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Sunday, March 18, 2012

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Garmin nuvi 2350LMT review

Garmin nuvi 2350LMT review

Hands on with the Garmin nuvi 2350LMT

The Garmin nüvi 2350LMT is one of the recently released models in Garmin’s 2300 series, which brings the best features from the 3700 series, minus the exorbitant price tag. They include a historical road speed database for improved routing and the ability to learn your preferred routes over time.

Like all models in the 2300 series, the 2350LMT sports a 4.3” screen (the 2200 series has a 3.5” screen; the 2400 series offers a 5” screen). If you ask me, the 4.3” is just right. LMT stands for lifetime map updates and traffic. The 2350LMT comes with preloaded maps of the US, Canada and Mexico, and includes Lane Assist and Junction View. Here’s how it stacks up against some closely…

Related models

  • Step up to the 2360LMT to add Bluetooth, voice commands and a dual-orientation screen
  • Going the other direction, drop down to the Garmin nuvi 2350LT and you’ll give up the lifetime map updates
  • The nuvi 2350 loses lifetime traffic as well
  • To see how the 2350LMT stacks up against other models, check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart

I’ll concentrate on newer features first, then a quick rundown of the more common features, before wrapping up with performance results and my conclusion. Here goes…

nuFeature: Speed limit adjustment

I’ve discussed this before, and I’ll refer you there for details, but the short story is you can correct speed limits when the device has them wrong.

Set-speed-limit

nuFeature 2: Via point data fields

Another new feature, is the addition of several via point options for the customizable data fields. You can see the “Via Arrival” option enabled in the top data field below.

Via-point-data

trafficTrends

Introduced on the nuvi 3700 series, this historical road speed database results in improved routing, especially in areas with routine traffic problems. I’ve seen definite improvements in routing behavior with trafficTrends models, compared to previous generation nuvis. These have included being routed on locally known shortcuts and alternative routes, routing me on freeways where older models would keep me on a parallel road, etc. I have occasionally seen some dubious routing, but for the most part the trafficTrends feature selects faster routes.

myTrends

MyTrends is a bit more complicated. It does a couple of things. One, it figures out routine travel patters for you (think home to work and work to home). Hop in your car and the destination is pre-selected. More importantly IMHO, is the fact that it can learn your preferred routes. Ignore the 2350LMT’s directions for a few days, take your favorite shortcut, and it should start routing you that way.

Here are some details on myTrends from Garmin’s support pages:

The myTrends feature is available on select Garmin products. When you save your regular destinations in your “Favorites,” your nuvi will, over time, begin to figure out where you’re going even without your telling it. Your nuvi will provide a predicted route which will display in the information bar at the top of the map screen. myTrends provides time of arrival and relevant traffic information in the information bar.

Please note: myTrends is a feature that does not work out of the box when you first begin using your device. In order to effectively use the myTrends feature you must meet the following requirements before myTrends will display arrival and relevant traffic information:

  • Your frequent destinations must be marked as favorites in your device, i.e. Home, Work, etc.
  • A regular pattern of driving habits must be established before myTrends will display on your device:
    • Daily regular pattern of driving takes at least three days of usage
    • Weekly regular pattern of driving such as a different destination on different days would take 2-3 weeks of regular usage

Example of myTrends:

Press the information bar at the top of the map screen in order to display alternative routes if one is available. Here you can press Go! to activate a route to your myTrends destination:

Once you press Go! the unit will begin providing turn by turn directions to your destination.

After you have an established pattern of driving habits your device will display a myTrend event within a two hour window. As an example if you leave work for home at 5pm each day, the myTrend event will display on your device as early as 4pm and as late at 6pm.

Powered mount

It’s nice to see Garmin putting a powered mount, one of my favorite features, on a mid-range navigator. Basically, this means that you don’t have to mess with the micro-USB connection every time you get in your car. I leave mine connected to a dashboard mount, and just throw the mount on the floorboard when I park.

nuvi-2350lmt-mount

Notable features from previous generation nuvis

Lifetime traffic

The lifetime traffic feature is ad-supported, which is a big turn off for a lot of people. But the ads are very low-key, and will primarily display when you are stopped or viewing traffic information.

nuvi-2350lmt-traffic-ad

nuvi-2350lmt-traffic

Customizable data field display

There are a couple of options here. Tap the left data field on the map screen to bring up a range of choices. These vary depending upon whether you are actively navigating or not. And if you go to Tools > Settings > Navigation > Automobile > Map Data Layout and choose More Data, you can shift the data fields to the right, picking up two more that you can modify, as shown below.

