Garmin Nuvi 310d

I bought a Garmin Nuvi 310 sat nav system over the holidays.

It is a nice device, a good size, neither too small nor large, and the “d” bundle came with most of the accessories one might want, like the USB cable, carry case, mountings and so on, as well as a DVD with map information, that I haven’t gone near yet.

I discovered with some pleasure that at least one upgrade was installable on Debian GNU/Linux using the Java application at their site, whether or not it will be possible to avoid Windows for upgrades in all cases I don’t yet know.

The maps are accurate, with only a small number of very new changes not appearing on them so far, the device calculates, and recalculates routes quickly, and acquires a satellite lock very rapidly, even without the external antenna. It’s a nice feature that the internal antenna turns off the power to the GPS as soon as its closed up. A comprehensive list of categorized destinations, such as restaurants, airports, hospitals and shops is very easy to access. The screen is bright and easy to control.

One reason I bought this model is that it can act as a bluetooth handsfree kit for a phone, in my case a Sony Ericsson K800i. I have a headset, but this was a big draw for the extra money for me. Out of the box, I paired it with my phone quickly, and I am able to receive calls with good clarity with no problems. Beautifully the device accesses the phone books, call lists and so on from your phone allowing a nice interface to it from the device directly.

I did hit one big problem, I could not dial out. None of that functionality worked, the garmin “dialled” the number but the phone did nothing. I contacted Garmin support today (their website is … um … awful for support navigation) and was immediately told the phone needed an update. I was surprised, and skeptical since the phone has continuously told me that it has the latest software when I have asked it to update itself. Nevertheless, I went to the Sony Ericsson website and found a Windows (yuck), Flash (yuck) program for updating the phones. They were correct, there was an update for the phone and it has done the trick.

All in all, first impressions are a great device. One tiny niggle… I wish the keyboard could be laid out in QWERTY format rather than ABCDE.

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