Customer Reviews: Garmin nüvi 2557LMT 5-Inch Portable Vehicle GPS with Lifetime Maps and Traffic (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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Style Name: with Lifetime Maps and Traffic|Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Change
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on March 29, 2013
I purchased this to replace an older 5" garmin that did not have lifetime maps. I was getting tired of being nagged to pay for a map update on the older unit. Also I wanted to upgrade to a Bluetooth device.
I am impressed overall with the improved speed and sophistication of this device. Connecting to a satellite is improved considerably. Seriously it just takes seconds. My last unit kept searching for a satellite connection so long I was afraid I'd get lost in the process.
No more "recalculating" exclamations when you go off the suggested route. It quickly displays your new route with the suggested next turn.
There are many more split screen "junction view" occurrences. These rarely appeared on my last unit.
The user menu and graphical display has also been improved. The graphics appear cleaner and there is a menu tab on each screen.
Regarding Bluetooth, The ability to use as a speaker phone when connected to your mobile device is nice.
The Voice Command system is good but not great. it's fine when reciting pre-defined menu options but is hit or miss (mainly miss) when speaking addresses.
The build of the unit is solid. Slightly thinner and curvier than previous units.

I have not had any traffic alerts so really can't comment on that function yet.

I'm happy with the improved performance of this unit.

If Voice command and the speaker function are not important to you, you could save some cash buy getting the 2557 model.
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on April 2, 2013
For work, I have to fly to different cities and drive a rental car to different address. A GPS is mandatory and after 10 years, it was time to upgrade from my Magellan. I first tried the Garmin 2595LMT, the older version of this GPS on sale at Costco. After a week, I took it back to Costco, I wasn't happy with four major issues.

The new model on sale here, 2597LMT, was due out any time. Only had to wait a week and I'm really glad I did; Garmin fixed all four issues.

*The first issue I had was how the old unit clipped onto the base, to get it to release using one hand, half the time it would slip out of control and fall to the floor. The new design lets you get a good grip and release it at the same time.

*The voice was terrible, I couldn't understand half of the street names it was saying. I have a stock GPS in my 2006 Honda that sounded 10 times clearer. The new model now sounds just as clear or better then the stock Honda.

*This new GPS has a LCD display that is not affected by polarized sunglasses, wow, what a difference! The old model would turn dark with a slight tilt of your head.

*They got rid of the "Real Picture" of ramps and exits! Real picture sounds like a great idea, until you try to glance at a 2.5 by 2.5 busy picture and make out what lane your suppose to be in; really bad idea. This new one uses a great birds eye animated graphic that highlights the lanes you need to be in; you can just glance and see where you want to be.

I've only had this for a short time, but so far it's exceeded my expectations. There are a lot of other features, but for me the top features are the basic ones; seeing, hearing, and handling. The Costco unit did came with the upgraded HD Traffic cable, this one only has Garmin Traffic, I will probably pay the $60 for the HD power cable.

Update 12/27/13: There seems to be a lot of concern about the LCD screen and polarized sunglasses. I've posted a video on my main review to better show what I'm talking about. I do not have the previous model that blacked out, but it did so just like my Dell computer screen does, so I used it. Even a slight tilt of your head started to dim the screen of the previous Garmin model. That problem is not on the 2597, they have done something different, I don't know what, but the new screen is far better. Any distortion you see in the video, is due to the sunglasses are prescription/reading lenses.
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on May 26, 2013
i purchased the 2597 to replace a 2350 which was good but had a bug in it (caused the 2350 to stop giving the next turn in the upper left and had to be turned off and restarted). I will compare these two in my review.

Start up time: The 2597 appears to go to sleep instead of turn off when you press the power button. Power up is less than 2 seconds which is great. The 2350 was closer to 20 - 30 seconds.

Security: The 2597 can not be locked, i.e. with a 4 digit pin. Not a huge deal, but I liked the feature on the 2350. I am sure thieves can find a way around this feature which is why it's not a big deal. Just don't use you actual house for home, I use the beginning of my street instead.

Screen: Here is my biggest gripe. The 2350 screen is excellent, it has saturated colors that are easy to read, the 2597 appears washed out and although the colors in some areas (like the purple path you follow are deep enough, they are no where near as deep as the 2350. This is the reason for 4 stars instead of 5. The text is still readable, but it's been raining here for a week, so I haven't seen the screen in bright sunlight.

Text: My biggest gripe with the 2350 was although it had excellent colors, the font was smaller than it had to be. I have owned about 5 garmin GPS models and the 2350 has lots of space to put the words, but it didn't use all the space. The 2597 has a bigger screen, but it also has a much better font. It is much easier to read and I couldn't really ask for more.

