Sunday, March 18, 2012

Auto GPS buyers guide

Auto GPS buyers guide

Looking for an auto GPS? Our buyers guide starts below…

Picking GPS for your car depends upon the price you can pay and the features you want. Our auto GPS buyers guide runs the gamut, identifying key features along the way. I’€™ll make a recommendation in each price category, based upon value and feature set. A few notes first:

Budget auto GPS receivers

Our choice:

The Garmin nuvi 40 is a 2012 model with a 4.3″ screen that is loaded with features like lane assist, junction view and speed limit display. Currently available for around $90. Alternative recommendation:

  • The 2013 Garmin nuvi 42LM has a faster processor and an improved mounting system

Mid-range auto GPS receivers

Our choice:

The Garmin nuvi 2455LT is a 2012 4.3″ model, loaded with features including lifetime traffic; at the time of our last update, this unit was running around $130. Alternative recommendations:

  • Get a 5″ screen with the nuvi 2555LMT
  • The TomTom VIA 1505TM gives you a lot of bang for the buck — a 5″ screen and lifetime map updates and traffic

High-end auto GPS receivers

 Our choice:

The 2013 Garmin nuvi 2597LMT 5” widescreen model is loaded with great features like custom avoidances and advanced detours. It also sports lifetime map updates, live traffic and voice commands.

  • If you have a big vehicle stop looking and get the new 7″ Garmin nuvi 2797LMT
  • The 2013 Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD has more eye candy (3D terrain view and 3D buildings) and comes with a magnetic powered mount and an HD traffic receiver

More resources:

Image courtesy Reedz Malik


  1. Hello – I have lifetime maps for a small Nuvi that I have now lost – or had stolen. I’m guessing I won’t be able to transfer that scrip to a new one?

    Anyway – after three days of research, I’m still unable to tell which Garmin will give me these features/options:
    – Voice commanding
    – Video input (for auto reverse cam)
    – Route planning by PC to GPS input
    – Bluetooth
    – FM transmit
    – Adjacent street names on map
    – Custom POI data input
    – Lane assist
    – Internal battery
    – maybe more . . .


    • Rich, this is an incredibly useful site to someone who isn’t familiar with auto GPS and needs to buy one.

      Do you have any early information yet on the upcoming Garmin Nuvi 2360LMT? After being mesmerized and confused by the Black Friday deals, I reviewed your site info, decided on a 1450LMT, then saw the 2360LMT on Garmin’s site. It seems to have everything the 3790T has at a lower price point. But I can’t tell if it has a powered mount.

      Thanks very much,

      • Hi Karen,

        Glad you’re finding it helpful.

        It appears that the 2200 and 2300 series units do not have a powered mount, but yes, Garmin has added some recently introduced features to this line.

        You can compare the 2360LMT and 3790LMT here ( The 37xx series is thinner and has a capacitive touchsreen (more like a smartphone than most GPS, requiring only touch), vs. the 2300 series’ resistive screen (requires a slight amount of pressure).

        The 2300’s are likely to hit online merchants around the end of the year.

        Hope this helps!

      • Rich, I looked at the direct comparison for the Garmin 2460LMT and 2360LMT and other then the weight ( 1oz and 1/2 hr more batt.) they do the same thing.. What’s your take on this.. Am leaning towards the 2360LMT..

        Thank you and love the site…


        • The 24xx models have a 5″ screen, whereas the 23xx models have a 4.3″ screen. Many people like the big screen and it does reduce error rate on keypad screens, but I prefer 4.3″ models for portability and smaller footprint. The 24xx will also allow you to customize the main menu. I should have a post up about that soon.

  2. The backup camera is the biggest problem. They had backup camera inputs on the voice command nuvi 8×0 and 8×5 series, but I think the implementation was problematic. I’d investigate the costs and installation issues thoroughly before deciding to do this. The nuvi 5000 may be a better choice. From support:

    Question: Can I use a backup camera with my nuvi?

    It is possible to use a backup camera with the nuvi 5000 and the nuvi 8xx series. The nuvi 5000 can be used with a backup camera by purchasing the following A/V Cables.

    The nuvi 8xx series requires the purchase of the VIB 11.

  3. Thanks much for the reply.

    So, dropping the backup camera requirement (stand-alone units are inexpensive enough – just wanted to preclude a bit of clutter), which Garmin is recommended for:

    – Voice commanding
    – Route planning by PC to GPS input
    – Multi-Point routing/optimization
    – Blue-tooth receiver/transmitter
    – FM transmitter to audio system
    – Adjacent street names on map
    – Custom POI data input
    – Lane assist
    – Internal or removable battery

    . . . keeping in mind functionality, accuracy, etc. After a fourth day of review, I seem to be down to something like the 885T or 3790T, but there are just too many variables and too many sites seem to have different specs. Price is not a huge concern; just want something without major flaws, and with good reliability.

