What do you get when you yank the phone parts out of the Garmin Nuvifone? The obvious answer is "just a regular Garmin Nuvi." However, that's not exactly the case, as the upcoming Garmin Nuvi 295W retains more than a few of its smartphone bits, including a 3-megapixel camera and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Nuvi 295W's form factor is nearly identical to that of the Garmin Nuvifone G60, which debuted on AT&T earlier this year. At 4.4 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by just over half an inch thick, the 295W's physical dimensions are identical; and its 480x272 pixel, 3.5-inch resistive touch screen is also the same.
On the top edge is the lock/power button; the right edge is home to a volume rocker and dedicated camera button; and the left edge features a connector for the charging car cradle, a mini USB port for syncing and charging, and what appears to be a microSD card slot hidden behind a door.
And yes, the 3MP auto-focus camera with GPS geotagging will also be familiar to anyone who's seen our G60 review. In fact, the only discernible external difference is the 295W's chrome trim in place of the G60's all-black exterior.
The PND also receives Garmin's new "Breeze UI" software, which features large home screen icons for "Where to?" and "View Map" (obviously, the "Phone" icon is missing) above a sliding row of smaller icons for secondary functions. When connected to a Wi-Fi hot spot, the 295W can access Google Local Search, browse the Web with its WebKit-based browser, download weather forecasts, and send and receive POP3 and IMAP e-mail. Obviously, the Nuvi 295W features turn-by-turn directions--it is, after all, a Garmin--with text-to-speech spoken street names, but no live traffic data functionality.
When we tested the Nuvifone G60, we thought it made a fine navigator but failed as a smartphone. So, perhaps without the phone element, the Nuvi 295W will have a fighting chance. We'll find out soon enough when the Nuvi 295W hits stores on May 16 for a suggested retail price of $280. In the meantime, check out the pair of short promo videos outlining the 295W's camera and Wi-Fi features after the jump.
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