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Dargo
11-08-2006, 02:17 PM
I have a Garmin iQue M5 PDA that doubles as a great GPS. My wife has an old (wow, now 4 years is considered "old") Garmin Street Pilot III. My iQue M5 fits nicely in a small suction cup mount on the windshield and it touch screen driven. My wife does not need the PDA part, but needs a GPS that is more user friendly than her Street Pilot III and one that mounts like mine does; rather than her "bean bag" type of mount.

I stopped today at Sam's Club and checked out the Garmin Nuvi 350 units. They seemed really nice, easy to operate, small, and were $539. I'm leaving tomorrow on a driving trip to Vermont with my wife and son so he can visit Norwich University. I was going to buy my wife a new GPS for Christmas, but it appears as if the Nuvi 350 model is being replaced by a Nuvi 700 that is $250 more and only offers the added capability to use your bluetooth phone to make calls through it (not sure why she'd ever use that).

What is the thought of the Nuvi 350 units? Does anyone have one? If so, what do you think of it? I'm bummed to see that Garmin discontinued my iQue M5 but still makes the M4 and M3; cheaper units. I like mine, but I always hate to see "discontinued" on something I own.

mtntopper
11-08-2006, 10:35 PM
I also use a Garmin for various applications such as plotting things of interest outdoors and Geo Caching.

Take the time to look at the TomTom gps system for mobile applications. From all reports I have seen it is as good or better than all others now being sold. I personally have never used one but they do sound to be simple to operate and rank with the best of any other brand.

thcri
11-09-2006, 07:59 AM
I also use a Garmin for various applications such as plotting things of interest outdoors and Geo Caching.

Take the time to look at the TomTom gps system for mobile applications. From all reports I have seen it is as good or better than all others now being sold. I personally have never used one but they do sound to be simple to operate and rank with the best of any other brand.



Alllllll right:applause: :applause: another Geo Cacher! :thumb:

From what I heard the Tom Tom system is a good one also. Also if you check pricing from the web places you will find them a lot cheaper in price compared to the big box boys.

murph

Dargo
11-09-2006, 08:08 AM
I researched quite a bit yesterday and found that the Garmin Nuvi 350 was the highest rated mobile GPS system. Consumer Reports rated it tops by a fair margin. It just so happened that my local Sam's Club only had 2 of them left when I got back by there, so I grabbed her one. They were actually $529, not $539. As compared to the last one I bought her, this one is fantastic! It was up and running right away. It updated itself in about 3 minutes by just plugging a USB cord to it. It comes with no software to mess with; for better or worse. Best of all, my wife was able to easily operate all functions and enter a destination in seconds. The touch screen options are very well organized and very intuitive. Best of all, it was less expensive than most all others. :thumb: So far, I couldn't be happier with it!

Melensdad
11-09-2006, 09:18 AM
I've been considering some of these portable units because I would like to build one into the Jeepster during the restoration. I looked a a few at the local Radio Shack store and was really surprised by how small the screens on these things are.

I've got a handheld Magellin Color Meridian that is OK, but the screen is even smaller than the units you guys are talking about. I've also got the NAV system in my Touareg, and the screen is about 50% larger than any of the portable NAV systems I've looked at.

TomTom, BTW, seemed pretty easy to use.

Does the Garmin Nuvi 350 integrate into the car stereo to mute the stereo when it is giving directional instructions?

Dargo
11-09-2006, 09:46 AM
Does the Garmin Nuvi 350 integrate into the car stereo to mute the stereo when it is giving directional instructions?

I think the new, more expensive, model may do that. It definitely has bluetooth capabilities and will "mate" with other bluetooth devices and work with them. I was too cheap and didn't want to complicate things more for her.

The Nuvi 350 I bought brags about being able to play MP3 files and also able to read audiobooks. I thought it would be a joke, but I put 3 audio books on a 2 gig SD chip and put it in the Nuvi. I'll be darned. It plays them fine, plenty loud, and plays them in the background while navigating. You reminded me of this when you mentioned the "muting". The Nuvi mutes the audiobook when giving verbal directions and then picks back up on the book where it left off. I like that because I don't have to worry about not hearing what street to turn on because of listening to an audiobook. My iQue M5 will do the same thing, but the speaker is so small that it's a joke. They certainly fixed that issue with the newer models.