    Thanks much!

    • The 3790T is new and will likely have more bugs than an older unit. These will probably get fixed in relatively short order; still, its something to be aware of. FWIW, the 885T is officially discontinued and uses the soon to be defunct MSN Direct service.

      885 advantages:
      -Wider range of voice commands available
      -Can do route planning from PC (with MapSource City Navigator software, which you’ll probably get as a free download assuming your unit doesn’t already have the latest maps)
      -Easier to use multi-destination routing
      -FM transmitter

      3790 advantages:
      -Easier to use, faster, voice command
      -Shows more adjacent street names

      The 3790 doesn’t currently support the import of routes from a PC, and the multi-destination routing, though good, has a few other bugs. Hopefully these will be fixed before long.

      Hope that helps.

  4. I am a novice when it comes to auto GPS receivers. I have been living abroad for quite sometime. I am moving back to the states, to a new city and I would like to purchase one as I learn to get around. I really just want a basic model. Some of the features I would like are:

    1. Voice commands giving street names.
    2. adequate time to make turns or change lanes
    3. points of interests
    4. avoiding traffic
    5. neat model that allows you to connect it to a computer

    Just trying to avoid getting lost or ending up in the wrong neighborhoods.

  5. By voice commands, I assume you mean one that will call out directions to you. If, on the other hand, you want one that you can speak to and issue commands, that wouldn’t be a basic unit.

    So I’d recommend something like the Garmin nuvi 1250T or 1350T. The latter has a larger screen.

  6. John Montauk says:


    I am looking for GPS whereby I can coose a route based on a map view as opposed to shortest distance, least use of freeways etc. So I would enter an address and then the GPS would give me a couple of routes to choose from on the map (by color). Similar to say Google Maps/Directions. I need to see it on the screen in order to make the best decision for me. I have seen this feature built in on some new GMC models.

  7. Rich, what are your views regarding refurbished GPS units. Any reason to think they would not provide the same service as new units?

  8. Rich,

    I just mail-ordered a Garmin 785t from BBuy. I know it’s a discontinued model but think I’ll like the features and the price seems right to me. A friend of ours has an old 200 nuvi and I’m quite impressed. Anyways, assuming this unit will have outdated maps and Garmin will allow me to download MapSource City Navigator software, would I also be able to use this with my 60csx that I currently own and Mapsource that is already on my computer? Probably a long shot I know…


  9. Garmin has lost their way. They clearly have the best hardware but the system software and support are falling apart. I have the following:

    Product name Serial number
    Edge® 605 191021446
    nüvi® 755T 1AP004598
    GPSMAP® 60CS 51408234
    StreetPilot® 2610 53974380

    and have to say the newest units the Nuvi 755T and the Edge 605 are a big drop off in reliability. Plus the Edge series system support is pathetic. My web site gets over 70 visits a day from folks who can not successfully do a map update on an Edge 705/605.

    Today was the topper, the Tech Support folks fixed a database problem on my Edge last week and the fix has disabled my Nuvi 755T. For the last week, I have been on the phone several hours a day trying to reach Tech Support to get the problem fixed. Finally yesterday I reached a tech, he insists that my unit is unregistered and will not help despite the fact that my unit shows on the Garmin Web Site as registered and has life time Map Updates. We have repeated that discussion several times including my sending a picture on MyGarmin Page showing my registered units.

    Garmin appears to well on the way to self destruction. They don’t seem to be able to make the leap from hardware manufacturer to Solution provider. They seem stuck in the 90s and very soon their superior hardware will become invisible and irrelevant, a sad story.

    • Bought a 3790T. Takes, literally, about 10 minutes to find a satellite. Garmin will not answer the phone, nor reply to email.

      Can someone recommend a proper GPS with the same features, but built by a company that gives a hoot about real-world performance and service?


      • Troyce,

        Try the following:

        – Leave the unit on, under open sky, for 30 minutes
        – Do not turn it off as soon as it acquires satellites. It needs to build up the satellite almanac. You shopuld find that it locks much quicker once you do this.

        Best practices for satellite acquisition:
        – use the unit regularly (see the second point above)
        – let it lock onto satellites before you start moving (it is much harder for the unit to lock in a moving vehicle)

        • Thanks, I will do that.

          However, I’ve got to note that my older 670 (I think that’s the model) never had the issue; worked great right out of the box, regardless of how long it was left unused, or if in motion.


    • Wow! How the Edge update bonk your nuvi?

