on 19 November 2013
Not being a huge fan of Sat Navs I have to say this is fabulous. Purchased the week prior to going on holiday to the States, just in time to downloaded updated US maps, which did take a few hours but was well worth it. Sat Nav worked minutes after arriving and got us everywhere we asked it to, and even round a diverted route owing to a road closure. Images very clear and it's easy to use to find restaurants, shops and attractions. Did have a laugh at pronounciation of some of the US place names. The Garmin was a replacement for a Tom Tom which we had purchased a couple of weeks prior but which wouldn't let us load up US maps. Would highly recommend this product.
on 11 May 2013
Bought this on the day it was released in the UK. Amazon shipped the day before and it arrived on the day of release.
I've owned many Garmin devices in the past but never a dedicated car 'satnav' - previously used an old Garmin Oregon which must be about 10 years old now (also own treking/outdoor hand-held Garmin devices).
This Garmin (2597LMT) was a fantastic update: clear display, 3D maps, voice directions and easy destination entry. The traffic alerts are a bonus too.
Two days after receiving this Garmin, I tested it 'in anger' on a one week holiday to Cornwall. The ease of use and accuracy of the directions are excellent. Arriving at the holiday cottage, a quick button press located the nearest supermarket and directed us there. Whilst en route, the 'Up Ahead' feature showed fuel, toilets and refreshments on the journey and the traffic delays were updated as we went (with the option to re-route to avoid).
This 5" screen version is big (and clear) enough for use without being too big to carry around once you get out of the car - I think the 7" version would be more of a pain to carry (even with the girlfriend/wife/fiancee's handbag to store it!).
I recommend this device!
on 19 March 2014
We bought this to replace our old Garmin as we were about to go to Poland, by road, for the first time. Amazingly you can put in your destination, which was across five countries (England, France, Belgium, Holland, germany and Poland) and it will just find the shortest route. It not only tells you, as do the others, to turn right or left but gives you the name of the street too. The only negative is that it sees delays on the route (anywhere on the 12 hour route) and asks you if you would like to take an alternative route. At first we were taking the alternative route until we realised that these delays were often 200 or 300 kilometers away and not likely to affect us but that the diversions would probably delay us more! Wish it would say how far away the delays were!
on 25 June 2013
Pre ordered mine and very pleased that it arrive on day of release. Having previously had years of great service from a basic TomTom One I was a reluctant convert to Garmin but so many bad reviews of latest tomtom products persuaded me to make the change. I really only wanted to add Europe for a long driving holiday and the old tomtom didn't have that.
I have lots of reservations however about this Garmin not least of all was it failure to work properly after a couple of hours down the French motorway on day 1 of the two week drive through Europe for which I had specifically bought it (I had previously done a trip to scotland and the West country and it was fine then) ! The unit froze on us whilst driving and then having switched off would not restart it just kept cycling through a start up screen and then off again, and no amount of button pushing would stop it. Several hours of internet searching that evening and pushing bits of the screen to try to do a master reset seemed to sort it out in the end but I had by then lost all the trip data for that part of the journey, and all my favourites all put in for the trip we were on! I was not happy at all. If we had been on our own on the trip with no web access we would have had a serious issue, fortunately we had friends with us to assist and get us back on track on that day. We had paper maps etc, but not so easy locating hotels in strange town with those is it.!
A few more cons compared to my old and very basic tomtom.
You can't get all the info you need on the main screen. I want to see the current time, the distance and time to my destination all at a glance, tomtom does it, Garmin needs more presses of the screen to get all that. And I can't understand why they don't allow this, as you can customise the sidebar but you simply can't add the info to that I think you need. Very poor that. You should not need to touch the unit to get something as basic as the current time up. UPDATE, this model now has all the info on the screen you need, a software update put that right a few months ago. It makes this a far more friendly unit to use now..
Tomtom warms about toll roads etc when it plans a route, Garmin doesn't. You can add them as "avoidances" but it would be nice to get a warning beforehand.
Tomtom give you options to customise the sound of alerts, no flexibility at all with Garmin, you get what you a given.
