Top critical review
33 people found this helpful
Woeful support and blinkered design
on 17 April 2013
A salutary tale of "do not believe the advertising, ask the users"
Do NOT buy a Garmin 350LM get a TomTom instead…
I did the research; I compared the two in detail and decided, after many years with a Tom-Tom Rider, to change to a Garmin 350LM. Mainly for the following reasons..
1. The Garmin has an internal speaker, duel use in car or on bike.
2. The Garmin accepted a micro SD card for memory expansion.
It's not until you unpack your new toy and go about setting it up and putting it to use that the customer experience starts to deteriorate. I will list them and then expand.
1. Map download is very large, watch your online allowance.
2. Web page asks you to install a plug-in in order to access your map download, after it’s installed; it continues to ask the same thing.
3. Web pages to create a support request do not work properly. (expect to lose some hair)
4. The "Express" software is all but useless.. A direct comparison to the Tom-Tom makes it look even worse. None of the Garmin software will work over a proxy server, and there are no settings you can alter to make it work.
5. The unit must be attached to the computer to download the map.
6. A Bluetooth pin number of 0000 is hard coded into the unit and cannot be changed!! Bluetooth setup sends the unwanted pin and fails without information or chance of user intervention.
7. Support services simply confirm what you already know, things do not work, no solution available..
Suffice to say my old TT Rider suffered from none of these problems.. It just worked.
OK, if you need anymore detail read on, I will expand on how my disillusionment grew as I tried one thing after another.
1 My 1st communication with Garmin was about the size of the download, after some back & forth I received this:
"We apologize for any inconvenience caused. Garmin is currently investigating a potential issue with 2013.40 and has decided to remove the update and downloadable content until that investigation is completed. We will endeavour to make a new version of maps available as soon as possible; current estimated availability is May the 1st."
2 You cannot just register your unit and then download the latest map, even though you are logged in to the Garmin "My" space with the registered unit on screen, when you click on download you are told..
"To continue, you must install the Garmin Communicator Plug-in so we can detect and communicate with your device."
No matter how many times I did so, and checked that it was installed, this is the only response I ever got trying to download from the website.
3 Even when logged in to the Garmin site and using Chrome, IE or Firefox and attempting (numerous times) to send support requests. The support web page has a drop down combo box to select your registered device. On any of the above browsers this element does not work, it has never once displayed my registered device. All three web browsers are patched and up to date but that selection list has never shown me a registered device.
Further, on many frustrating occasions the second choice of narrowing down a device model using three selection lists fails on the last one, leaving the user unable to select either a registered device OR the appropriate model because the last list fails to display.
When after much frustration in getting the last selection list to finally display and choosing the model (this HAS to be done before you can move on) then moving on to describe the issue needing support and finishing the process of filling in the required fields on subsequent pages, you will be dumped back to this 1st screen asking me to select a registered device that I cannot select as it will not show up in the web page. Cue loss of hair.
4 Garmin Express, IF you can get it to launch, I spent a lot of time trying to find out why when starting this software there is no discernable change in your PC screen.. (Longwinded way of saying "it doesn’t start very well")
It has a fraction of the functionality of the Tom-Tom Home2 software and will not work with a proxy server and has no provision to get it to work with one. So if you’re a business buying one or are attempting to update your maps (with permission) on a works internet connection… forget it, Garmin don't support it.
5 You must have the unit connected to your PC to download the maps (bye the way I have still not managed this awesome feat of technological wizardry :o( and part of my work is IT management) and yes, I am good at it….
As the map is memory based you cannot stick the SD card into a reader and work on it like you can on Tom-Tom.
As I have yet to get the entire sum parts working together I do not know if the Express software allows a download and later transfer of map to the unit.
6 I have an AGV Helmet with the AGV Voice Bluetooth fitment. To pair with a Bluetooth device a pin number of 1234 must be entered when pairing. This was not even an issue on the Tom-Tom rider.
I now have the Garmin Zumo 350 and when attempting to pair with the headset the Zumo transmits 0000 by default which is being rejected by the AGV Voice software.
As the Garmin has a keypad and the helmet does not I expected to be able to enter the correct pin when it is requested. This is not the case as each time the Zumo reports a failure to connect after it sends the 0000 pin without the intervention of the user. I contacted Garmin support to find how to change the 0000 pin. Below is the reply, helpful as you can see:
"Thank you for contacting Garmin Europe.
I am happy to help with your enquiry.
I'm afraid this is the default PIN and cannot be changed. I would
recommend speaking with the manufacturer of the headset to see if they can provide any assistance towards this. I am sorry for any inconvenience."
I now have a £350 motorcycle satnav that will not pair to a £300+ blue-tooth helmet simply because Garmin think it's acceptable to build in a default instead of a flexible user intervention using the keypad present; you don't often find a keypad on a Bluetooth device...
7 My experience in supplying user support services is that you try to find a solution for your "customer".
The Garmin take on this is to state baldly that (whatever does not work) does not work and is unsupported.
At least it makes for short sharp exchanges..
Garmin... Never again.