Garmin has been spot on with making new announcements every January highlighting their newest Garmin nuvi products. But you really have to dig into their press releases to find out what new features these units offer and normally, the changes are light if you compare them directly to its predecessors. The slight change in model name also indicates that there isn’t much new and it should be fine if you go with an older model as long as you can still update the maps and traffic data. But Garmin is breaking its tradition of minor updates in a big way this 2013. They may have announced more than a dozen new GPS models with confusing product names but these 2013 Garmin nuvi devices including the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT are packed with more improvements that make these GPS units worth calling the next generation of Garmin nuvi devices.
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To show how big these improvements are, Garmin went ahead to make some significant design changes to make the nuvi 2597LMT stand out. It has a 5-inch display with the standard 480×272 screen resolution and it feels as little bit lighter than its predecessor – the Garmin nuvi 2595LMT. While the rest of the internal specs are similar, the design now features a refined bezel with the bottom part being grey while the rest of the sides are black. It gives that premium feel and looks more attractive and interesting than other GPS products. The manual dual-orientation feature means you can place the GPS device in portrait view too.
The Garmin nuvi 2597LMT features even more interface improvements than last year’s devices. You will notice them immediately after you planned your route and see the 3D map display. The graphics are pretty much the same but you will notice more statistics around the edges of the display so the map view isn’t so obscured. The top and bottom taskbars show information about your speed and destination as it should but the side panel adds a new dimension to the navigational experience. Now you can see how far away you are from the nearest gas station or restaurant without interrupting your current route. The new Up Ahead feature will continue to notify you of any nearby hospitals, stores, services and other important POIs.
Every automotive GPS device has a text-to-speech technology that can read the street names. But the nuvi 2597LMT has an even smarter voice engine that can talk to you more like a virtual assistant. Garmin calls this technology Garmin Real Voice and it is capable of giving more natural and easier to understand voice prompts to guide you towards your destination. Combined with the new Garmin Real Directions feature, the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT can also issue better directions by accurately using buildings, traffic lights and other recognizable landmarks as references. So if you are tired hearing your old GPS device tell you to make a right at Main Street, you can let the nuvi 2597LMT tell you to make the turn at the public library instead so you won’t miss the turn.
The Active Lane Guidance with photoReal junction continues to put Garmin products in the lead when it comes to lane guidance. Like the 2012 models, the view splits into 2 so you can better see the lane while still being aware of your surroundings. This function is slightly enhanced with the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT as you can better see the arrow indicators. Voice prompts can assist you in this view as well. You can still switch to the Bird’s Eye junction view if you want to see the other surrounding interchanges and junctions.
Of course, the best advantage of getting a new Garmin GPS device is the new map data that comes right out of the box. Since this is the LMT model, it shouldn’t matter when you buy the nuvi 2597LMT because you can update the maps immediately anyway. You can update the maps 4 times a year for life and you will never be charged. The same goes with the Garmin Traffic feature which is in charge of providing you with real-time traffic updates. Garmin’s new voice engine also works with Garmin Traffic to provide you with more assistance and the traffic alerts show up on the side if you need more details regarding the traffic scenario. You can see the available detours and figure out which one is the shortest.
If you need to customize the appearance of the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT a little bit, you can use the Garmin Express feature to do things like change the voice or set a new vehicle icon that will appear on the map. This feature also handles the software and map updates.
You can issue voice commands to the nuvi 2597LMT any time you like so you can stay safe while driving without reaching out to touch the display. With the new voice engine features, the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT should feel a lot more comfortable to communicate to through voice.
Safe driving also means keeping your hands off your mobile phone and you can do just that without sacrificing the ability to make important calls while driving. Simply turn on the phone’s Bluetooth feature and put in the glove compartment so you can use the built-in Bluetooth feature of the nuvi 2597LMT. It can connect to your smartphone easily and from there, you can use the integrated speaker and microphone to call your friends and relatives hands-free.
The Garmin nuvi 2597LMT may not have any Internet capabilities, but you can let your smartphone provide that kind of connectivity. Garmin has a new mobile app that iPhone and Android users can download that allow these smartphones to link to the nuvi 2597LMT. When a link is established, you can share important details such as the place you parked, your planned destination and points of interests. You can also use this connection to obtain live traffic and weather conditions through Garmin’s free Garmin Live Services.
If you don’t need the extra features, the Garmin nuvi 2557LMT is the GPS device to get. But the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT only costs $30 more and that $30 goes to additional safety features that quite frankly should be present in every GPS device nowadays. Spending the extra $30 is highly recommended especially if you frequently go online with your smartphone.