Via-point-data

Lane Assist and Junction View

Lane Assist (see below) is a very useful feature, showing you which lane you should be in. Coverage seems to be fairly extensive for Interstates, with some surface street coverage in large metros.

2350lmt-lane-assist

Junction View coverage, on the other hand, still seems pretty sparse. Expect to see this only if you live in the very largest metropolitan areas.

NOTE: The unit I tested was a first-run engineering unit. It accidentally had the 49 state map loaded instead of all of North America. Unfortunately, junction view coverage isn’t included on those maps. I’ve been assured that this isn’t the case with consumer shipments, but I wanted to share this with my readers and explain that the junction view screenshot below actually comes from another unit.

nuvi-2460lt-jct-view

Speed limit display and warning

Back to something with good coverage, you’re likely to find speed limits displayed for even secondary roads. And your current speed field turns red if you’re over the limit. Unfortunately, there is still no way to customize this feature to have it change colors at 5 or 10 MPH  over the limit. And as noted earlier, you can correct speed limits where you see errors.

2350lmt-speed-warning

ecoRoute

This feature adds a “less fuel” option to your routing choices and gives you fuel and mileage reports, estimated fuel cost for trips, and even a “driving challenge” to improve your fuel efficiency.

nuvi-2350lmt-ecoroute

CityXplorer

CityXplorer add on maps offer advanced pedestrian routing options including mass transit, though don’t expect it to route you as well as someone who rides the subway every day.

Trip log

The trip log displays a thin blue line showing where you’ve been. This can be enabled/disabled, and the trip log cleared, by going to Tools > Settings > Navigation > Automobile > Trip Log. You can also access archived trip logs for a record of your travels.

nuvi-2350lmt-trip-log

Where Am I?

You access this feature by tapping the car icon at your current location on the screen.

2350lmt-where-am-i

Multi-destination routing

The 2350LMT allows you to add multiple via points from Where To?, without going into the Trip Planner, but there is no route optimization option if you do it this way. To get that, you’ll need to use the new multi-destination routing format first introduced on the 37xx. Access it by selecting Tools > Trip Planner to create a route. Once a route is created, you can access the menu for the options shown below.

2350lmt-multi-menu

You can tap a via point to select an item and specify an arrival time and/or duration of stop. This is quite the useful feature. I plugged in the duration of several stops, the time I wanted to arrive at my final destination, and was able to easily determine when I needed to start my trip.

2350lmt-multi

While you still cannot import routes from MapSource, improvements in the interface have made dragging destinations to change their order much easier.

Navigation performance

trafficTrends does result in some increased routing time though; a trip of 150 miles took 12 seconds to calculate. While I didn’t see any significant lag for local routes, I did see recalculation times of 7 to 8 seconds following a missed turn on a longer route. Once, the unit got hung at 99% route calculation for 20 seconds or so, when calculating a long route.

Other than those quibbles, the 2350LMT performed well throughout my testing. I noted no other routing abnormalities.

Garmin nuvi 2350LMT pros

  • Lifetime map updates
  • Lifetime traffic
  • Powered mount
  • trafficTrends historical road speed database generally results in improved routing
  • myTrends learns preferred routes for routine trips
  • Customization options
  • Lane Assist
  • Junction View
  • Speed limit display, warnings and adjustment
  • Multi-destination routing

Garmin nuvi 2350LMT cons

  • Traffic is ad-supported
  • trafficTrends historical road speed database results in increased route calculation times
  • Junction View coverage limited

Conclusion and recommendation

Garmin has rolled out another winner with the 23xx series, incorporating the best features from their top of the line units and providing additional features, while keeping the price tag reasonable. There is very little here not to like. Highly recommended.