Information Displayed: I really like the way the information is displayed, Speed limit and current speed have been moved to the left (the 2350 had them on the right), When you happen to go over the speed limit, the area around your current speed becomes a shaded red, other models turn the font to red. I like the shading better. I also REALLY like that the current road is on the bottom of the screen (in a readable font) and the next road is on the top of the screen.

Next turn: On the top left is the next turn, on multilane highways the 2350 would show you which lane or lanes, on the 2597 it SOMETIMES shows you if there are 4 lanes and you can be in the right 2 lanes (as an example). Note sure why this happens on some road and not others. But, it always tells you audibly if you should be in a certain set of lanes.

Speaker: The speaker appears to be slightly louder than the 2350, but as usual, it heavily distorts up around 100% and there appears to be little difference between 85% and 100%. So you may think you have power to spare at 85%, but really you don't, you are close to full volume.

Voice command: I have only owned this for a few days, but I like the voice command. It works great for my voice. I would recommend that only one person use voice command though, because when my wife tried to use it, it didn't work very well for her, and then after that, it seemed like it didn't work as well for my voice. So, I think it "learns" the voice and more than one may confuse the algorithm.

Routes: There is nothing about this on Garmin's site or others, and I don't know why since I think it's a major improvement. When you go someplace you can select from up to 3 routes and they show you the 3 routes on the screen, like google maps does. Then you just select the which route you like.

Adding destinations; It does a better job at adding destinations than the 2350, The 2597 shows you the destinations as a set of rows on the screen, from 1st destination to last destination, and you can just select one of them and move it up or down in your route.

Trip Log: It has it, and I really like this feature. It shows you where you have been as a set of blue "bread crumbs". If I take a strange route someplace and want to back out the way I came, these bread crumbs are perfect for doing this.

Recalculating: The new 2597 doesn't say this, which you may think is great, but it also doesn't say ANYTHING to you when it does recalculate, i.e. if you go off an a different road it won't tell you where to turn until the next turn comes up, which may be 100 miles away. I wish it would have said something, like "continue on I95 for 100 miles".

Overall, I really like this model. I will try to add to this review as I use it more. I hope this helps people.
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on March 17, 2013
I found a website that breaks down all of the Garmin models out there in one easy to see spot. Hope it helps others also...

Sorry it's so cryptic to get there but amazon won't allow the direct link. Just browse to the following...
bitly dot com slash garminguide
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on January 28, 2014
Normally I dont write reviews, howerver after trying to replace my old GPS (tomtom XXL540) which was damaged by their last update!, I'd thought I'd update to a newer more advanced device. I ended up with this nuvi 2597 based upon numerous reviews . Being an electrical engineer, I may review the unit more critical than most... but it is what it is!

1. Locked on the sat very quickly and with good signal as per the display
2. Volume of voice loud enough to overcome cabin noise level and then some!
3. Voice quality Improved over 2012 units but still lacking not as good as TomTom "Dave" voice, but usable.
4. Voice command worked Ok..none are perfect but very usable and made operation much simpler.
5. POI worked great!

Display washed out hard to see... other Garmin plastic LCD screens have much better contrast.
Voice command too limited... Need a Traffic comand to state trafic conditions with out having to multi touch screen.
Traffic information useless... sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and Garmin reports all clear.
Driving instructions come to late. Telling you what lane to get in to 1/4 mile before a junction in traffic is not enough time!
Using Landmarks as a guide is ok if you know where to look and if the landmark is still there. If Garmin elects to use landmarks...include street names too so I dont have to look at the screen to know the street if I can't find the landmark ("Right turn on MAIN STREET at the LIGHT") would work much better!
Big TABS for speed and time waste to much screen space. TomTom displays a lot of useful information (miles to go, ETA, time remaining, time of day, max speed, current speed, current road, next road, turn direction and more, all on the same 5" screen without eating up a lot of screen space. I'm sure Garmin could do the same. The "Dashboard" was a good start but they elected to remove it from the 2013 series...why?
Basic navigating... first time out the unit locked up after a half hour into the trip... required a hard restart to clear... not fun on the freeway at 75MPH reaching for the unit and holding the ON button waiting for a reset!
Exiting the freeway as per instruction... the unit failed to detect I was on the exit ramp and recalculated for the next exit ramp leaving me with no information as I reached the end of the ramp...Luckly I was stopped at the light when the unit corrected the error... but I was in the wrong lane to make the turn. When starting a new trip the unit tells me to drive to a starting street without telling me how to get there... then detects I'm not going in the right direct... and then gives me direction.
All in all I expected a lot more out of this advanced unit... It seems to me Garmin didn't do a very good job thinking this unit out. After all these years this should have been reduced to a fine science. I would invite the Project Engineer, if one exists, to take a trip with this unit and revisit the units design review if one was ever done. With a better quality higher contrast plastic LCD screen and a more thoughtfull software package this could be a very nice working unit! It's so easy to make such a small change and end up with a great product and great user experience. Im sure there are some very skilled and experienced hardware and software engineers working for Garmin... I just wonder how such a poorly thought out product was released?
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on August 22, 2013
Upfront let me say that this is my third Garmin car GPS. I also own two Garmin marine GPS units that I've used on my cruising sailboat. I have a lot of experience with Garmin, none with any other GPS brand, so I can't make comparisons between Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom. I've always been pleased with Garmin's support and features, so I've never been tempted to try the other brands, despite their generally good reputations.

