Review: Garmin nuvi 2595LMT GPS

For the last few years, I’ve had a Garmin nuvi 1350LMT GPS. It’s proven itself useful by allowing my wife to navigate to anywhere because she is shall we say “directionally challenged” and relied on printed maps to get her from point “A” to point “B”. It’s worked well for years. Not to mention that I’ve used it to get around Toronto and various points in the province of Ontario as well. But last week I started to have issues with it. It not only started to display an error message that said “Accessory Not Supported” but the traffic function stopped working. Now there is an FM receiver that is built into the power cable for the GPS that I logically figured was the issue. So I borrowed another one from a friend to to confirm it. I then found that it was the GPS itself that was the issue as I still had the same problem. Since it was out of warranty, I decided to buy a replacement.

At this point you’re wondering why my wife and I wouldn’t use our respective phones for navigation. The reason is simple. I’ve found that a phone works well if you’re willing to pay for the data charges related to downloading maps on the fly. Though the advantage of that is that you tend to get up to date maps. However phone based navigation only works when you have cellular coverage. I’ve driven through parts of the US where there are cellular dead spots. That makes phone based navigation useless. However a GPS based navigation system “just works” regardless of where you are. The catch is that you have to keep the maps updated so that they’re accurate and that’s always a manual process.

So, after doing my research, I settled on the Garmin nuvi 2595LMT. Getting it was a bit of a challenge though. I took a trip to my local Best Buy only to be dismissed by multiple salespeople who when I asked them for one they all said “Sorry, I can’t sell it to you. This isn’t in my department.” So I whipped out my phone and a Google search took me to 2001 Audio Video who had it for $50 less than Best Buy. So I started to walk out of Best Buy. But I did not make it out the door before a salesperson stopped me and asked if I needed help. I told them that I wanted a GPS and nobody would help me. Thus I was leaving to get it elsewhere as I found a store that had it $50 less than they did. The salesperson simply said “Ok. Have a nice day.”

Clearly Best Buy didn’t want my business.

So, after a ten minute drive and five minutes in 2001 Audio Video, I had one in my possession. Kudos to 2001 Audio Video for their customer service and Best Buy (or Future Shop for that matter as they’re owned by the same company) will never see me inside their stores again.

But I digress. This isn’t a rant, it’s a review of the Garmin nuvi 2595LMT.

Now this Garmin is physically larger than the last one that I had. It has a 5″ screen which is up from the 4.3″ screen that my last one had. However is still a relatively compact and light unit. Info is easy to see and read and it can be used in bright conditions and strong sunlight. Contrast is good and viewing angles are wide. The outer shell is classy looking. Here’s a picture of it installed in my car using the mounting hardware that I put in for the last Garmin that I had:

IMG_0796

If you don’t want to do what I did to mount the GPS in your car, it does come with a swivel suction mount system that clips onto the GPS and suctions onto your windscreen. One thing that I should point out is that the front is made from glossy black plastic which easily picks up fingerprints and dust. Other than that, it looks cool.

The feature set is pretty extensive. Here are the key features to keep in mind:

  • 5″ dual-orientation touchscreen. In other words, it can be used in portrait or landscape mode.
  • Free lifetime updates for the maps
  • Free lifetime traffic reporting
  • Voice-activated navigation
  • Lane guidance with a feature called “photoReal junction view”. This is a handy feature that shows a visual representation of any on ramps, off ramps or junction points ahead of you along with arrows pointing you towards which lanes to take. In my testing, the pictures it displayed were surprisingly accurate. It was almost as if someone went out and snapped pictures of every on ramp, off ramp or junction point on your route.
  • It has Bluetooth connectivity that you can use with its microphone and speaker as a speakerphone or to stream music along with one other feature that I will get to later in this review. You can also use it with Garmin SmartphoneLink for iOS and Android devices to get information and live services such as more detailed traffic, weather, where to park, sending addresses from your phone to the GPS, and where your car is located. In my case, I turned Bluetooth off as I had set up a Bluetooth adapter in my car routed through my stereo.

I then took 45 minutes to update the operating system and the maps using Garmin Express which is free for Mac and PC. I also used that same application to back up the saved locations on the old GPS and then restore them to the new one. As an aside, this application will alert you if there are updates available which saves you from constantly having to check. In the end, it was a very painless transition from the old GPS to the new one. I should note that you get a MicroSD card slot so that you can add a MicroSD card to allow for additional maps. But you may not need it as I had just over 2GB of space free after updating it.

After plugging everything into the car, I took it for a test drive. Here’s what my impressions are:

  • Unlike my last GPS, the Garmin nuvi 2595LMT starts up and is usable within seconds of turning on the car. The 1350LMT by comparison would take up to two minutes to boot. There’s a battery inside the nuvi 2595LMT that puts it into a sleep mode and it seems to be able to survive a couple of days of being asleep with minimal battery drain. Thus I imagine that you could keep it asleep for weeks at a time.
  • The user interface has been refined and is more smartphone like. You can use swipe gestures to scroll through items for example. It’s also easier to enter addresses and do common tasks.
  • The Garmin nuvi 2595LMT not only calculates routes much faster than my old GPS, but it now gives you the option of choosing from multiple routes so that you can avoid toll roads or areas that you don’t like. On top of that, if you don’t obey the instructions of the GPS, it re-routes you almost instantly. My last GPS by comparison would take a very long time to calculate a new route. That is a very welcome change.
  • The default voice is female that speaks street names. It sounds incredibly robotic as if it’s from the 1990’s. My last GPS had a much more natural voice. You can replace it with other voices, but you lose the ability to have the GPS speak street names. Thus you’re basically stuck with this voice. The upshot? It’s clear and easy to understand.
  • The nuvi 2595LMT has a voice-recognition engine which can interpret full addresses read out loud. You don’t have to say the town, then the street, then the number, as the system understands the whole address in one go. This worked well when I tried it.
  • The traffic function worked well on major highways via the FM receiver that’s built into the device. However, it had no clue about traffic on local roads. That’s no different than my last GPS so I’m fine with that. One handy feature is that the nuvi 2595LMT beeps and displays a warning about traffic ahead of you at the top of the screen. My last GPS simply said “Traffic Ahead”. Now If you want more detailed traffic updates, you can use Garmin SmartphoneLink to provide more detailed traffic reports if you’re willing to pay for it, or you can get the Garmin HD Digital traffic receiver if there’s coverage for HD traffic in your area. There isn’t in Canada, so I will pass on that.
  • My last GPS had the ability to calculate fuel economy if you enter some info about the vehicle that you’re driving (namely the city and highway mileage). While it was a rough estimate as it was simply doing math rather than reading stats straight off the car, it was handy for spotting potential issues with my car. The nuvi 2595LMT does something far more sophisticated. You need to purchase a Garmin Mechanic with ecoRoute adapter that plugs into the OBD II port on your car and connects to the GPS via Bluetooth. It provides detailed system data, including engine monitoring, sensor and gauge data, fuel efficiency and engine diagnostics in real time. It sounds interesting, but I think I will pass on that for now.

Other than the rather robotic sounding voice and the loss of the ability to get a rough estimate of your fuel economy, I really like the Garmin nuvi 2595LMT. And neither of the two items that I mentioned are deal breakers by any means. It was not a planned upgrade, but it was a worthwhile one. I recommend it for anyone who needs an in car GPS. The list price from Garmin is $199.99 USD. If you shop around, you can likely find it for less just like I did.

Just don’t get it from Best Buy.

 

 

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