Manufacturers have been releasing GPS navigators with lifetime maps and traffic updates for many years. This idea isn’t new and it is apparently making customers very happy because they no longer need to worry about replacing their GPS devices with newer ones unless they stop functioning. But Garmin is known for selling high-quality GPS models that really last. But that doesn’t stop the company from releasing new models every year to convince people to try out the hot new features. This 2013, Garmin is launching some 5-inch and 7-inch Garmin nuvi devices that come with many improvements. With these new features, now is definitely the time to leap to a bigger GPS device if you find your 4.3-inch device to be lacking. But that doesn’t mean that Garmin is abandoning the budget crowd. Although older 5-inch Garmin nuvi devices are more affordable, Garmin realizes that some people might want the latest features with lifetime maps and traffic updates but don’t want to spend so much. The Garmin nuvi 2457LMT is proof that Garmin still cares about the budget crowd.
There is nothing so surprising about a 4.3-inch display with the standard 480 x 272 screen resolution. This form factor makes this category of GPS devices portable and the text is still readable if you mount it to the dashboard. Plus the display is quite bright and it has its own night mode. But the nuvi 2457LMT is one of the new Garmin products that want to break out of the ordinary by sporting a slightly refined design. The bottom area of the bezel is dark greyish while the rest of the bezel is black. It results to a refreshing design that makes the Garmin nuvi 2457LMT look more modernized than the typical 4.3-inch devices coming from competitors.
The nuvi 2457LMT is classified as a mid-range Garmin nuvi navigator but it has more polished features than its predecessors. The new interface alone can be a huge reason to consider the Garmin nuvi 2457LMT over other similarly-priced 4.3 GPS navigators. While you can no longer use the dashboards feature to customize what data fields are shown on the map display, there is a cool new slide out menu called Up Ahead which presents you with some POI icons. Touching the gas station icon, for instance, will show you a bunch of gas station indicators on the map pointing to the locations of gas stations. This easily lets you find a nearby gas station without interrupting your route. The Up Ahead panel also shows you how far away you are to the nearest gas station. This panel is customizable as well so you can include other POI categories such as parking, lodging, ATM machines and rest areas. Think of it as an expanded version of “Exit Services” but only this time, it works outside highways too.
Garmin is also debuting two additional features that enhance the navigation experience for most 2013 devices including the nuvi 2457LMT. Garmin Real Directions is a feature that only works in certain areas but when it does, you can get more specific turn instructions. Rather than calling out the street name, a landmark such as a traffic light can be voiced out instead. The street name will still be visible on the map in case you prefer that reference. The Garmin nuvi 2457LMT also speaks to you more like a regular person because the new Garmin Real Voice technology improves the text-to-speech functionality.
The Garmin Real Voice enhancements extend to the Active Lane Guidance feature too so you can get quick assistance regarding the exit you want to take. There are also animated indicators that conveniently point you to the correct lane. The photoReal junction view was first introduced in the previous generation of Garmin devices but it is still a cool feature that works better than other lane assistance features. This view works by splitting the screen so you can see the photorealistic junction view as well as the map overview. If you need to see more of an overhead view, you can try out the Bird’s Eye junction view and see more details regarding any surrounding interchanges.
Free lifetime map updates is an absolute must if you frequently travel to other cities and need up-to-date map data. Free traffic updates is also important if you frequently need to take the fastest routes possible wherever you are. The nuvi 2457LMT has both of these features making this inexpensive GPS navigator a great investment. You may update the maps as many as 4 times a year for life.
Although there is nothing really new with the maps database, Garmin Traffic works a little bit better as it takes advantage of the new interface and Garmin Real Voice technology. Traffic alerts appear on the side panel and you will be notified through voice as well. It is also possible for the Garmin nuvi 2457LMT to tell you if you are taking the fastest detour route if you have to be rerouted due to heavy traffic.
Since the nuvi 2457LMT doesn’t have any online features or Wi-Fi, you have to rely on a software called Garmin Express to handle the updates. It is a free download and it is available for Windows and Mac OS X. Once installed, you can also download other add-ons to your device such as extra voices to further personalize your device or custom vehicle icons for your map overview.
The Garmin nuvi 2457LMT has a very reasonable $199 price tag. Don’t be fooled by the mid-range specs because the nuvi 2457LMT is just as powerful as the larger and pricier Garmin nuvi devices. The only things that you miss out on aside from the bigger screen is the Bluetooth functionality, voice navigation and smartphone connectivity. If you can live with 4.3-inch devices, the Garmin nuvi 2457LMT is a smart choice. Remember, free lifetime traffic and map updates are included as well and most of North America is covered with more than 10 million points of interest.
Update: You may also consider these newer models :