Second disclosure: I travel a lot in rental vehicles, often to unfamiliar areas or cities with lots of traffic where a GPS is very useful. I have a great smartphone (Galaxy S4) and I like Google maps, but I would never count on my phone to get me places. Some of the locations I travel to (Big Sur or northwest Arizona, for example) have little or no cell coverage, so a phone-based GPS isn't an option there.

All that said, my Garmin 1390 LMT worked well, but I was ready to go to a larger screen with a few more features. After some research I chose this model. Having used it for a few weeks, I'm very happy with it. First, the larger screen really does improve readability. GPS screens can contain a lot of info, and a larger screen is more useful when you're hurtling down the road at freeway speeds or trying to find your way through an unfamiliar city.The 2597s screen is bright and very sharp. The PhotoReal images in the right hand window pop up when available and are surprisingly realistic, mimicking the real scene on the road. I don't know how they did that, but it's a great feature. The Garmin "Real Voice Guide" promises more realism. I don't really notice that much difference other than a bit more inflection. It's still somewhat mechanical, but no different from Siri or similar e-voices.

Startup is almost instantaneous and you don't have to scroll through a couple of nag screens reminding you to not play with the GPS while driving. I live in a neighborhood surrounded by very tall trees. My 1390 sometimes faltered for a while, struggling to find all the satellites. Not so this unit. I'm online in a few seconds.

I was able to transfer all of my favorites/POI from my 1390 to my 2597 in just seconds with the Garmin Express app. Whew! I also downloaded the free Garmin link app for Android, which is very handy. It links my phone to the Garmin via Bluetooth. I like being able to do a search on my phone and then send the address to the GPS. Searches on the GPS itself are easier than my last unit. As you enter characters a scroll bar displays possible choices under the search window. Very handy.

The traffic feature is improved over my 1390. The traffic receiver is embedded in the GPS (as far as I can tell); at least there is no tell-tale box on the cable itself. The unit seems to pick up traffic signals in areas where the 1390 didn't. I have not tried the voice recognition feature yet. That's next on my list. There are other features (Eco-Route) that I'm not particularly interested in. Neither do I plan on downloading the Garmin app that lets me create and upload new POIs. The POI icons that pop up as you are nearby are sometimes difficult to read because they're so small, but I can usually recognize the logos. Scrolling with my finger is smoother than with the 1390.

So far, the directions have been flawless. Occasionally, the 1390 would get confused and tell me that a POI was on the wrong side of the street. That hasn't happened with this unit. The menus operate a bit differently than the 1390, but they're easy after a bit of practice. I did have some difficulty figuring out how to delete my trip/track log (go to "Where I've Been".) Not intuitive.

One quirk: I like switching to an overhead view when I'm traveling long distances, to give me an idea of where I am. The only way to do that on this unit, as far as I can tell, is to activate the traffic feature, which can switch to an overhead view. It's a small thing.

One final quirk: the 2597 uses a USB mini cable to transfer data and map updates from your PC to the GPS. A short cable is included in the package. Who uses a USB mini cable for anything anymore? A USB micro cable (I've got lots of them and they're all longer) would eliminate the need to keep an outdated cable in my computer drawer.

But, the bottom line is that this is an outstanding GPS. If your vehicle has a built-in GPS and you're happy with it, or you really want to use your smartphone, more power to you. However, if you need portability, flexibility, a big screen and lots of useful features, this is worth a look. And, if you have an Android phone you've got even more features.

UPDATE: I have been using the voice-recognition system and really like it. Oddly, NPR sometimes sets it off, which is more amusing than annoying. In any case, it's an excellent feature. You should articulate clearly and somewhat loudly (and turn down the music) and it will work just fine.

