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Customer Review

796 of 812 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but some problems!, February 19, 2010
This review is from: Garmin nuvi 1350/1350T 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
After using my friend's Nuvi in Scotland last year I said I have to have one of these! It worked great and saved us many lost hours while effortlessly assisting us through hundreds of poorly signed round-abouts. He had a basic but very reliable Nuvi without many features other than direction finding, which is the main idea. I wanted a reliable Nuvi but with a few of the more interesting features. After reading reviews I eliminated the 700 & 800 series because of all the reported freezes. I eliminated any with bluetooth functions for the same reason. After a lot of reviewing I went with the 1350T. I wanted lane assist and I wanted cityXplorer mapping because we go overseas a lot and I wanted to have enhanced pedestrian capabilities. I live in a rural town so free traffic alerts wasn't too important but I do spend time in Phoenix, San Diego and LA occasionally so it was a plus.

I ordered the unit just prior to a trip from Phoenix to Sacramento. I'm a manual reader so I printed a copy of the instructions from the Garmin web site and read them thoroughly before messing with the unit (the quick start instructions included with the unit are worthless). Before doing anything else I bought a USB cable so that I could connect to my computer. Everyone should have the cable and it's ridiculous that Garmin doesn't provide the cable with the unit because you need it to register and get current software. Once I had the cable I connected to Garmin's web site and registered the unit and updated the maps and firmware. It's a little tricky but not too difficult...and I'm not very technical. I also purchased and downloaded radar detection software because Phoenix, Tucson and much of Arizona is loaded with scum-sucking radar detectors. I also did the screen calibration on page 47 of the manual because several reviews indicated that it made the touch screen interface much more reliable. I wanted to take some out-of-the-way highways on my trip so I programmed in some "via points" to use along the way. These are points that allow you to divert to another location or highway while keeping the same ultimate destination programmed. The night before the trip I was playing with the unit checking out the "browse map" function. It seemed to be a worthless function and it wasn't responsive with the screen being too small to be useful anyway. Just as I was about to get out of the browse mode the screen went dark. The unit was fully charged but I could not turn it back on again. I tried with the car plug adaptor, the USB cable, the on/off button...everything. The next morning before my trip it still wouldn't start. I sent the unit back and requested a replacement. After getting the replacement I went through the same processes again as outlined above except that I won't use the "browse map" function again. I took the unit on a trip from No. Arizona to Orange County then San Diego and back again. For the most part the unit worked very well. It did freeze once and the screen went dark again when I was programming in a location. I waited about 10 minutes and to my great relief it did restart but I was about to toss it out the window if it didn't restart. One time in a very complicated freeway interchange in San Diego it lost position and started "recalculating". If I had not known where I was going I could have easily taken the wrong offramp.

While traveling through Riverside, CA the Garmin indicated that there was some traffic ahead. I touched the screen to see the traffic map and the screen indicated the length and time of the potential delay. It was a short delay so I continued on and it turned out to be very accurate. I was impressed but another time in San Diego it indicated a short delay and there was no delay at all. So, just be aware that it's only as good as the information it receives from the reporting station.

For fun I also wanted to load some thumbnail pictures for my home and family destination "favorites". I could find no directions on how to do this, even in the full manual printout so I called Garmin. It's easy to do. Just connect your Nuvi to your computer, double click the Garmin icon and open the Garmin folder. There is a jpeg folder in the Garmin folder. Drag your jpeg photo and drop into the jpeg folder. Then eject and disconnect your Garmin. To add the picture to a "favorite" select "favorite"; "press for more"; press "edit"; "change photo"; select a photo and you're done.

I noticed that when going to a location and returning the directions to and from are not always the same. It sometimes sends you slightly out of the way either coming or going. I think that's because it seems to have a penchant for giving you right turns instead of left turns when starting out from a location. For instance, when departing from a shopping center it might have you make a right turn leaving the center, rather than making a left turn, even if it's slightly out of the way. It's not a big deal but I find that curious.

I know a lot of people don't want to read the long manual but in my opinion it will save you a lot of early aggravation and will help you use all of the nice features this unit has. I have also found that if you take your time and don't start pushing functions before the unit has made a calculation or transitioned to another screen the unit is more reliable.

Pros:
1. Volume works great. I'm hard of hearing and 70% is plenty loud.
2. Satellite response time is quick and recalculating time is generally very responsive
3. Lane assist is a great feature especially on major thoroughfares and freeways.
4. Speaks street names clearly and is surprisingly close on correct pronunciation. (Spanish street names can be fun though). Male & Female voice available.
5. Shows posted speed limit and actual driving speed which is a great feature.
6. Turn list viewing is a nice feature especially in unfamiliar areas with a lot of turns ahead.
7. I like the time or distance to destination feature. The time estimates to a destination have been quite accurate. It's a nice feature especially on long legs.