The ability to browse and zoom in and out of the maps is a lot better than on my old tomtom. And the overview map that shows mountains etc is a great way to get a feel for your trip and its then possibly to zoom right into the details of the route.
Dodgy in my opinion, but aren't all sat navs! Several times Garmin has tried to take me off motorways for no apparent reason, or cut corners in small villages to take you down bumpy narrow back roads where its way better to carry on through on the main road.
This Garmin also has no option to set a route for walking, my old tomtom did, and so do older Garmins so why not this one? Particular stupid as it will remember where you parked your car if you need to find it but it then gives you driving directions back to it !
Beware if planning to use this somewhere like the Alps as we did. It will lose reception in the numerous tunnels and narrow gorges. OK I would expect it to do that but why then does it often show you miles away on the screen ? It knows you were on the road, it should know you were in a tunnel so why can it not just assume you are traveling along at a set speed on the same road. It can be very tricky when there is a junction just outside the tunnel as all routing is lost once it loses the sat signal and you just hope it gets it back quickly the other side.
And why on earth does it not have toll booths shown on the maps ? A pretty important feature in my opinion, and would be very useful to know ones coming up so you can can get ready but nothing at all is shown.
You can configure the side bar to show what's ahead. Its useful but why not somehow indicate if the petrol station for examlpe up ahead is on your route or off it ? You think one is coming up in a mile or so but in then disappears off the screen is it turns out its a few streets away and not on your actual route, not very helpful. Again tomtom does this better with on route and off route searching.
These seem to work but as is often the case with such things they are usually a bit behind and hold ups and gone before you get there. Several dire warnings driving down through France of 90 min delays were ignored by me and traffic was heavy but moving and any delay was minimal, nothing like that predicted. No doubt not the fault of Garmin that, but just a general warning on taking advice on such route diversions.
A bit disappointed that it will sync with my old Nokia phone but not read the phonebook, so not much use for dialing out. Its strange because my old phone works fine in my Audi with its own bluetooth it reads my phone book with no problem.
Screen and instructions etc.
I like the photo real junctions, lots of them on motorways across UK and Europe, they do help. Lane guidance when you get it also helps. On occasions however especially on some roundabouts the arrow on the screen seems a bit fat and you lose clarity on the actual direction you need to go. It would be great to get an overview map of your route and progress along it with one touch, you can get it but it takes multiples screen touches to do it.
I can't comment much on the voice instructions as most of my use has been in an open top car, and it not easy to hear them with the wind noise, and anyway I tend to rely on the screen by habit
Works fine for the most part but I have noticed you can get vibration through the car that will make the unit vibrate as well for a few seconds, (and that's worse in a sports car with stiff suspension) so mount not that solid, and if you are a bit heavy handed when pressing the screen the unit can move on the ball joint.
I have tried to use this to do routes on the PC but have found it very frustrating and fiddly to use and gave up. Tyre was a lot better and easy to set up waypoints to then create routes using that.
Bought the genuine case as well. Nice and easy to use but does not fully enclose the unit as side are elasticated so i dropped it, and unit still got a dent on the corner, another Garmin disappointment.
So there you go. I did plan to send it back after it let me down but its been fairly good since then. But overall I am a disappointed Garmin customer and wondering if I should have just forked out for new Europe maps for my old faithful tomtom and saved a bit of cash!
on 4 November 2013
Well I was afraid it wouldn't do all the things I wanted it to, but it does and does so much more besides. Its simply great at what it is and what it should do, especially setting up a multi stop journey, so easy so quick. It even remembers your favourite searches and places and next time they're just there waiting to be selected, it searches very quickly, it changes your route very quickly if you divert or miss a turn, and on the odd occasion there was traffic trouble it came up on the display.
The 7 inch display is very clear and easy to use, and using the Garmin universal dash mount (which is great too) you can place it in just the optimum position for un-obstructive yet easy glancing viewing. Its powered by a thicj cable from the cigarette lighter socket that also doubles as the traffic warning news aerial, so thats a little messy to sort out, but soon got used to it, especially as the device works so well and you start to fall in love with it.
