The Good The compact Garmin Nüvi 350 has a strong GPS receiver and includes lots of travel-friendly features.
The Bad The Garmin Nüvi 350 is expensive, and the traffic receiver and the travel-guide programs cost extra. The Nüvi also lacks an external volume control.
The Bottom Line No bigger than a deck of cards, the Garmin Nüvi 350 is more than just another voice-guided GPS device, packing in travel tools, entertainment features, and good performance; just be prepared to pay a price.
Garmin Nuvi 350
Garmin Nüvi 350
Veteran navigation manufacturer Garmin International breaks new ground with its Garmin Nüvi 350. This ultraportable device aims to be the ultimate travel companion, acting as a GPS navigator, a personal traveling assistant, and a digital entertainment center. Unfortunately, you'll pay a premium for all these features. Its retail price of $969 may be more than you're willing to spend on a pocket-size GPS system, and if you want to take advantage of any of the travel tools, such as the language translator, you'll have to shell out even more money. That said, if you crave the latest technology and a big wow factor, the high-performance Garmin Nüvi 350 should be at the top of your list. No bigger than a deck of cards (3.8 by 2.0 by 0.8 inches; 5.1 ounces), the Garmin Nüvi 350 is small and light enough to fit comfortably in your pocket. The unit's centerpiece is a bright 3.5-inch color touch screen, framed by a thin silver bezel. The 320x240-resolution screen is daylight readable and has five backlight-timer settings. Other than a power switch located on the upper bezel, the Nüvi is devoid of function buttons. Instead, all commands are entered via the responsive touch screen and the user-friendly menu system, although you can use the power button as a shortcut to jump from screen to screen. While the lack of buttons gives the unit a sleek, uncluttered look, a dedicated volume control would be welcome; instead, you have to switch to a settings page to adjust the volume.
A flip-up antenna folds into the back of the case, right above the internal speaker and grille. Along the right side of the Garmin Nüvi 350 are an SD (Secure Digital) card slot, a USB port, and a headphone jack. The Nüvi has 2GB of internal flash memory, half of which is dedicated to the user interface and detailed maps of North America. That leaves about 1GB of storage for digital photos, music, and Audible Book files. The Nüvi is recognized as a removal drive when connected to your PC's USB port, so you can drag and drop files easily into the unit's folders. Included with this Garmin GPS is a suction-cup mount that attaches to your car's windshield and a disc for mounting it on your dashboard; a 12-volt power adapter; a USB cable; and a small carrying case. You can charge the internal lithium-ion battery in your car with the 12-volt adapter or by plugging it into your PC's USB port.
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