Yeah, I'm fickle. If something more desirable comes along, I'll break up in an instant with an attractive piece of technology even if I've had great times with it.
So goodbye venerable Nuvi 350, who's been a part of my life since November 2006. Thanks to an after-Christmas Amazon sale, I'm now in an increasingly intimate relationship with a younger Nuvi, the 285W.
My only significant gripe with the 350 was how she mispronounced basic names, like "drive." We live on Lake Drive, or in Nuvi-speak, Lake Dr. For three years I've listened to a female voice guide me home by saying "Turn on Lake Doctor SE."
No matter how many times I screamed at the GPS device No! It's drive, DRIVE! she kept on with her irritating ways. The 350 also had trouble with some other words, while the Nuvi 285W has been pleasingly correct with its pronunciation so far.
This alone is worth the $135 I paid for it. But I've found quite a few other improvements over the 350. Such as...
Faster start-up time. I just conducted an inside-the-house test. From the moment I pressed the "on" button, it took 23 seconds on the Nuvi 350 to get to the home screen, compared to 17 seconds on the 285W. Four satellite reception bars appeared at 1:40 on the 350, and at 1:13 on the 285W.
Bigger screen. W is for widescreen, I believe. Which figures, since the 285W has considerably more viewing territory than the 350. Pressing "view map" on both GPS devices, I could see a lot more of our neighborhood on the 285W. Plus, street names for our rural area showed up, while the 350 was nameless.
Better searches. I like how the 285W lets you choose a distant city and then do searches for food, lodging, and such. I'm pretty sure the 350 can't do this. The "Where Am I?" feature also is nice, showing GPS coordinates, nearest address, and nearest intersection (along with buttons for "hospitals," "police stations," and "fuel").
Bluetooth. Only problem is, I barely know what Bluetooth is all about, never having used a device with it. Even so, I managed to get my iPhone and the 285W connected. Now I just need to figure out why I need Bluetooth (Oregon did just implement a law that banned talking on cell phones while driving without a hands free device, but I rarely use my iPhone as a phone (that's so last decade).
Cranked-up volume. Sometimes it was hard to hear the Nuvi 350 give her turn by turn directions, though I was glad to have the mispronunciations as garbled as possible. The 285W seems to offer a higher speaker volume, which is nice when I'm on a noisy road.
Both GPS receivers are terrific. I'm just finding that the Nuvi 285W is more refined and offers additional useful features -- which it should, being three years newer.
For example, the 285W shows the speed limit for non-urban roads. It seems to be quite accurate; as soon as I reached the 55 mph sign on Liberty Road that marks the end of 45 mph, "55 mph" popped up on the map.
These days, everybody should have a GPS device. Especially business people. Today a guy was scheduled to come out to our house and give us a bid on a repair job. He phoned three times before he arrived.
First call: he'd left our address at his office. I gave it to him, along with some rough directions. Second call: he couldn't find Lake Drive on his map. I told him we didn't live within the Salem city limits, so it probably wasn't going to show up on any of his maps. I gave him more detailed driving instructions. Third call: he said he couldn't find 10771 but was at 10371. I told him that was our house number. "Oh, I must have put down a 7 rather than a 3."
By this time I wasn't impressed with the guy's savvy. If he can't find our house, does he have the smarts to fix what needed repairing? A $95 Nuvi 205 GPS navigator would be a great sales pitch investment for him.