Cons:
1. No USB cable included
2. No manual (you must print from web site and it's over 60 pages).
3. May lose power and not restart for some time (or not at all as with my 1st unit). This is the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.
4. Even though I made the screen calibration, when typing in addresses some of letters don't response as easily as they should.
5. Browse Map feature glitchy and worthless.

Update 6/25/12: It's been two years since I purchased this item and it is working perfectly. I have not had any more problems with the unit going dark or losing power or having to restart. For whatever reason this issue has just gone away. I have also purchased an additional mapping chip for a trip to Italy. The unit worked great on major roads and highways but when exploring in the old rural countryside there were a lot of bad directions. I asked an Italian woman about this and she said very few locals use GPS because the mapping software is notoriously unreliable on all GPS units. I also purchased a chip for Ireland on a trip there and the unit worked great! It was very reliable and a real time and stress saver. I received a message from Garmin that there was an update on the mapping software so I purchased the update and wish I hadn't. I found that the previous mapping was more accurate than the update. Also the update file was so large that I was unable to include mapping for Canada. I rarely go to Canada but I never would have purchased the update had I known the mapping and file size issues. I still love this unit though and would buy a similar Garmin product in the future.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 8, 2010 10:51:38 AM PST
I would like to thank you for taking the time to make such a thorough review of this product. I just ordered one for myself and am certain that I have learned much useful information from you.

Posted on Mar 9, 2010 4:08:53 PM PST
Your right...this was like reading a manual, but I actually enjoyed reading all you had to share as I am considering this purchase. I learned alot and had a few laughs along the way. Today was a hectic day at work, but you have made my night! Thanks for taking the time! It's appreciated!

Posted on Jun 3, 2010 4:40:14 AM PDT
Cats Rule says:
THANK YOU! I'll be reading my manual (online).

Posted on Aug 20, 2010 7:45:19 AM PDT
CSC says:
Mine also lost power - screen just "went black" as you described. This was after about a month of daily use. I replaced it with the same model and it went black the next day. I've always been happy with Garmin, but this is definitely an issue if it has happened to you as well.

Posted on Aug 24, 2010 2:53:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 3, 2010 2:26:47 AM PDT
Wow, mine just went black yesterday after nearly 8 months of almost daily use. I was hoping there was a way to re-boot it or something, but now I'm guessing I'm out of luck there.
Other than that, it's been a great help on the road with the exception of unreliable traffic reports. After a while I realized I couldn't trust it to predict delays (or the lack thereof) on my commute to work.
Mine was a Christmas gift and I think I'll go ahead and risk buying another because it's such a great help on the road.

edit Sept 3:
Mine has been resurrected from the dead. I had unplugged and re-plugged on more than occasion, hoping it would pop back to life. I left it alone for an hour and then a day, but it remained dead.
Then yesterday, I was trying to force myself to part with it and tried plugging it in one last time.
Eureka! It is up and running again and acts as if nothing ever happened. Everything in memory is still there.
I wouldn't want to take a road trip with this as my only GPS. All I need is for it to leave me alone in the middle of nowhere.

Posted on Dec 3, 2010 10:49:29 AM PST
Jugger G. says:
Regarding the issue you had where typing letters didn't respond the way they should, make sure you have checked via the Garmin Updater since you bought it for a fix as they do often have updates that addresses these issues but I have encountered a number of people who either don't understand how to update their unit, or simply didn't know they could. I have the 755T model I bought about two years ago and mine was notoriously bad when touching a key on the keyboard and it typing out a totally different letter but earlier this year Garmin released an update for my model which improved it greatly. While the problem is still there, it is nowhere near as bad as it was.

Posted on Jan 16, 2011 1:48:16 PM PST
I am new in California, am now shopping for a gps. I find your review extremely helpful, especially to a person who is not electronically savvy. I will go buy one and follow your valuable advice.

Posted on Feb 15, 2011 6:10:10 PM PST
Charity Kipp says:
I'm hard of hearing also and so, though the whole review was helpful, your opinion of the volume was especially so. Thanks!

Posted on May 12, 2011 2:09:10 PM PDT
JayBards says:
Really thorough review. Thanks!

I have the same detector and was wondering where you purchased the radar detection software (and hardware, too, I presume). Thanks, again.

Posted on Aug 21, 2011 12:38:01 PM PDT
Luis E. L. C says:
I want to buy GPS Garmin Model 1300LM or 1370/1370T please let me know if these items also came in Spanish language.
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