      • My understand from Tech was that the data files on my computer (Mac) that webupdater uses had been corrupted be earlier change Garmin has made and that had created an Edge operating problem. So Tech wiped those files and recreated. He wiped files for all GPS units. Next time I went on line and used webupdater for Nuvi software update it bonked my Nuvi but Edge was fine. of course, haven’t seen a Edge software up date yet, so fingers are crossed.

  10. I currently have a NUVI 360 and would like to upgrade to a new unit to have traffic. I use the blue tooth extensively too and would like a fairly good sound. I found the 1490T new, on sale, for $180 but have seen a lot of review posts with dissapointing performance. What do you suggest I get?

  11. The best quality Bluetooth is on the 7×5 series, but they are older and have been discontinued. The 1490T is the most popular unit on this site right now (has been for months). The entire 1xxx series had shutdown problems, but that should have been fixed with a recent firmware update. The 1490T lacks a powered mount, so you’ll have to plug the mini-USB cable in each time.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Hello, Rich,

    I am trying to decide between Nuvi 1350 and 255W. I checked the price on the amazon for 255w and 1350,9$ difference between them. Does it mean that 255w is better than 1350 based on product quality? I need your advice.



    • No, there’s often pretty wild pricing swings on these units. The 1350 is a newer model. There were some lockups reported for the 1xxx series, but a recent firmware update addressed those. The older 255W is tried and true, and very popular. If it were me, I’d probably go for the newer 1350 though.

  13. Rich,

    Just want to say thank you once again. This website is really helpful and I appreciate everything.

    Have a good weekend,


  14. Rich,

    Even though recently it’s become a “discontinued” model; by now the folks at Garmin HAVE to know that the nuvi 855 is/was a seriously troubled unit. Freeze-ups, blackouts, sudden battery drain, etc… Simply returning the unit to Garmin and swapping for another faulty 855 seems a waste of time.

    Do us thousands of unhappy #855 owners with dysfunctional units have any good reason to expect Garmin to “make this right;” as in trade-ins on other models or rebates or anythings else?

    • Did you engage Garmin support about these issues? How did hey handle it?

      • Rich:

        A few weeks ago, before e-mailing you; I used WebUpdater to move from the troublesome 4.60 software to version 4.70.

        However, Before calling Garmin Tech Support I thought it best to make sure I had all the latest “stuff” loaded into my 855. Used Garmin’s My Dashboard and WebUpdater, which said that I needed yet another free software update. This one took quite some time, and it loaded lots of info.

        Even though it’s still listed as “Version 4.70” I’m wondering if indeed it’s more like a “Version 4.70.1” bug fix update. Whatever… after several test drives this week the 855 is operating without a glitch. This latest update may have done the trick. Will send a follooup reort after more use.

        Dan Owen

        • Sometimes you’ll get additional updates — voice files, chipset firmware, etc. Glad to hear it’s working better and hope it stays that way!

          • Nov. 11/16
            This is the follow-up I promised. Installed the latest software update, installed a new battery, did the “hard reset” procedure. The unit worked fine for about one week; then started freezing and blacking out; always when I needed it most!

            Called Garmin Tech. Support; they issued an RMA and will replace my unit with a “factory refurb” unit. They “admit” to nothing, but I believe they know the 855 is a very troubled unit.

            Thanks for your thoughts,

  15. Why does the GPS in (factory installed) car work when my Garmin and Megellan portable) will not work on a very overcast day?? RT

    • How often are you using the portable units? The in-dash unit is rebuilding satellite almanac data every time you are in your car. If you aren’t using the portables as often, they may struggle when conditions are less than ideal.

  16. Rich,

    I am hoping you can help me land on a GPS unit. I’ve looked through nearly all the information you have on your site, which I must say is an impressive amount! You have done a great job articulating your thoughts and making sense of everything about these gadgets. So thank you for that.

    Since I am new to the GPS world I would really like something that is easy to use first and foremost, from there the list goes like this:
    -Powered mount (this feature just makes sense and I am glad they are starting to put it into different units)
    -Life time map updates
    -Traffic updates
    -Spoken street names (I don’t care about having voice command, however if you know of one that does it well I wouldn’t complain.)
    -Lane assist
    -Multi-destination routing
    -Speed limit display
    -Good POI

    I would also like to get one with Bluetooth and that can bring up route changes and directions quickly. I know I am being picky, but I would really appreciate some advice so I can buy the right one. Thanks again.

    Take care,

    • The powered mount and lifetime maps are going to make it tough, especially the former, which is found in a limited number of models. Your best bet may be the Garmin nuvi 3760LMT or 3790LMT, which are both just beginning to hit the market.

      Hope this helps!

      • Rich,

        Thanks so much for the prompt feedback. I guess my next question would be if you could only have one of those features, which would it be? And then which product would you recommend based on the other things I am looking for? Thanks again!


