Garmin Zumo 220 GPS

This 3.5in Garmin motorbike GPS is waterproof and can connect to a Bluetooth headset

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Garmin Zumo 220
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Responsive and well designed user interface, useful Bluetooth headset option for audio navigation, works equally well in a car, comprehensive feature set

Cons

  • Slightly shiny screen struggles in harsh lighting, poor off-axis viewing, expensive

Bottom Line

The Garmin Zumo 220 is a motorcycle GPS that's equally at home in a car. It's easy to use and can be operated while wearing gloves, and its wide range of features like lane guidance makes it very easy to navigate with. A few motorcycle-friendly extras like a digital fuel gauge make it even more attractive to bikers.

Would you buy this?

The Garmin Zumo 220 is a GPS navigator designed for motorcycles, with a rugged and weatherproof body that can resist fuel splashes and road grime. It's fine for in-car use as well, with a simple charging method for its internal battery and a range of mounting systems. Apart from its high price tag and poor display performance in bright light, we didn't find any major problems with the Garmin Zumo 220.

Garmin Zumo 220: Design, Construction and Mounting

The Garmin Zumo 220 GPS uses a 3.5in touchscreen like the Strike Genius motorbike sat nav, but lacks the Genius's integrated hood. The finish of the Zumo 220's screen generally resists reflections well, but if the sun is right overhead it washes out colours. Off-axis viewing angles aren't fantastic — when moving horizontally or vertically it quickly becomes difficult to distinguish on-screen details.

The Garmin Zumo 220 is very well built. Its body is solid and the touchscreen has a pleasant feel. There is only a single button on the Zumo 220's top for power, and a mini-USB port at the rear can be used for power or connecting to a PC. It is waterproof with an IPX rating of 7, which means it should survive sitting in a metre of water for up to 30 minutes. We used the Garmin Zumo 220 in moderate rain and didn't encounter any problems.

Like the Strike Genius, the small lip on the front screen of the Garmin Zumo 220 makes it slightly difficult to hit corner icons when wearing thick motorcycling gloves. Apart from this minor issue, the touchscreen of the Zumo 220 is responsive to gloved finger inputs; it will also work well with a stylus, the end of a pen or anything else you have handy.

The Garmin Zumo 220 comes with mounts for both a car and a motorcycle. The car mount is a simple two piece cradle and ball mount with a suction cup, while the motorcycle mount uses a more complex U-bolt and bracket system. Either mount is easy to install, although the motorcycle mount might take a few minutes of your time.

Garmin Zumo 220: Interface and ease of use

The Garmin Zumo 220 uses a simple and easy to read interface with bright colours and large text. It's easy to comprehend at a glance — important when you've got to keep your eyes on the road — and has a well laid out menu system. Navigating to new locations is easy, although typing using the on-screen keyboard takes some getting used to due to its ABC layout (there is no option to switch to a traditional QWERTY).

When navigating, the Garmin Zumo 220 has lane guidance as well as a suite of useful features like custom routes and quick route re-calculations. We never had any problems navigating on both short and long journeys — driving from Wollongong to western Sydney was as easy as travelling through the inner city. Toll avoidance is useful if you're trying to cut down on driving costs.

The Garmin Zumo 220 also features a rudimentary digital fuel gauge. While it can't keep track of your actual fuel usage, it tracks the kilometres you've travelled and displays an alert at a predetermined distance. This may sound a bit Stone Age, but it's surprisingly useful given that quite a few motorcycles don't have fuel gauges.

Garmin Zumo 220 Bluetooth Headset Integration

While the Strike Genius used an FM transmitter and receiver in conjunction with an in-helmet speaker, the Garmin Zumo 220 can pair with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone headset to relay audio instructions. We hooked the Zumo 220 up to a Jawbone Prime headset and heard turn-by-turn audio instructions, including street names, loud and clear. Pairing the devices was easy using the Garmin's on-screen menu prompts. The only problem you'll have here is finding a Bluetooth headset that will fit underneath your helmet. The inbuilt speaker of the Garmin Zumo 220 also works well for in-car use and is easily adjustable using a main menu option.

Conclusion

The Garmin Zumo 220 is a GPS unit that's full of features. You can use it with both cars and motorcycles, and the inclusion of both mounts means you won't have to spend minutes fiddling to transfer the Zumo 220 between vehicles. The user interface is good and the unit can be used without trouble whichever vehicle you're using. If the screen handled sunlight better and had a wider viewing angle, it would be a perfect motorcycle GPS. If those problems were addressed, its only major problem would be a high price tag.

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Read more on these topics: rugged gear, GPS, bluetooth, garmin, navigation

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