Garmin nuvi 2599 Review – is it as good as TomTom?

  • Garmin nuvi 2599 Review – is it as good as TomTom?
  • Garmin nuvi 2599 Review – is it as good as TomTom?

My first time properly using the Garmin Nuvi 2599 did not go as well as I had anticipated. In fairness this was nothing whatsoever to do with the device itself, rather it was because one of the kids decided to take the USB charging cable. Apparently it also charges some of their electronic devices…..grrr!

Ordinarily I would have said no big deal and just used the smartphone when the battery of the Garmin died. However, at the moment this is not an option as I am using an old GSM  that has no GPS function. The screen of my usual phone is currently being repaired as I dropped it onto the ground last week all of two feet – but that’s a story for another day!

Luckily the Garmin was nearly fully charged when I got into the car and therefore, I knew I had a couple of hours use before the battery died. Hopefully just enough juice for a round trip to the not so local specialist bike shop.

GARMIN NUVI 2599 – PRODUCT FEATURES

As per my other reviews let’s take a quick look at what the Garmin Nuvi 2599 offers.

PROS:

  • Pinch & zoom capacitive display
  • Garmin Real Directions
  • Lifetime Map Updates provided regularly
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Built in receiver – uses digital & FM receiver

CONS:

  • Requires additional memory card
  • Address searches can be cumbersome
  • HD Traffic can be a bit hit & miss
  • Expensive
  • Only a Quick Start manual provided

 

DESIGN 

Straight up I have to be honest and admit that I like the look of this device. The unit itself is rectangular in shape and looks slimmer than many of the other models available within this price range. There is very little plastic surround encasing the screen and therefore the unit looks sexy and sleek. The TomTom units have a a wider “frame” that surrounds the screen that makes them appear somewhat chunkier than the Garmin. A big thumbs up therefore to Garmin for the design of the unit.

SCREEN

The model that I have is a 5inch screen – this is typically the size that I would go for in a sat nav. It’s not too large to be distracting and it’s not too small that you’ll have to squint to see the screen. The Garmin Nuvi 2599 has a capacitive screen – this means that the screen
responds to a light touch from your finger. You do not have to continually tap the screen to obtain a response like you do with some receptive screen models. An older sat nav device that we had caused great hilarity for the kids on some of our previous journeys.  I tapped the unresponsive screen continually whilst yelling at the non-voice activated device!

The display is bright and clear and the information it provides is laid out in a sensible manner. It is possible to adjust the journey information provided on the screen to suit your preferences. For me though, I’m happy with the standard out of the box type display. I really only want to see the map of the route, my current speed and estimated time of arrival – the additional stuff is nice to have but not essential.

I can confirm that the pinch and zoom works well, particularly if you need to look at something along your route in a little more detail.  An useful feature is when you touch the screen and the device will give you the address of where you are pointing. This is great if your driving and want to let someone know exactly where you are on your journey. We used it to make arrangements with friends when we met them en route. It was simple to use – point at the screen and give them the address that comes up.

 

NAVIGATION

Upon turning on the unit the first thing that strikes you is the brightness of the display screen.  Initially I  decided to try out the ‘voice activated option’ for navigating.  It works by picking up on the instructions you speak out loudly. For example if you say “86 Randolph Street” the device will find this address and ask you to verify if it’s the correct one. A cool feature is that you can verbally verify the address and therefore get going without having to manually input the address.  Voice activation

By and large the voice activation system works well. Problems only seemed to occur when I wanted it to find hard to pronounce places e.g. Llanbedr in Wales caused problems and needed to be input manually. also make sure that you turn down the radio when using the voice activation as background noise will make it difficult for the Garmin. Having Britney Spears singing in the background can confuse the voice activation 😉

311px-British_postcode_areas_map.svg

Why don’t you like postcodes?

Another problem I encountered with the voice activation is that it does not recognise post codes. Surely in this day and age the post codes (if available) are the best and most accurate method of locating your destination? It doesn’t seem to make sense that you cannot use them with this function.

To clarify you are able to input postcodes manually into the unit just not by voice activation. Perhaps this is something that Garmin will be able to fix in a future software update?

On the whole though, the voice activation was successful in finding the right location around 85% of the time. Not bad at all when you consider that people have different accents, don’t always speak clearly and may have to contend with background noises.

The navigational commands themselves that are provided during your journey are excellent. The instructions it provides are  clear and easy to understand. For example it will tell you to “take the next left, then remain in the right hand side lane” – trust me it makes more sense when you are driving the route! You will also get a close up of the junction or turning on the screen which also helps you to visualise what is coming up ahead.

I am not yet fully convinced however of the benefits of the Garmin Real Directions. The theory behind the technology is that it will be like having a co pilot sitting beside you giving the driving directions. It’ll tell you to “turn right after the glass building”or “turn left after the playground” and it can be very effective. Where I struggled with the system was when driving in busy cities that I didn’t know too well. Because there was a lot activity around me I found it difficult to seek out specific landmarks – like the glass building on the right. I was too busy concentrating on my surroundings and being in the correct lane to pay any real heed to the buildings or landmarks in the vicinity.  To be fair, this may be because I am used to the more traditional navigational instructions – “in 200 yards take your next left” has never felt so reassuring! Perhaps with continual use the device will become easier to use and that sense of familiarity and attachment to having my instructions a certain way will grow over time.

