on 1 November 2013
I actually bought this elsewhere (as Amazon didn't sell it), but it was very recently and I ended up taking it back so I wanted to share my experience.
I really wanted this to be good as it should be perfect for me. My main requirement was a sat-nav, with good traffic that I didn't have to connect to my phone and that I didn't have to update too often and this ticked all the boxes. The digital traffic sounds great, as do lifetime maps and traffic plus Bluetooth, voice activation and lots of other goodies. However sadly it lets itself down quite badly.
Firstly the good bits:
It does look and feel nice, stylish and the menus are nice, clear and obvious. There isn't a manual which I know some people won't like, but the help on the device does work well and is fairly intuitive.
The voice command worked well, although I did have to repeat myself occasionally.
It recalculates quickly and the screen and voice prompts are clear, it will get you there and it is easy to use.
The traffic works quite well, it seemed pretty accurate, updates quickly, offers alternative routes and gives good information.
And now the bad bits:
There are a few minor niggles, the hands free phone worked, but when the voice directions were set at a reasonable level I had to increase the volume when I answered the phone or I couldn't hear it...not very handy or safe when driving along (although this may have been changeable in settings, but I couldn't find it).
The active lane guidance is a nice feature, but often the picture of the junction is the actual junction rather than the lanes leading up to it. What this means is that to be at a point o recognise the photo then it's too late to do anything about it. So i do wonder how useful it is.
A slighlty bigger niggle is that the time estimation is very poor and overestimates, specifically on non-motorways. It may be because that it uses `real' journey data, but it seems that it allows approx 1 min waiting at every junction or roundabout. To give you an idea, my local supermarket is 6 mins away (which is what my old `basic' garmin sat-nav said) but the 2598 reckoned 10 mins. Another local journey in perfect conditions (i.e. my old sat nav) is 30 mins, it took 32, this unit estimated 41 (and it didn't think there was traffic, this was just bad timing). In case you might think this is me driving super fast etc, I don't (my wife says I drive "like a granny") and I was always late base on old sat-nav.
But the really big one, the one that means I've given it a low score and the reason I have taken it back, is that the unit doesn't find the best route to your destination. It seemed a bit odd on my first long journey, it said use the motorway when I thought cutting across country would be better. I ignored it and cut across, the unit initially added 10 mins, but then as i drove took off 25 mins, on a 1 hour journey, so my way was quicker. Odd, so I checked the trip to my parents (a 1hr route I know well). There are two options; M6 or M5 (round Brum). Perfect traffic (i.e. old sat-nav, online route predictors) M6 is 6 mins faster, but in reality the M6 takes longer (there is always traffic and roadworks). This unit added 20 mins to the `perfect' M6 journey (with no traffic)...this is presumably allowing for the `realistic journey times' mentioned above, fine, the M6 does take longer...so why doesn't it send me down the M5? (Incidentally I tried this on the TomTom real traffic web page and it did send me down the M5!)
I tried this on a couple of other journeys i know too and it seems to do the same thing. Pick the best route under ideal conditions and stick to it, even if it has the information telling it other routes are better.
I am sure that the unit will get some good review on this site, because if you didn't know any better then it will get you there in the time it predicts (probably faster), but based on my tests I just don't trust it.
I have given it 2 stars as it will do the job (if badly) and has lots of goodies for the money.
The extras are nice, but the bottom line is that I want it to pick the best route to get me from A to B and it doesn't. A real shame as it was very close to being a great bit of kit.
Since writing this review I have purchased a TomTom 1005 (I agree with other reviews that the very latest TomTom's seem over priced and underspec'd). I agree with other reviewers that this Garmin Unit is much better, looks better, simpler to use, faster and is in general a much slicker piece of kit (i.e. you seem to have to press things on the TomTom to use the voice commands...which kinda makes it pointless). However the TomTom gives me accurate (to within a min or two timings) and better routing (it also tells you where the times have come from i.e. total time = best time +traffic + guessed busy route)...I guess it boils down to what is important to you in a satnav