A number of portable navigation systems, such as the Magellan RoadMate 800, claim they can be used in the car and on foot, but while they may be compact enough, their odd shapes don't make them ideal walking buddies. The Garmin Quest 2, however, is a different story. Its PDA-like form factor makes it a perfect travel companion, whether you're behind the wheel or hoofing it. Maps are now preloaded on the device, one of several nice upgrades over its predecessor. Of course, there are some trade-offs for its diminutive size. The display is rather small and isn't a touch screen. Voice-guided directions are only available when the unit is used with the included vehicle mount. And, it's a bit pricey at $750. Still, thanks to its portability and accurate directions, the Garmin Quest 2 is a solid choice if you're looking for a versatile GPS device.
At 4.5 by 2.2 by 0.9 inches and 5.5 ounces, the Garmin Quest 2 is roughly the size of a PDA. The device has a solid construction and is comfortable in the hand, but since you can view maps only in landscape mode, you must hold the unit horizontally when traveling on foot. The Quest's streamlined design includes a rear-side, flip-up antenna that stores flush with the system's surface and doesn't add extra bulk.
The Quest 2's face has a 2.2-by-1.5-inch screen that displays 256 colors at a 240-by-160-pixel resolution. It's not the sharpest or brightest screen we've seen, and it's certainly not the largest. Fortunately, the system supports voice-guided directions (via the included 12-volt power/speaker adapter on the windshield mount), so you don't have to rely solely on text directions while driving. Also on the upside, the screen is readable in direct sunlight. Because the Quest 2 doesn't have a touch screen, all functions are handled through the nine rubberized controls to the right of display: power on/off, find, zoom in, zoom out, menu, speak, OK, page, and a four-way navigation toggle. (A keyboard appears onscreen whenever a text entry is required.) Though the buttons are tactile, the menus and interface aren't all that intuitive and require a number of extra steps just to accomplish one task.
Finishing out the Quest 2's design are a USB port and external antenna jack on the back, both of which are protected by an attached rubber cover. Aside from the aforementioned windshield mount and adapter, Garmin packages the Quest 2 with a USB cable and reference material. Unfortunately, you can't use the USB cable to charge the internal battery, and since the Quest 2 is such a portable device, we think a carrying case would have been nice. On a brighter note, the vehicle mount did a good job of holding the unit in place during our test drives. The Quest 2 also meets IEC 60529 IPX7 standards, meaning it can withstand submersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes--good to know, if you're using the Quest 2 for outdoor activities.