Telephone Calls Through Your Garmin GPS

 

I have had a Garmin Nuvi 360, that I bought used, that has the ability to make Bluetooth connected telephone calls. I have never even tried that feature. A big part of that is because a friend of mine is a big Bluetooth advocate and his calls generally sounded awful through Bluetooth.

Now, with my recently acquired Garmin Nuvi 3597, I have another device that I can make calls through. Anyway, I am wondering who here uses it and how well it works out for you. How is the audio quality? Is the recovered audio more a function of the phones Bluetooth quality, the Garmin GPS Bluetooth quality, or a combination of both?

Bluetooth

Jim,

Sadly I can't answer any of your questions since I get so few calls on my cell and never think to call anyone when driving.

I will offer this: assuming your cell phone is a smartphone, you may want to install the Garmin Smartphone link app to the phone, then gain the ability to see basic weather on the GPS. Even better, a one-time $5 charge will enable advanced weather and another $5 the photoLive feature and I think they're both worth the small fee. You can also add for $20 liveTraffic but that may be a more doubtful feature given its cost and since you already have HD traffic supplied by your 3597. Also for me, the nearest location that offers traffic data is over 100 miles away. From what I've seen, Smartphone link uses very little data from your cell. I think a read somewhere that the average Garmin Smartphone Link user will use about 20MB per month when active and linked to the GPS.

I will say that when I enabled Bluetooth for the Smartphone link app, I also enabled the phone feature. Even if I never use the GPS phone option, it's sorta nice seeing on the GPS who may be calling me rather than having to pull out the phone while I'm driving.

Like you, I now await hearing from someone who uses the phone feature of the 3597 to see what they think about its audio, etc.

Update: Whoops, I see from another thread that you're well-aware of the Smartphone link app. Oh well, maybe someone else will read this thread and benefit from my remarks... redface

BLUETOOTH

I have a 3590LMT and have used the Bluetooth several times, but don't anymore. I feel that the volume is not loud enough for me.

--
3790LMT; 2595LMT; 3590LMT, 60LMTHD

i'll disagree on some points

CraigW wrote:

Jim,

Sadly I can't answer any of your questions since I get so few calls on my cell and never think to call anyone when driving.

I will offer this: assuming your cell phone is a smartphone, you may want to install the Garmin Smartphone link app to the phone, then gain the ability to see basic weather on the GPS. Even better, a one-time $5 charge will enable advanced weather and another $5 the photoLive feature and I think they're both worth the small fee. You can also add for $20 liveTraffic but that may be a more doubtful feature given its cost and since you already have HD traffic supplied by your 3597. Also for me, the nearest location that offers traffic data is over 100 miles away. From what I've seen, Smartphone link uses very little data from your cell. I think a read somewhere that the average Garmin Smartphone Link user will use about 20MB per month when active and linked to the GPS.

I will say that when I enabled Bluetooth for the Smartphone link app, I also enabled the phone feature. Even if I never use the GPS phone option, it's sorta nice seeing on the GPS who may be calling me rather than having to pull out the phone while I'm driving.

Like you, I now await hearing from someone who uses the phone feature of the 3597 to see what they think about its audio, etc.

Update: Whoops, I see from another thread that you're well-aware of the Smartphone link app. Oh well, maybe someone else will read this thread and benefit from my remarks... redface

I'll disagree with Craig here on a couple of points. The Live Traffic is a worthwhile addition as it covers any area where you have cell phone coverage, not just the areas where HD traffic is available.

Phone calls through the unit are usually very poor. You can set the unit so it has a data connection only by going into Apps and setting Phone to data only. This lets you make and receive calls through your vehicle's system or an attached headset which typically are much better.

I'm on the fence about live weather, I've never used it but I may spring for it as I do have some road trips planned.

--
Illiterate? Write for free help.

More thoughts

Box Car wrote:

The Live Traffic is a worthwhile addition as it covers any area where you have cell phone coverage, not just the areas where HD traffic is available.

Phone calls through the unit are usually very poor.

My thoughts may be affected by where I live. I see our DorkusNimrod on another forum states that LiveTraffic is better compared to HD traffic in Southern California. Sadly, I haven't been there since 1974 even though I'm not that far away.