        • Hard to say. Spoken street names is found in most newer devices these days, so I’ll ignore that. I’m a big fan of powered mounts, so I guess that would be it, which still means limited choices. The one feature I’d do without is Bluetooth, just because the sound quality still leaves a lot to be desired for the person on the other end of the call. You can add lifetime map updates to any nuvi for about $70-75 (search for nuMaps Lifetime). Unless you’re willing to go for an older model though, you’re probably still looking at the 3760T or 3790T. If you’re willing to give up the powered mount, check out the nuvi 1490T or 1490LMT.

  17. @Dan, I’m glad you at least got a replacement. Thanks for the followup. I would love to hear how the next one works out!

  18. Jerry Spielbusch says:

    I have used a Lowrance Iway 250C for several years, and have found it to be very good. Sadly, it has failed and is no longer supported.
    I am very frustrated to find that I cannot find a current GPS from Garmin that has the important features, as listed below, that the Lowrance had.
    Is there anything available that even comes close?
    Features that I place a high value on are as listed below:
    1. One-touch waypoint creation (automatic assignment of a number as the name of the waypoint until it can be edited later).
    2. Ability to orient the map so that the direction traveled is always to the top of the display.
    3. A screen that shows mph, current time, distance to destination and time to destination.
    4. An icon on the screen that always points to north, regardless of the direction of travel.
    5. A “data viewer” option that allows me to display many differ data items on the screen in a size of my liking.
    6. Routing options that allow me to place a priority (prefer or avoid) on certain things such as toll roads or freeways.
    7. An option to play or mute the various available voice commands and at what volume.
    8. An option to place the unit on standby instead of power off when the power is cut (vehicle key turned off).
    9. A directions list that is generated after a route is generated.
    10. Automatic zoom of the map so that it zooms in at slow speeds and zooms out at fast speeds.
    11. A “trails” feature that draws a trail of my path as I drive that can be saved for future reference. This is an invaluable feature for use when traveling backroads where there are many intersections and when there is a need to backtrack the exact path traveled. It is also a nice feature to view after a trip to look at the map and zoom into the path last traveled.
    12. A screen that shows lat/lon position and the ability to choose the format for displaying that information. Altitude is, of course, mandatory.
    13. Ability to turn off (or dislay) the various POI information. It is not a good thing to have the screen cluttered with every possible POI that is in the database.

  19. Rich, this is an incredibly useful site to someone who isn’t familiar with auto GPS and needs to buy one.

    Do you have any early information yet on the upcoming Garmin Nuvi 2360LMT? After being mesmerized and confused by the Black Friday deals, I reviewed your site info, decided on a 1450LMT, then saw the 2360LMT on Garmin’s site. It seems to have everything the 3790T has at a lower price point. But I can’t tell if it has a powered mount.

    Thanks very much,

  20. Rich:
    Because I value this website, and all its useful information, I want to complete my thread with, hopefully, my final follow-up on my neurotic nuvi 855.

    Returned my 855 to Garmin per their RMA number. They promptly sent me a “factory re-furb” unit (which appears to be actually brand new!) Immediately plugged it into Web Updater. The newest firmware update is version 4.80!!, which is so new it hasn’t been posted yet on Garmin’s official site. Also got a free map upgrade to ver. 2011.30.

    Took two 200 mile trips. So far it seems OK

    I think Garmin is making a sincere attempt to “make good” on a troublesome series of their GPS units.

    Thanks for this terrific website,
    Dan Owen

  21. When looking at GPS’ we have narrowed it down to the Garmin 1350T and the 1450 units. Based on price points they are close in price with Boxing Day Sales. Any recommendations as to which one is better?

  22. The differences are that the 1350T has traffic and a 4.3″ screen. The 1450 has no traffic, but has a 5″ screen. It also has multi-destination routing. Otherwise, they are built on the same platform.

  23. Hi Rich,
    I saw Garmin nuvi comparison chart, Dissecting the Garmin nuvi series, some reviews, and Garmin website.

    I have 4 garmin nuvi units in mind:
    1)3790LMT:@$450CAD,4.3″, powered mount, high resolution; but I think the good thin design compromised gps main functionality.
    2)1490LMT:@$200CAD (until 12/31 then 250), 5″, not powered mount, #7 in top ten.
    3)1695:5″,powered mount,is maps update through nuLink? is there lifetime maps at all through nulink or anything else?
    4)2370LT:4.3″,un/powered mount? what does map:transatlantic means? I mean what is the range of lat/longitude??

    The last 2 units are not available in my area,but I am willing to try online.

    I want; please, 3 separate -(different)- rankings for these 4 units according to specific criteria.

    First ranking,according to: I want to get the most out of each dollar I pay; big bang for the bucks;does that unit with this price really worth it?

