Top critical review
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Garmin giveth, Garmin taketh away
on May 3, 2013
So I've had the 3597 for almost four days, but I've used many a Garmin before, going back to the GPS V. (I've also owned the 3490, 3790 and 1695) As usual, Garmin decides to update the new model year with some new features (Active Lane Guidance and Real Directions are the main ones) but then remove others (user updatable speed limits and dashboards come to mind). I really like this new model, but would only ask for a couple of features to return to make it outstanding. All of my cons could be considered nit-picky, but they're still cons in my book. All told, I would still recommend the 3597.
SW Version 2.60
Thoughts that come to mind:
+ The 5-inch display is very crisp and clear, but can be reflective depending on how you position it in your car. Love the big screen!
+ More street names are shown on the map than previous models, roads not on your route are more frequently labled at all zoom levels
+ Voice activation works well for me, even with windows down
+ HD traffic (included) works well for me in San Diego; however see below for comment around traffic with Smartphone App
+ Advanced lane guidance. While not included for all junctions, it's useful to know exactly which lane you should be in as you approach tricky junctions/intersections
+ Current street shown
+ Volume with speaker mount is very good. With windows down I only have to boost the volume to 60 or 65 to hear directions.
+ Magnetic mount - bring the unit close to the mount and it just snaps into place by itself, much improved.
- Lack of dashboards, or specifically of more data fields. I really miss having more than two data fields. One being current speed (cannot be changed) and one other. I miss being able to view time to destination, arrival time, and distance to destination all on the screen at the same time, like any of the previous models. Hopefully this will be changed in a SW update...? By the way, you can include trip data in the "sidebar", but those are limited to Direction, Max Speed, Moving Avg, Overall Avg, Stopped Time, Moving Time, Total Time, Elevation. Why just those "trip" fields?
- I had previously purchased the traffic through the Smartphone App for Android and it's hit or miss. I can have cell reception on my phone, but the GPS won't be able to receive data. By keeping the traffic on the sidebar, it can confirm that it will go minutes without being able to update the traffic info. If it connects at startup but then isn't able to connect, all traffic data goes away until it can successfully connect again. I'm hopeful this can also be updated via SW update.
- I miss the three onscreen shortcuts found in the 3490 - it takes an extra button press to do a "where to" search, or get traffic info. A minor annoyance, but still a feature subtracted from the previous model.
- No user updatable speed limits - a feature removed from previous models. While I understand they're only included as a guide, it would be nice to change them if they are incorrect.
* Real directions. I'm indifferent to this new feature. "Turn left at the traffic light" versus "Turn left on University Ave" doesn't really make much difference to me. Though I did run across the downfall of implementing this feature... "Turn left after La Salsa" only helps when La Salsa is still in business. Unfortunately it was not, but I knew where to turn anyway.
* I tend not to use the bluetooth functionality for phone calls, so I can't answer to the quality on this model.