How to Compare Garmin Nuvi Series

By Mark Applegate

A nuvi beats a map any day of the week.
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Garmin Ltd. was founded in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Dr. Min Kao and has since produced over 100 million products. The Garmin nuvi GPS line offers a diverse array of products for a variety of applications ranging from the casual driver to a professional. This product line includes models priced below $100 to more fully featured models priced a few hundred dollars higher. There are several key characteristics that distinguish the groups of nuvi models.

Essential Tier

The nuvi Essential tier includes the 30/40/50 series. While these models are the entry-level units of the nuvi line, they have desirable features for many users. Screen size is one factor differentiating the members of this series with the 30 series using a 3.5-inch screen, the 40 series offering a 4.3-inch screen and the 50 series boasting a large 5-inch display. This line includes basic navigation, 3-D maps, text-to-speech and speed limit displays. Models from the 40 or 50 series include free lifetime map updates with approximately six million points of interest.

Advanced Tier

The Advanced tier of nuvi GPS models feature the 2400 and 2500 series, using 4.3- and 5-inch screens respectively. This tier includes all of the primary features of the Essential tier but adds SafeText, which reads texts to you from a Bluetooth-enabled phone. These series include the subscription-free Garmin Guidance 2.0 system that provides enhanced driving tools for avoiding delays. These models also add the "split-screen photoReal junction view" feature, a Garmin exclusive that offers a photographic look at over 60,000 road junctions to help you avoid missing that important turn. This series offers an improved 8 million points of interest. Models within this line, such as the 2495LMT, offer helpful features such as the "Where Am I?" emergency locator that helps you find emergency assistance, gas stations and the nearest intersection using your coordinates quickly.

Prestige Tier

The Prestige tier features the 3400 and 3500 series using 4.3- and 5-inch multi-touch screens as well. These top-of-the-line models include the Guidance 3.0 system offering added features such as traffic updates. The 3500 series includes free lifetime map updates. In addition, this series includes a simplified voice-operation system for finding points of interests and addresses. The 3590LMT, for example, includes eco-Route for finding the most fuel-efficient route and other features to shorten your driving time based on traffic patterns and your own driving patterns.

Other Considerations

Smartphone links are available on many of the top two tiers allowing you to connect to your phone to share trip data, utilize Google apps to find local points of interest and integrate music and pictures. Micro-SD card storage to add maps and store information is available on nearly all nuvi models. Lane assistance is also available on nearly all nuvi models, but only more advanced models include enhanced views of junctions. All include USB connectivity and a lithium battery.