    Second ranking,according to: What is the most Reliable unit regardless of its price?

    Third ranking,according to (Rich Owings) personal opinion;given the prices.

    Thank you so much.

    • The 1695 does not update maps through nuLink. You would need to buy Garmin’s map updates (Lifetime or OneTime) and update thru your computer.

      I don’t believe the 2370LT has a powered mount. Its not available yet and I haven’t seen one. It probably won’t be available until late January. In addition to North America, you would get this coverage… (click View Map tab).

      1. I think the 1490LMT is the most bang for your buck.

      2. All the ones I’ve tried are reliable. The 2370LT is an unknown.

      3. If you hadn’t said given the price, I’d choose the 3790LMT. Otherwise, none of the above. Maybe the 1390LMT, since I don’t particularly like 5″ screens.

  24. What is the difference between the 1390LMT and the 1350T? And why don’t you like the 5″ screens?

    • The 1390LMT adds lifetime map updates, Bluetooth and Junction View. I find 5″ models bulkier than I want on my dash or carrying around. It’s not that I don’t like the larger screen, but I don’t find it necessary.

  25. After updating both my 855’s at MyGarmin I ended with one updating to FW rev 4.80, but not the other. Odd I thought, so I called Garmin and spoke with two Techs. As I was told there are two different chipsets that were used in the 855 and dependent on which one your unit has will determine if you’ll see 4.80 “offered”.

    And it must be the late production 855’s that need it as my newer serialed one is the one that received 4.80. And knowing that only “affected’ units will need 4.80 I highly doubt it’ll be offered for direct downlaod as it’s most likely a highly tweaked revision specifically for that specific chipset.

    Odd thing is in _my_ typical usage I hadn’t seen either unit behave like has been described by many 855 owners. Knock on wood. Nothing but rock solid with both. Now I’ve got my fingers crossed that the one now running 4.80 doesn’t introduce something that I wasn’t suffering from previously.

  26. I am trying to decide between the nuvi 1350 (currently on Amazon for $118) and the 2250 for about $150. I like the widescreen, but is it worth basing my decision primarily on that? It seems the newer 22XX have a lot of features–should I go with the newer model? (If the 2350 comes out at about $220, I’d probably prefer the cheaper models). Thanks, and great, super-helpful site!

  27. We have been researching for a few days now, and I seem to be getting more and more confused!! We are looking for gps that will be helpful in a carhauling business. Looking for these features: 1. High receiver sensitivity, 2. the most accurate and thorough address finding/mapping capability 3. anything like “real-time” map updates? 4. real-time traffic rerouting 5. construction rerouting options 6. lane assist/junctions 7. spoken directions 8. warnings Help!

    • By car hauling do you mean a tractor-trailer, where restricted routes are a concern? Or are you just hauling one at a time on a trailer with a pickup? I ask because it will influence my recommendation.

  28. We have a 1 ton dual wheel pickup w/3 car wedge trailer. thanks!

  29. When exactly is the dezl coming out? I saw 1st quarter, but, anything more specific? Do you think it will be full of bugs? What do you know about the Rand McNally 500 or 700? (I think there is more to their name than that) Are you familiar w/Aura (I think) warning software? Can any of these gps units (or nuvis)accept software additions? (I hope I’m asking that right) Thank you

  30. never mind about the “aura software”…I guess I had the wrong name. It was speedtrap/camera software. I looked it up and the reviews weren’t good anyway!

  31. @ sheila

    First off let me say I drive tractor/trailers for a living. Sheila, to me anyways it sounds like you’re looking for something to take the place of an awake and alert driver that had the foresight to pre-trip by also looking at the route beforehand using a decent “paper’ trucking map.

    I can’t stress this enough. Other than traffic alerts(and traffic alerts are very unreliable)DO NOT rely on the GPS to alert you to anything that you shouldn’t already be aware of while behind the wheel. Relying too heavily on any brand of GPS, four wheeler or truck specific, to merrily take you down the road will only allow the driver a false sense of security and sooner or later lead them into harms way if allowed. Simply put, there’s nothing that beats a driver that is alert and their eyes peeled open to their surroundings and what lies ahead.

    Proper planning by calling ahead to the lot to ask for and write down “in city’ directions to their location sure comes off more professional than spending three hours racing aimlessly around a city, lost, and showing up two hours late. With the in city directions at hand you can navigate to their city location safely and timely using the GPS as a guide.

    As you can see by the comparison link below, no brand is a perfect “fit’ for any two drivers. What you find a convenience your possible co-driver may dislike. Add to that that the data each contains is and will be lacking or out of date. An impossible job to keep one up-to-date, either by real-time or the time of a maps quarterly release.