There is a little downside to it though, I found when in city centres and you approach very complex junctions, the car symbol can move a little too slowly and you think its pointing to one road when in fact it wants you on another, so I did miss a road or two, but that could be my error, but it soon re-calculates and gets you back on track again, in seconds. The other gripe was the traffic service, which did not warn of a major snarl up around a huge roundabout in Preston that was being 'improved', hah, the works had clearly been going on for weeks and the traffic was backed up all over the place (had two major roads and motorway junction to sort out there), and yet it was not aware and so did not avoid the area, we drove straight in to the chaos.
However, overall its a fantastic piece of kit and cannot recommend it highly enough. My only other experience of a SatNav by the way is the one built into the dash of my Honda Cr-V, which is very good, but this Garmin simply blows it away.
on 18 May 2013
I bought this GPS to replace a 6 year old Garmin, having deliberated as to which model to order for some time I was very pleased to order a newly announced Garmin GPS that seemed to be rich in features offering a specification I wanted.
The unit is pleasing to look at having a slim contemporary design. The menu system seemed reasonably intuitive and configurations seemed easy enough. I had read horror stories about the length of time updating maps to the latest version can take. I connected the unit to my PC, went through a registration process and received the message that the maps are fully up to date, so no problems there.
Fitting the device into the car is easy, the mount is secure and the unit easy to afix to mount.
I thought I would trial the unit on a 15 mile journey I know well, the route includes motorway, A roads, B roads and plenty of turns. Here is where the problems started and why the device has been returned. The route was calculated quickly, however the highlighted route disappeared and reappeared at random from the screen, spoken turn instructions were rare, the unit didn't even tell me to get off the motorway. Very few of the advertised features seemed to operate, for example, PhotoReal and BirdsEye Junction View and Active Lane Guidance. Also the speed limit was not displayed for any of the roads I travelled on. As a navigation device, it's useless. Maybe mine is defective and I will try a replacement but that was very disappointing.
In it's favour, I am sure this would be a good device should the it work properly. The ability to search on places of interest such as rail stations, cash points, restaurants etc was very good, much better than my previous old GPS. There is a useful side bar that can be configured to pop up showing what lies ahead in the next few miles - petrol, food and cashpoints, this seemed a nice feature. Pity the primary function of navigation simply didn't work.
on 28 May 2016
I don't generally need much help getting to where I want to go. I used to just google it, check streetview for the important junctions and write a list of the road numbers and go.
I bought this purely so I would always know where I was when going as I tend to drive just following my nose, taking the baack roads to see what is up there and ending up back home when I was bored of driving.
Recently, I wanted to do a road trip to Scotland, sleeping in my car, following my nose and getting to Orkney to photograph the poppies at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, so needed something that would always be able to tell me where I was, in case of breakdown, etc.
It works everywhere so, even when there was no mobile signal, I always knew where I was and could find my way to where I wanted to be.
It includes lifetime mapping for the whole of Europe, but I would like it even more if it had more detailed mapping so you could see more of the land in between the roads. It is possible that is available if I ever remember to update it.
A useful feature is the constant beeping. There didn't seem to be any logic in when or where it was beeping (I really should read the manual) but I later found out it is telling me when I exceed the speed limit, which I now find really useful, so I will often use it just for that.
I am sure it has a mind of its own. I often drive the tiny back roads just to see what is there so, on a few occasions when I have asked for a route and have then ignored its instructions, I think it takes it personally, as its route finding has been a little obscure at times. For example, one route I asked it for, for a journey of about thirty miles but just four different roads to get there, it took me on a journey, which in the last two miles included at least a dozen different changes of direction up and down different side streets. I was not impressed but as I generally I only use it so I know where I am, that doesn't bother me too much. It may just be a setting that needs to be adjusted, but I haven't found it, if it is.
This might irritate another buyer a great deal, but as it suits me for the way I use it, I have still given it four stars rather than dropping more for the route finding, plus I haven't updated it since I got it so that may also make the route finding more logical.
Overall it suits me and does what i need it to do.
