Garmin Nüvi 1300

Garmin Nüvi 1300

A year ago in this space, we recommended one of Garmin International’s high-end GPS navigation systems, a neat gizmo that accepts voice commands and integrates with your car’s stereo to play mp3s and audio books. But with a starting price around $600, that kind of device isn’t likely to make the cut in most companies budgets this year. Garmin must have sensed that, too, because its 2009 product offerings focused on delivering the basics at a good value. The Garmin nüvi 1300 won’t narrate John Grisham novels to you on your commute, but it will tell you how to get to your next appointment. And if you skip the Bluetooth upgrades and (ad-supported) live traffic updates, you can find the nüvi 1300 series for under $300. The device is not only cheaper but also slimmer than its predecessors, and there’s a reason for making it pocket-sized: The nüvi now features pedestrian and public transit directions. Even those without a bus pass will appreciate the ability to get directions from your parking space to your final destination. A new “ecoRoute” feature also lets drivers choose the fastest, shortest, or most fuel-efficient route.