The Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD is a navigation GPS with a smartphone-style touchscreen and voice-activated navigation. It's loaded with features that make it our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
The Nuvi 3597 comes loaded with maps of North America. It also includes free lifetime map updates with your purchase.
It also comes with lifetime traffic. This is a subscription to Garmin's premium traffic service, HD Digital Traffic. It alerts you when your route is congested and a different route will help you arrive at your destination sooner. A special receiver on the Nuvi 3597 receives the HD Digital Traffic updates as often as every 30 seconds. This is the quickest update time among the GPS units that we reviewed.
One of the best features of this car GPS is voice-activated navigation. This means you can request directions to your destination without having to type in the address.
It's also Bluetooth-enabled, so you can synchronize it with your smartphone and then make hands-free calls using its speaker and microphone. You can sync the GPS to your phone using Smartphone Link, Garmin's app for Android and Apple phones.
Smartphone Link allows you to share information between your smartphone and your GPS, using your smartphone's data connection. One useful function of Smartphone Link is that your GPS can tell your smartphone where you parked. Another useful function is that the GPS can receive contacts from your phone for easy, hands-free dialing. You can also see the weather forecast on the GPS. Some of the premium features of Smartphone Link, such as weather radar and live traffic cameras, are only available at an additional cost.
In addition to the voice-activated navigation, this unit has a feature that Garmin calls Real Directions, which makes directions sound more natural and easier to follow. For example, instead of telling you to "turn right in a half-mile," the unit says something like, "Go straight past the gas station and turn right at the stop sign."
This GPS has lane-assist functionality, which tells you prior to a turn what lane you should be in. This helps you avoid the frantic trying-to-get-over driving behaviors spawned by smartphone navigation apps.
Like most car GPS units, the Nuvi 3597 displays the speed limit of the road you're on and your current speed. It also has 3D maps, which greatly help with navigation in cities, where tall buildings are clearly represented along your route.
If you make a wrong turn, this unit recalculates your route to help you get back on track. It also has a bird's-eye view mode of intersections, so you can easily see exactly where you are and where you should be.
Points of interest, or POIs, are crucial in an auto GPS, because they allow you to find restaurants, gas stations and tourist attractions easily. Garmin has over 10 million POIs in its database, which is the most among the GPS brands we reviewed.
The unit is housed in a sleek metal casing with a capacitive glass touchscreen. Capacitive screens are used in smartphones and provide a much more responsive interface than the resistive touchscreens found in most navigation GPS units. It offers pinch-to-zoom touchscreen functionality, which allows you to zoom in and out like you do with a smartphone.
It comes with a well-designed magnetic mount. The GPS connects directly to the mount, and the mount plugs into your cigarette lighter. The mount even has a speaker on it to amplify the GPS's prompts, which can be a bit hard to hear in a noisy car when it is not mounted. It also has an accelerometer, which shifts the orientation of the screen from landscape to portrait mode to fit your vehicle.
The Nuvi 3597 has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts for up to two hours, so you'll have some battery life even if you forget to plug in the included charging cable. It has built-in memory that can save up to 1,000 waypoints or favorites. It also accepts micro-SD cards for you, so you can either expand the waypoint memory or add maps to the unit.
Garmin has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding customer service. Our interactions with Garmin's support team have always been impressive. Garmin offers a one-year warranty on its Nuvi devices. It also has phone, email and social media support, as well as a FAQs section on its website.
The Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD is loaded with more features than any other navigation GPS on the market, which is a big reason why it's the best one out there. Its combination of lifetime maps, lifetime traffic and voice navigation makes it an excellent choice for a long-term car GPS.
It has the best touchscreen we've seen on a navigation GPS.
Some premium, smartphone-enabled features cost extra.
The Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD offers unparalleled functionality in the best-designed chassis on the market.