Just as in the evolution of TVs and smartphones, larger screen sizes are getting more popular. For GPS devices, 4.3″ units used to be the de facto size to go for. However over the last 2 years, we’ve seen a proliferation of 5″ units and they are outselling the smaller brothers, while the 3.5″ models are slowly getting phased out. Most users find that extra screen real estate can make a big difference in visibility and ease of use of touchscreen controls.
Garmin introduced their flagship 5 inch model Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD earlier this year and it is already shaping up to be one of the most popular models in their range despite its steep price (MSRP $349.99). Garmin seems to get most things right. The design is svelte and light. The high resolution display has a “pinch and zoom” capability much like an iPhone. The magnetic windshield mount is another a great idea. The user interface is less cluttered and the cleaner layout provides a better user experience. Even the voice has gone through a major revamp. It is much nicer sounding and the street pronunciations are much better. Garmin calls this “Real Directions, with Real Voice”. Garmin continues to raise the bar for automotive GPS. Read the full nüvi 3597LMTHD review here.
Magellan also has many large screen GPS. They even have 7″ models like the RoadMate 9250T-LMB. The more popular ones are the 5″ models like the RoadMate 5230T-LM and the Roadmate 5245T-LM. Both offer free lifetime traffic alerts and map updates. The new Landmark Guidance use landmarks instead of street names for guidance. If you are switching from older models this needs some getting use to. The upgraded Junction View generates a more complete view of the highway you are on and, with unmistakable arrows, visually guides you to the correct lane. A new feature called Best Parking is a good feature to have. It makes parking in the city less stressful.