Garmin Nuvifone G60 (AT&T) review:

Garmin Nuvifone G60 (AT&T)

Maps are available in 2D and 3D view, and you can change it so either north is always at the top of your screen or the direction in which you are driving is. A plus and minus icon on the map screen lets you zoom in and out, and there's a trip information page that displays your speed, direction, trip time, and so forth. If you'd like, there's also a trip log where you can view data, such as distance traveled and total trip time. In addition to the visual aids, you, of course, get voice-guided turn-by-turn directions with text-to-speech functionality. If a call comes in during , the Nuvifone will pause voice prompts until you've hung up and then pick up from your current location.

For some peace of mind, the G60 has the "Where am I?" feature found on Garmin's Nuvi devices, which gives you the coordinates of your location, the nearest address, and intersection, and lists the closest hospitals, police stations, and gas stations to your position. The feature is a bit hidden though. You have to go to the Tools section on the right side of the main menu, and you'll see it at the top of the list, along with some other utilities, such as a calculator, a clock, a converter, and some of the Premium Connected Services.

Of course, we know that the Nuvifone G60 doesn't stop at just driving directions and marks Garmin's first foray into the smartphone space. As a phone, the quad-band G60 offers world roaming capabilities, a speakerphone, call waiting, and call forward. It has a 5,000-entry address book (the SIM card can hold an additional 250 contacts), and each contact file can hold multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, personal information, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo or a custom ringtone.

The Nuvifone G60 offers a full array of wireless options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G data and voice. Supported Bluetooth profiles include wireless and stereo headsets, hands-free kits, and remote audio control. Whether using Wi-Fi or 3G, the full HTML browser is bound to frustrate you, as it loads pages slowly and it requires a lot of zooming and panning to view pages. Using AT&T's 3G network, it took CNN and ESPN's full sites to load in 1 minute and 34 seconds and 1 minute and 5 seconds, respectively. Some pages loaded so slowly, enough that the progress pinwheel icon stopped in motion that we thought the phone had crashed but eventually it would start chugging along again. Also, while you can e-mail and bookmark links, there's no way to open new windows or clear browser history.

Messaging also isn't the Nuvifone's strongpoint. To start, the G60 can send and receive text messages but not multimedia messages, and there are no instant-messaging clients. Also while it offers real-time deliver of Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, and other POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, you have to tether the phone to your PC to get Outlook synchronization. We thought the configuration process was confusing, in that there's little communication as to what's happening. We entered our Gmail log-in and password and then nothing happened. We weren't sure if the configuration had failed or if it was just taking a long time as there was no indication. Thinking that it was the former, we eventually walked away only to come back and see that our Gmail in-box had successfully synced with the Nuvifone.

Also, while Garmin says that there are document viewing capabilities, there isn't a file manager to find and open such files on you device or microSD card. Aside from the aforementioned tools, there aren't very many extra apps included on the device.

The Nuvifone's 3.2-megapixel camera took OK photos, but it can't record video.

For entertainment, there's a very basic music player that supports MP3 playback. On back, you'll also find a 3.2-megapixel camera. There are, however, no camera settings (white balance, resolution, for example) and it doesn't record video. You can geotag photos. Picture quality was OK. Images could have been sharper and colors a bit pale, but we were still able to make out objects in the photo. The Nuvifone G60 has about 2GB of user-available memory and a microSD expansion slot.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Garmin Nuvifone G60 in San Diego using AT&T service and call quality was decent. Though audio wasn't pristine, we were still able to enjoy mostly clear-sounding conversations with friends and had no problems using an airline's voice-automated response system. Our callers reported a bit of crackling on their end but no other major complaints. Speakerphone quality was quite good, though the audio could get a bit blown out at the highest volume. We paired the phone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones with no problem.

For the road test, we used the Nuvifone G60 on our trip from San Francisco to San Diego for the Fall CTIA 2009 show. From a cold start, it took about a minute for the G60 to lock onto the necessary satellites and find our location and subsequent starts were a bit faster. We plugged in our start and end points and the smartphone was able to come up with a route fairly quickly.

Once under way, the Nuvifone provided clear voice-guided directions. The text-to-speech pronunciation was decent and didn't mangle up too many street names. We encountered traffic as soon as we crossed into Los Angeles; the G60 alerted us to the congestion with a visual alert. Not wanting to get off the freeway, however, we opted to just work our way through the mess of the 405 freeway rather than have the GPS reroute us, which is possible. Speaking of which, we found that the rerouting capabilities could be a bit slow.

We made a pit stop in Carlsbad to visit some friends and first, the Nuvifone directed us to get off the freeway at an earlier exit than we had been told to take by our friends. It wasn't the most efficient route as we had to drive through more residential streets than necessary, but we took it as an opportunity to test the rerouting rate. We missed a few turns and there were several times that the GPS barely came up with new directions in time for us to make the next turn and as a result, it would have to recalculate the route again.

Once in downtown San Diego, we switched to pedestrian mode and walked around the Gaslamp Quarter. The Nuvifone G60 accurately tracked our position and helped us find places to eat by category. It would be cool, though, if the POI database offered reviews of the businesses.

The Garmin Nuvifone G60 features a 1,200mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 4 hours and up to 10 days of standby time. The G60 wasn't particularly impressive in our battery drain tests either, providing only 3 hours and 45 minutes of continuous talk time.

What you'll pay

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