The Zumo XT is much better than the 346

I’ve bought another Garmin :)

A view from the seat of a motorbike with a Garmin Zumo XT navigating a turning

In planning our trip to World Ducati Week it became clear I’d be navigating, and the weather would be unpredictable. I’ve found that whenever I have a problem with a phone navigation it’s my fault, but if the Garmin goes wrong then that’s expected, so I decided to at least take the garmin with.

And then I came into some SportsBikeShop vouchers, so I bought a Zumo XT! And, as if to force me to write this, Jan decided to save my Zumo 346 from the bin and take it with, so I got a daily reminder on the trip of just how bad it could be.

It’s a lot better. It doesn’t really do anything the phone doesn’t, outside of not minding torrential rain, but it’s also not really any bother to use this instead of a phone. I’ve left the bracket on the KTM and get the XT out if I have to go somewhere on it in the pissing rain, I’d probably take it with as a spare on a trip.

Here’s a quick set of things that are better and things that are still poor:

Table of Contents


  • Portrait mode!
  • It’s generally much faster; it feels like the hardware’s mostly up to the job of running the software
  • The map detail display is more usefully-configurable
  • Bluetooth transfer of points and routes works fairly reliably using the Drive app and GPXes from other apps; no more need for a laptop, usb-cable and basecamp!
  • The USB socket (still old-school USB Mini) is accessible while in the bracket, which is helpful when the charging pins wear out

Still poor

  • It’s a lot faster, but it’s still obviously laggy. Feels like when you use a five year old phone as a satnav; entirely workable but not nice
  • It doesn’t work indoors; while you’re sat in a cafe you can’t see how far is left on your journey; it just sits there showing you where you are, but ‘waiting for satellites’
  • The bluetooth audio is really prone to skipping and stuttering, especially during route recalculations
  • Bluetooth audio controls keep disconnecting? The play/pause button will show different status when pressed, but not actually control the audio, ditto the skip-track buttons. The fix is just to use the play/pause button on the phone screen, which sort-of defeats the point
  • The maps are still really out of date; some of the changes that predated even the 346 are still there!
  • Search is still bizarre; you can’t use the ‘search’ box for postcodes though many other things can go in there. Fortunately, you can search on gmaps or something on your phone and share the location to the device
  • Adding shaping points on-device is as frustrating as it was on the 346, though the maps are rendered quicker
  • The new bracket makes it really easy to think you’ve clipped the device in when you haven’t-quite, especially if it’s mounted quite horizontally. A few times I’ve pulled away and had the device fall off
  • Sometimes the screen registers rain as keypresses. Exactly the phone-behaviour I use a satnav to avoid!
  • It can slow to something as bad as the 346, though it’s not this bad all the time. This seems to be fixed with a factory reset every few thousand miles
  • The charging pins of the bracket are still tiny tiny contacts that will corrode if you leave them outside