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January 8, 2013

CES 2013: Hands-On with Garmin's nuvi 3597 LMTHD

This is Garmin's newest top-of-the-line navigator for 2013: meet the nuvi 3597 LMTHD.

I had the opportunity to hold and play with it at CES, and here's my take:

This is the nicest looking Garmin to date. The brushed metal case and high-quality 5-inch glass touchscreen do indeed feel "premium". The updated map display is easier to read, as the upcoming turn indicator, current road, distance to turn, traffic indicator, and current road name have all been optimized for easier viewing while driving.

The new powered magnetic mount (shown below) is awesome. you can literally snap the GPS to the mount with your eyes closed -- this feels somewhat similar to Apple's magnetic power cord adapters used on Mac laptops.

Garmin's new Real Directions feels like a bit of a gimmick, though under certain conditions I can see how it might be easier to hear "turn left at the Starbucks" rather than a road name.

The new Active Lane Guidance (shown below) is a nice update to the previous upcoming turn graphic (previously known as Advanced Lane Guidance). Now, instead of just seeing a split screen with an arrow in the lane, you see a nice animation that clearly shows which lane you should be driving in.

HD Digital Traffic updates should be more accurate and better coverage than previous FM traffic receivers.

PhotoReal and Bird's Eye Junction Views - these are actually very useful; when approaching highway interchanges, the nuvi displays a photo-realistic view of the turn, as well as a bird's eye overhead view of the interchange, with an arrow painting the route you're going to take. This sounds like a minor feature, but it actually makes complex highway maneuvers much easier to navigate.

Voice Activated Navigation - in the roar of CES, this was hard to accurately demo. I don't imagine I'd personally be using my voice to operate the nuvi, though some users may find this feature more useful.

Smarphone Link - Download the free app on to your android or iPhone and you can exchange information between your phone and the GPS (ie "where did I park the car"?). You can also use your Smartphone's data connectivity to access Garmin's Live Services (fuel prices, weather).

Up Ahead - long available on most Magellan GPS models, Garmin's new Up Ahead feature lets you see what restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and stores are available at approaching highway exits. This feature looks nicely implemented, with a neat insert that appears on the right hand side of the map as you're driving -- so less menu navigating to see what's ahead.

3D Buildings & Terrain - This pretty much looks the same as it does on earlier nuvi models, and I'm still not convinced this feature actually helps navigation much. It looks neat, though.

Conclusion: Feels like a great PND, and that's good news for Garmin, as the company faces stiff competition from smartphones and less expensive PNDs flooding the market. The nuvi 3597 is expected to retail for $299, available for purchase in March.

Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Active Lane Guidance
Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Active Lane Guidance

Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Magnetic Mount
Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Magnetic Mount

Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Magnetic Mount
Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Magnetic Mount

Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Main Menu
Garmin nuvi 3597 LMTHD: Main Menu

CES 2013: Garmin Announces 2013 nuvi Models

2013 Garmin nuvi lineup

Garmin is showing off three new nuvi models at CES this year. Available in "Essential", "Advanced", and "Prestige", these models feature:

  • Fancy new brushed metal case
  • 5-inch glass touchscreen display
  • Updated map layouts for improved readability
  • Garmin's new "Real Directions" -- turns are announced in plain natural English (ie "turn left at the traffic light", or "turn right after the Starbucks")
  • HD Digital Traffic
  • 3D buildings
  • Voice Command

As with other Garmin models, the "Prestige" model includes all the above features, as well as lifetime traffic and map updates.

No word on pricing yet, but all three models will be available for purchase within the next 3 months.

January 6, 2013

Magellan Announces 5-Inch RoadMate RV GPS Navigator, RoadMate 5365T-LMB

Magellan RoadMate RV 5365T-LMB

CES starts tomorrow, and the product announcements are starting to roll in. Magellan is announcing the RoadMate RV 5365T-LMB (here's to hoping 2013 sees a simplification in the number of Magellan navigators and the model naming).

According to Magellan, the RoadMate RV 5365T-LMB is specifically targeted at Class B and Class C RVs, and those who tow other recreational vehicles such as fifth wheel trailers or boats.

When preparing for their trips, the Magellan RoadMate RV 5365T-LMB makes it easy for RV drivers to set up profile data about their vehicle's dimensions, vehicle type, hazmat materials, as well as navigational preference so they can customize the best routes.

The Good Sam Campground Directory and Good Sam discount locations, pre-loaded into the RoadMate RV 5365T-LMB, provide valuable RV travel resources featuring comprehensive North America campground information and amenities to facilitate locating available facilities, RV services, pet-friendly campgrounds and parks, tent spaces, Wi-Fi and more.

Available for purchase in January, the RoadMate 5365T-LMB retails for $299.99 (MSRP).

Magellan Intros RoadMate 5370-LMB

Magellan RoadMate 5370T-LMB

Magellan just announced their newest RoadMate, the Commercial driver-oriented 5370-LMB. The new unit will be on display at CES next week, and will feature a 5-inch touchscreen along with safety features designed to help professional drivers.

Specifically, the 5370-LMB will feature customizable truck-specific routing, hands-free communication, driver status log, and mileage reports. The unit will retail for $299, and will be available for purchase starting Jan 31, 2013.