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Lowrance iWay 350c Reader Report


Reader Greg has provided his thoughts on the Lowrance iWay 350c GPS receiver. Lowrance is currently featuring the iWay 350c at CES this week. Greg’s review follows.

The 350c has much better screen than the 500 in my opinion, even though it is smaller. The 500 looks like an old fashion computer monitor (640×480) with refresh lines visible! The 350c looks like a new computer screen, very nice! Maybe because it has a 4GB hard drive? The competition doesn’t even come close to the storage space of the 350c.

The voice on the 350c is excellent in my opinion. She sounds like the AT&T lady I think. It has a setting for how much it will talk so you know it is alive (every 2 minutes for instance). It gives plenty of warning of a turn coming and is loud enough. Just turn down your car radio to listen. She can’t shout down your car stereo. She isn’t that loud. The nav screen also auto-moves with you very well to guide you.

You have several different screen options for navigation. Two 2D and one 3D view. One of the 2D views will always point North, the other 2D view will always show your street in front of you. The 3D view always shows the street you are on in front of you as well. There is also a night view with the same 2D/3Doptions.

The 350c has lots of options. Want to find a gas station? Just do a FIND, select the top one on list and click “Go To”. You are on your way. The same search can be done on multiple businesses and services, such as rest stops, attractions, medical, post office, etc.

Points of interest only show in zoomed-in 200ft view. You have to disable auto-zoom or drive real slow to see the 200ft view (and or cancel navigation). You won’t see POI if you are flying down the highway at 70mph because the zoom adjusts out for the speed of your car.

The 350c uses the NavTEQ mapping database. The best and most up-to-date GPS mapping database available. This one very important to me. Some other manufacturers use old map data from another vendor (don’t recall the name). I read too many bad reviews about that issue (TomTom units for instance), so I will stick with the NavTEQ data.

There are 3 map routing (preference) sliders that will help you avoid/prefer toll roads, avoid/prefer interstates, avoid/prefer right or left turns.

The map on the display allows you to drag it with your finger in cursor mode! So you can search around the map or preview your drive by dragging and zooming the map. This is very slick.

You also have control of how text displays on the screen. You can disable/enable various on-screen text info. You can also drag and drop the text boxes anywhere on the screen that you like! The onscreen text includes your ETA and distance to destination by the way, which is very nice.

Click on the little flag in the upper right to see your longitude/lat and you can add it to your address book to go there again.

The street search is a little funky but it works. I would like to see Lowrance add zip code to the street address search screen.

Other options include car trails, waypoints, customized POI, sound and voice adjust (there is only one nice sounding female voice for this device), redirect voice commands to a radio freq for your radio (has to be an empty station, may not work well in big cities with lots of stations), screen brightness, route simulator (the unit will simulate your entire route with voice instructions and all, see how the GPS unit works without even driving), master reset for all options, GPS status screen, gauge screen (looks like a cheap car dash mph, time, eta, max speed, avg speed).

The maps look very nice, very much like what you see on Mapquest or Yahoo maps. The detail at 200ft zoom is amazing. It actually shows one-way streets! Very impressive. You can see all water (rivers, ponds, lakes, waterways, oceans) and airports. You can not see hills.

Now for the stupid stuff. The 350c allows you to load MP3 and image files as well. If you need perfect MP3 this unit will probably not impress. You will spend all your time trying to find a clean FM freq to use. Why would you buy it for that anyway? Geeesh!

But for a GPS unit, this little toy is very impressive. I paid abt $500 at a local store, but you can get them for a little less online. I really like my iWay 350c. I would give it a 10 on a scale of 1-10.

The things I have found wrong so far is that it can not find two certain cities in my local area via the street address search. This appears to be a problem with the NavTEQ database and not the iWay. I have reported these errors to NavTEQ via the lowrance.com website.

Also, the unit shut itself off about 8 different times while I was driving over several days. I just turned it back on and all was well. Lowrance tech support said shutting off is not normal and offered to repair if it continues. Or I may instead take it back to the store where I purchased it for a new one if it continues. The tech support seemed decent and I was on hold for about 20-30 minutes.

4 Responses

  1. yes I have also had problems with mine shutting off about 5 time so far in the past month it has also locked up on me a couple different ways, 1 way is you set your course and it says “take next left” then it says “searching for position” and then repeats “take next left” then “searching for position” and it just kept doing that until i finaly turned it off and back on. another time it just froze just like hwen a computer freezes. i like the iway but I am also very disapointed in a lot of it. The high way tol way slider is kinda nice but I would rather have quickest and shortest and also I thought they where using the avoid left or right turn thing as an advertisement just to get the point acrossed taht you could get it to do even off the wall stuff. but no it realy has that option which seems like a waste to me unless your in down town newyork every day and don’t want to cross traffic. I mentioned in anotehr post about trading in for a different unit but what if it’s problems where worse. I wish the websites for these product had a test window where you could simulate using their product.