More Garmin nuvi 2350LMT reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…

Other Garmin nuvi 2350LMT resources

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 2350LMT at these merchants:

 

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Excellent review once again Rich. A very good example of “less is more”. ;)

    Has Garmin given you any indication if they’re still on schedule for a 1st quarter update giving users Mapsource route-planning compatibility?

  2. Rich, you write very nice reviews, but we know you love the Garmins. We’ll see how you do on the new Tom Tom reviews coming up.

  3. Thanks for the review, Rich. Do you know if the USB port is 2.0?

    • I believe that all current Garmin devices meet the 2.0 spec, though you may see significantly lower data transfer speeds than that would suggest due to other hardware limitations.

  4. Finally I got it confirmed, the device sadly doesn’t support importing routes (.gpx) Tried with Garmin software BaseCamp and received no errors doing it, the transfered files lies right there in the device. But nooo where to be found in the device menues. A detail qualifying to be among the cons I you are into planning ahead at home. Thanks for a nice review.

    /Par in Sweden

    • I successfully transfered a route from MapSource to the 2460LT this morning. I just used the Export functionality without saving it as a .gpx file. It ended up in the Trip Planner under Unscheduled Trips.

      • Really? I read your words and it kind of confirmed my problem: “While you still cannot import routes from MapSource…”
        I’ll have another go and let you know. Hope you are right :-)

        • Yeah, I’m hoping I was mistaken and will have to post a retraction! I don’t recall exactly how I tested it on the 2350LMT.

          • Got it confirmed by Garmin Support. The device doesn’t support importing routes, yet. But, an program-update will be released first quarter to enable it :-)

            One other thing, was told by the very same support-guy that BaseCamp is thought to be a successor to MapSource. BaseCamp is free to download from garmin.com :-)

  5. Hi,

    thanks for review.

    I’d like to know if navigation with trip behaves like in old nuvis (7xx, 1xxx) or rather like in 37xx. Could verify what happens if you use “where to” -> “trip”? Especially:
    – can you see ETA to final destination,
    – can you see whole route on map,
    – can you miss an intermediate point and continue route.

    • Bear in mind, I’m now looking at a 2460LT and no longer have the 2350LMT, but…

      Yes, you can see the ETA to the final destination.

      Yes, you can see the entire route on a route overview map.

      The last one is a good question. I’ll have to try and see! Do you mean without any intervention on your part; just drive past and don’t stop? Or detour around it?

      I’ll have some more details in my nuvi 2460LT review, which may go up as early as Monday.

      • Actually I’m using 3760, so I’m glad to see any other model, that solves existing problems with trips. I hope that solution will come to my 3760 too :)

        On 37xx when you use trip with multiple points, it treat it like a set of simple 2-points routes. 37xx navigates one of these routes at a time and after arriving at intermediate destination switches to next route. This way there is no ETA (and no time to VIA, since route is 2-points only), no TMC messages form other legs of trip, and no route line on map past nearest destination.

        If you miss intermediate destination 37xx doesn’t analyze other legs, simply directs you back to missed point. I’d prefer nuvi to continue navigation if I’m driving at right direction. This way behave active route with multiple via, I mean that kind of route, that you can get by multiple use of “where to” menu.

        Well, could you check creating of active route too? On 37xx you have to add via in revers order, starting form the farthest. My old nuvi 205 accept via in any order and optimize route to get fastest/shortest route. I can’t describe 37xx algorithm other than stupid. I hope that Garmin corrected it in 2xxx too.

      • About missing via: I mean no user intervention, just driving along the route. But checking detour is good idea too, on 37xx it only makes things worst ;)

        • Popej, I don’t think you can assume it’s bad programming if you need to go into Trip Planner to optimize. TrafficTrends data isn’t part of MapSource route considerations. Once you sent over your list of destinations/waypoints for a desired route, time of day/day of the week then needs to be considered. Your routing could potentially change depending on when you actually travel. MapSource can’t account for that. The nuvi can.

          • At least I don’t THINK MapSource utilizes trafficTrends data. I may get corrected.