    The best I can advise re: real time updates is to keep the CB on, read the overhead and roadside signage, pay attention to that gaggle of brake lights suddenly lighting up a mile ahead(hopefully!) of you, and have patience if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself trapped in by rubber-neckers.

    Oh, Aura. Auras data(base) looks to be more EU/UK centric than something I would rely upon here stateside. Having said that I don’t know that I’d rely on it or the like. Ever changing speedtrap data would only slow me down where it isn’t “warranted’ and with my luck the officers moved down a half mile to a spot not contained in the data I would be receiving. Causing me to pay twice if you get my drift 🙂

    Rand McNally Motor Carrier’s Road Atlases:
    (The 2011 Deluxe is worth every penny. Its laminated pages last forever w/proper care)

    Trucker GPS features comparison chart:
    (Garmins Dezl is too new to be included.)

    States using red light and/or speed cameras:
    (Keep in mind the possibility of one or more with a pilot program in use)

    Communities using red light and/or speed cameras:
    (Keep in mind the possibility of one or more with a pilot program in use)

  32. Good advice Rick. Still, I see the value in a navigator, but I never trust mine 100%.

    Sheila, I know nothing about the Rand McNally units, but the Amazon reviews look pretty weak. The dezl probably won’t show up until late March.

  33. Rich Owings said “Still, I see the value in a navigator, …”

    Absolutely. I certianly didn’t mean to infer otherwise. And like you I don’t trust mine explicitly and without question either. As an aide, yet not as a dependency, they’ve proven themselves invaluable many many times. Their zoom features while having a route active is like having a psuedo map on my dash.

    I don’t leave for the road without mine. The one time I did leave w/o it I hit a truckstop and bought one just to have at hand.

  34. January 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm
    Rich, I looked at the direct comparison for the Garmin 2460LMT and 2360LMT and other then the weight ( 1oz and 1/2 hr more batt.) they do the same thing.. What’s your take on this.. Am leaning towards the 2360LMT..

    Thank you and love the site…


  35. Scott Gibson says:

    In a response from 1/7/11, you noted the cramped screen of the 2250. Would that be the same on a 2350, and how does that compare to the 1350?

    • No, the 1200 and 2200 series have 3.5″ screens, whereas the 1300 and 2300 series have 4.3″ screens.

      • Scott Gibson says:


        Thanks for the quick response. I think I have it narrowed down to 2 units. The 1350 LMT or 2350 LMT. Does the 2350 have the customizable data fields that the 1350 has? Between the 2, which would you choose, and what would be the main reason.


  36. Rich,

    I’ve been looking through your website. It rocks!

    I’m still a LOT confused, however, so would like your input if you have time. There are so many models, and sometimes I just want to throw my hands up and walk away. 🙂

    Here’s what I want:

    Light unit
    Free maps (US & Canada) and free traffic
    Ability to give voice commands to enter a destination
    Easy interface
    Lots of POIs
    Ability to save favorite destinations
    A screen that shows mph, current time, distance to destination and time to destination (And customizable)
    Night time map colours
    LOUD (some are too quiet)
    Spoken street names
    Lane assist
    Multi-destination routing
    Speed limit display
    Ability to orient the map so that the direction traveled is always to the top of the display.

    Love garmin, do not like TOMTOMs…. would prefer a newer model.

    Budget is around $250USD

    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE! Again, your website rocks!

  37. I am looking at the discontinued Nuvi 5000 as this is the one unit I am aware of that an external antenna can be installed on.
    The aluminum shelled camper overhangs the cab of the truck a considerable distance is the main motivation behind extending the antenna…

    I would also like to run additional maps to the standard street maps. Topographical maps and a local backroad map book. The backroad mapbook comes on the sd ram chip the topo maps would be loaded on the unit itself. (I think…)
    I am wondering what sort of “extra horsepower” the nuvi 5000 would have to be able to run these maps/programs.

    What current model GPS would I be looking at that does have the ability to fully run additional map programs both through a chip and native to the gps itself? Are there any current models that support an external antenna? Or are there any additional ones planned?

    • All the early three digit models with a powered mount support external antennas. This includes the 300, 600, 700 and 800 series. I’d suggest looking at the 7×5 series, or maybe the 855.

      As far as horsepower, I don’t think its a big issue, as you’re just adding maps that run on the existing software. Memory should be the only concern, if you’re loading some to the device instead of a memory card. I’m assuming the backroad mapbook is Garmin compatible.

      BTW, you may be able to find some free transparent topo maps that will layer over the road maps at

    • Another thing of the nuvi 5000 to keep in mind is that it doesn’t contain a battery, instead relying on vehicle power for operation.

      One could buy or make a portable battery pack, but I could envision that becoming troublesome out in the woods rather fast. Not to mention unreliable.

