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Sunday, March 18, 2012

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Garmin nuvi 2555LMT


Garmin nuvi 2555LMT review

The Garmin nuvi 2555LMT is a mid-range unit in Garmin’s 2012 nuvi Advanced series line. One of the more significant refreshes in recent years, the Advanced series adds several new customization options, improved search functionality and Exit Services. All models in the Advanced series come with preloaded maps of the US, Canada and Mexico. The 2555LMT offers all this along with an extra-wide 5” screen, lifetime traffic and lifetime map updates.

I’ll delve into new and returning features shortly, but first, let’s look at some…

Related models

  • Step up to the 2595LMT to add Bluetooth for hands free calling and voice command
  • Going the other direction, the 2555LT keeps the 2555LMT’s feature set but drops the lifetime map updates
  • Or keep the map updates but drop to a 4.3” screen with the nuvi 2455LMT
  • To see how the nuvi 2555LMT stacks up against other models, check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart

NOTE: Much of the following is based on my hands on review of the nuvi 2555LT, which is identical except that it doesn’t come bundled with lifetime map updates.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT hardware notes

My biggest disappointment with the Advanced series is that these models do not have a powered mount. So you’ll have to plug the mini-USB connector into the back of the unit each time you use it. Nevertheless, the 2555LMT does sense when you remove it from the mount while powered on, and records that as your last parking spot. To be guided back to it, choose Apps > Last Spot. There is a magnet in the lower portion of the mount that allows it to accomplish this.


Powering on and off

The nuvi 2555LMT powers off and on automatically when connected to the charger in your car. When you press the power button to turn it off, it actually goes into sleep mode. According to the manual, “a battery charge lasts for weeks” in this mode. The advantage here is an almost instantaneous power on from sleep mode. To fully shut down the device, hold the power button down for three seconds.

NuFeatures

Much of this section was covered in my first looks post. One exception is at the end of the “Map changes” section, where I discuss browsing the map for POIs; the other is the final section, “Menu improvements.”

Dashboards

There are eight different dashboards available on the 2555LMT. Basically, these are data field layouts, and are accessed via Settings > Map & Vehicle > Dashboards. You can see one in the image below.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT dashboard

Map changes – Buttons, layers, and more, oh my

The icons on the right side of the map screen are termed map buttons. You can have up to three of the following: Traffic, Mute, Stop, Phone, Detour, Exit services, Where am I?, Trip computer, Map layers, Brightness, Where to? and Audible. This is a nice feature. BTW, see the menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the lower right portion of the nuvi screen above? You can tap that to bring up all twelve of the items available for the map buttons, so it’s easy to reach the other nine.

Map Layers also offers three choices. You can choose to display any or all of the following on the map: Traffic, Trip log and Places along the road. Enabling the latter will display points of interest (POIs). In the screenshot below, you can see that more information appears on the screen if you tap a POI icon. Oh, and which POIs feature corporate logos seems to be solely related to which ones are available to Garmin; it has nothing to do with zoom levels.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT POI more info

While you cannot customize which POIs to display on the 3D moving map, it’s a different subject when you go into browse map mode. There you can drill down through many categories, as you can see below.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT browse map

Selecting a destination

Tap Where To? and you’ll see the following screen…

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT where to

There are a few things to note here:

  • You can add a shortcut to a favorite search (e.g., Starbucks), a category or subcategory, a saved place, etc.; this is one of the more helpful new features, IMHO
  • Note that you can remove any of the shortcuts shown above
  • And you can have up to six screens, for a total of 36 shortcuts
  • The Categories icon gives you access to the full range of POI choices, in addition to any shortcuts showing
  • You can do a universal search, entering an address or a POI name
  • Tap the Searching Near field in the upper right hand portion of the screen to access options such as My active route, My destination, etc.
  • To move items around, simply press and hold them for a second until they start to jiggle; then move them to a new position

Exit services

First seen on the dezl trucker series, and similar to Magellan’s Exit POIs, this is another new feature that I think people will find very helpful indeed. So much so that it will undoubtedly end up as one of the buttons on my map screen. It shows you POIs for upcoming exits…

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT exit services

Menu improvements

Recent nuvis had deep menu options that were painful to access. Improved nesting and better use of check boxes have reduced many steps. For example, on 2xx0 series units, you had the following sequence to set avoidances: Tools > Settings > Navigation > nuRoute > Avoidances. On the 2xx5 series, it’s Settings > Navigation > Avoidances.

