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First Look: Top-of-the-line Garmin boasts sharp performance, design

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First Look: Top-of-the-line Garmin boasts sharp performance, design

4:19 /

Garmin's new flagship navigator, the Nuvi 3597 LMTHD, is not only easy on the eyes, it's also easy to use with a snappy interface and great voice command.

-It's got a sharp 5-inch screen to go along with the design that's also so sharp. You might cut yourself on it. I'm Antuan Goodwin and this is the Flagship Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD. It's a top-of-the-line model in their lineup and this is your first look. But first, let's take a look at how you're going to connect it to your car. I've got the cradle right here and it's actually kind of cool. That's your regular suction cup mount here for connecting to glass, but instead of clips, it's got a magnetic ring right here that circles some data and power connections right here that are going to pull traffic data from the power cable that integrates an HD radio receiver. That's gonna get you a lifetime of free traffic and infinite data. Simply take your Garmin Nuvi and flop it on and it brings to life almost instantaneously. That's because this thing actually never goes to complete power off mode unless you hold the power button down. Usually, it's just in a suspended mode, ready to go. One of the first things that you'll notice is it's got this big 5-inch capacitive touchscreen with a glass display. It's 800x480 pixels which isn't super sharp by smartphone standards, but it's way sharper than most standalone GPS devices that I've ever tested. Being capacitive, you've got the ability to swipe and pinch to zoom just like you would on the smartphone and it's super responsive. I've also found that the traffic data that's supplied by the HD radio receiver is also pretty accurate. I went searching after some of the traffic jams that it reported, and much to my disappointment, they actually were there. Fortunately, the Nuvi's algorithms will route you around that traffic. When you start getting close, it will pop up something on the display and say, "Hey, would you like me to reroute?" I like that. One of the other things that I really like about this is Garmin's move to a search-based destination input system. So, you've still got your standard sort of POI searches and the ability to enter an address, but at the top of the screen, you'll see that there's now a search box. You can put anything in this box, either an address or the name of a business or a category of destination, and when you hit search, the Nuvi will figure out what you like. I really like that you don't have to go punching down into separate menus. It's very smartphone Googlely way of looking at things. That's very cool. But then you also don't even actually have to touch the screen to input destinations and to control your Nuvi. Got a really good voice command system that is truly handsfree. The tiny microphone right here is always listening for a spoken command. In this case, it's voice command and you simply say that and the Nuvi will spring to life and be ready to listen to your responses. It's actually pretty good at not picking up the words in the flow of a conversation. You kind of have to specifically speak them. So, if I just say voice command in a sentence, it won't come to life, but if I stop and go, "voice command," then it springs to life. -Say your command. -Now, on the screen, you've got visual prompts right here that lets you know the sort of things that you can say to the Nuvi. One of the things that I really like is that you can input an address in one fell swoop without having to stop for separate prompts for street name, for the number and city and all of that. Find address. -Speak an address in United States. -235 2nd Street, San Francisco, California. And it's gonna simulate the route because we're indoors, but we're just like that, you're on your route. I also like that you can speak business names to it and it'll figure those out as well. Find place. -Speak the name of a place. -Five Guys Burgers and Fries. It takes it a second, but it actually did figure out that very complicated name and it showed me exactly what I'm looking for and I can either tap this and start going or I can continue through the voice command system. It's also got some cool features such as bluetooth handsfree calling and when you're paired with a smartphone, you can install an app that gives you some interesting connectivity features, but to find out more about those, you wanna check out our full review over on CNET.com. Until then, I've been Antuan Goodwin and this has been your first look at the Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD.

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