Second, you can get an aerial view with the "where I've been" feature, without using the overhead traffic view (which is not available in many remote areas.)
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on May 12, 2015
The screen is very difficult to see, especially in day time.. If it is not perfectly perpendicular to the driver's line of sight, the contrast is very poor. My 5 year old Garmin is more useful, but it cannot be upgraded because the memory chips are no longer available. i hae icluded a photo of the new Garmin2557 on the right compared with my old Nuvi 1540 on the left viewed at a 45 degree angle. The image on the 2557 almost disappears! I have made adjustments suggested by Garmin support, but the unit is still unsatisfactory. Is it possible to return it? I am willing to upgrade to a better model and pay the difference.
This unit is hazardous because I frequently have to readjust its position when I am driving and my passenger cannot view the screen at the same time I can.
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on January 10, 2014
I was looking forward to this purchase as an upgrade to an old Garmin 3150 which had served me faithfully for 5+ years. Ever since I received this item it very often gives awful directions. You eventually get to where you need to go, but it takes you in circles, or makes other baffling mistakes. I tried to fix this via downloaded updates and adjusting the settings, but nothing worked.
Some examples:

- Driving in a carpool lane in Southern California, the unit advised me to get off the freeway at an exit, then get back on at the same exit (take the off-ramp, go through the traffic light then get on the on-ramp) and get back into the carpool lane - the one I was already driving in. (Thankfully I recognized the stupidity of this and didn't follow directions).

- On a visit to a hospital (a 10 year-old facility with no new roads anywhere around it), I was at the traffic light waiting to turn into the parking lot and the unit advised a u-turn, and a circle route that was more than a mile long - all to get back to the same place - but from the opposite direction. (Again, thankfully no need to follow these directions when you can see the building 100 yards ahead...)

There have been countless incidents like those above. The result is that I cannot trust the unit. In the areas I know - I can see that the unit often gives awful directions. In the areas that I don't know, why should I expect this to be doing any better? In fact it isn't. You do eventually get to where you're going, but in such an awful way that in general, directions can't be trusted. Even when it's correct, I don't trust it. How can one keep a GPS with this level of performance? The simple answer is one can't. It has to go.
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on September 23, 2015
This is faster than our previous Garmin GPS model and does not have the clutter on the screen that the old one had. On the other hand the screen is harder to see, or seems to have a more limited viewing angle.

I bought TFY GPS Navigation Sun Shade Visor for Garmin nüvi 42LM 4.3-Inch Portable Vehicle GPS and other 5 Inch GPS to go with this. I added three photos which 1) side by side with a BMW gps 2) without hood in direct sun 3) with hood on a bright day
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on May 14, 2013
Purchased the Nuvi 2597LMT to update from old Nuvi 350. Main reason for update was I wanted bigger screen, Bluetooth and updated maps. I bought my old gps in 2006 and worked fine all these years. So going with another garmin Nuvi was a no brainier.

Updated maps are very nice. When I received the GPS there was already an update available. The display and layout OS the map was very easy to read and accurate. The Bluetooth feature works great. I made 3 phone calls as soon as I got to hear the clarity of the caller and made sure they could hear me as well. One phone call was made while I was parked, another while driving on city streets and the last on the highway doing 65mph. All worked perfectly and could hear the caller clearly. Going from 3.5" screen to 5" was definitely a major upgrade. The side by side screen to show what lanes to be in is an outstanding feature and works perfectly. It is very user friendly. After 7 years of using the old GPS it was not hard to use the new one.

Live traffic is the only feature that I am not to sure about yet. My wife's car has stock in dash GPS and uses color codes to show flow of traffic. This is what I expected from this unit but it does not do that. It only gives you alerts that there is traffic ahead and gives you the option to detour around the traffic. For and extra $19.99 you can purchase live traffic to use on the unit.

Smart link is an app that I have on my iPhone that syncs with the GPS through Bluetooth. This feature works great. Ay address you have saved in your contacts can be sent to the GPS automatically. This really saves time with not having to input and save all your contacts in the GPS. You can also use the app to locate your car from anywhere. The app uses the GPS locating of the phone and the location of the Nuvi to tell you where you parked your car. It will even give you walking direction on how to get back to you car. There is even a feature for you to find public parking areas and lets you know if there is a cost to park there. The app is free on the iTunes App Store.

Some other add-ons that you can purchase are advanced weather and photo live. Each one is $4.99. They allow you to see live weather radar and traffic cameras on the GPS unit.

The reason I gave it 4 stars was the traffic feature. I don't think you should have to pay an extra $19.99 to have live traffic updates on the map (green, yellow, red lines on the road). Also during my driving I purposely went to high traffic area to see the alerts and how they work and nothing happened. I will update later if the traffic feature works better or I realize I have to turn something on in the settings menu.

*Update* 5/16/2013: The traffic seems to be working fine at giving notifications and delays. With the voice commands I seem to have to talk loud for it to register what I am saying but works great. Bluetooth feature still works just fine.

*Update* 5/20/2013: have upgraded to 5 stars. Everything works perfectly. The GPS unit actually learns your habits and voice commands. Every morning when I get in the car it gives me traffic update on my route to work before I even start the guidance. Does the same thing when I leave work to go home. Voice command much better the more I use it.
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