.

Rating: A Techcraver Thumbs-up!