Returning features

Junction View and Lane Assist

There has been a huge increase in the number of exits showing Junction View imagery (pictured below on the right side of the screen). It seems to pop up at almost every exit in cities where I’ve never even seen it before. I’ll also note that this series includes what Garmin terms photoReal Junction View, where the background scenery should generally match reality.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT jct view lane assist

Lane Assist is displayed in the upper left portion of the screen above, letting you know which lane you need to be in for an upcoming turn. This feature shows up not only on freeways, but on some urban surface streets as well.

Lifetime traffic

Traffic is ad-supported, just like on previous T models. I’ve included some screenshots below.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT traffic

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT traffic detail

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT constructionUnfortunately, the coupon icons are starting to show up a bit more frequently, as you can see in the image below. In the past, it seems like I wouldn’t see these unless I was stopped or on the traffic screen, but note my speed in the screenshot below.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT coupon

One new option is to purchase the GTM 60 traffic receiver, giving you access to Garmin’s new HD traffic service and eliminating the ads as well.

NOTE: As I was doing the final edit of this post, I realized that my unit had a GTM 26 traffic receiver, and that apparently it should have come with a GTM 36. This could indicate that I have a pre-production unit and that traffic reception and ad behavior could differ in the final production models shipped with the GTM 36.
UPDATE: No, the Advanced series comes with the GTM 26 receiver.

Trip Planner

Trip Planner, used for planning multi-destination routes, is now found under Apps. It seems that Garmin is continuing to make improvements here. While I didn’t do extensive testing of this feature, I did note a couple of things. For one, Time to Via and final destination arrival times seem to be accurately reflected on the dashboard (although it still doesn’t take into account duration of stop, if you’ve entered that info). Also, I successfully transferred a multi-destination route from BaseCamp, using City Navigator POIs converted to waypoints.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT trip planner

Despite the improvements to this feature, some users prefer the old system where you could add Via points without using the Trip Planner. With the Trip Planner, you need to interact with it briefly after each stop, selecting the next destination.

Your choice of routes

This feature was buried so deeply on the 2xx0 series that I missed it entirely. Now, when you enter a search and tap a result, you’ll see a drop down box labeled Routes. Tap it and you’ll get your choice of faster time, shorter distance and less fuel routes (according to the manual; they aren’t labeled, but you can see them below).

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT routes

Other returning features

Some other important features introduced on previous generation nuvis, which are also found on the 2555LMT:

  • Orientation (portrait style shown below) can be set by by going to Settings > Display > Orientation, but this must be done manually; the 24×5 series does not appear to have an accelerometer built in
  • Custom avoidances – Allows you to exclude a road or area from routing
  • Advanced detours – Lets you exclude roads from the active route on the fly
  • Trip log – Now part of “Where I’ve Been,” you can clear it from within the app and enable/disable and clear it from Settings > Device

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT portrait

Garmin nuvi 2555 series performance

The following is taken from my hands on review of the Garmin nuvi 2555LT:

POI searches seem significantly faster than on other recent models. And routing speed is somewhat faster than on my 2360LT with the trafficTrends historical road speed database enabled on both units. While I’ll admit it’s a bit subjective, routing does seem to be a little smarter on these second generation trafficTrends units. I definitely see differences and they generally seem to be better choices.

Names of nearby roads appear on the map – sometimes there are more of them and sometimes less than on the 2360. Occasionally I’ve noticed a slight lag in menu responsiveness of the 2555LT. It’s not always there, and it’s short enough when it does occur (less than a second) that many users wouldn’t even notice it.

