Garmin Nuvi: This Thing is Going Places

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Travelling is a great way of spending one’s free time. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, travelers can gain first-hand experience of different cultures and places, or relax in a more exciting scenery.

While traveling is great, it can also get expensive. Plane tickets are very affordable, but not in all cases; last-minute reservations can be devastatingly expensive, and other means of transportation just don’t provide the same level of comfort and convenience.

But traveling by car is, in a way, better. Privacy is well-received by most people. Spending intimate moments with a loved one or with the family can make for some great memories. While personal vehicles are great for weekend getaways and short city-breaks, exploring new territories without the adequate gear can lead to very unpleasant moments. GPS devices are a great way for users to be aware of their surroundings while keeping their eye on the road.

The Garmin Nuvi

Garmin is a company that is well-versed in manufacturing “tracking” devices. From smartwatches to golf course trackers, they’ve done it all. The Garmin Nuvi is specifically designed for driving. It’s very useful for both intercity and intracity trips, and it features useful features like voice commands and a very crisp, colorful display.


  • A five-inch display that features pinch-to-zoom, map and street view on the same screen
  • Hands-free calls via Bluetooth connection
  • Traffic suggestions (free for life)
  • Updated maps for North America and Europe (lifetime updates)
  • Foursquare (feature for spotting restaurants, coffee shops, stores and more)
  • Voice recognition and commands


  • Features hands-free calls
  • Offers traffic suggestions that are both useful and free
  • Foursquare is great for finding new places and sharing them with contacts (works via smartphone app)
  • Voice commands are quite handy


  • Voice recognition software isn’t that great
  • Maps aren’t as crisp as with other products from the competition


The Garmin Nuvi is a very useful gadget. The five-inch display is exceptionally bright and easy to read. It comes both in standard and HD versions, the only difference being the pixel density of the display; the HD version comes at an additional cost. Both screens work perfectly and the GPS can either display the image horizontally or vertically.


The Nuvi can communicate with a smartphone via Bluetooth, for taking calls, and through the Smartphone Link app developed by the manufacturers. Bluetooth is fine for taking calls, but the app allows users to connect to a cloud. From the cloud, the display will show popular venues from the area (with ratings) and allow the user to add contacts to share this information with.


Voice-assisted driving is nice. The robot voice offers information that’s useful for the driver. For example, it will notify the driver when it’s time to turn and the direction of the turn — standard feature. The voice commands, however, are not standard. This improves the functionality of the GPS by quite the margin.

Traffic suggestions are another great feature that’s present on the Garmin Nuvi. While these aren’t the best version of the feature, they’re still quite useful. Traffic suggestions allow the user to avoid heavy traffic, accidents or take shortcuts that might’ve otherwise been ignored.

Voice commands are accessed by “waking up” the device. To do this, users must first select a phrase that the device would recognize, preferably something that doesn’t pop up in conversations.

After setting up the phrase, the device will enter voice command mode. The commands are limited to choosing the next intersection, finding near coffee shops and restaurants and more. These are limited to what’s displayed on the screen after the device is set to voice command mode.


The Garmin Nuvi comes with several accessories that are useful to have and are required for proper functionality. The bundle may include:

  • A case for protection and carrying
  • A cloth for cleaning the screen
  • A friction mount to stick on the windshield
  • A cable for the cigarette lighter

The quality of these accessories isn’t premium, but they’ll get the job done with no problem. More hardcore users might like to seek an upgrade, but most people should be fine with the basics.

The Garmin Nuvi is great for:

  • Travelling in or between cities
  • Eliminating the needs for a hands-free device
  • Setting easy way-points and destinations using the voice command mode
  • Avoiding heavy traffic (if possible)
  • Sharing traffic information with contacts


The Garmin Nuvi is a great value purchase, but how does it compare to other products that are in its price range? How does it manage when compared with the TomTom VIA? For starters, they’re very similar. They’re comparably priced and have the same basic features, but the difference comes in quality. Let’s start by discussing where they’re similar:

  • Both come with five-inch screens
  • Both use two types of views
  • Both have Bluetooth and Voice commands
  • Both have maps
  • Both have features useful for finding points of interest

It’s clear that they’re basically the same, but the quality of the TomTom VIA is a bit inferior. For instance, TomTom offers lifetime map support for users *as long as they update the software at least every 90 days. Failing to do so will disable the map updating service and maps will quickly become obsolete.

Furthermore, TomTom VIA is quite limited when it comes to storage. In fact, storage space is so limited that it doesn’t even have the capacity to store its own updated maps, and SD card expansion slot is not the greatest out there.


The Garmin Nuvi is a great GPS device for basically any driver. It’s both comfortable to use and very intuitive. The voice commands are actually a very nice touch, even though the voice recognition software doesn’t sometimes work as intended; most of the times, it’s going to work just fine. The display is plenty bright and the right size to be perfectly-readable, while not taking attention away from the road. Voice navigation is, again, useful, especially for longer trips.

All in all, it’s a good value purchase, packed with valuable and convenient features. The social sharing platform is great for finding venues in a new town. It’s also great for sharing personal experiences with contacts that might benefit from that information.