I did a search for LiveTraffic Coverage and found the Garmin faq stating:

Live Traffic (formerly known as 3D Live Traffic)
◦Used with our nuLink! and LIVE devices
◦Also available as a premium Smartphone Link subscription on your mobile phone
◦Only available within designated coverage areas
◦Traffic data refreshes every 2 minutes and receives more than 1,000 messages every update cycle
◦Provides the same type of information you see with Garmin Traffic

When I clicked the link for LiveTraffic coverage, I was taken here:

http://www8.garmin.com/automotive/nulink_traffic_coverage.ht...

Searching for coverage in Arizona but not Greater Tucson and not Greater Phoenix, I see that both HD traffic and LiveTraffic offer no coverage in all of geographic AZ outside of the two cities.

Doing the same search for Colorado shows HD coverage for Greater Denver while LiveTraffic has Greater Denver and adds one city: Colorado Springs. So if I lived in or frequently drive through Colorado Springs, the $20 LiveTraffic would be a good upgrade from HD. Is this a typical result in other states? I checked New Mexico: 0 areas have HD coverage; Albuquerque does appear with Livetraffic. It seems that before springing the $20 for LiveTraffic, you really need to look at the LiveTraffic coverage areas.

Can anyone who has HD traffic and converted to LiveTraffic report here some areas that gain coverage by going with LiveTraffic? Is it possible that the lists of coverage areas for HD and Live traffic are not complete and are actually more extensive than indicated in Garmin faqs? I'd like to know the areas. I could be convinced to spend the $20 but only if it helps me. I've concluded that having a cell phone signal for the app to work is not sufficient at this time for LiveTraffic to offer much help to me.

Thanks for the tip on cell phone Bluetooth results. Good to know.

Finally, a correction on what I said earlier about the app using 20MB/month. A Garmin faq states that their Smartphone app will use up to 20MB/mo. for heavy users but that 2MB/mo. is more typical.

Oh boy, we have certainly highjacked this thread. redface

Marginal at Best

I’ve used my 3597 paired with my iPhone 5 in several vehicles. The results are only fair. The audio quality is acceptable but the volume, even set at 100%, is barely audible depending on the ambient noise level in the vehicle. When stopped at a light or in a parked vehicle, the performance is workable.

When possible, I prefer to pair the phone directly with a Bluetooth equipped vehicle for making or receiving calls.

As Box Car stated, If you use Smartphone Link, and want to disable just the phone, you can select Apps> Smartphone Link> Your Phone and uncheck the “Hands Free Calling” box. All Smartphone Link broadband services, Live Traffic, Advanced Weather, etc. will still operate normally.

Adding to the Hijack

CraigW wrote:
Box Car wrote:

The Live Traffic is a worthwhile addition as it covers any area where you have cell phone coverage, not just the areas where HD traffic is available.

Phone calls through the unit are usually very poor.

My thoughts may be affected by where I live. I see our DorkusNimrod on another forum states that LiveTraffic is better compared to HD traffic in Southern California. Sadly, I haven't been there since 1974 even though I'm not that far away.

I did a search for LiveTraffic Coverage and found the Garmin faq stating:

Live Traffic (formerly known as 3D Live Traffic)
◦Used with our nuLink! and LIVE devices
◦Also available as a premium Smartphone Link subscription on your mobile phone
◦Only available within designated coverage areas
◦Traffic data refreshes every 2 minutes and receives more than 1,000 messages every update cycle
◦Provides the same type of information you see with Garmin Traffic

When I clicked the link for LiveTraffic coverage, I was taken here:

http://www8.garmin.com/automotive/nulink_traffic_coverage.ht...

Searching for coverage in Arizona but not Greater Tucson and not Greater Phoenix, I see that both HD traffic and LiveTraffic offer no coverage in all of geographic AZ outside of the two cities.

Doing the same search for Colorado shows HD coverage for Greater Denver while LiveTraffic has Greater Denver and adds one city: Colorado Springs. So if I lived in or frequently drive through Colorado Springs, the $20 LiveTraffic would be a good upgrade from HD. Is this a typical result in other states? I checked New Mexico: 0 areas have HD coverage; Albuquerque does appear with Livetraffic. It seems that before springing the $20 for LiveTraffic, you really need to look at the LiveTraffic coverage areas.

Can anyone who has HD traffic and converted to LiveTraffic report here some areas that gain coverage by going with LiveTraffic? Is it possible that the lists of coverage areas for HD and Live traffic are not complete and are actually more extensive than indicated in Garmin faqs? I'd like to know the areas. I could be convinced to spend the $20 but only if it helps me. I've concluded that having a cell phone signal for the app to work is not sufficient at this time for LiveTraffic to offer much help to me.

