If you recall what automotive GPS devices were like several years ago, you can conclude that the technology has gone a long way. GPS devices are more accurate than ever and come packed with cool features. Some devices are so good that there are hardly any reasons to go for a newer model. However, customers continue to buy smartphones because they have even more features along with solid GPS functionality. On the hardware side, smartphones have inferior GPS tech but the software is superior and third-party apps can make the GPS function even more useful. With so many smartphones to choose from, GPS sales are weakening but big companies like Garmin nuvi are not ready to give up. Garmin has a new lineup of Garmin nuvi products for 2013 and a couple of them sport 7-inch screens. The Garmin nuvi 2797LMT is currently Garmin’s top 7-inch GPS device for cars.
Unlike the 2013 5-inch Garmin nuvi GPS devices, the nuvi 2797LMT features a design that is similar to the usual Garmin products. The Garmin logo situated on the bottom part of the bezel looks pretty stylish though. The bezel is also quite thin and it really highlights the largeness of the 7-inch display. It pretty much looks like a tablet. Going from a 4.3-inch GPS device to a 5-inch GPS device may not seem like a huge leap but the upgrade really looks noticeable if you go for the Garmin nuvi 2797LMT. This display has a higher 800 x 480 pixel resolution too so you see more detail. The display can be viewed as terrible if you already seen those new 5-inch 1080p smartphones but remember that you won’t be watching movies anyway.
The nuvi 2797LMT lacks the truck-specific features that are present in the Garmin dezl products but it has a lot of features that were present in the previous flagship model along with some impressive improvements.The interface has been refined for the better and the 7-inch display allows more information to be shown. Planning a route remains simple which is to be expected from a Garmin product but you can really notice the improvements while you are driving and following the directions set by the route you planned. All of the important details of the route including the speed, ETA, current street and turn information. Speed limit information is shown on the left below the zoom controls.
An interesting new addition to this map view is the Up Ahead menu which slides out from the right of the screen. The panel shows you how far away you are from the nearest gas station, restaurant and parking lot. Tapping any of these icons will reveal some indicators pointing to other nearby points of interest in these categories. You can customize the panel if you want to do other things from that panel such as checking the detour information or adjusting the brightness.
The Real Directions improvement makes navigating with the Garmin nuvi 2797LMT a bit more convenient. This new feature can tell you to make a turn at a certain landmark in case you are unfamiliar with the street name. The street name can still be seen on the screen. This feature isn’t available in all areas but it could be a powerful feature once it expands to more places. The top panel can also change depending on the situation. For instance, an upcoming school zone will cause the bar to turn red while lane guidance shows important signs.The text-to-speech technology isn’t just smart enough to call out landmarks. The engine itself has an improvement too and it is now known as Garmin Real Voice. The prompts are voiced out more naturally sounding as if the person right next to you is issuing directions.
The Active Lane Guidance feature remains the same for the most part if you have 2012 Garmin nuvi device. A cool new feature is this animated model that shows you the lane you need to be in so you can make that critical turn. Combined with the new voice engine, Active Lane Guidance works a lot better.
Like other Garmin nuvi devices with the LMT suffix, the nuvi 2797LMT is outfitted with detailed maps covering North America with free map updates for life. A lifetime traffic receiver is also included so you can use the Garmin Traffic feature to receive traffic alerts any time. It also takes advantage of the Garmin Real Voice feature and it even goes as far as telling you if you are currently on the fastest route. Garmin Traffic will continue to function as long as your device does.
The Garmin nuvi 2797LMT features voice navigation which allows you to keep your hands on the wheel while you can issue voice commands to do certain things. It also works with Garmin Traffic so you can request for traffic updates and the device will talk right back to you. With Bluetooth compatibility, you can also connect your smartphone to the nuvi 2797LMT. This allows you to enjoy hands-free conversations while driving safe. Android smartphone or tablet owners can download the free Smartphone Link app so you can tether your mobile Internet connection to the GPS device. This won’t let you check out websites from the GPS device but you can share POIs and destinations.
If you have a 2011 or 2012 Garmin nuvi device and you are looking to upgrade and enjoy the fine improvements, you might as well go for the Garmin nuvi 2797LMT so you get the size upgrade as well. More map details can be shown thanks to the higher resolution and everything looks really easy to read. The battery life takes an understandable hit but you can always use the powered mount for convenient charging. $299 is a reasonable price to pay and while you can get a tablet for that money, the nuvi 2797LMT is simply a better package if you take the new voice improvements, lifetime map and traffic updates and user interface into consideration.
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