          • There is a functionality in nuvi – I can add a via to current route. If you say that I need to go to trip planning instead, then it clearly means, that this functionality is badly designed.

            Actually I can’t see why trafficTrends should prevent from optimizing current route. Time for current route is known, it is happening now ;)

          • Maybe “active route” would be a better word in this case.

  6. It looks like they could add a menu icon to the “active route”, taking you to choices like “Optimize route.”

  7. It’s going to be a few days before I can do more route testing. Turns out my 2460LT is a pre-production unit. Getting a final version for more testing early next week.

  8. Thank you Rich for all of your help. I”m an older person that thinks the Voice regconition in the 2360LMT would be great! other wise the 2350LMT is nice and the 1350LMT . I really don’t need bluetooth but I’ll take it if I have to. I want intersections and lane assist.I live in the DC area. Might I add get lost very easily. So I guess my question is should I buy the 2360LMT ?
    I’m taking a road trip to Fl. soon and I go to NY state often. Thanks again. Sally

    Please can you get my e-mail add of this site. thanks.

    • The more I use voice command, the more I like it. If you drive solo much, without a passenger to enter things, I highly recommend it.

      BTW, email addresses don’t show up on the site.

  9. Your website is amazing… I find it so difficult to compare various Nuvi models effectively and you have done a great job. I am deciding between a 1450LMT or the 2350LMT. I have a 755T already, or i should say my wife will after I purchase a new one. I am finding it difficult to decide if I should go with the 2350 for the newer technology or save $40 and get the 1450. What is the difference between 10 or 100 routes? Does the 2350 let you chose between alternate routes before calculating the nav route? You indicate that the 2350 calculates slower because of the trend stuff? Does this give the edge to the 1450? Would really be greatful for your opinion of which one to buy.

    • Most people aren’t going to save more than a few multi-destination routes, so that’s probably not an issue. And slower route calculation times is only an issue on longer routes. For me, I’d go with the 2350 to get the powered mount, which keeps you from having to mess with a USB connection each time.

  10. Richard J says:

    Great review Rich! Would you recommend these models (2200/2400) over the 3790LMT considering there is a deal on the 2350LMT today for $195 with free shipping? Do you expect it to go much lower wit the new Tom Toms coming out as competition? Do you like the new Tom Toms features better? Thank you

  11. Personally, I prefer the 24xx series. Prices will continue to drop over time. I haven’t tried the new TomTom’s yet, but don’t see much in the way of new features to excite me. Having said that, the place they will really compete with Garmin is on price, with their mid-range TM models being good bargains.

  12. Carol B. says:

    Can you use all portable Nuvi’s on foot as well as in the car?

    • Yes, but you will be somewhat limited by battery life. The 2360 models might be an especially good choice, since they have a compass screen to point you towards your destination. EDITED.

  13. Scott G says:

    I am looking for a replacement for a Mio Moov 500. We live in a smaller town that will not be covered by traffic reports but do take longer trips each year (looking at Boston, Washington etc this year). Down to 2350LMT or 2450LM. What are the main differences besides screen size and traffic (and is the traffic worth the difference). It seems like the features are an exact match after the firmware updates (from what I can tell). It looks like the price with rebates will be a wash right now. I hope to order tomorrow (before the sales go off).

    Thanks for the help.
    Scott

  14. If you disable the live traffic feature of the unit, does that also disable the disaply of the ads that support it?

  15. Confused says:

    Hi, thanks for your reviews.

    I am trying to decide between the Garmin 2350LMT and the Garmin 2450LM. I live in a largely rural area, so the traffic feature isn’t a big deal to me. I do want lifetime maps, which both units have. Is one of the units better/more accurate with regards to routing than the other? If traffic isn’t a factor, which of the two would you recommend?

    Thanks for any advice you may give.

    Confused

  16. I could be wrong, but other than the missing traffic on the LM vs LMT model, I think the only difference is the larger screen size on the 2450 (4.3″ vs 5″)

  17. Of course I meant the 2450 has the 5″ and the 2350 has the 4.3″

  18. You’d think that would be the only difference, but it’s not. The 24xx models also have a customizable main menu (http://gpstracklog.com/2011/01/nu-feature-customize-main-menu-on-nuvi-2400-series.html) and custom avoidances/advanced detours (http://gpstracklog.com/2011/02/custom-avoidances-and-advanced-detours.html). Because of that latter feature, I’d go with the 2450LM.

