27 December, 2010

Garmin nüvi 1350

Updated: 5 Feb 11

I bought the nüvi 1350 for $187 from The Good Guys on 27 Dec 10, because it was the cheapest price I'd seen. The 1390 was quite cheap as well, but I decided I didn't need such a powerful GPS. This is my experience with it.

  • It's smaller and lighter than I thought. Maybe I'm out of touch with GPS units.
  • Design is simple. I like it.
  • Screen is quite readable in bright sunlight. I put a screen protector at first, then removed it since it was interfering with the touch input.
  • It can switch to night mode automatically, but this is based on time, not ambient light.
  • Loud enough.
  • Resistive touchscreen, for whoever's asking.
  • I never thought much of suction mounts, but this is very sturdy. It feels like the windscreen will give way before the mount.
  • Build quality is not so good. Silver bezel feels loose.
  • Why is the USB port on the back? The unit can't lay flat on a table when it's plugged in.
  • No manual, no CD, no USB cable
  • The car adaptor provided is a 12V to mini USB. Why don't they provide a 12V to USB and mini USB cable? It wouldn't cost much more, this way people would have a USB cable and be able to charge other USB devices like their phone
They say you should remove your GPS, the mount, and even all traces of the mount when you park your car. Removing your GPS - ok. Removing the mount - I'd do that. But who keeps a bottle of alcohol in the car to remove those round marks?

  • Very user friendly interface
  • Large amounts of spoken languages to choose from
  • But reads "NBND" when it should just say "northbound" (British English)
  • You can scroll maps and select destinations on the map. This is great for people who still want an idea of where they're going.
  • Does not keep chiming when you exceed the speed limit. I used a Tomtom that would chime NON STOP. This is not a matter of speeding - sometimes the maps are outdated.
  • Easily display coordinates, nearest junction etc. Great for emergencies or saving locations.
  • Turns on automatically when you start the engine
  • And doesn't turn off when the power goes out
  • Remembers previous destination when switched off and resumes when switched on!
  • An odd feature is it can take screenshots. It's useful, but I wonder what kind of company would add this feature (the kind I like).
  • It can record your past route and shows it on the map (security issue - disable unless necessary)
  • Shows statistics like distance, time, time waiting etc.
  • Navigating to photos is a sham. You'd think you'd be able to upload a photo to the unit, and select "Go to photo", but you can only navigate to photos you download from their website.
  • An irritating thing is you can't use it when it's connected to your computer. Like the Kindle, it enters USB mode, but unlike the Kindle, you can't exit this. If you select disconnect on your computer, the unit restarts and re-enters USB mode. On the Kindle if you disconnect it resumes normal operation. It also enters USB mode if you use a wall USB charger.
  • It came with free map updates, but updating is unnecessarily complicated. You have to sign up for an account, register your GPS, download the updating software, download the update, then install the update. Can't they just give you a custom file that only works with your serial number?

  • Acquires position and recalculates pretty quickly
  • Lane guidance isn't that great. You'd think it can identify what lane you're in and tell you to get into the correct lane, but all it does is show a little icon on the top left of which lane you should get into. Most of the time, this icon has the wrong number of lanes.
  • Poor reception in Melbourne city. Is it possible to get a GPS unit that can work in the city?

In conclusion, I think it's a very useful device to have. This is my first GPS, and I think a GPS may just become a necessity when driving. I don't want to become dependent on it though. Compared to other GPS, I think it has the advantages of ease of use (especially the interface and scrollable maps) and fast performance.

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