Thanks for the tip on cell phone Bluetooth results. Good to know.

Finally, a correction on what I said earlier about the app using 20MB/month. A Garmin faq states that their Smartphone app will use up to 20MB/mo. for heavy users but that 2MB/mo. is more typical.

Oh boy, we have certainly highjacked this thread. redface

Craig:
I switched from HD traffic to Live traffic back in May. The difference is like night and day in eastern PA, southern NY, NJ and Maryland. With HD traffic, I had coverage about 30% of the time and only near major cities. With Live traffic it's above 90%.

Keep in mind, coverage is a factor of the 3G / 4G service area of your cellular provider and will vary with your plan. I currently use Verizon which arguably has the best coverage in these areas.

A 16 month old link in another forum has more information:
http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/28218/garmin-traffic-...

Thanks. Yet another correction

bdhsfz6 wrote:

A 16 month old link in another forum has more information:
http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/28218/garmin-traffic-...

Thanks. That's the "other forum" that I mentioned where I said our DorkusNimrod liked the LiveTraffic. Rereading the link and his posts there, I see that I'm completely wrong. Our Dorkus only uses the Garmin-supplied HD or other traffic, not the Smartphone app traffic.

More soon—I've wanted to do this for a while and this was the kick in the butt for me. I'm working now on a new thread that will try to identify specific differences in coverage between the HD and LiveTraffic options. Yikes, it's not as easy as I expected...keep tuned into The Factory for more.

Traffic coverage.

There is not much for traffic coverage in Iowa for any of the services ... the Live service only has coverage in Council Bluffs (Omaha area). HD and RDS have coverage for Council Bluffs and Des Moines.

That's why I keep my GTM-60 with its bulky cable in the glove box and use a generic charger and easy to manage thin USB cable with my 3597.

--
Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 51LMT-S, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

Interesting

alandb wrote:

There is not much for traffic coverage in Iowa for any of the services ... the Live service only has coverage in Council Bluffs (Omaha area). HD and RDS have coverage for Council Bluffs and Des Moines.

That's why I keep my GTM-60 with its bulky cable in the glove box and use a generic charger and easy to manage thin USB cable with my 3597.

Interesting. The new thread:

http://www.poi-factory.com/node/43977

suggests Iowa liveTraffic coverage will only be around Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA, and HD traffic offers Des Moines and Council Bluffs. I'm glad/sad to see the Garmin coverage areas confirmed in your area. It does confirm that even with much more US coverage with liveTraffic, in some locations HD traffic offers more; e.g., Des Moines. Maybe you and I should move to the East Coast or California—NOT!

I guess I understand now why the latest 3597 firmware charger issue annoyed you razz

Telephone Calls Through Your Garmin GPS

Bdhsfz6 wrote:

.....The results are only fair. The audio quality is acceptable but the volume, even set at 100%, is barely audible depending on the ambient noise level in the vehicle. When stopped at a light or in a parked vehicle, the performance is workable.....

I tried this last night and I have to agree with Bdhsfz6, the quality is acceptable, but certainly not spectacular. Sadly, I sort of reinforces my opinion of audio through Bluetooth, it doesn't sound great to me. My wife has an earpiece and she sounds pretty good through that, but most of the other ones are marginal, at best.

I always disable the phone

I always disable the phone call part when I use the phone with the GPS. My Surround sound stereo radio does a much better job of providing hands free calling.

--
Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

660 and bluetooth

My car has bluetooth, and one time I tried the 660.
It worked, but, the Ford Escape had speech recognition, (Ha Ha There's an altogether list of threads of it's own!)
It worked, but the Ford had greater volume level control.... so I stayed with that....

The 660 is pretty much tired out,loading Map from SD card, and many POI's...
But it did work..

--
A 2689LMT in both our cars that we love... and a Nuvi 660 with Lifetime Maps that we have had literally forever.... And a 2011 Ford Escape with Nav System that is totally ignored!

Power Hog

Has any else found that the Garmin Smartphone link uses lots of power when running. I have an Iphone4 and I installed the app when I got my Nuvi 2797. The app works OK but seems to be running constantly in the background with the result that overnight my battery goes from 100% to 60%. Without the app installed I only get a 2% drop. Other than uninstalling and then reinstalling the app when I need it I cant find a way to avoid the power loss.

--
Nuvi2797LMT (2) Nuvi260,Ford Sync3 Navigation. Captain Cook was a Yorkshire man too.