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT pros

  • 5” screen
  • Strong customization options
  • Exit services
  • Lifetime map updates included
  • Lifetime traffic
  • POIs can be displayed on the map
  • Offers several choices of routes
  • Extensive junction view and lane assist coverage
  • Advanced detours allow you to exclude roads from active route
  • Custom avoidances allow you to exclude roads or areas from all routes

Garmin nuvi 2555LMT cons

  • Traffic is ad-supported and is beginning to get more intrusive with coupon icons appearing on the map screen when moving
  • No powered mount

Conclusion and recommendation

Highly recommended. Even with my love of powered mounts (missing here), the nuvi Advanced series rocks. New (and very useful) customization options, exit services and other strong features will tempt many nuvi owners to upgrade. It looks like Garmin has another winner.

More Garmin nuvi 2555LMT reviews

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

Other Garmin nuvi 2555LMT resources

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 2555LMT 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. Thanks for the review, I have a Garmin Nuvi 260 purchased in 2009, its a Rock SOlid GPS, but I feel it has terrible routing mechanism, even when set to shortest route it differs quite a bit from Google maps routing and always takes me the longest route. I need something which offers Google like routing options and possibility of sending google route OTA to the gps, any product recommendation from you.

  2. you say quote, Another new feature is, unlike previous non-HD traffic models, the lifetime traffic on all 2013 nuvi LMT and LT models is ad-free. but this one has ads? can you clear this up a bit. thank you for such great review.

    • They may have stopped serving ads for older devices too. I’m not in an area with good traffic coverage but I don’t recall seeing an ad on my 2495LMT in a long time.

      • Jim Navarro says:

        In Garmin Nuvi 2555LMT there’s way to hide the ads by going to:
        All Settings > Maps & Vehicle > Map Layers.
        At “Map Layers” uncheck “Places along the road” and “Save.”
        That’s it!

  3. Jim Navarro says:

    I have Garmin Nuvi 2555LMT.
    I’d like rebuff that Garmin Nuvi 2555LMT CONS: “traffic is ad-supported and is beginning to get more intrusive with coupon icons appearing on the map screen when moving?”
    You can hide the ads by going to:
    All Settings > Maps & Vehicle > Map Layers.
    At “Map Layers” uncheck “Places along the road” and “Save.”
    That’s it!
    Please clarify what you meant by, “No power mount?”

  4. The lifetime map update feature has much to be desired. I’ve tried to update the map on three occasions, all of which were not pretty.
    The first time completed successfully but took over 12 hours.
    The second time took longer but did not complete. When I tried to restart, the software told me that I didn’t have enough memory for the entire North America map even though Garmin advertises this unit to be able to hold it all. Tech support told me that I had to but a memory stick.
    After installing the memory I was able to update the North America map even though it kept telling me “1 minute remaining” after 24 hours of connection to the internet.
    In some locations the unit will tell you to go around a block even though your destination is right in front of you.
    Garmin’s update support has much to be desired.
    My next GPS will be another brand.

  5. Just purchased the Nuvi 2555LMT . While doing the initial device register and updates, the download got down to <1 minute and sat there for about an hour and a half before I closed the Garmin Express application, disconnected the GPS and powered it down, rebooted my computer, reconnected the GPS and tried the update again. I clicked on INSTALL for the map update, it started at the <1 minute point where it left off when I had shutdown the Garmin Express application. This time it completed the download and began the actual update. It completed in about 10 – 15 minutes. This GPS boots up and synchronizes with the satellites quickly. I love it and it is a great step up from my OOOLLLLLLLDDDD Delphi GPS.

  6. Paul Stewart says:

    How long is the “lifetime” of a Garmin GPS when it comes to map updates? I have been using Garmin GPS since the Street Pilot and it seems the first issue I have with the many I have bought is that I can no l onger download map updates.

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