March 23, 2006

Garmin StreetPilot C340 vs. Lowrance iWay 350c

We have had a lot of requests for a comparison of the Garmin StreetPilot C340 and the Lowrance iWay 350c. Both are mid-tier priced GPS units for the car that are good performers in their own way. We have used them both at the GPS Lodge, and wrote up reviews on them.
Review of Garmin StreetPilot C340 by GPS Lodge, or
Review of the Lowrance iWay 350c by GPS Lodge

Let's take a look at the two GPS units.

Common Features Garmin StreetPilot c340 and Lowrance iWay 350c

Both units have similar sized touchscreens, are pre-loaded maps from NAVTEQ, are pre-loaded Point of Interest databases (POI's - about 6 million for Garmin and 5 million for Lowrance), and have internal batteries for out of the car programming, or for use when the power outlet is tied up with another device (this is a nice feature). Garmin claims 8 hour use while Lowrance claims almost twice that at 15 hours. Both units have SD card slots for added memory or uploading (For Lowrance, this is how you'll load your MP3's).

Both have similar mapping and navigation capabilities - driven by NAVTEQ maps data for similar results, the Garmin has a more traditional approach to finding out how you want to navigate your route - "Fastest" - meaning via highways, or "Shortest" - meaning on more side streets and surface roads. Pretty straight forward, but not a lot of in-between. Sometimes you don't need in-between though. Well, if you do, Lowrance elected to use slider bars to help you decide how to navigate. So, you can slide from “Prefer” to “Avoid” Toll Roads, or “Prefer” to “Avoid” Interstates. In most other GPS units this is handled in a way that is one or the other, so prefer or avoid toll roads, not a multi-step customization of many situations in between. Subtle difference here but it follows a theme. Garmin = easy and straightforward, while Lowrance = highly configurable, which can be hard at times.

Music Playback - Lowrance iWay 350c
The Lowrance iWay 350c can play MP3's right off the SD card inserted into the side through its speaker or through the internal FM modulator. This is great, and the device is configurable to play over any FM frequency you can find open on your dial. If you are navigating, the iWay 350c will pause the music, announce your turn, and then flip back to the song. Perfect. Love it, it’s great.

People ask - "Is it worth the extra money for the Garmin C340? I like the Lowrance, what's it like?"
If you want great navigation that's easy to use, yes, the Garmin StreetPilot C340 is for you. It's worth the extra money.

If you want a highly configurable device that you can play your MP3's on, and you can deal with some confusion while you get things set up right, then you might want to try out the Lowrance iWay 350c.

You should read our full reviews of both to see what else we had to say about them before you consider buying.

Read More in: GPS Reviews | Garmin GPS Reviews | Head to Head GPS Reviews | Lowrance GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at March 23, 2006 6:05 AM

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