I haven't noticed it, but

I haven't noticed it, but when you aren't connected to the GPS, double tap the home button and swipe up on Smartlink to kill it when not in use.

--
Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

Poor Audio

My bluetooth phone connection via the Nuvi is poor. The speakers need to point towards the user on the front of the device, or they need to allow you to turn the volume up higher than the current max volume setting. It is really hard to hear if it is mounted on your dashboard and the windshield glass is more than an inch away from the device. Even when it is mounted on the glass itself, it is hard to hear.

Bluetooth not as good as car

I also have the 3579. I find its phone audio to be so/so depending on how the sound level in the car. My car's bluetooth phone audio is much better (not surprising). I do use the live traffic and weather through the Garmin smartphone app. I have found both the be useful. It is easier to pull up the radar on the GPS then it is to get into my phone weather app if I am trying to find out were the thunderstorms are going.

Henry

The bluetooth for making calls on my 3790LMT works very well

Calls using Bluetooth with my 3790LMT are very clear, I think that has a lot to do with the cradle mount having a built in larger speaker that automatically is operational when the 3790 snaps into the cradle mount.

I use my Garmin mainly when traveling for receiving and making calls and I must say it is far clearer than I ever had hoped it would be. I mainly use my built in factory nav system that integrates with my heads up windshield display for navigation but use the Garmin as a supplement to warn of speed and red light cameras and for hands free phone use.

--
GM Built-in Navigation system - Samsung S6 Edge+ Smartphone with Garmin Viago, Google Maps & HERE Apps

Try This

bpaine wrote:

Has any else found that the Garmin Smartphone link uses lots of power when running. I have an Iphone4 and I installed the app when I got my Nuvi 2797. The app works OK but seems to be running constantly in the background with the result that overnight my battery goes from 100% to 60%. Without the app installed I only get a 2% drop. Other than uninstalling and then reinstalling the app when I need it I cant find a way to avoid the power loss.

Any app that uses the gps locator on your phone will use power, even when not in use, including Smartphone Link.

I'm not sure about the iPhone 4 but on the iPhone 5 running iOS 8.1.2, you can go to "settings", scroll down to "Smart Link" and change "Location" from "always" to "never" when not in use. In my case, that reduces the power consumption considerably.

On the iPhone 5, you can see the power consumption percentage if you go to "settings", "general", "usage", "battery usage", "last 7 days" and scroll down to "Smart Link"

In my case, Smartphone Link uses 27% of the total power consumed by the phone over the last 7 days.

I tried the bluetooth on the 3597

compared to the Jabra Cruiser 2, which I have been using since 2013, it is marginal at best...the 3597 is easy enough to use but the sound quality for phone calls is inferior to the Jabra...which is sort of odd as the general sound quality for GPS is pretty good...I still believe that dedicated devices are a better way to go than an all-in-one...JM2CYMMV

--
"You can't get there from here"

for incoming calls only

I have it paired with my 2460 and as others have stated the sound quality when the car is going 70+ is kind of noisy, good for taking a quick call.

--
Garmin 38 - Magellan Gold - Garmin Yellow eTrex - Nuvi 260 - Nuvi 2460LMT - Google Nexus 7 - Toyota Entune NAV

I find the Bluetooth quality

I find the Bluetooth quality acceptable. I'm not a high user so it's only used 1-3 times a week if even that.

I do find that often the BT loses connection from a previous drive and I have to reboot the Garmin. Then, it works but I see that I can't access the phone book. I may have to check the phone settings to enable sharing?

Not on Iphone 4

Thanks for the tips but unfortunately the Iphone 4 does not have any of those options in the Settings section.
To be fair to the app, it does warn you when you install it that it can seriously reduce your battery charge life, but it would be nice to be able to toggle it off when not in use.
Im due for a phone upgrade soon so I should be able to use these work arounds then.

--
Nuvi2797LMT (2) Nuvi260,Ford Sync3 Navigation. Captain Cook was a Yorkshire man too.

Calls on 3597

Tried using Bluetooth on 3597, caller hears audio echo on their end. Probably from proximity of GPS speaker and mic.

nuvi 3597 bluetooth phone

With any new gadget I get, I try out the whistles and bells. The bluetooth feature paired easily with my phone, but the experience was on par with most all other handsfree phone devices I've tried. My sentiments may echo (no pun intended) many of the others here. The speakerphone aspect of the connection introduces enough background noise especially if the car is in motion that makes it hard for the other person to understand you. I felt the volume on my end was adequate. After a couple of test calls, I disabled that function.

