Entry-level GPS devices are generally the ones that are expected to handle basic navigational functions and nothing more. The attractive sub-$200 price tag and better internal GPS hardware compared to smartphones serve as major selling points. However, with midrange and high-end devices going well above $200, some customers might think that the cheaper GPS navigators come with some significant compromises. Even though Garmin makes some great entry-level devices, the company wants to dispel that myth completely by incorporating midrange-like features to all of their basic Garmin nuvi devices. This implementation makes the Garmin nuvi 58LMT really look like a midrange product as it is the top-of-the-line 5-inch model. But with an asking price of just $179.99, the nuvi 58LMT deserves a closer look.

Garmin nuvi 58LMT

Garmin nuvi 58LMT

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Design

That closer look will instantly make you realize why this device is so affordable. It is lightweight and feels a bit cheap and the 5-inch display isn’t really a looker if you compare it with a modern 5-inch smartphone. It only has a screen resolution of 480×272 so you cannot expect smooth visuals. You can’t expect more than 2 hours battery life either since the Garmin nuvi 58LMT relies on the same battery.

Features

Starting with the obvious first, the nuvi 58LMT boasts free lifetime map updates and free traffic updates around the clock. But searching for a point of interest or POI within that updated database is slightly different. Depending on the location you are looking for, you might spot some top results with a Foursquare logo. Getting more information about that POI is just a tap away and descriptions of these locations match the descriptions on Foursquare. The interesting thing is that the Garmin nuvi 58LMT cannot access the Internet so it essentially has an offline database of Foursquare. Smartphones cannot use Foursquare offline giving the nuvi 58LMT a huge advantage. Unlike the slightly cheaper Garmin nuvi 57LMT, the Garmin nuvi 58LMT has preloaded US and Canada maps.

Garmin could have made the Foursquare integration the single new key addition and called it a day but the company really wanted to put the entire Essential Line its best foot forward by dramatically improving the navigating experience. Garmin didn’t have to invent anything new either. All they did was take some of the innovative features that were in some of the more expensive Garmin nuvi devices released in a couple years back and integrate them to the nuvi 58LMT and its siblings. This includes the Garmin Real Directions feature which made the Garmin nuvi 3597 a huge hit. It makes the directions much easier to understand for people that may be driving in an unknown street. Rather than telling you to make a turn at this particular street, Real Directions instructs you more naturally by pointing out a landmark such as a coffee shop or something simple like a traffic light.

The Garmin nuvi 58LMT even takes a page from the Garmin 2014 Advance Series book by having the Direct Access feature built in. This feature isn’t as prominent as Garmin Real Directions but it can come in handy when navigating to a complex destination. All GPS devices should be able to generate a proper route to a mall or airport but once you get arrive, it is all up to you to find the exact place you want to be whether it is an entrance or a particular shop inside the mall. The Direct Access feature provides that level accuracy.

These three big improvements stack on top of an already impressive feature set. Even if Direct Access may not apply to everyday driving, the Up Ahead feature definitely does as it gives you one-touch access to display nearby POIs without interrupting your course. If a school zone happens to be part of your path, the nuvi 58LMT will send sound off an alert and remind you of the proper speed limit to avoid conflicts. Navigating through highways is far more common too so the lane assist with junction view is a huge help. This feature splits the screen in two and shows you a realistic representation of the exit and lane you must be in along with important highway signs.

If that isn’t enough Garmin is making the Garmin nuvi 58LMT fully compatible with Garmin’s new BC 30 backup camera accessory. This accessory serves as an easy means in giving your vehicle a clear rear view with the camera installed on the back of your car and the nuvi 58LMT serving as the 5-inch viewfinder wirelessly communicating with the camera. This accessory can be purchased for $169.99.

Bottom Line

The Garmin nuvi 58LMT is the new king of the 5-inch Essential Line and it is by far the most impressive car GPS navigator in the sub-$200 category. The competition have their work cut out but there is still plenty of time for them to respond with big things to delight customers.

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