FOURSQUARE

Foursquare comes preloaded onto this device. Essentially it is a database that provides you with ‘points of interest’ to explore. It provides information of restaurants, tourist attractions, stores etc. If you link this feature with the smartphone app that’s available then you should also have access to opening hours, user reviews and the price ranges of the establishment. I cannot comment upon this particular feature as I did not install the app on my phone. Once i have had an opportunity to do so I shall update this review accordingly.

 

MOUNTING SYSTEM

The power cable connects to the unit itself rather than onto the mount like previous models. In practice this means that the unit becomes a little wider . Also, if your like me and you prefer to ‘hide’ the unit when leaving the vehicle you will have to unmount the device and unplug the cable. This was the case with my old TomTom where the connection at the bottom of the device where the cable connects became damaged. This was purely down to the plugging in and removing of the power cable. Undoubtedly, the lesson here is be careful and take your time in removing the cable. In practice though, time is of the essence as I usually have one leg out of the car as I’m in the process of unplugging the cable!

Follow this link and head over to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the Garmin nuvi 2599LMT-D 5″ Sat Nav

Specification
  • Battery Life (hours): Up to 4 hours
  • Bluetooth Handsfree: Yes
  • Lane Guidance: Yes
  • Lifetime Map Updates: Yes
  • Mapping: UK, ROI & Europe OR North America
  • Safety Camera Location Data: Yes
  • Screen Size: 5″
  • Screen Resolution: 480 x 272 pixels
  • Device Size: 13.8 x 8.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Traffic: Built in traffic
Garmin nuvi 2599

7 Total Score
Good

This could and should have been an excellent device. It has a number of useful features like 'Foursquare' and 'Real Directions'. Ultimately though, it is let down by some infuriating issues particularly with the voice recognition. One to consider only if it falls within your price range and you will make full use of Foursquare via the smartphone app.

Value for Money
7
Ease of Use
6
Features
8.5
Battery Life
8
User Rating: 3.35 (1 votes)
16 Comments
  1. Reply
    shelley October 7, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Having been an early TOM TOM user I am excited to see that the technology has greatly improved.. I love that it can now give one an accurate account of traffic all around (sorry about your commute!).
    I am now one of those 49% of people that now use my smart phone for directions.. although it is not always the best..
    Your site looks great and I love the lay out of blogs and pages… I am trying to figure out that balance now..

    • Reply
      Dylan October 15, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Hi Shelley, I really dig the technology behind my little sat nav unit. It’s something that makes our lives easier – it really does help with cutting down my daily commuting times. I tend to use my smartphone when I’m cycling or walking around a foreign city as unfortunately the dedicated sat nav devices don’t have great battery life. Perhaps the manufacturers will provide devices with better battery life in the near future.
      Take care, Dylan

  2. Reply
    fredric October 16, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Great review I own this GPS and for me it is the best GPS I have ever owned. I just wish I found your site before I bought 3 other sat nav systems before I purchased my Nuvi. I started way back with a Michelin system, followed this with a TomTom .I then even purchased a supermarket own brand that was on special one weekend! They all were horrible in their own little ways! Some weren’t all that reliable or they didn’t have the traffic updates that you can now get as standard with many models. I wish I had come here first! Thanks

    • Reply
      Dylan October 16, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Fredric,

      I’m glad you’ve found the site useful. It sure looks like you have tried plenty of sat nav units over the years! Each new model seems to have something ‘extra’ in order to tempt customers to buy them. I believe though that the right sat nav unit should last you for years – there’s really no need of people to buy the latest and best versions on the market.

      Cheers

      Dylan

  3. Reply
    Paula October 22, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Hi there,
    thanks for this very in depth and honest review. My husband and I sat down just yesterday to plan our family Christmas gift list- a day we both dread because what do you get for your aging parents? One thing we did think of was a gps for my mother as she has started to travel a bit further recently visiting friends around the country.
    Which one would you think is the easiest one to use considering she is not at all technical.
    I did wonder about all the different accents too. Quite a clever invention really.
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Dylan October 23, 2015 at 10:01 am

      Hi Paula,

      Crikey your well organised making your Christmas gift list in October! I usually leave it until at least Christmas week!

      If your mother is travelling a fair bit by car then having a sat nav will give you both piece of mind. To be honest this device is probably a little too technical for her – I doubt that she would want the addition of Foursquare etc.

      I would recommend a less expensive model like the TomTom Go 50 Review – Entry Level Navigation. Take a look at my earlier review on the device – it’s a more basic sat nav but it will get you to where your going.