This is my fourth Garmin in-car sat nav, my last one being the 1690, which was a good device, but when Garmin decided to start charging over £50 a year to continue ‘live’ services on that device, I moved on to the 2597 LMT unit. Garmin are a well-known brand in the aviation and maritime sat nav markets but in the UK Tom Tom seem to hold the market share, so many folks will be considering this unit versus rival Tom Tom units. I will address this comparison throughout the review. This is a fairly lengthy review- if you are in a hurry skip to the summary at the end !
First things first, what do you get with this unit? Well, the 5 inch model which I have has a decent size crisp, clear screen, with a display that is easy to read and well laid out. The speaker in the unit has adequate volume and quality. The unit is quite well featured, with voice command options and hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and an ability to link to apps running on some smart phones (more on this later). The LMT stands for lifetime maps and traffic. So once every 3 months or so, Garmin update the Europe maps and these updates can be downloaded for free by connecting the unit to a PC and running Garmin communicator or via ‘My Dashboard’ on the Garmin web site. These are large downloads but you can choose only to install the UK or certain countries to make it quicker. In my experience it takes the Navteq maps that Garmin uses about 6-18 months to catch up with changes to the UK road system such as new slip roads, junctions, roundabouts etc.
The Traffic offered with this unit is NOT the most sophisticated Garmin traffic system – it uses RDS analogue radio transmissions, which are picked up as long as though you use the supplied cigarette charger power cable when you use the sat nav – this is subscription free and does not require a smartphone to be connected via bluetooth. These updates happen roughly every 10 minutes or so. The 2597 will display the nature of any traffic detected on your route along with an estimate of the minutes delay it represents to your journey, offering to divert around the traffic delay (or you can set this up to automatically divert you around traffic as and when it is detected). User reports of Garmin’s RDS based traffic system are mixed – as has been my experience with this and older Garmins I have used that have it. Users report that sometimes the traffic delay is only reported when you are already stuck in the traffic jam, giving you no advance warning or option to divert around it before you get struck in the delay. It is certainly inferior to Tom Tom’s most sophisticated traffic system but it is free for life and may well be adequate for those who do not drive long distances on a daily basis. Tom Tom’s better traffic system is updated more often and uses more information, such as monitoring mobile phone signals of drivers, etc. There is a better Garmin traffic system – the HD traffic system uses DAB digital radio transmissions and updates virtually in real time, about once a minute, with a more detailed and sophisticated report. This is the system included in the slightly more expensive Garmin models with the “-D” added to the model number at the end. In the end I upgraded my 2597 LMT by adding the Garmin GTM 70 digital traffic receiver, and at the time I did this the overall cost to me of 2597 + GTM 70 via Amazon was just about equal to a 2598 LMT-D. I can vouch for the digital traffic system that I now have via the GTM 70 being superior to the RDS based system included with the 2597 LMT – it definitely updates a lot faster and seems more accurate. I advise anyone who drives long distances or for whom avoiding traffic jams is important (couriers, reps?) to consider the GTM 70 upgrade route or else to go for the 2598 LMT-D which includes digital traffic. And yes, Garmin’s digital traffic seems every bit as good as Tom Tom’s live traffic services – the bonus of the Garmin system is that it is subscription free once you have a unit or receiver set up for it. There is also, I should add, another way of getting HD traffic – that is via a smart phone and Garmin’s app. I believe there is a one-off fee for this but users report that smartphone based traffic, sent via the Bluetooth connection, is more or less as good as the regular HD digital traffic. Of course, you will need to keep your phone connected to the sat nav all the time and there will be data usage on your phone.
Safety cameras are pre-loaded on this device but note that updates to the data are NOT provided for free. So if you want the ability to have the data on safety cameras updated regularly you need to go online and buy a one off download or a 12-month subscription – it costs about £17 and is worth it if you drive a lot of miles. Speed, traffic light and mobile cameras are included and you get visual and auditory warnings as you approach them. It’s a pretty useful system and extends to Europe in countries where this is legal (i.e. not France).