    Bryon - January 10th, 2006
  2. I have a quicker way to explain the IWAY, it is supirior in all of it’s function control and menus in every way EXCEPT the most important it FINDING LOCATIONS
    if your new to an area and don’t know how to spell locations so you only use the first part say WAL in walmart it wont find it.fo taht reason I traded for a Garmin c330.

    Bryon - January 18th, 2006
  3. WOW! This unit just blew me away!

    This is the first foray for me into GPS since using an old Delorme bulky unit and a laptop nearly a decade ago. Thus, I am a novice.

    However, this unit exceeded my expectations on a spring break trip. We were able to quickly find restaurants, motels and sites of interest. We had no pre-plans for our trip but adjusted on a day by day basis. We would choose a destination and then look for the points of interest in IWay and found a lot of interesting sites.

    UPS dropped off the unit right as we were leaving on our trip (whew, just in time), so we didn’t have time to check out usage ahead of time. Luckily, the batteries didn’t require a precharge. We plugged it into the lighter outlet and away we went.

    At first I thought the 3D perspective was a gimick but soon embraced it as my prefered view (you experienced GPSers probably already knew this). However, I did find myself loosing directional perspective. There probably is a way to place the compus on the screen and keep the 3D perspective, but I didn’t see it. This normally wouldn’t be an issue since my car has a compass, but the rental used on the trip did not.

    There are so many things I liked about this unit that would take me to long to write here. I’ll try to address the stuff others have not or reinforce where needed…

    I actually liked the photo display capability. We could review the photos taken during the day. Sweet!

    It was so easy to pop out of the tray and take into the hotel or restaraunt stops and review our next destination. “So what food are you in the mood for?” or “Where do you want to stay tonight?” I never had a moment where the batteries were low.

    We could quickly find a list of attractions from our location. If exhausted or none left that interested us, we would find another town and then search for the attractions close to it. When an attraction interested us, we hit the goto button and away we went. We could include multiple destinations by either detouring or making it the new final destination. It was so simple once we got a hang of it.

    A friend of ours has an original equipment GPS unit in her new Volkswagen. She always has to ask for the address of the destination. In our case, we would use the name or type of the point of interest to find our destination. Our method is much easier, quicker and more natural than what she has to use.

    Contrary to one poster, the unit did not bounce even when set up on my four wheel drive pickup. According to the instructions, you have to make sure the unit sits on the dash as well as attached to the windshield.

    There were a few glitches. Like others, the unit did shut off for no reason. This happened three times over the 10 day trip. I just pressed the power button and it looked like it rebooted but then it continued where it left off.

    Several times, the final destination was on the opposite side of the street. No big deal since we could easily see the error. It did give us something to chuckle about. After a while we had to give the pleasant female voice a name which was Gladys and eventually became Glady. “Wrong, left Glady!”

    Some other destinations just weren’t there. We would pretty much exhaust the area point of interests or “Attractions” so there were bound to be mistakes. In one case we were searching for a specific restaurant but it turned out to be a different one. In another case we were going to a war battlefield and found nothing but an outhouse. These were more times for us to rib Glady.

    I tried to access the unit from my laptop running Windows XP, but it would not show up as a drive. I still haven’t figured out why this doesn’t work. I checked the Lowrance web page but couldn’t find anything in support that even mentioned this unit.

    I did notice their sales page says something about the data can be updated but I couldn’t find any details how such a thing is accomplished. Since the POIs were really useful for us, I’m interested in how to keep it up to date. But then again, this unit cost us less than $400.00 and by the time we need an update, we will probably opt for a newer unit.

    I didn’t try the MP3 player other than the sample songs included on the hard drive. I didn’t have time before the trip to load some songs. The speaker on the unit was quite impressive given the size. Using the FM output was great, but I found myself using the unit’s speakers so I could listen to the radio at the same time.

    The route preview went too slow and I couldn’t seem to get the fast forward to move much quicker. Thus, this feature didn’t seem real uselful. Instead, I found myself either zooming out or even better dragging the map. Yes, I could quickly drag the map with my finger. Another unexpected feature.

    Pointing the point of interest icons on the screen often took many attempts because of the fatty finger issue. It seems that icons directly over the route could never be highlighted.

    The keyboard defaults to alphabetic, but I surprisingly found it much quicker when setting it to qwerty. The keyboard toggles between upper and lowercase and numeric/symbol. I couldn’t find a comma, however.

    Overall, this unit is very impressive regardless of the price. I don’t really know how it compares to other units as far as feature or ease of use. The high prices have kept me out of this market. But at less than $400.00, it was simply amazing on our trip.

    I would highly recommend this unit!

    David L. Beckwith - April 3rd, 2006
  4. Hello I bro A IWAY 350C GPS three year ago,now have problem it shutting off ,where do we go to fit it Thank,Sam

    samuel stoltzfoos - July 18th, 2009

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