Garmin was a little later than TomTom to add live interactive mobile data services to its sat-navs, and hasn't had the same success with the concept either. The Garmin nuvi 3590 LMT is the latest in the line, following on from the
Garmin nuvi 1690 and Garmin nuLink 2320, both of which have built-in mobile data connections. However, the Garmin nuvi 3590 LMT takes a slightly different tack to previous models, piggybacking off your smartphone, which saves Garmin having to pay for the mobile data connection, but brings some useful extra features.
Even without the live services, this is an extremely fully featured sat-nav. The Gamin nuvi 3590 LMT sports a 5-inch screen and a classy body, with a solid build and an attractive chrome bezel with Garmin-branded spur. It's not as slim as the amazingly skinny Garmin nuvi 3790 T, but this is still a very attractive device. The mount is designed for ease of use. The car power adapter plugs into the mount, so you can slot the sat-nav in to connect power as well. RDS-TMC traffic reception is built into the power cable, although you have to route the antenna around your car's windscreen for the best reception, using the supplied attachments. There's a speaker in the mount to improve audio quality, too. But many more features can be added via the Smartphone Link.
To use the Smartphone Link features of the Garmin nuvi 3590 LMT, you need to install an app on your smartphone, and this brings us to the first bit of bad news - the app is Android only. So all of those looking to escape the woes of the iOS 6 incorporated Apple Maps with a standalone Garmin sat-nav will only be able to use the base unit's features. Android users will gain a slew of new capabilities, however.
Once the app and sat-nav are paired via Bluetooth, you can subscribe to a range of Live Services. These include Garmin's 3D Live Traffic, the company's competitor to TomTom's HD Traffic, for £19.99. You can get an Advanced weather service, Dynamic Parking, Fuel Prices, Safety Cameras and photoLive for £8.45 each. PhotoLive is Garmin's unique service whereby you can see the view from roadside traffic cameras, and decide for yourself how bad the jam really is. All of these services are served to the Garmin nuvi 3590 LMT rather than your phone - the latter just acts as a tethered data conduit.
Even if you don't subscribe to any of the Live Services, the Smartphone Link is well worth getting. With the two devices paired, you can use your phone to tell the sat-nav to calculate a route to a saved favourite or recent destination, and find parking near your current location. It's a little annoying that you can't use the phone connection to search addresses and set up new destinations, other than finding parking and ones already saved on the sat-nav itself. But these are still useful features, particularly so someone else in the car can configure things for you whilst you concentrate on driving. You can also share destinations via a host of services, including email, Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. The Smartphone Link isn't limited to the Garmin nuvi 3590 LMT, either - a selection of other Bluetooth-equipped Garmin models support the service as well.