Pros: Reliable, solidly constructed, crisp clear screen, user friendly
Cons: Voice volume is too low, fast battery consumption in cold
I purchased the Garmin Nuvi 1450LMT for use while doing my job as a police officer. Prior to this, I had been using a much more low-tech Garmin 200W. I was immediately impressed with the 1450LMT when I took it out of the box.
The Garmin 1450LMT has an impressive 5 inch 480x272 resolution screen. In the days of 1080P high definition, this may seem like low resolution. Don't be fooled, the screen looks sharp.
While its 5" screen may seem a bit large, the units size is not overwhelming and could easily fit in your pocket if you need to take it out of your car. The size and light weight makes for easy suction cup mounting to the windshield, or Velcro mounting to another surface. Another immediately noticed benefit to this model is it does not have an external antenna to get in the way, everything is contained within the unit, less bulk and fewer wires is always a good thing!
Inside the box you receive the GPS unit, a car charger, windshield suction cup type mount, a plastic disc for dash mounting, and an instruction book, which is pretty worthless. The instruction book is more of a pamphlet, but lets face it, this GPS is so simple to operate a complete idiot could figure it out without a manual.
The suction cup mount for this unit works well as long as you are not constantly removing and then re-installing it. This will wear the rubber on the suction cup out and cause it to lose suction at very inconvenient times. I find the suction cup sticking to the windshield is more of a problem during cold weather (below 20 deg F). But before you go and mount it to the windshield, make sure to check your local laws and statutes to make sure it is allowed. In Colorado you are not allowed to place anything between you and the glass which could impair your vision through the glass (this includes hanging anything from your rearview mirror.)
There are some features that this GPS has that others do not offer. For example, this unit will speak to you, and tell you when to turn, and will tell you the streets, although its pronuciation of certain street names is not always correct. This unit will provide an "ecoRoute" which will calculate the most fuel efficient route for you to travel. Unfortunately the 1450LMT does not come with Bluetooth or MP3 capability.
A very helpful feature is the unit will provide real time traffic updates. This can help alert you to road construction, traffic congestion and accidents ahead. It will suggest altering your route to avoid these headaches.
The voice sound quality on the 1450LMT is acceptable, but could be better. There are times when even at full volume it is difficult to hear and understand the commands when driving at highway speeds. If your car is quiet it may not be an issue, if you are driving a diesel, good luck. This unit comes with several different voices and different languages to suit your needs. You can even change your vehicle icon if you choose.
This unit navigates easily to address which are entered in by typing on a keyboard which appears on your touch screen. If you miss a turn, it will automatically recalculate your route, which can be set by shortest distance, or fastest driving time. In my experience with the addressing feature on residential streets is usually about 95% accurate and will end up with you directly in front of the address you are trying to go to. If you are trying to find addresses off a major highway I am often finding that this can end you with being up to 2 miles away from the actual address. Generally it seems that addresses on these roads are based off of mile markers, and the GPS unit seems to have trouble understanding these.
If you are in an unfamiliar area, and are looking for a restaurant, gas station, hospital, whatever really you should need, this unit comes with a feature called Points of Interest. Just type in what you want, whether it’s a business name (Wal Mart) or something you’d like to eat (Pizza) and it will show you your closest options, and their phone numbers. This unit comes already loaded with 6 million of these Points of Interest.
The Garmin 1450LMT comes with a feature allowing you to “Lock” your GPS. It will require a PIN number (which you get to choose) upon turning it on in order to use your GPS. If you forget your PIN number, just go to the location where you initially set your PIN number, and you can unlock your 1450LMT and reset the PIN at that time. Garmin calls this an "anti-theft" feature, but really, do you think the thief is going to power up the unit and check for a PIN lock prior to stealing it? In my opinion the feature is useless.
I have left my GPS unit in my car since getting it this past summer. It has endured high temperatures, and sub zero Colorado nights, and functions flawlessly. The screen is a little slow to respond during extreme cold until it warms up for about 10 minutes, but this has been my experience with all LCD devices. I have noticed that when this unit is cold it uses up battery power extremely fast (about 2 hours of life) compared to normal operation (about 6 hours of life.)
Another problem I have found is that while driving, this unit automatically changes the zoom that you are viewing. If you are on a residential street you will be zoomed in fairly close, if you are on a highway, it will be zoomed out to the point you can see for several miles in each direction. Some people may like this, but I would prefer it stay at the level of zoom I set it at. I was unable to find a way to customize this, and contacted Garmin. It turns out this is another setting you can not change on any of their models.
Overall I am very satisfied with this unit, it seems to have great features for the low price. This unit has a strong construction, and meets the needs of this officer when finding obscure addresses in a jurisdiction covering 750 square miles and serving 300,000 people, in the more rural areas many of the roads are houses are not marked, and this GPS still gets me to their driveway.
I will caution people against paying too much attention to these while driving. Anything that distracts your complete attention away from you while driving is not safe. I can not even begin to give you an idea of the number of drivers I have pulled over for speeding, weaving, running red lights, or stop signs, and often the driver tells me they were watching their GPS for directions, or trying to put an address in. If you must do this, please pull over first, it will keep you, and other families on the road safe.