Garmin Zumo 220: A Well-Rounded, Rugged Motorcycle GPS Unit

by nichehunt

Overview of the Zumo 220, a motorcycle GPS system by Garmin.

The Garmin Zumo 220 GPS navigator, launched two years ago, was designed by motorcyclists primarily for use with motorcycles. With a choice of mounting systems, this rugged unit also adapts well for in-car use. Reviewers especially like its intuitive, responsive interface, Bluetooth connectivity, and plentiful features, but many feel that the display suffers in bright light.

Design and Other Physical Aspects

The Zumo 220 comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen that resists reflections decently but offers disappointing off-axis viewing; details become hard to see. The screen feels pleasant to the touch, but a small lip on the front of the unit could present challenges in reaching corner icons while wearing gloves. In general, though, operating the unit with gloves was just as effective as using a finger or stylus.

The exterior of this motorcycle GPS can withstand weather, road grime and fuel splashes without a problem. The IPX waterproof rating of 7 indicates that it can be immersed in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes with no damage, although the same can't be said for the rest of the bike.

The Garmin Zumo 220 includes mounts for use in a motorcycle or car. The former uses a U-bolt and bracket system, and the latter offers a cradle and ball mount plus suction cup. Both systems proved easy to install, and transferring the unit from one vehicle was relatively quick and painless.

Garmin Zumo 220 at Amazon

Garmin zumo 220 3.5-Inch Bluetooth Motorcycle GPS Navigator

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User Interface

With large text and bright colors, the interface is easy to understand after a quick glance. The well-designed menu system makes navigating simple, but the keyboard feels a bit awkward because it's arranged alphabetically rather than following the typical QWERTY pattern of computer keyboards. During driving, the custom routes, quick re-calculations and lane guidance worked well and felt easy to operate. A digital fuel gauge tracks how far you've travelled and warns you when you'll need to refuel soon, which is a handy feature for motorcycles that lack a fuel gauge.

Bluetooth

The Zumo 220 pairs readily with any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone headset for relaying audio instructions clearly. The biggest challenge is finding a headset that fits under your helmet. For in-car use, the unit's adjustable speaker works well.

Conclusion

The Garmin Zumo 220 GPS unit offers plenty of features that simplify navigation whether you're driving a motorcycle or a car. The intuitive user interface, responsiveness and handy mounts make this a flexible and easy-to-use system. Viewing the screen in bright sunlight or from an angle might prove a bit difficult, but overall it's a great package for any biker.

Updated: 04/22/2012, nichehunt
 
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