iQue 3600

Garmin Ique 3600

The Best Little PDA/GPS You Never Heard Of

By Mike Lipshultz


I guess I should start off by stating that you will be reading negative things about the Garmin, but donít let that turn you away from the unit.  It is still worth having for the money.

Figure it this way, with the Garmin you get a full color touch screen Palm based PDA.  That in itself is worth $200.00  You also get a full color touch screen totally portable GPS unit with street level mapping and shopping guide.  And that is worth $700.00, so the Garmin Ique 3600 flaws and all, with a price under $500.00 is worth it.

I know, I said the GPS part is worth $700.00.  That is because a stand alone GPS unit with color touch screen and so-on starts at about $700.00 street price.  So getting all that in the Ique along with the Palm PDA side of it make it a deal.

The unit as a PDA is as easy to use as any other, and even has a voice recorder in it, and yes it can play back MP3s.  In fact I have a 1 gig SD card in mine.  So it holds street level detailed maps for most of the USA, Highway maps for the world, all my PDA stuff, and about 10 hours of tunes.  As it is a Palm based system, any software for a Palm should work just fine on the unit.

As a GPS it is easy to use.  In fact this is the main reason I actually bought the unit. Iím on the road way to much, and I like getting those turn by turn directions.  I also like being able to go off route if traffic is bad, and using the street maps to find another way to go.  And the ďfindĒ feature of it is nice for finding a place to eat, shop or bank , along the way.

Now for what I had problems with. 

First off, for usage in my truck I bought the external GPS antenna (in most cases you will not need it).  It took about two months for the external unit to fall apart from sitting on my windshield.  The magnetic back lost itís magnetism, and the case opened up.

For the first several months I could not use the unit as a GPS with mapping, because I could not get the mapping program to load on any computer I had.  Garmin sent me 3 complete sets of software none of them worked.  It was not until July of í04 when Garmin posted a software patch on itís web site, that I was finally able to load the maps.  I have spoken to several other users that have had this same problem and the others Iím about to describe.

Off Route!  When you make a wrong turn, the unit tells you, you are off route and recalculates you to the right route.  This is nice when you have gone off route.  It is a pain in the butt when you are on the route, have not gone off it and the thing starts yelling at you, only to then go right back to the directions you where using before it went nuts.

Locking up.  I have found that about 20% of the time if you are playing an MP3 on the unit, and it goes to recalculate your route, it will lock the unit up.  To fix it, you push the reset on the back.

Lose of A/C power.  I have had the unit loose A/C power when plugged into an outside power source.  Be it the A/C adapter or the car power cord.  To get it to ďseeĒ the outside power I have had to unplug the unit.  Turn it off, plug it in, then turn it on again.  Simply turning it on or off, or plugging it out/in again will not do it.

Simply put.  This thing is buggy.  Put I have never had it become unusable, or take more then a few seconds to restart it.  But it is a pain in the butt, and for the price it is still hard to beat.  Bugs and all.

Life saver!  This unit is easily a life saver. 
In fact I was traveling though San Diego County on a nasty part of Interstate 8 that is also remote, when I came across an extremely nasty car crash.  Other folks were out and helping.  I was sure that the CHP had been called.  But I called them again anyway.  Yes they had been called, and yes a unit was on the way (looking for the crash site) , but no medi-vac could be dispatched without a better location on the TA.  With the Garmin I was able to give them the GPS reading they needed and the air unit was immediately dispatched.

A must for Search and Rescue work.  I do CERT work
(a form of emergency call out response) and the Garmin is great for it.  I always know where I am and how to get to were I need to be.  This year we had a major response drill.  The unit was invaluable at giving us the ability to look at a map, mark the spot, and pull up the GPS information.

With bugs and all I give it the A-O.K. Award

The A-O.K. Award is awarded to products or services that are just that: A- O.K.. So, what makes them A-O.K.? Easy they just simply have to do exactly what they claim to do, and be easy to use! Now if your thinking, come on, any thing can win an A-O.K., award, then think again. When was the last time you paid good money only to find out the damn thing wonít do what it claimed, or you had to spend six days on the phone with tech support to get it to work. Makes you want to kill someone! So, it really is nice when you pay your money and you get an A-O.K. product!

If it was not for those bugs, I would have given the WOW award because that is what most folks that I work with in the emergency response teams say when they see it. 

Iím sure Garmin is working on things and we will keep you updated.

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Last modified: October 20, 2005