  38. I am aware the Nuvi 5000 does not contain a battery. The sheer size of the unit would make it impractical as a protable unit. The main purpose for this was for in vehicle anyway and as such the lack of a battery wasn’t really a deal breaker.

    As far as a portable unit I am currently rocking a GPS-12! Yup, 12 whole channels, a black a and white screen and four AA batteries!
    I know, I am the envy of everyone reading this!

    I need to check into the availability and features of the units Rich mentiond and have a think…

  39. Question: I have no experience with gps systems, but have done some research. Will be relocating to Barbados soon and am hoping you can tell me how to go about removing the installed data from the Garmin 2460LMT so that I can install the Barbados map into the unit. Thanks much.

    • Which Barbados map will you be using? You can add it via the micro-SD slot, or it should be small enough to fit in internal memory, without having to remove the North American mapset.

      • Thanks Rich. The Barbados map I will use was launched in March, for the first time in this tiny island. It is a digital map of Barbados which will provide turn-by-turn routing when used with Garmin gps receivers.
        I believe you’re quite right about using the micro-SD slot because the installation instructions for the map says to be sure the SD card has no other data in the files.I just purchased a 2GB SD card to get started.
        I feel much more confident now and am ready to “go for it.”
        Thanks again,

  40. Hi,
    I am from Toronto, Canada. Couple months ago my GO930 was stolen, so I started to look for a replacement of my “car companion”. I tried Nuvi 3790T for 30 days, couple weeks of Nuvi 1490T and I found that I like Garmin hardware, but Garmin maps give me some discomfort and feel of uncertainty. For a sample: Old Toronto areas have a lot of crowdie one-way streets and sometimes I used my GO930 without navigation turned on, just as a 2D map to route myself thru “bushes” of old one way residential/business areas. It was easy to see were to turn and drive. But with Garmin I found my self lost in case if route was turned off in areas with one-way streets. Absolutely useless device showing squares of named streets without any directions where they have to be (any street map has it). Now again I am with TT using GO2505TM and seeing the difference – TT maps are the maps but not illustrations, as it is with Garmin.
    But I’m still missing my short navigation experience with Nuvi, because I found Garmin is very good for me, but without serious mapping support it feels too toyish.

    So, my question is:
    One-way streets map indication – is it models or maps area specific feature of Garmin mapping? Is it possible to have this one-way streets direction with Nuvies?

    I still don’t believe, that this essential one way streets feature missed in Garmin maps. (What if I lived in NY?). Even with an active route on GPS one way streets have to be shown for control and maneuver.

    • I don’t believe any nuvi will visually indicate one way streets, but it should never route you on them the wrong way.

      • I don’t believe as well, for me it is nonsense.
        I would like introduce a definition: , in this case with Garmin.
        About “but it should never route you on them the wrong way.” unfortunately this is what really P. me O. and forced me to get back to TT. This is what in fact happened to me when I got street’s dead end, 3790T routing me to the left and one-way sign ahead pointing to the right.
        I’m not fan of TT. I see a lot of downsides in there’s design and UI, IQ routing is something suspicious also. Just simple silly sample. In menu of GO2505 there is an option to switch internal speakers to external thru in-line cable – but show me pls where is the socket in the unit? May be they have special add-on to device to connect it from charger to car in-line or whatever else?
        So all in all it is not just about Garmin or TT. PND has to use real maps, but not some surrogate.

        • I hope you’ll go to and report the one way error so that it eventually gets fixed.

          I don’t have a GO 2×05 on hand any more, but is it possible there is a line out from the mount?

          • Hi Rich,
            just in case… Happy Easter…

            There is no any line-out in any piece of TT’s equipment supplied with go2505 retail box.

            About mapreporter I’ve read many feedbacks from Garmin owners – many of them still for years waiting for maps changing in there neighborhood after there reports.


          • I checked mapreporter for location where 3790T routed me wrong way on one one-way street – map is correct, shows right traffic direction, but nevertheless 3790t routed me against traffic.

  41. Sorry, it’s regarding the posting above.

    I put a definition in arrow brackets and it looks like an instruction do not show the massage inside them.

    And definition is – BLIND ROUTING WITH GPS


  42. @Vic – Hopefully the one way will make it into Garmin’s next map update.

  43. Greetings, All.

    My goal: To install a combo speed and red light camera file into my Navmate NV102 (used with a Jensen VM9213 screen) that covers at least the Southeastern United States. The NV102, as experts will know, utilizes a removable SD data card – which means I can insert it into a PC for data loads.

    I would appreciate a step-by-step instruction set with links. I have tried to follow the instructions elsewhere ( – for instance), but kept going in circles.

    Thanks much!

