It was time to buy a new GPS. My old Garmin Nuvi was still functioning after 3 years, but it would take nearly 4-5 minutes to hook up to a satellite and then, there was the maps factor. It was out of date and an update would cost me $69. Instead it made sense to buy a new one with the now popular Lifetime Maps update. I was looking at the available models for over two weeks.
I wanted to go back to a Magellan as it would connect to a Satellite much faster three years back. However, the reviews weren’t that positive both from users and on Consumer Reports. There is the option of also using your smart phone as a GPS, but my Android phone would always lose the satellite connection and also freeze up my phone. This had happened on numerous occasions while on an interstate highway for me to rely on the phone as a GPS. A GPS unit, on the other hand, has only one thing to do and does not also need to check emails, or receive Instant Messages. Of course, a GPS would mean another thing in your pocket but I was ready for it as this was what I was used to all these years.
Finally, I went safe and looking at the Consumer Reports ratings, narrowed down on the Garmin 2455 LMT. This model rating was about 10 points below the highest ranked one but the price was nearly $200 cheaper at $129. I didn’t want to go for the 5″ unit as I wanted something that I could carry around when I was walking, say, in a downtown. A 4.3 unit is big enough to have a decent screen size and small enough to slide it into your pocket if need be.
When I received the package, I was surprised how light it was. It was lighter than my smart phone which also sits in a leather pouch. The older Nuvi 350 (a 3.5″ model) was a bit heavier. The form factor of the 2455 LMT also was great as I could hold it in my hand comfortably unlike my smart phone, which was heavier and much sleeker. I wish they added thickness to the smart phones now-a-days as it is more comfortable to hold. Visual design paranoia has taken over over functionality!
My 2455 LMT connected to a satellite while still in the home, which was a first and it connected in less than 30 seconds! That was a positive start. The screen was bright and clear. The newer GPS models don’t come with a charger, but only with a cable that you can hook up to your computer’s USB port or to a cigarette charger’s USB port. They are getting cheap now-a-days with the onset of Chinese stuff in the market and cost cutting – that’s obvious 🙂
The LMT stands for Lifetime Maps and Traffic. However, to get traffic updates on your unit you need a separate cable – beware! I have lived without traffic updates for the past six years and gotten by Manhattan, Baltimore, Columbus and many other downtowns, so that wasn’t a biggie for me. You get four updates a year for the maps, which is nice. I had read reviews where the unit went brick after downloading an update, but I had to take that risk.
After keeping the unit for a couple of days and taking it on short trips, I decided to keep it and registered the unit at Garmin. The first map update went smoothly. I also downloaded some additional voices, including an Indian voice called Sangeetha! The process took about 30 minutes which included updates to the firmware also that fixed a few bugs.
Searching for an address I had read was cumbersome as you could only type in the house number and the street name and the unit would search it’s database often taking minutes to come back and one had to scroll through the results to find the right city. However, you can enter the city to search for right on the unit near the top right and then search for the street address. Addresses came back pretty fast after I had specified the right city. On our car GPS, you have to select different sections of the country (such as 8 for Pennsylvania, etc) before entering an address. This search feature was much convenient.
After I had switched to using a new voice, I noticed that the street names weren’t being spoken upon a turn coming up. I was bugged for a bit, but then found out that only certain voices have the ability to speak street names. A major design flaw IMO as the voice should be independent of the text database. Glad I found the resolution else I was thinking about returning the unit.
Yesterday, we headed out to the Sringeri Math in the Poconos and I took the 1455 out to test. Overall it did a great job and did as good a routing as our Car’s navigation system. The 1455 did ask us to go ahead and come back a bit to join I-476 N and it seems to have an affinity to expressways than the shortest route. I have found time-wise, taking the expressway though longish, doesn’t take much more time than the shorter route. If one is bent on taking the shorter route, then this might be an issue. However upon taking known turns, the unit was able to recalculate pretty fast though I personally miss the ‘Recalculating..’ announcements.
The display of the current route is puckered with icons for gas stations, hospitals, restaurants, etc. This is great as I can visually identify a gas station nearby when in need of gas and not having to search for it. The much touted lane-assist feature displays the correct number of lanes and the turn lane; you might already be used to this on your car’s navigation system not just realizing the term.
You can mute the voice with one touch of the screen which is great again compared to the Nuvi350 where you had to go back to the main screen and select volume control. However to reduce or increase the volume you have to go back to the main screen. I have read you can press and hold the back button and it takes you back to the main screen, but haven’t yet tried.
Considering I had paid $199 for my 4.3″ Nuvi 350, at $129 the 1455 LMT with lifetime maps is a great substitution and indicates clearly what technological progress can do to cost. It is only in the medical field we aren’t seeing the patient benefitting on both the cost and care front, but I know this is totally besides the point of this review!!