The routing and mapping on this unit are generally on a par with similar Tom Tom units. Like all sat navs, regardless of brand, sometimes the unit will make choices that someone with local knowledge wouldn’t make – and yes, sometimes, like all sat navs, you end up being sent down narrow country lanes that you would rather not drive down. It still happens in 2014 and I guess sat navs will keep doing this for the foreseeable future.
The unit boots up and acquires satellites quickly – much faster than my previous Garmins like the 1690. I’m pleased to say that Garmin seem to have fitted a decently fast processor to this unit, so that when driving the map rarely freezes and can generally keep up with your position – on some older Garmin units that seemed under-powered I had experienced problems with this issue – not with the 2597. The updates to the user interface and operation are all welcome. The photo-realistic junction views operate for many A roads and motorway junctions as does the active lane guidance and are very useful especially with multi-lane junctions. Speed limits are shown for many, though not all, roads, and the unit is set up by default to shade your current speed in red if you go over the speed limit (audio warnings can be turned on/off too). I find the display to be very clear and there are some customisable features, such as whether you want time versus distance to final destination displayed. The ‘real navigation’/’real directions’ feature works well too –now Garmin units will say things like “turn left at the traffic light” or “turn right at the end of the street” instead of just saying “turn left on Baker Street” or something like that. In major cities the unit will apparently also mention specific buildings or landmarks, but I have yet to try this out. Note that few of the available voices can speak these ‘real directions’ so if you are not hearing them ensure you choose a voice that speaks them - the default one of course does. The latest Garmin interface and menu system, featured on this device, is logically laid out and generally user friendly – well done Garmin.
Voice command works quite well, especially for issuing basic commands. Where it becomes flakier is when you try to input entire addresses via voice command – often street names are not correctly recognised. I imagine they will tweak the software over time and look to improve it – it’s still better than the voice recognition in my Honda Accord…
So, why a Garmin over a Tom-Tom? Well, I have found previous Garmins to be generally reliable, good value, feature-packed and they do the job pretty well, with decent routing and maps. Free lifetime map updates and free traffic are good features that tend to cost Tom Tom owners more money as subscriptions are often required to keep Tom Tom units up to date.
Overall, this unit is a very worthy upgrade over older Garmins like my 1690 – I much prefer the newer interface and display, and the newer unit is a lot faster in every way.
Positives – a well featured unit at this price – good crisp, clear display; clear speaker, loud enough; Bluetooth connectivity; voice command enabled; free lifetime European map updates and analogue RDS-based traffic services; good, logical user interface; responsive unit with fast processor and fast boot up; routing and maps generally good, and features such as photoreal junctions and active lane guidance useful.
Negatives – Garmin’s DAB-based digital traffic system is better in every way, but this unit can be upgraded to that via purchase of the GTM 70 or use of a Bluetooth connected compatible smartphone. The RDS-based analogue traffic system included with this unit is also inferior to Tom Tom’s best traffic service. Voice command system often falters with street names. Safety camera updates not included in subscriptions (but £17 per year so not too costly to add). No instruction manual included – but see You Tube videos and built-in help system. Cigarette lighter lead must be used in order to receive RDS-based traffic info.
on 8 December 2013
Brilliant product, replacing my aging Tom Tom. Out of the box, it connected to my PC and almost three hours later all maps and software updates completed. Yes I know it is a long time but it was worth it.
However, when I came to re-connect the device to my PC, the PC would not recognise it. After trying all the advice on the Garmin website which included, using different USB port, different USB leads, I gave up and contacted Garmin support. They were very quick to respond, gave me a whole load of options to try including some sneaky hidden ones. By that I mean, I was asked to press areas of the screen where there are no icons and hold the position for 10 seconds. I found there were more menus to adjust the device.
Apparently my device had dropped into 'Media Transfer Protocol' (MTP) mode and not 'Mass Storage' mode. After I changed to Mass Storage mode, it was great, PC connected to the device great. Further I found out that whilst the device is connected to the PC and you fire up the standard Google maps you are able to find a location and send it to the Garmin sat nav.
