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Garmin Nuvi 360

At a Glance
  • Garmin nuvi 360 GPS (City/Vehicle, 3.5" LCD)

    PCWorld Rating

The Nuvi 360 is compact--about the size and weight of a deck of cards--but a capable navigator. Besides offering first-rate maps and an intuitive interface (with features like 3D maps and pronunciation of street names), the diminutive GPS lets you choose a voice from among several different English ac­ cents. It also features a media player for viewing images and listening to audio, language guides from Oxford University Press, and travel information (including restaurants, hotels, and points of interest) from Fodor's North America.

The device's long battery life enhances its portability: It ran for 4 hours, 6 minutes in my test--more than 30 minutes longer than any of the other four devices I tested for "GPS Devices: Road-Tested and Reviewed." Unfortunately, the Nuvi 360 lacks a pedestrian mode for obtaining information on pathways that a car can't travel, though you can use it outside a vehicle; the device does not provide speed warnings or school-zone alerts, either. You can use it to listen to music and audio-book files stored on an SD or MMC card while navigating, but you can't stream the sound or the voiced navigation instructions through your car's FM radio. You can also buy an optional ($75) SD card with a language guide for six languages.

The Nuvi's SiRF Star III GPS transceiver latches onto satellite signals quickly, and the routes the device suggested were timely and accurate. The device's smallish (3.5-inch diagonal) display can't fit in the amount of information shown on de­ vices with 4.3-inch screens; it is easy to read even in bright sunlight, however, and the touch-screen controls make entering street addresses and changing settings quick and simple. The unit's Safe mode (off by de­ fault) prevents you from changing certain settings, to help you avoid getting distracted while driving. You can enter a code to prevent unauthorized use, too.

The compact Nuvi's accuracy, features, and battery life make it the best value among the five GPS devices I tested for our February 2008 print issue.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This tiny, affordable GPS device offers high-end features such as travel information.

    Pros

    • Bluetooth connectivity
    • Long battery life

    Cons

    • Relatively small screen
    • Lacks speed alerts and other safety options
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