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Review: Garmin n"uvi 3590 LMT

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The Garmin n"uvi 3590 LMT boasts an impressive display, voice-prompted navigation and helpful applications to make travelling a dream.
The Garmin n"uvi 3590 LMT boasts an impressive display, voice-prompted navigation and helpful applications to make travelling a dream.

I am all too familiar with that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I don't know where I am. Some are able to keep their cool in situations such as these, finding their bearings, and soon, their way. I would like to say I am one of these people, but alas, I am not.

My directional ineptitude makes some form of navigational assistance an absolute must. Part of Garmin's Prestige range, the n"uvi 3590 LMT is the Holy Grail of navigation devices, fitted with all the bits and bobs one would expect from a GPS, and a whole lot more. According to Garmin, the n"uvi 3590 LMT provides the most comprehensive navigation capabilities available, all on the brand's thinnest touch-screen.

Look and feel

If you ask me, Garmin took a page out of little Goldilocks' book when developing this five-inch device. It's not too big and not too small, but just right. The glass capacitive touch-screen makes viewing routes an absolute pleasure. While navigating, users can view various points of interest along the way, featuring everything from banks and shopping centers, to 3D depictions of buildings and terrain. While useful should one be in search of the nearest financial institution, this can make the maps rather cluttered, but there is an option to turn these icons off should the user desire something a little less busy.

In my experience, it is often tricky to get the suction cup attached to the device's mount to stay secured to a car windscreen, but I had no problem with the n"uvi 3590 LMT. I secured the device to my windscreen the day I got it and it didn't move until my two-week review stint was up. I also quite liked the fact that the power cable is connected directly to the window mount and not to the device itself, making it easy to pop the GPS in and out of the mount without having to unplug the cabling.

Navigation

The n"uvi 3590 LMT features all the standard functionality of a GPS, with the ability to search for a historical landmark, address or intersection. But it boasts a host of other features that take navigation to the next level.

Once a destination is plugged in, users have the option of choosing from several suggested routes, or they can plot their own routes. Users can change the settings to display journey altitude, time of arrival, or distance of travel. Users can also access their travel history, which saves time, should they frequently travel to the same place. The device also features lane assistance graphics, which indicate when is best to change lanes based on the route.

Using voice command, one can navigate without lifting a finger. This feature worked well for the most part, taking me to and from work with ease, but I did experience a few instances of miscommunication. For example, I spent about 10 minutes trying to get the n"uvi to take me to Kyalami with no luck. Admittedly, Kyalami is rather a mouthful.

I found the voice prompts a little distorted, at times sounding like the audio was recorded underwater. This may have been an issue with the specific review unit I received though. I did like the addition of a stop route button, which allows users to halt navigation once they know where they are going.

Convergence

According to Gartner, the convergence of functions like social media, cloud computing and mobile technology is creating a nexus of forces that will build on and transform user behaviour.

Garmin n"uvi 3590 LMT

Good: Responsive touch-screen, additional features
Bad: Distracting, poor audio at times
Rating: 9/10
Price: R3 120

The n"uvi 3590 LMT is truly an example of this converged technology. Using Bluetooth, one is able to use a smartphone's data connection to receive real-time information like weather, fuel prices and live traffic updates. Users can also link the device to their smartphones, via Bluetooth, making their contact lists available and allowing them to make calls using the GPS as a hands-free kit. I found this particularly useful.

But this concept of one device performing multiple functions does have a downside, particularly when it is a multipurpose tool used while driving. I am a little concerned the n"uvi 3590 LMT, with all its functionality, could become a little distracting. If it is illegal to text and drive, I fear using this device while driving may venture very close to breaking the law.

Applications

Most of the apps that come preinstalled on the n"uvi venture beyond taking users from point A to point B, and are designed to make the travel experience a little more pleasant.

Those looking to reduce their carbon footprints can use the ecoRoute app. The user simply needs to plug in a few details about their vehicle - fuel type, fuel consumption, fuel price - and the GPS will calculate what impact that weekend drive to Clarens has on the environment. Those counting pennies can also use this app to calculate the cost of each trip, allowing them to choose the most budget-friendly route. The app also offers some useful tips on how to improve fuel efficiency.

The Audible app allows users to download audio books directly onto the device, so they can listen to the latest best seller while driving. And those travelling abroad have the option of learning a few handy phrases using the device's Language Guide app.

There is also an image viewer on the device, which I thought was a slightly random addition, to be honest. The only use I could think of for this app is that one could send the images taken while at one's destination to the device, allowing users to store a photographic history of their travels on the GPS. I am not too sure how many people would do this though.

In a nutshell

The Garmin n"uvi 3590 LMT really is a fantastic little navigation tool. The screen is responsive, the apps are impressive, and the added features make the miles just melt away. As to whether South African drivers have the discipline to use this little baby in a responsible way, I have my doubts. Those who can afford to spend a little extra will love it.

The device retails for R3 120 and comes with free lifetime map updates, as well as free lifetime traffic subscription.

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