Garmin has been enjoying some great momentum during the past few years. Their GPS devices are pretty tough to beat especially if you get into the mid-range and high-end categories. While Garmin is still trading blows with big contenders like TomTom, Garmin has a much bigger market to watch out for as more people are going for high-end smartphones that reasonably negate the reason to get a dedicated GPS device. Budget GPS devices will continue to have its advantages but it is devices like the Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD that are in charge of making the bold statements as to why the most advanced GPS devices are worth having.

Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD

Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD

Design

High-end GPS devices normally look similar to other GPS models but Garmin is pairing the nuvi 3597LMTHD’s high-end specs with a gorgeous new design. The Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD has that premium feel that you would normally experience with today’s smartphones. The 3597LMTHD one of the thinnest devices in its category thanks to the tapered edge design and glass panel.

Moving on to the 5-inch screen, the 800 x 480 resolution may seem low for smartphone standards but it is as high as it needs to be. You won’t be gaming on this device anyway and the maps graphics simply look great. More importantly, the display is very bright and the visuals really pop out. It would have been perfect if Garmin made the screen a bit less reflective. Changing the orientation might help if you have trouble viewing the display and fortunately, a portrait mode is supported. Mounting the device is also very simple as it is magnetic so you don’t have to snap anything or line up the device with a connector. You can also leave the power cable connected to the mount if you decide to disengage the GPS device.

Behind the Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD

Behind the Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD

Interface

The glass display supports multitouch gestures allowing you to perform pinches to zoom in or out. Combined with the premium aluminum feel of the device, using the nuvi 3597LMTHD really feels as if you are using a modern smartphone.

As for the rest of the interface, Garmin has made several tweaks to really make the Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD feel fresh. The simplicity in navigating through the menus remains but the map view features a number of changes that should impress the majority of Garmin users. Certain indicators like the upcoming turn information look bigger but the main addition on the interface front is the Up Ahead feature that comes in the form of a side panel that can pop up from the left if you need to see any details regarding common points of interest in the area. This customizable panel can display, for instance, how close the nearest restaurant and gas station is without affecting your current route. You can tap these icons to show the locations of other points of interest in select category on the map.

Navigation Features

The nuvi 3597LMTHD also features an improved navigation experience thanks to a couple of upgrades to some of Garmin’s basic functions. The accuracy of the Garmin nuvi devices has always been good but it is possible to miss a turn if you are not familiar with the street name the device is referring to. The Garmin Real Directions feature aims to mention landmarks instead of street names whenever possible so you can get a better idea on where you have to make that turn. The text-to-speech feature wasn’t exactly something that needed an improvement but Garmin went ahead anyway and created the Garmin Real Voice technology which enables the device to speak in a more natural manner. The Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD becomes more of a personal assistant that will really make you feel that have a high-tech gadget in your car. It is also an assistant that you can interact with thanks to the built-in voice-activation features. During those times when it is not safe to use the touchscreen, you can simply talk to the device to plan a route or alter certain settings.

The Active Lane Guidance feature also has a few cosmetic changes. Like recently released previous versions, the screen splits in two so you can still see where you are heading on one side while taking note of the lane you have to be before making the exit. The new view better highlights the exact exit you have to take. This improvement can be useful if you see two similarly named exits positioned close together.

The nuvi 3597LMTHD features both lifetime map updates and lifetime traffic updates. The map updates is pretty self-explanatory but the traffic updates is a bit better than the Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHDís predecessors. The panel that pops out from the right side of the device can also be used to show traffic information if a traffic jam is detected. From this panel, you can get an idea on how long the traffic jam would last and how much time you can save if you decide to take an alternate route. From the name of the device, the nuvi 3597LMTHD also uses the HD Digital Traffic system, which is billed as Garmin’s most advanced traffic solution. This extra feature monitors the map conditions more often than other services.

Extra Features

The Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD allows you to synchronize the device with a smartphone over Bluetooth. Like most other GPS devices with Bluetooth functionality, you may issue phone calls in a hands-free manner after linking to a phone and speak directly to the built-in microphone. The speaker is loud and voices sound very clear. You can also access some of Garmin’s paid services by using the Smartphone Link feature. This new function relies on your mobile Internet connection so you can share special information such as your parking information.

Bottom Line

The nuvi 3597LMTHD has a lot of premium elements that make the $349 price tag sensible. It performs far better than any smartphone out there while looking elegant at the same time.

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