In use, it is easy to use, clear to see, and easy to understand with some great features. Advance lane warning, Locate where you left your car parked, spoken street names, advanced traffic warnings with options to navigate around it, loads of options to display just the information you want. There is also a constant reminder of road speed limits, traffic cameras and many options to avoid types of roads or even areas of the country.
A great device so far after nearly two weeks of use, as long as it continues to perform like this, I have to give it 5 stars. Five stars for Garmin support too.
July 2014 Update to this review;
This device is still performing brilliant. There has been some issues with the 'Garmin Express' software not updating correctly which was quickly resolved by Garmin. Garmin Express is the free required software needed to get the quarterly map updates. There has been three software updates and a couple of map updates since I purchased the device. The traffic warnings are proving to be a boon too. It gives you the option to stick with the current route or select Garmin's alternative route. Above I mentioned that Google maps provide a method of downloading a location to the Garmin sat-nav. This service has been withdrawn by Google without prior warning. (Nice one Google) There is an alternative although not quite as slick as the service from Google. There is a website called 'Map Quest' which is freely available but you have to register your email address to obtain the service. Just locate their website and follow their instructions.
on 2 March 2016
I was travelling to the Czech Republic and I was doing some driving there. I needed a reliable Sat Nav. I looked at the prices of hiring one - and I figured that hiring one three times will be the same cost as buying this one.
I've read reviews and researched which one to buy and this one came top of the charts. It has all UK maps and European maps.
Like most things I buy I don't read the instructions - I plug it in and see how it goes. And this went pretty well. I got the cable that connects the power outlet through USB to my computer - this charges it. Then there's also cable to connect it to the cigarette lighter in the car. Couple of fittings for attaching the sat nav to the windscreen is pretty straight forward - just click together and the suction cup holds the sat nav on the windscreen - it's easy to take off after the use.
I went to the Garmin web-site to register my sat nav and downloaded the app for doing the updates - this took quite a long time - couple of hours - but it worked ok - so I've started with the most current routes.
I've included 20 pounds note in the pictures to get an idea of the size.
I managed to program the routes fairly easily - though I got a surprise on a way to my local gym - while testing and on my way to work - It took me on the back roads - which is the shortest distance. It even found a round I never new existed - after travelling the same way for 15 years. I was only trying this out on my way to work before I needed it for real. All I needed to do was to change preference from Shorter distance to Faster time and next time I was travelling in the main roads again.
The real test was getting me to the Luton Airport and then travelling in the Czech Republic. Both was spot on. I like the choice of being able to avoid U-turns - I hated that on my old sat nav.
About anything on this sat nav can be customised. The screen brightness, the volume, the talking voice, choosing an icon for your vehicle, . There are preferences for the routes: for shortest distance, most economical, no toll roads just to name few.
There is a help button that has all the instructions needed.
It could be used - just putting the destination in just as you sit in the car - or as I prefer it planning the trip in advance. This can be done through trip planner and using a plus button to starting point and destination.
It uses blue tooth to connect to your phone. The voice commands are activated by saying: VOICE COMMAND - then choosing a selection following commands on the screen. I can't hear 100% but I have no problems having conversations over it whilst travelling - hearing the person on the other side of the phone and they can hear me clearly too. I managed to find the closest Tesco whilst driving through voice commands.
There are some extra features such as most up-to-date information through Smart phone link. Some are free and some are through subscriptions such as live traffic or advance weather. I'm not sure which is the paid for services as I've not used any of them. The Smart phone link can be downloaded through GR code directly to the phone - which then gets paired up through blue tooth to the Garmin.
Also a back-up camera can be purchased separately for this sat nav - for reversing.
There is also an option to buy a baby cam - enabling to switch between sat nav and baby cam in the vehicle.
All in all this is a pretty smart gadget. Anything would have been an improvement on my 15 years old sat nav with only half of the roads on it - but I'm very happy to have chosen this Garmin.
My ex-husband lives in the Czech Republic and was visiting recently - uses the same sat nav as this - many times travelling right across Europe - He was pretty happy with it too. Just jealous I had the latest version ;-))