    Titusville FL

    • Looks like it will take Garmin format .csv files. I haven’t updated this post in a very long time, but you may find some useful info here:

      • @Rick, thanks for helping with that. When I first replied to your comment I thought it was from Troyce.

      • I have downloaded all the SE US POIs, and the NavUtil software. We’ll see how it goes tonight when I put them onto the memory card and try it in the vehicle.

        And as a casual “Point of Interest” (pun intended) the POI files downloaded for the NavMate are exactly the same files as those listed for a Garmin. That can’t hurt, I reckon.

        Thanks much for the help! What a great site this is.


  44. I have had my eye on a Garmin Nuvi 2460LMT and in my research it appears the bluetooth feature doesn’t work with a Motorola QA1. Would anyone know if this is indeed true?… It seems the 3790LMT does, but didn’t really want that one.
    Don’t really want to find out by buying…

    • Where did you see that it doesn’t work?

      • On the Garmin Nuvi website, they have a link to check if your cell phone will work with the different bluetooth options. If shows no features when I put in a Motorola Q….. They don’t even have a QA1 listed.

        • Their Bluetooth compatibility list is very incomplete. I haven’t come across a complete failure to pair with a nuvi in a long time; the question is usually what features are supported. I’d suggest buying from someone with a good return policy in case you’re dissatisfied.

  45. Have a 2008 Mercedes diesel SUV– Get a cant read DVD and dealer says over $4000 (yes 4 thousand) to replace the processor– So Looking at the Garman- have one my boat- would like the LMT which the built in did not have the updates nor the trafic. as I am over 70 the bigger screen is desirable– we drive beween 20000 and 25000 miles a yr. After looking at your site whould like your recommendations– Thanks

  46. I’d lean towards the nuvi 2460LMT. More info here…

    Way cheaper than $4,000 too. Ouch!

  47. Jeffery C says:

    I have been coming to review pages for ages. I KNOW it’s going to be Garmin. I have a Pioneer Avic S2 and its HORRIBLE. I am torn whether I should go for the 4.3 3790LMT or go for the one of the 5″ units 2460LMT. I use everything it for everything from Inputing GPS coordinates a lot, to traveling all over the place.
    Is the 3D eye candy worth all the extra money? It is REALLY worth it to spend almost $400? Also how good are refurbs? You can get a 3790LMT for $319 that way. You can get a 1490T for $118…
    I know a lot of these have been asked before. I am a construction engineer and the coordinate input is really important for me to find specific bridges and other areas. I LIKE the idea of 3D and glass screen. I like the idea of 5″ screen. I guess what what counts most is ease, accuracy and total functionality. I really do not have a budget BUT I DO want the best bang for the buck without paying for worthless features. Life time maps is a MUST since I buy GPS VERY infrequently… I hope I have you enough to really steer me one way or the other. This is driving me nuts since no ONE unit does it all!

    • I think its a form vs function issue. Personally, I’d go with the 2460LMT, which has a wider range of capabilities. I really like the 3790LMT’s 3D terrain view though. There’s no right answer here. My 2460LMT review goes over many of the differences…

      • Jeffery C says:

        Thanks for a fast reply. I see you get where I am coming from. There is no one GPS that does it all so you need to chose. Being an Engineer Form vs function makes the 3D an eye candy thing BUT not necessarily the best way to go. It is only a $30.00 difference too IF you go to the Garmin store and get a Refurb. for $349.99 shipped, vs a NEW 2460LMT for $319.95. Since they both have warren-tees and purchase options for extensions it really is an interesting choice where you can not really go wrong. Once again thanks for your help. It comes down to what I wish to do now!

  48. Hi,
    this is question for Nuvi 2460LMT owners.
    It is regarding squeaking-crackling noise coming from the cradle where the unit sits itself. It is quite annoying sound when driving on unpaved or uneven road with cracks in it. The cradle is made of two plastic flexible pieces screwed together. When unit starts to move by the weight itself on the road, cradle begin to deform and this high pitch crackling sound comes out. Does somebody have the same experience or it just meant that I’ve got defective mount cradle?
    Please advise. Thank you

  49. I would like to surprise my boyfriend for our anniversary by getting him the GPS. I saw he was looking at Garmin nuvi 3790LMT one. So I was doing the research for it and found out about Garmin nuvi 3790T. I was wondering which one would you recommend either 3790LMT or 3790T?

    • The LMT adds lifetime map updates, so that is the better unit.

    • If it’s in your budget definitely get him the LMT(included NuMaps Lifetime Subscription) model. The difference is usually an additional $30-$60 on initial purchase and he’ll be good for the quarterly map updates from Garmin.

      Otherwise the NuMaps Lifetime Subscription is an additional $74-$99, depending on where purchased.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!


+ 5 = twelve