First Thoughts – Garmin iQue 3600

by Reads (3,723)

The Garmin has left me with mixed emotions thus far. I’m having a great deal of fun with the GPS, but the lack of Wireless Options leaves me wanting more. In the end it’s a decision based on need and whether or not you can hold out for wireless support, which has been around the corner for almost a year.

Overall, I find the quality of the unit to be fairly solid, it’s a grey plastic casing that has become quite standard. You’ll find all the normal bits, including a port to add an external antenna for the GPS receiver. The iQue has a single SD slot, which after playing with the dual-slotted (one SD and one CF) h2215 for almost a month, made me a little sad. It is SDIO compatible though, so when the WiFi cards finally come out you’ll be in business. Just be ready to switch back and forth between that and the memory card.

The screen has been a major issue so far for me. It blinks when I enter text in the virtual graffiti area and the surface is rough. The stylus does not slide smoothly…it almost feels like it’s coated with something dirty. I tried cleaning it and did not experience any better results. It seems bright enough though, which is nice and performs reasonably well outside, which is where most buyers will use it.

The GPS and mapping programs have been a delight so far. I installed most of Ohio to my SD card and those maps only took up a touch under 30 MB. I’m not entirely sure how large all the maps are, and it’s not based on acreage. There are thousands of points of interest that pop up on the map. Anything from amusement parks, restaurants, office buildings and recreation areas will all show up. I found a restaurant and told the Garmin to route me there and it’s voice prompts immediately took over. A car mounting kit is definitely a required accessory if you’re going to be driving with this device. Having it near the windshield will greatly improve its accuracy and your sanity.

I’ll have more detail in a full review forthcoming. I’m loving the GPS, even completed my first “GeoCache” today (http://www.geocaching.com). I left a brand new Tungsten T leather case if any of you are near Cincinnati. The lack of wireless is a problem for me…I’m just hoping the new WiFi and Bluetooth cards will work with the iQue. I’m concerned that the GPS may be an issue, but I imagine if GPS is turned off, there shouldn’t be a comflict. I also need to dig into this screen issue a bit further. I don’t know if the flickering is my unit or all units. If this is a pervasive problem, frequent users of the transcriber are going to be angry. I’m not ready to proclaim the iQue 3600 a winner, but I will say it’s the best option for PDAs with integrated GPS. I know…it’s the only option…

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