Car and mapping technologies are evolving at a surprisingly rapid pace. We have software developers doing wonderful things to their navigational apps while the car manufacturers themselves are outfitting their luxury cars and high-end consumer models with all sorts of fancy navigation and infotainment tech. Then there are the crazy geeks from Silicon Valley and other places building their own self-driving cars to maximize both safety and convenience to the driver. It’s a huge future to get excited about and GPS manufacturers have to buckle up for the ride. It is completely normal to be afraid of a possible future where people no longer need to buy a GPS navigator. Fortunately, at least Garmin isn’t worried because it still knows how to innovate and it is still well aware that not all consumers are willing to buy a new car just because of these extra cool features. Garmin wants to be the company existing car owners can rely on if they simply want to add these features in. The Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT one of the several Garmin devices to grace 2016 with a goal of modernizing cars of the past.
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About the Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT
Garmin kicked off January 2016 with a surprise by not announcing any Garmin nuvi devices. For those new to Garmin, the nuvi series is the company’s main lineup of consumer GPS navigators and it has been this way for many years. The Garmin Drive series looks to be the spiritual successor of the family and it hopes to make driving a lot more convenient. The Garmin DriveSmart series is a step up series for those that want added connectivity features. This family comes in three sizes with the DriveSmart 60LMT being the 6-inch version.
Comparison with the Older Garmin nuvi Devices
Physically, the Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT looks a lot like the last year’s nuvi 2689LMT which is also a 6-inch model. Both devices look minimal and are equipped with glass touchscreens for better touch responsiveness (the more affordable Garmin Drive has a less impressive resistive touch display). Even the user interface is similar so Garmin nuvi users shouldn’t have to relearn how to perform the basic functions.
What the DriveSmart 60LMT adds though is better driving assistance. Basically, the navigation procedure is the same as older models but the Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT will tell you a lot more useful info when you are driving to the intended destination. It now has the ability to tell you if there is an upcoming sharp curve or railroad crossing. You will be notified of any speed changes as well as notifications to get rest after driving for many hours. Known as the fatigue warning, this feature will also suggest places to rest.
The DriveSmart name also symbolizes wireless connectivity as the Bluetooth functionality is not present in the Garmin Drive models. Bluetooth is an old feature but the DriveSmart 60LMT can better interact with the more modern smartphones. Android and iOS can push text and call notifications as well as calendar reminders directly to the DriveSmart device through Bluetooth once you installed the Smartphone Link app to the mobile device. You get this exclusive feature along with the many other features like weather and traffic updates that the Smartphone Link app brought to older devices.
The Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT still has the heart of a nuvi device with tons of points of interest from Foursquare and free lifetime maps and traffic updates. The Active Lane Guidance feature with Bird’s Eye junction view still retains its charm and the voice commands work just fine if you don’t want to touch the screen. The optional BC 30 wireless backup camera is compatible with the DriveSmart 60LMT too.
• More active with alerts than the typical GPS navigator
• Pairs well with Android and iOS devices.
• All the good stuff found in a midrange nuvi is present here.
• Interface and design showing its age.
• No higher-end Garmin 6-inch alternative at the moment.
Garmin is clearly taking baby steps to keep its product portfolio aligned with the upcoming car revolution. The Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT is best viewed as a pit stop since it doesn’t add much but it lays the foundation of wonderful things to come as the nuvi family takes the backseat.