It is very important for Garmin to cater as many different types of consumers as possible. For people that have less than $200 to burn? Garmin has that group fully covered with several 5-inch and 6-inch GPS devices in the 2015 Essential Line and all of them are packed with good features. Then there is the crowd that is okay with 5-inch devices but want more features for under $250. Several devices in the 2014 Advanced Line cover that area. Those that don’t need those extra features can still go for something cheap like the Garmin nuvi 2639LMT while still enjoying a few improvements over any of the entry-level 6-inch devices. Finally, there is the crowd that wants all the nice features and big screen. The Garmin nuvi 2689LMT is Garmin’s head honcho of the 6-inch category.
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In the wonderful world of GPS navigators, bigger is better in just about every possible respect. It still mounts to the car dashboard or windshield just fine with the aid of the included mount and the bigger 6-inch display looks great and viewable even from afar. It is not a device you will try to hold with one hand or put in your pocket so there are no compromises to worry about other than the battery life. It also looks a bit similar to Garmin’s cheaper devices in the Essential Line but there is one major difference – the screen. The screen of the nuvi 2689LMT is made of glass and that vastly improves the usability. Touch inputs feel as responsive as a smartphones and you can pinch to zoom too.
Touching the Garmin nuvi 2689LMT is just one of the ways of interacting with it. Your voice serves as another way and it works pretty well. You start by issuing the command to bring up the Voice Command app and then you speak the place you want to go to. It can be a search word such as a supermarket or you can say something specific like Wal-Mart and the device will comply. Not using your hands to operate mobile gadget sounds gimmicky but it is mighty convenient when you need to drive and keep your eyes on the road.
When you are not driving, you can also take out your smartphone and activate the Bluetooth function to pair it to the nuvi 2689LMT. This naturally enables hands-free calling support for the GPS device so you can leave your phone in your bag and let the device tell you if someone is calling you. When someone calls, the hands-free interface appears as a sidebar so you can still view the map. If your mobile device runs Android or iOS, you can also download the Smartphone Link app from its respective app store and do even more remote things to your GPS device. This includes sending location data to the nuvi and pulling weather information from the Internet.
The Garmin nuvi 2689LMT can talk back to you as well and it does it a bit better than other GPS navigators currently out there. Thanks to the fairly new Garmin Real Directions feature, the nuvi 2689LMT delivers directions to you more like how a friend would. It will tell you to make a turn after a gas station, traffic light or any landmark it detects in your field of vision rather than just mentioning a street name. You can even try planning a route to a store found inside a mall and the Direct Access feature will go as far as telling you what floor the store is in and its precise location.
Garmin knows that lots of smartphone users use Foursquare to discover all the cool places worth checking out in the area so Garmin partnered with Foursquare. This allowed Garmin to incorporate Foursquare’s database into the nuvi 2689LMT so you can discover places even without a connection to the Internet. If you want to use your mobile device’s Internet connection, you can perform Foursquare check ins too. Foursquare lives as a separate app so it doesn’t replace Garmin’s map database which covers all of North America and comes with the lifetime map updates and traffic avoidance goodies.
The Garmin nuvi 2689LMT features Active Lane Guidance too and it is more capable than the lane assist feature you find in entry-level Garmin nuvi products. It comes with the photoReal Junction view so you can get a good look at the exit along with important signs and clear lane indicators. If you need to get a better look at the intersections and junctions, you can also try the Bird’s Eye view.
With built-in Bluetooth, voice activation, multi-touch support and full North America map coverage, the $269.99 asking price is pretty justifiable for a 6-inch device. It is simply impossible to find anything competitive in the 6-inch space especially when you consider the Foursquare partnership. This puts Garmin is a great position and it is pretty exciting to see how the competition will respond to the nuvi 2689LMT.