What is it?
A sat-nav that allows you to navigate your way to various places. It features a 5″ HD Screen, with 5 point multi touch. It can listen and react to your voice prompts, and connects to your phone and lets you make calls. It also gives you real time traffic information, and does not need to use your phone’s data to download it. Also features 3D Lane assistance, allowing you to know which lane to be in when going on or off A roads or motorways.
Look and feel
The device is quite simply, beautiful. Slim and sleek, with a great finish. It almost reminds me of the Nokia Lumia range. In front is the screen, while at the back is the magnetic pad that allows you to connect to the dock, or to your computer through the mini USB cable. The fact that the device still uses a mini USB cable is slightly amusing, but I guess they are sticking to what sat-navs have been doing for a while. Also, on the back is a power on-off button.
The device comes with a magnetic dock, which the unit connects to quite beautifully. Once setup, the simple attaching to it turns your unit on, and starts charging it. The magnetic dock also connects to the traffic input (via FM antenna), so once attached, you are good to go and have to make no other adjustments.
Once this is turned on, there is no set up required. The main screen asks you “Where to go” or “View Map”, and you can chose the former, in which you can enter address or search for nearby favourites/points of interest. Once put in, you are good to go.
Ease of use
As mentioned above, there is no set up required, and the unit is extremely easy to use. There are voice commands, and extra features, which may require setting up, but if you want a no – frills easy to use device, this is it.
The ‘navigation experience’
The unit, despite all the extras, has to function as a sat-nav, so this is where most of our review shall focus. Here are our thoughts, comments, as well as opinions:
- The 5″ wide screen screen is a great touch, and the view is great. However, it may feel a bit too wide at times if you are just going straight at a motorway. However, at a complicated junction, the bigger screen size is quite useful.
- You can use this in both portrait and landscape mode. However, portrait mode does make Active Lane Guidance look a bit funny and flat.
- It offers free lifetime map upgrades. This is the kind of thing their main competitor (AHEM) charges for, so it is a good touch. The maps were fairly accurate, and had all the latest road changes.
- The Active Lane Guidance makes more efficient use of the screen size in landscape mode. A very useful feature, and it tells you which lanes to be in when joining or leaving motorways and main roads. Particularly useful around complicated junctions. It also shows you what signs you’ll see, so you know that you’re in the right area, making the right move.
- The information on the screen tells you your next move, your next road to take, speed limit, your speed, the road you are on, and your arrival time, or distance.
- For some weird reason, you can’t see more than one parameter about your arrival. You have to choose between ETA, or the distance remaining. This is something that nagged me, and I could not find a way to change this.
- It does not show you the clock either, which I found a bit annoying, but this isn’t a problem at all.
- The maps/screen adjusts to the light conditions around you, going from bright to night mode automatically.
- Speed cameras are announced through alerts, as well as zones where you will find mobile speed monitoring vans.
- It talks about Garmin Real Directions with Real Voice. For example turn right at the next cathedral, or take a left after Starbucks. I drove around in Oxford, Banbury and Milton Keynes, and while I was hoping it would give me some of those, I had none. I take it that it is a feature that probably works in big cities like London, Birmingham or Manchester. Would have been good to hear it, but can’t say if it was down to my location, or just not working.
- Overall the experience is very good, the beautiful screen makes navigation very easy, and the sharp graphics definitely make everything clear.
One of the cool features of the device is that you say ‘Voice command’ and the device is ready to accept your commands. You may find that if you are going at high speeds, or on the motorway, you may have to shout it. This does also suggest that my car may be noisy, but it has to cope with everything.
Once you say Voice Command, it gives you some options, and you can take it from there. You can ask it to ‘go home’, tell it an address, use your phone, make calls, etc.
I found it particularly useful, in fact a lot better than most of the voice command prompts I have tried recently. It also understood my half Pakistani half British accent, which is definitely a gold star. Normally I don’t use Voice Prompts much, but with this device, it was definitely an easy option to use.
The traffic alerts is an extra feature on this device. It takes information from FM band (much like your car’s TA input) and tells you about traffic and congestion on your route. You can also view it on the map.
While it was mostly reasonable, it wasn’t very quick. This, however, could easily be down to the source of traffic cameras and information, so it is not something you can blame the device for.
If the traffic is bad, it tells you whether your current route is the quickest, or whether a detour would be. You can then choose your option.
Very handy if you’re driving down to Cornwall during holidays.
Another clever feature as part of this device is the phone features it offers. You can make calls, receive calls handsfree, as well as access your phone book and call history. While this feature has been in satnavs for a long time, once again this one has improved upon it, making this the device to use in your car for the purpose.
More information can be found at the following link:
It retails for £269.99 if bought direct from them. You may find the Garmin nuvi 3597 on Amazon at a lower price (currently at a discounted price of £234).
It is a beautiful and great device, something I will definitely miss once I return it. The magnetic attaching is a magic touch, making this extremely easy to use and access. The instructions and maps are clear, and the various features are well designed and easy to use. The only thing that may go against this is the price.