Garmin has made a name for itself in the field of navigation with products like the GPS trainer watch and they have even partnered with Asus to bring us the A10, a decent phone with an amazing GPS system. But, with most mainstream phones nowadays sporting GPS functionality, do we still need a  dedicated GPS device? Garmin has sent us their nüvi 1460 and 1360 GPS devices and we’ve put them to the test to find out if it’s really worth the investment.

Design and Build
Both the models that we received were pretty much similar, except for the screen sizes and one or two features that were missing in the smaller unit, but it’s nothing major that you’ll miss. The design reminds us a lot of the Zebronics Zebmate Cinema 4.3 PMP player. The build is sturdy and the rear of the device has a rubber coating for added grip. Connectivity includes a microSD card slot and micro-USB port for charging and transferring data to the device. There’s a large speaker grill on the back for the turn-by-turn navigation. Both devices feature Bluetooth for pairing your phone, so you can make/receive calls through the GPS device.

Easy to access options

Easy to access options

The 5-inch resistive screen on the nüvi 1460 makes it easy to see from any driving position. Even though it’s not capacitive, it’s not too shabby either. The device uses a rechargeable Li-ion battery that will last you up to 3hrs of continuous use. Garmin also bundles a vehicle suction cup mount, power cable and pre-loaded NAVTEQ maps for India.

Features
Interface
The interface is very straightforward and easy to use. You can either select where you want to go by electing ‘Where to?’ or simply jump to the map view to see where you’re going. You can even choose you’re mode of transport in the ‘Settings’, so if you choose ‘Pedestrian’, you’ll get the quickest way to your destination rather than choosing automobile, bicycle or truck.

Simple and lightweight

Simple and lightweight

If you’re new to an area, you can select ‘Points of Interest’ to find out places to eat and drink, fuel stations, transit, lodging, shopping, etc. EcoRoute helps you keep a track of your fuel consumption. Other than navigation, the nüvi 1460 also features a picture viewer, world clock, calculator, unit converter. Now, let’s put it to the test and see how effective it really is.

Performance
Before setting out, we updated the software to the latest version on Garmin’s website. We first tried out the pedestrian mode and set the GPS to the nearest Monginis cake shop. Initially, it takes a while to get the signal, but after that, it updates your real-time position pretty accurately down to which side of the road you’re on. The GPS was able to guide us to the exact location of the shop, unfortunately the shop was no longer at that location, which was sad since we didn’t get cake, but on the bright side, we know the device works well.

Hunting down the cake shop

Hunting down the cake shop

The next test was using it in a car to see if it was better than a free app for a smartphone. The bundled suction cup makes it easy to mount on your windscreen and ball and socket joint let’s you easily adjust the orientation. For the turn-by-turn navigation, you can choose the language for the voice prompt from American/British English to Hindi, Indian English. Alternately, you can select a voice that will also speak the street names as you approach them. The pronunciation is a bit weird and many times funny, especially with the Indian street names.

We put the nüvi 1460 up against Waze, a free navigation app for iOS and Andriod, that also has turn by-turn navigation. Straight away we came across a problem. The Garmin doesn’t allow you to enter a specific address; you can either enter the postal code or city. Even if you select city, you have to enter a 'House No.', which not all houses in India have, especially if you're living in a building. You could search for the place through the ‘Points of Interest’ menu, but that’s a lengthy procedure and you have to rely on the device if it has a landmark close to where you wish to go. The Indian voice for turn-by-turn navigation isn't very helpful, it still has an American accent, which means you won’t be able to understand her most of the time. While it found our destination of Malabar Hill, we weren’t able to specify the exact location of where we wanted to go. The nüvi 1460 also seemed to get confused by fly-overs. On one hand it recognizes it them and will tell you to take it and then it tells you to make a right, while you are on the flyover!

Menu's are easy to navigate

Menu's are easy to navigate

The nüvi 1460 wasn’t able to detect small lanes or roads, as well, but neither did Waze. Also, Waze won’t speak the names of the streets, it will simply tell you to take a left in 100 meters. While the Garmin GPS sticks to the route you choose when you set off, it doesn’t seem to learn if there’s a better or quicker route as compared to Waze. Both the devices got us to our destination in the end, but overall, we found the free app to be more accurate and easier to use as compared to the nüvi 1460.

Verdict
Now comes the biggest blow and that’s the cost. The nüvi 1460 costs Rs.17,500, while it’s smaller sibling costs Rs.14,500. This is quite an investment since for the same money, one could buy a smartphone and simply use Google Maps. The Garmin GPS does have its advantages though for instance you don’t have to rely on any network provider for the loading the map, as all the information is already present. Also, the interface is easier to follow for non-techie people who might be intimidated  with apps on a smartphone.

Having said that, the nüvi 1460 didn’t perform, as well as we expected it to. Getting to a specific location is quite an ordeal, as there are too many steps involved. We’d give this Garmin GPS a skip, for now.

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