Garmin kicked off 2015 with a very strong selection of entry-level Garmin nuvi devices that are sure to delight car owners. Garmin’s most expensive 5-inch entry-level product only costs $159 and already has lifetime maps, traffic avoidance, US and Canada maps and some nice extra goodies like Foursquare integration and Garmin Real Directions. That doesn’t make Garmin’s 2014 midrange lineup less appealing though. The midrange lineup begins with the Garmin nuvi 2539LMT and is priced at $199.99. It has the same features as the $159 Garmin nuvi 56LMT but the nuvi 2539LMT has a couple of extra things that could convince frequent GPS users to pay the additional $40 premium.
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The Garmin nuvi 2539LMT is designed like any ordinary GPS device. It is a bit thicker and heavier than your average 5-inch smartphone and it has thicker bezels with the Garmin logo on one of its longer sides. This suggests that you should use the nuvi 2539LMT in landscape orientation although there is an option to use it in portrait mode too. While the Garmin nuvi 2539LMT only has a typical 480×272 screen resolution, the glass display makes the product feel more polished than any of the entry-level models.
The glass surface is also a capacitive display, making the nuvi 2539LMT feel nicer and more responsive to interact with frequently. It also enables multi-touch gestures so you can conveniently pinch to zoom in or out on the map the same way you would do it on your smartphone or tablet.
Another midrange-class feature that you get from the Garmin nuvi 2539LMT is full map coverage in North America. Map updates are completely free for life. You should be able to get great route information even if there is traffic because the lifetime traffic avoidance ensures the quickest alternate route to your destination. The Foursquare integration is a huge feature worth mentioning as it is something you won’t currently find in competing brands. It makes the search results of a location query more interesting with Foursquare-powered listings right on top. These POIs have that familiar Foursquare icon and come with same extra info you would find in the mobile app. The best thing about this feature is that it doesn’t rely on the Internet. You can effectively drive to a new city and have immediate access to the popular restaurants and other shops in the area.
Garmin puts even more pressure on the competition with features like Garmin Real Directions and Direct Access, both of which add innovative improvements to the navigation experience. Any modern GPS device should be able to pronounce the street names well when a direction needs to be given. Garmin Real Directions takes the nuvi 2539LMT a step further by opting not to use the street name as a reference if a known landmark can be used instead. So you might be asked to make a left at this particular gas station, which is far more informative than a street you might not be familiar with.
A standard GPS device should be able to direct you to a mall if a known POI is found inside but the Garmin nuvi 2539LMT can tell you exactly what floor the store is in and its exact location. This is all thanks to the Direct Access feature and it can pinpoint the entrances and/or parking spots of other big locations like airports too.
The Garmin nuvi 2539LMT also has better features for highway navigation than the nuvi 56LMT. On a basic level, the Active Lane Guidance conveniently directs you to the right lane in order to make the appropriate exit to stay on course. You also have the option to activate the Bird’s Eye junction view if you want to see a nice overhead view of the various interchanges. There is also a photoReal Junction View that shows off these interchanges and junctions through eye-catching graphics.
As you go through your route, you could encounter other useful pieces of information like school zone alerts that will tell you to adjust your speed or locations icons to nearby restrooms, gas stations, hotels and restaurants even if these locations are not your directions. This is known as the Up Ahead feature and you can customize it to display any categories you like complete with information of the nearest POI on a sidebar.
The nuvi 2539LMT has the potential of being an even better car companion if you buy and have a professional install the BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera. Priced at $169.99, this accessory allows the Garmin nuvi 2539LMT to act as a rear view when you go reverse.
If you are satisfied with a 5-inch display, the nuvi 2539LMT is one of the most feature-rich automotive GPS navigators in the $200 price point. Spending beyond $200 is only worthwhile if you wish to talk to the GPS device or link it up with your smartphone.