I bought this as a replacement for a Garmin Zūmo 550. I was quite happy with the 550 but recently the motorcycle mount stopped working when it filled up with water, corroding the internal electronics. Also the power pin on the GPS unit itself partially burnt and pitted creating an intermittent connection on both the car and bike mounts. I could have bought another used Zūmo 550 and mount but was tempted by the design of new 350LM (I never considered the less robust looking 660) and liked the concept of lifetime maps.
It's great. Equally as good as the old 550 and far better in some respects. Solid build, more of a function over form design than the arguably more 'stylish' 660LM. I prefer the Zūmo 350LM case design - the all black sits better with my black bike.
Garmin have cleverly removed all the electronics from the mounts, which based on my recent experience is a good idea. No need to worry about covering up the mount when not in use. If the mount should become damaged by weather the only part that is likely to need replacing is the power cable.
But what have they done with the power cable? The 350LM runs on 5V so the 12V bike power needs to be stepped down and filtered and to do this they have added an inline box that's a bit bigger than a matchbox, along with a noise filter. This would be fine in a car, but on a bike? Where are you supposed to mount this box? I'm struggling to find a location on my BMW K1300s, not to mention the box means I can't feed the cable through any small holes when fitting. Brilliance and stupidity all in one Garmin!
On my old Zūmo 550 I had 1000 MP3 tracks loaded on the SD card to listen to on long trips. You can't do this on the 350LM. I figured this might be the case because everything is going iPhone and Bluetooth these days, but it's still disappointing. If you like your MP3s on your sat nav you need to buy the 660LM.
Can I pair my iPhone with the new 350LM and play music through it? Nope. Only a bluetooth headset. Text messages? Forget it. You'll need to buy the 660...
To get around these connectivity issue I'm now forced to buy a Scala G4 SOLO Motorcycle Handsfree Bluetooth Headset
so I can stream music from the iPhone to the headset and pair it with the 350LM to hear voice prompts (voice prompts automatically dip the sound from the iPhone). In short to be able to listen to music occasionally has now become a whole lot more complicated than simply plugging in my ear buds and clipping the Zūmo 550 onto the mount! Now if I want music and voice prompts, even if I only use either occasionally, I must have a bluetooth headset attached - and that's another thing to charge overnight!
The voice prompts don't sound as rich and full bodied as the 550. I guess because the 550 had an MP3 player it also has a good quality amplifier inside - or at least inside the motorcycle mount. The voices on the 350 sound thin and tinny in comparison but if you hadn't heard the Zūmo 550 before you probably won't mind. They're not unbearable but a bit 'telephonic' for my liking. I'm guessing the the 660LM would have better audio quality due it's built in MP3 capabilities.
The display is sharper than the 550 but Garmin have gone for more detail and reality in the map software which in my opinion just makes it harder to read. I'm sure I'll get used to it but at the moment I prefer my old 550. I've since changed the theme and level of detail on the 350LM to the lowest setting to see if it looks better. The bigger screen is nice but all it really adds is more information either side of where you are going to clutter up the view. The first manufacturer who comes up with a sat nav that works in portrait rather than widescreen orientation will have a hit I'm sure.
I have only had one short ride with the 350 but it seems to be equally as good as the 550. One new function I encountered is when you get closer to your destination the 350LM automatically switches to a higher detailed map setting, which is useful, until you accidentally miss a turn and ride away from your destination and the 350LM doesn't switch back!
The lane assist seems to work fine but it does split the screen when activated on so you really have to look carefully to see where you are going.
At last Garmin has added a "where am I?" button. In the past I've had to use Google maps on the iPhone for this function.
Finally my old 550 had nice big characters to display your speed which were easily legible. The 350 has smaller numerals displayed next to a graphic displaying the speed limit of the road you are currently on. Nice idea in theory but the small speed digits turn red when you exceed the limit and make them even harder to read!
If my 550 hadn't died I think I'd probably be sending the 350LM back for a full refund and buying a used Zūmo 550 and new motorcycle mount (£40). But as it is with technology once one has stepped forward it's difficult to step back so I'm sure I'll get used to the differences and work around the shortcomings. I recall I was initially apprehensive about the Zūmo 550 until I actually used it in anger and got used to it. I think I need to do another big ride to really give the new Zūmo 350LM a workout.
If you've never had the older Zūmo 550 you'll love the 350LM. Owners upgrading from the 550 may prefer the 660M instead. I'm sticking with the 350LM until Garmin bring out a 660M upgrade in the same case as the 350LM...