I’ve had a Garmin Nuvi 780 for several years now. It’s a great device and has served me well on trips all over the country. I take it on most of my airline trips to use in rental cars. I use a Garmin Beanbag Friction Mount which sits on the dashboard, so no modifications to the vehicle are required and I don’t run afoul of any state’s restrictions on windshield mounts. Awesome combination.
However, the MSN traffic and weather subscription service discontinued in January 2012. Any directions in the Metro DC area without traffic notices will inevitably lead to unexpected travel delays. So, I set off in search of a new GPS unit with traffic capability.
I conducted months of research and finally settled on a Garmin Nuvi 2595LMT. The LMT stands for lifetime map upgrades and 3D Traffic information. It’s quite an upgrade from the 780. It sports a larger 5″ screen, voice commands, and Smartphone link to Android phones. It also has lane guidance and photoReal junctions that show what selected Interstates and major intersections look like and where you should be at the correct exit.The illustration above shows normal navigation on the left side, the photoReal on the right, and the overall lane direction in the upper left. I tried this out in several places here in the DC area and it works great. The photoReal even includes the exact sign over the exit. Plus, the latest map update has the brand new Metro bridge over I-66 that will go to Tyson’s Corner. Very impressive.
The overall device operates faster than the 780. The GPS links up much faster than the 780 and doesn’t seem to lag as badly on the road. By tapping and holding on the GPS status bars for 3 seconds, one can obtain detailed GPS information.
The 3D Traffic provided timely information which loaded quickly. It’s part of the purchase price, but Garmin apparently supports it with ads. The ads only appear when live traffic is enabled and the vehicle is stopped. I didn’t find them to be intrusive at all, especially considering that I paid about $45/year for a slower service from MSN on my Nuvi 780. But if any user doesn’t want the ads, they only have to disable live traffic information.
Voice Command also proved interesting. More than just a toy, it allows the driver to execute basic functions (which it conveniently displays on the screen) without removing their hands from the steering wheel. List items are selected by their displayed number in the list, simplifying the algorithms required. I tried this out for a number of commands and found the system very effective.
One of the coolest features involves the 2595’s Bluetooth interface to Android phones. The phone must download and install the Smartphone Link app from the Android Market. Link the phone and the 2595 using the directions in the app, and you’re off to the races. The 2595 will use the phone to obtain free weather information and download your contacts and calls. Once the 2595 downloads your data, you can verbally search for the correct contact and navigate to its address or call its associated phone numbers as long as you’re linked. I was able to call my work number just using voice commands. Very cool!
The Garmin Nuvi 2595LMT provides great directions, timely traffic information, detailed lane guidance, voice control, and an interesting link to Android smartphones. It leverages some of the promises of device synergy to offer users seamless access to key contact information on their phone. I’ve exercised the system pretty well over the last couple of days and haven’t been disappointed yet.