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iWay: Feature Rich

Lowrance made a valiant attempt to pack every possible option into its $500 iWay 350c. It's the only device here that has a built-in hard drive (a feature usually found only in more expensive devices), making points-of-interest searches and other data access faster than with flash media-based devices. Other features include an optional QWERTY layout on the alphanumeric entry pad; a trip calculator; and the ability to zoom in on the map by drawing a box with your finger on the 3.5-inch screen. A built-in FM transmitter lets you listen to directions while playing music stored on an SD Card.

Unfortunately, the iWay has a couple of difficult-to-ignore flaws. In my Mazda Miata, with its stiff suspension, the iWay's gooseneck windshield mount jiggled so badly that map reading was impossible most of the time. (This was not a problem in my softer-riding Toyota pickup.) Also, while the deeply layered menus are fairly well organized, entering street and business names took longer and felt more complicated than with other units.

The iWay generally provided accurate directions, although on one trip the map showed one thing and the voice prompt described another. Resetting to factory defaults seemed to correct the problem.

Bottom line: With a more robust mounting bracket and a better-organized menu system, the iWay would be a great buy.

At a Glance
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