      If you need any further advice feel free to drop me a line. Happy shopping 😉

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  4. Reply
    Janelle October 26, 2015 at 2:32 am

    In my household we constantly disagree over whether or not to use the navigator, in our case a couple of phone GPS apps. I hate the darn things because I feel like I never learn my ‘where abouts’ by following those directions. I like to use street signs and an old thing called MAPS (paper or google).
    My husband disagrees entirely, he loves to entrust his destination to a device. Guess who gets lost the most? Guess who has to use the GPS to go there next time too? Not me!
    Which one do you think has the best voice recognition. I might get him a new one for Xmas. Just so long as I don’t have to use it!

    • Reply
      Dylan October 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Hi Janelle,

      I have a friend who also refuses to use any sat nav for directions – it works fine for her on a day to day basis but any journey out of the ordinary it’s a different matter! She is constantly late for things like kids parties, lunch dates etc lol but, like you she ‘remembers’ her route next time around. I do admire the tenacity you both have!

      What’s the best sat nav for voice recognition? It really depends on your budget – my choice would be the great value TomTom Go 50 . It has excellent voice functions but doesn’t have that responsive a screen. If you have more money to spend then perhaps you should consider the TomTom Go 5000.

      Happy shopping!

      Dylan

  5. Reply
    Zach October 26, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Hey there,

    I enjoyed reading your review. I have a garmin that is about 5 years old and it seems like they have come up with a few new features! The voice command aspect is definitely new. I feel like I had the same opinion on mine as you have on this one. Overall its pretty good for what you generally require from a gps but some things can be hit or miss. Like the traffic for example. Either way, mine hasn’t been out of the glove box in about 4 years (out of the 5 i have owned it) and that has nothing to do with the gps device itself. I just happened to get a smartphone and haven’t needed to use it since. Good read boyo, it’s definitely interesting to see the new things they have done with these. Thanks,
    -Z

    • Reply
      Dylan October 26, 2015 at 11:11 am

      Hey there Zac,

      The entry level sat nav devices available from Garmin and TomTom today, are better than the top of the range models from a few years back. The manufacturers have improved services like the Traffic Updates etc. but there are differences between the platforms and some do work better than others.

      If your using your smartphone then you must have a good data plan in place. For those that don’t it can work out rather expensive – particularly if you travel through different countries. Some of the better gps units today have inbuilt data sims included, therefore there is no additional costs to connecting to the services like Traffic and speed cameras.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Dylan

  6. Reply
    andrejs October 26, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Hi! I like your review. But I’m more fan of TomTom, but also tried Garmin GPS navigators. Recently I tried CarPlay with iPhone 6s in new Mazda CX3. Voice activation with Waze here in Latvia for navigation is useless. Maybe in the UK, US and other English speaking countries is OK. I think that the same problem is with other GPS navigators? Thanks for the info.

    • Reply
      Dylan October 26, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Hi there,

      Glad you liked the review! I have found that most people when they buy a sat nav stick to that same brand when they upgrade a few years later. I believe it’s because you get used to the interface and therefore there is something rather comforting about the guidance being offered. My first device was a TomTom and it took me a while to get used to the Garmin interface. Now I’m comfortable with both systems but I can see how people stick to their ‘own familiar brand’.

      I have had mixed results when testing out Waze – probably because many of its features rely upon other users. If there aren’t as many Waze users in the vicinity then its effectiveness is reduced.

      How did you find the new CarPlay? The mapping system is powered by the iPhone maps app and so it will be interesting to see how this system develops.

      For now however, I am a dedicated sat nav device follower….. 😉

      Cheers,

      Dylan

  7. Reply
    Brandon October 28, 2015 at 1:12 am

    This is pretty impressive I am not really into GPS systems since I have a phone. But at the same time I have been wanting to add a built in GPS system in my car. I think it is a nice feature to have with any car. Plus it is a lot safer than fumbling around with a cell phone. It may be a bit expensive, but I don’t think the memory card is really that much of a con, they are pretty cheap now a days and they come with a nice amount of space.

    • Reply
      Dylan November 1, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Hi Brandon,

      I agree with you that memory cards are fairly cheap these days for the amount of storage space that you get. However, my concern is that some of these devices run out of space within the first few weeks of ownership. It might be better if manufacturers tell people that this is the case or alternatively provide the ‘extra’ memory card that will be required.

      All the best,

      Dylan

  8. Reply
    Washington January 31, 2016 at 4:39 am

    Hi Dylan
    Awesome stuff you have on the gps. i never got into the gps era, but reading thru your webpage it gives me a great insight of why its a good idea to invest in one. Your pros and cons is great for your customers to decide whats right. I use my phone a lot but my battery dies and i need my phone for more important things.
    Honestly this is a great website for anyone that needs advice.. like me LOL

    • Reply
      Dylan January 31, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Hi there,

      Many thanks for your kind comments its much appreciated and I’m delighted you found the reviews useful.

      A dedicated sat nav is definitely the way to go in my view. The batteries on smartphones seem to die very quickly once they have GPS enabled.

      Cheers

      Dylan

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