Dargo
11-09-2006, 02:46 PM
Well, my wife gave the little Nuvi a test run today and it got a two thumbs up rating. I've not been very successful in copying pages from the internet here, but here goes another try. This is the most recent ratings (a couple of months old) of portable GPS systems. I played the "gotta touch it" shopper yesterday and tried out several of them. I'd rate all I tried as better than the ones out a few years ago, and I'd also agree with their ratings. I still couldn't get it sized right and have it look worth a hoot, (if someone knows how to do this, I'd be happy to send them the clear .jpg and have them resize it and post it for me :mad:) but here is what they had to say:

rlk
11-09-2006, 06:18 PM
What is the thought of the Nuvi 350 units? Does anyone have one? If so, what do you think of it?
Dargo, I realize you have already purchased the Nuvi. I also have the Nuvi 350. Mine has been flawless, but a couple of things I have noticed:

1. Sometimes you will pass through an intersection before your location is shown on the map. If you are in town, and driving slowly this may not be a problem, however, when on a highway at higher speeds, I notice the screen is updated about a second or so late.

2. Sometimes when you power the unit up after it has been powered down for a day or so, it can take a very long time for the Nuvi to find the satellites. I'm talking 5 - 10 minutes to acquire the satellites.

Occasionally while waiting for the unit to acquire the satellites, the unit will ask you if you are indoors. If you answer no, it will search a while, then ask you if you have driven hundreds of miles since you powered the unit down. If you answer no, it will ask you to verify the current day / date. Usually a few minutes later it will find the satellites.

When this happens around my home, it is not too much of a concern. When this happens while on a trip, and I'm in a strange city, this can be quite annoying. When you are sitting in a hotel parking lot waiting for the Nuvi to acquire the satellites so you can drive to a meeting can be annoying as &*(*&.

I wish the Nuvi would mark your trail, like my other GPS unit does. Sometimes when I'm in a strange neighborhood, I would like to know which streets I have already been down. My other unit leaves "bread crumbs" showing where you have driven. Unfortunately the Nuvi will not do this.

I like the Nuvi, but it does have a few flaws.

Bob

thcri
11-09-2006, 06:27 PM
They were actually $529, not $539.


Dang Dargo you got a good price. Sam's around here is about a 100 higher. I recomended buying online but you got a better price than online which surpises me.

Good luck with it.

Dargo
11-09-2006, 06:39 PM
I wish the Nuvi would mark your trail, like my other GPS unit does. Sometimes when I'm in a strange neighborhood, I would like to know which streets I have already been down. My other unit leaves "bread crumbs" showing where you have driven. Unfortunately the Nuvi will not do this.

I like the Nuvi, but it does have a few flaws.

Bob

My iQue M5 has a track map. I didn't even know it had that for about the first 6 months I had it. It was interesting to see where all I'd been in the last 6 months. So far the Nuvi has taken a max of about 1 to 2 minutes to locate the satellites; even the first time it was turned on and it thought it was in Taiwan. Do you have all the current download "fixes" and version 8 map system? My iQue used to take a while to lock on to satellites until I downloaded newer firmware for it and realized that you don't put the antenna straight up, but at a 90 degree angle to the unit; where the flat part of the antenna is pointing up. I'd been flipping the antenna on my iQue M5 straight up until I learned different. Boy, did that ever make a difference.

I'm heading out on an 18 hour drive with it now. I'll be able to give a much better review come Monday after I've used it for about 2500 miles. :thumb:

rlk
11-09-2006, 06:47 PM
My iQue M5 has a track map. I didn't even know it had that for about the first 6 months I had it. It was interesting to see where all I'd been in the last 6 months. So far the Nuvi has taken a max of about 1 to 2 minutes to locate the satellites; even the first time it was turned on and it thought it was in Taiwan. Do you have all the current download "fixes" and version 8 map system? My iQue used to take a while to lock on to satellites until I downloaded newer firmware for it and realized that you don't put the antenna straight up, but at a 90 degree angle to the unit; where the flat part of the antenna is pointing up. I'd been flipping the antenna on my iQue M5 straight up until I learned different. Boy, did that ever make a difference.

I'm heading out on an 18 hour drive with it now. I'll be able to give a much better review come Monday after I've used it for about 2500 miles. :thumb:

Yes, I have all the latest updates, except for the one that came this week. Also, I know about the antenna.

Good luck on your trip, and be careful.

Bob

Dargo
11-12-2006, 12:35 PM
Okay, beat this; 2386 miles of driving since Thursday evening! My eyeballs feel like sandpaper and the rest of my body feels like it has been dragged behind the car for the last 100 miles. :o

Anyway, before I go into hibernation due from only havine 2 hours of sleep since I woke Thursday morning, I can report that the Nuvi 350 has proven to be a complete and thorough success. It is easy enough for my wife to have already mastered it's functions and it performed flawlessly. The longest it's taken to ever lock on to satellites has been about 20 seconds and it never lost satellite connection; even when on the bottom of a double decker bridge, in dense mountains, and even through a 1/8 mile tunnel.

Overall rating after roughly the first 2500 miles of use: :thumb: :thumb:

dzalphakilo
11-12-2006, 01:11 PM
Dargo, I hope you picked up some grade B pure Vermont maple syrup on your trip!