Buying the cheapest GPS device that you can take with you to any place in the US or Canada is normally not recommended. That rock bottom price will net you some decent navigational functions that your smartphone doesn’t do so well in but you have to sacrifice the free map updates. This 2015, however, Garmin wants to offer a different perspective with their new 2015 Essential Line of products. You can still pick up the older Garmin nuvi 56 for $129.99 and enjoy the preloaded US and Canada maps but you might be stuck with obsolete information a couple of years later. But its successor, the Garmin nuvi 58 provides more evergreen data thanks to a key partner along with a couple of extra features for just $10 more.
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Garmin has no choice but to stick with its adequately cheap design and basic 5-inch display with the standard WQVGA resolution. While the nuvi 58 can be considered a pretty big leap from the nuvi 56 in terms of features, both devices still weigh the same and come with the same suction cup mount and vehicle power cable. The 2-hour battery life hasn’t been improved so you will really need that cable in your car.
Most of the new features of the Garmin nuvi 58 can be encountered through regular usage which is good for Garmin because it will be hard to revert back to a smartphone or competing GPS device after regularly using this device. Let’s say you want to plan a route to a clothing store inside a shopping mall. When bringing up the search bar and entering your query, you will immediately notice the first major addition, Foursquare-powered points of interest. Back in 2014, Garmin teamed up with Foursquare Labs, Inc. in a bid to provide more information to POIs using Foursquare’s highly rich database. Since the nuvi 58 is a 2015 device, you get 2015’s database and you can discover the popular restaurants and other highly-rated locations right on the top of the results page as the device prioritizes Foursquare results. Take note that the Garmin nuvi 58 doesn’t have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or any hidden mobile Internet tricks so you get Foursquare’s relevancy right within the device for full offline usage. Of course, getting the pricier Garmin nuvi 58LM or nuvi 58 LMT devices will still be worth your money, but the Foursquare integration should significantly extend the lifespan of the Garmin nuvi 58.
Going back to the shopping mall scenario, a few turns are required before you can reach your destination. Any GPS device or smartphone should have no trouble in issuing you the proper directions to get there. But the nuvi 58 really tries to make sure you make the correct turns by pointing out specific landmarks or objects in addition to just mentioning a particular street. For people navigating in places with unknown street names, this is a great feature and it eliminates the need to glance at the screen to check where the mentioned street name is.
The journey to the shopping mall requires a visit to the highway and like previous Garmin devices, the Garmin nuvi 58 will use the lane assist with junction view to direct you the appropriate lane so you can take the right exit and stay on route. As you travel to your destination, you can check the distance between your current position and 3 categories of POIs in case you suddenly need to make a stopover to an ATM or restaurant without changing course.
Once you reached your shopping mall destination, you will experience another new feature called Direct Access. Not only will the nuvi 58 tell you that you are approaching the shopping mall but you will also be told the exact location of the clothing store. This feature also works with other complex destinations like airports where you might want to find the entrance or a suitable parking spot.
Speaking of parking spots, getting out of a tight parking spot with lots of activity in the way can be tricky with the rear mirror alone. But if you shell out an extra $169.99 on the BC 30 wireless backup camera, you can add that to the back of your car and have the Garmin nuvi 58 wirelessly pair with it so you can get a much better rear view through the 5-inch display.
It is a pretty normal pattern for Garmin’s entry-level lineup to improve every year but the nuvi 58 symbolizes the biggest leap yet and finally makes a non-LM or LMT device actually worth purchasing if your budget really is that tight. Going for the Garmin nuvi 58LMT model will still give you the most complete essential experience but you could get a lot of mileage out of the $139.99 Garmin nuvi 58. Plus if you don’t need the detailed Canada maps, you could save $10 and get the Garmin nuvi 57 instead.