Garmin Nuvi 2599LMT-D review

Another sub-£200 sat nav to add to your "will I/won't I?" buying list…

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Our Verdict

A very solid sat nav that's particularly useful if you need lots of cannily curated Points of Interest

For

  • App support
  • Takes mobile calls
  • Decent and free traffic alerts

Against

  • Patchy voice recognition
  • Expensive extras
  • We prefer the look and feel of TomTom's maps

Slotting into Garmin UK's some would say baffling, 34-strong range of automotive satnavs, the Garmin Nuvi 2599LMT-D (that name just trips off the tongue, doesn't it?) sits just above the middle of the price range, packing Bluetooth, voice recognition and traffic aids. But it hasn't been tickled by the pretty stick and is slightly lower spec than their £300 range-topper. It's pretty similar to the Garmin Nuvi 2699 I pootled around with late last year, though.

Features

Penetrate your cigarette lighter and the Garmin Nuvi 2599LMT-D's 5.0-inch, pinch-to-zoom capacitive touchscreen is clear, bright and punchy. You can orient it horizontally, or vertically if you're odd, and it syncs to Garmin's pretty well-thought-out Smart Link app. This app adds contacts support and Foursquare's infinite point of interest resource, which plucks extra info about any venue from the cloud, with their audited list of the best and brightest pushed to the top. There's also voice recognition. Of sorts.

"Real directions" are pushed hard by the marketing bumpf, that for instance your computerised chum will tell you to turn "left after the petrol station", rather than squinting at the name of the street you've just passed. While lane guidance ferries you into the right lane for junctions and motorway exits.

Digital Traffic is Garmin's middle road between the expensive, updated every two minutes, blue riband, "Live" traffic support, and this system, which is DAB-powered, free, and pops up in a column on the right of the screen, communicating how far away on your route the snarl up is, and how long you'll be chewing on your steering wheel. There's also a handy car park pin drop, so you can return directly to your Lamborghini when you've lost it in Tesco's.

It's a solid feature set, in short.

Map view

Performance

It's strange that the first thing you're prompted to do after waving away the legalese is use the voice recognition software, because all you'll do is fight with it. Finding points of interest is an arbitrary game with "Ikea" eventually recognised, but "car wash" unavailable. And inexplicably, you can't voice-search an address via post code – the most specific and idiot-proof way of finding an address. And if a street is replicated, like in London, you get a choice of [1] 26 High Street, London, London. [2] 26 High Street, London, London. [3] 26 High Street, London, London. [4] etc. With the post codes – the only way to figure out which is your street – redacted. Madness.

Bluetooth telephone link is also effective and handy, although voice dialling is not offered. And even Fords offer voice dialling these days.
It's far easier just to link your phone to the device via Bluetooth and then fire addresses straight from your contacts book to spark a journey. This is straightforward, easy and smart.

This is routed through Garmin's strangely unlikable, arbitrarily not-as-nice-as-TomTom's map design. Strangely 2D and a bit "crayoned", it's the child's picture book of satnav maps, but unashamedly clear and idiot proof. And the actual, spoken navigation quickly becomes invisible. In the best way possible: if it's jarring and hurts your ears like an Alan Carr audio book, it's not doing its job.

Verdict

The best thing that the Nüvi 2599 has going for it is its price. At £180 it's the very definition of mid-tier system and the app support, Bluetooth phone link and traffic alerts are all likeable and go a good way to justify a punt.

We like

It's a well-specced and trustworthy thing, while the social integration makes this your pal if you're a tourist or just someone who like discovering cool new places.

We dislike

If you're buying this for its voice recognition, you're going to be disappointed.

Verdict

With TomTom practically giving their full-featured Android app away these days, it really feels like the days of standalone sat nav are numbered. However, they keep churning them out, and the amount of traffic our Best Sat Nav list gets suggests you're still buying them.

There's no hugely compelling reason to buy this, but then again there's nothing bad about it either. So, once again I must use that word: solid.

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