  19. Rich, I see that the 2350LMT is on sale from BuyDig for $169 this week. I had been looking at the 1350LMT and 1450LMT but this one looks interesting. From the comparison chart am I coorect that the differences between the 1450 and 2350 are that the 1450 has a 5″ screen vs 4.3″ for 2350 but that the 2350 has a powered mount? Are there any other key differences that should be considered? If not I think I’d rather have the powered mount and lose a little screen real estate.

    • Correct. It also has the trafficTrends historical road speed data base, via point data fields, and adjustable speed limits, features not found on the 1xxx series. Personally, I’d go with the 2350LMT over the 1450LMT.

  20. Does Garmin sell lifetime maps to models such as the 2350lt? Asking because the model 2350lt is currently selling for $129.95 at Amazon while the 2350lmt is $183.97. I was thinking that it might be possible to buy the 2350lt and that lifetime maps could be purchased seperate from Garmin (with the cost of course being less than the difference between the two models).

  21. Found the answer to my own question above. For anyone else with the same questions it’s $49.99 for a ONE time download and $89.99 for lifetime. Kind of a rip off if you ask me. Obviously much better to buy a model with lifetime maps included.

  22. You can also get them through other vendors. I’ve seen lifetime updates on sale for as low as $60 at Amazon…

    Garmin nuMaps updates

  23. Thanks Rich. At $60 it still doesn’t make up for the difference between the two models but it’s close and good to know that the option exists. I’m typically the type of person who likes the comfort of knowing I have the latest and greatest. It was always a foregone conclusion in my mind that I’d buy a model that came with lifetime maps but the price of this the 2350lt on Amazon is very very tempting (esp. knowing that a $60 lifetime map upgrade is an option at a later time).

  24. BobTrombone says:

    Rich,

    Thank you for the review of the Nuvi 2350LMT. I have decided to buy one. Amazon has a very good deal.

    Thanks,

    Bob

  25. Rich,
    I was all ready to purchase the 2350LMT based on your reviews and then I came across the 2455LMT. I’m trying to determine which one I want by trying to compare the features. It appears the 2455LMT doesn’t have the myTrends which isn’t that big a deal for me. Which one would Rich get? :)
    Thanks,
    Jeff

  26. I really appreciate your review of the 2350LMT. I see many comments about the powered mount. Does that mount always need to be used in order to use the 2350LMT in the car? Does the power always need to go through the mount?

    When getting to a destination, I would like to quickly unplug and have EVERYTHING stored in the glove box.

  27. Be ware! In my package the 12-volt power-connector doesn’t connect to the unit directly. Has to go via the mount as it is another size/standard.

    /2340-owner

  28. Hi,

    After taking your advice, I’ve bought nuvi 2350 –

    You know how the “dashboard disk” comes in the box? Does this mean that I can put it on the dashboard instead of windshield?
    The instruction only talks about how to put it on the windshield, but if it is possible, I think I want to put it on dashboard rather than window….feels a bit safer.

    Could you advise me on this?

    Thanks!

  29. thanks! I’ll definitely check that one out.

  30. Thomas Vattamakal says:

    Hi,
    I am seriously thinking of buying Nuvi 2350 LMT. Please tell me how the “Life time map updates” work? Upload via computer or it automatically does it?
    Thanks,
    Tom.

  31. Mills Hoyt says:

    Can I put in longitude and latitude coordinants and it will take me there

  32. Mills Hoyt says:

    Thanks! I’m going Geocaching

  33. Mills Hoyt says:

    What about the 2200 version can I do that to

  34. Mills Hoyt says:

    What about the 2200 version can I do that to
    ?

  35. Garmin nuvi 2350lmt can I use it in my vans to track my employees driving.

    • For live tracking, you would need to buy additional equipment and contract with a third-party. If you just want to download where they have been after the fact, by connecting the device to a computer manually, yes, this can be done.

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