Garmin nuvi 360 GPS receiver review

GPS has long stopped being just a tool for getting you from A to B, and the Garmin nuvi 360 is no exception.

Whether it's directions, listening to MP3s, getting the low down on places to visit or even making phone calls the nuvi seems to have it all.

The unit itself is a slim device slightly larger than a pack of playing cards that sports a 3.5-inch touch screen and a folding out SiRFIII GPS antenna. The unit off the cradle is incredibly thin and with GPS related crime on the increase, you won't have any problems slipping this into a jacket pocket or bag away from the car.

This petit size follows through to the cradle, which comes in two parts to help keep it compact and we especially like the fact that the cradle has a power socket at the rear so the power lead is kept out the way.

With no buttons, control is completely orchestrated via the unit's touchscreen and luckily Garmin has designed the unit for people with large fingers (read that as fat).

On start up, the screen offers three choices - the chance to view the map, the chance to ask for directions and finally the chance to access the unit's multimedia features in the Travel Pack.

The last one is where the unit's stranger options come in, including the option of having the nuvi 360 translate foreign languages or read audible books to you via an SD card. Like the MP3 player, these functions are inhibited by the fact that the unit's speaker is rather lacklustre and certainly not a scratch on Sony's Nav-U range with its twin stereo speakers.

The feature we do like however is the tourist guide of major European cities, and the nuvi 360 gives you information on galleries, museums and other major tourist attractions all at the touch of a couple of buttons. Where the section works best, is that there is a Go! button that will automatically plot a route for you from wherever you are to the chosen attraction.

When it comes to plotting the route the software interface is very simple although it would have been nice if it didn't ask us which country we wanted to search every time.

That said, the route information was very good and even showed us a couple of short cuts in London that we didn't know (we've been driving the same route for over 6 years), however the preferences menu was a tad confusing - we had to look in the instruction book to find out how to change road preferences.

Verdict

Overall, the Garmin nuvi 360 is an impressive machine. It's thin, easy to use and comes with plenty of features.

The only thing that lets the nuvi down is the lack of a decent speaker to share the voice instructions and the extras like the MP3 player and translator.

So what's the real catch? The price. At almost £400, this is at the top end of the GPS market and puts it against the TomTom 910. It's clear you are paying for the size, easy to use mapping interface and Bluetooth connectivity to connect your mobile phone for hands free calling.

Unfortunately, for us half the features like the MP3 player underperformed due to that speaker, meaning the nuvi 360 falls short of top marks.