Garmin has unveiled its 2012 in-car portable GPS navigator line, simplifying its model tier structure, offering significant free map and traffic updates, and expanding its ultra-thin (9mm) models. The new models are to become available beginning in October, 2011.
The new tiers include Essential, Advanced, and Prestige models. See the table below for the breakout. Essentials include the crucial text-to-speech feature, and promise to be simple-to-use and economical.
The Advanced series, including the 2405 and 2505 models initially, uses Garmin's new Guidance 2.0, described by Garmin as "a new navigation engine with a faster, more intuitive user interface... faster routing and map displays... ability to see and select businesses on the map..." Some models in the advanced series will include voice-activated, hands-free operation.
Guidance 2.0 also includes PhotoReal junction view (see photo) which realistically displays road signs and junctions on the route in split screen mode. Junction view includes 60,000 views in the U.S. and Canada, some 25 times more than in previous Nuvi models, states Garmin.
Enhanced traffic detection and avoidance, which Garmin is calling "3D Traffic" is also part of Guidance 2.0. 3D Traffic uses "multidimensional feed of real-time traffic data from quality sources, including other Garmin Nuvi owners, cellphone users, radio feeds, news stations, historical data..." Garmin states.
The Prestige series uses the super-slim (9mm) form of the 3790 model I reviewed earlier this year. The 2012 Prestige series features a pinch-to-zoom touchscreen, and works in portrait or landscape mode. The Prestige models (3450, 3490) feature Guidance 3.0, which has all of the features of Guidance 2.0, plus "MyTrends" which enables the Nuvi to "remember favorite route destinations and predict the destination without the user needing to activate the route," states Garmin. I've enjoyed using the slim-screen 3790 model, and I'm pleased to see Garmin expand on this cutting-edge technology for 2012.
Garmin has launched a site announcing the 2012 line that is well worth a visit if you are interested in these models.
Overall, I like Garmin's move to simplify its offerings, and the company has made a vital competitive move to offer more free map updates and traffic detection and avoidance services.
Garmin's 2012 In-car Portable GPS Line
|Model||Screen Size||Lifetime Map Updates||Guidance Type||Split-Screen Jctn. View||Other|
|Nuvi 30/40/50||3.5", 4.3", 5.0"||Yes||Standard||No||Spoken Street Names|
|Nuvi 2405, 2505||4.3", 5.0"||Yes||Guidance 2.0||Yes||Voice Activation Option|
|Nuvi 3400 Series||4.3"||Yes||Guidance 3.0||Yes||Ultra-Thin (9mm)|