The only bluetooth hands free device I personally found to work well is a headset that many truckstops carry. It has a boom mic that places it close to your mouth and a 2nd mic on the headset that is used to cancel ambient noise. I found it to be excellent although many might not like it as a fashion accessory.

--
"There's no substitute for local knowledge" nüvi 750, nüvi 3597

So far so good

I have been using my Nuvi 2797 for about a week and trying out the phone system. My Iphone 4 paired with no problem. I made the first few calls by manually touching the screen for the various steps and was quite pleased with the sound reproduction. I have the sound setting on the unit at "Automatic" which according to the owners manual adjusts the sound level based on the background noise in the vehicle.
I guess to truly make a hands free call I will have to use the voice command app but that will have to wait untill the weather warms up.

--
Nuvi2797LMT (2) Nuvi260,Ford Sync3 Navigation. Captain Cook was a Yorkshire man too.

Have Used

Have used it in the past but only for incoming. Call quality was always adequate. Don't use it anymore because I have a nav system with bluetooth.

--
Bob: My toys: Nüvi 1390T, Droid X2, Nook Color (rooted), Motorola Xoom, Kindle 2, a Yo-Yo and a Slinky. Gotta have toys.

Used the cell phone feature

Used the cell phone feature on mine a few times - speaker not all that good - but usable.

--
Garmin Drive Smart 61 NA LMT-S

Works fine on the 760, and

Works fine on the 760, and better at pairing than some dedicated hands free units. Though based on some of what I've read the 760 had a better level of quality than many of the more recent units.

Zumo 590 LM

On the Zumo 590LM Bluetooth drives all the GPS instructions, music media and passenger and bike-to-bike communications to the helmet headset and handles phone calls. There really is no comparison between motorcycle Zumo GPS units and the Nuvi. On the motorcycle, we have stereo A2DT protocol and can hook up to multiple devices.

I've tried using my Nuvi

I've tried using my Nuvi 2598 as a hand free speaker phone while pared to a Droid Mini and the results have been less then stellar. I have turned off the car radio off/muted and have the fan turned off while making calls to try and eliminate extraneous background noise. Car windows are also rolled up. The person on the other end has trouble hearing me unless I shout very loudly in the car. Have the Nuvi placed on the center (right to left) of the dash on a Garmin Portable Friction Mount. The volume on the Nuvi is set to 60%.

Don't know if its just normal that the speaker calls are poor, if its this particular Nuvi 2598, or if there is something I'm doing wrong. But either way making or receiving calls through the nuvi via speaker is close to useless in my car (Corolla).

yep

gpsaccount wrote:

Works fine on the 760, and better at pairing than some dedicated hands free units. Though based on some of what I've read the 760 had a better level of quality than many of the more recent units.

About the time Garmin changed to the series ending in 5 Garmin went from the Parrot chip set to another and there were a lot of complaints posted here,

--
Illiterate? Write for free help.

nuvi2460 Bluetooth: Not all versions of BT will sync.

I have had my 2460 for a couple of years now. Not all Bluetooth phones will sync to it. My Samsung worked fine (BT V1.0), but a newer LG (BT V2.0) would not. I have not tried since the last firmware update, but I doubt it made any difference. I don't use it that much anyway.

.

How odd. My 3790 from 2011 will connect with my Nexus 5 (BT 4.0) with no problem at all.

--
nüvi 3790T | nüvi 775T | Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable ~ JFK

I have a 760

I have a 760 and it was is terrible.
I bought a separate blue unit on ebay really cheap and I am told I sound clear as day on it.
the 760 is just my back up gps now anyways.
but you might as well try if it sucks just remove it again.

2797

works great on my 2797

Sound quality

I use the feature on my 760 for my winter-time beater truck, and "better than nothing" is the best I can say. The sound level is terrible, I have to lean closer to hear anything, and shout at the top of my lung for the recipient to hear me.

But I can keep both hands on my wheel and eyes on the road. It's better than having to hold a handheld device against my ear.

In the meantime, the built-in Bluetooth hook-up on my Toyota stereo system works great. Maybe I've been spoiled.

My observation is that, whatever other challenges it may (or may not) have, a Garmin system just doesn't have enough power to overcome the road noise.

--
nüvi 750 & 760

Poor execution on the 2595

Bluetooth pairing to my phone for hands-free use was one of the reasons I purchased the 2595. It doesn't work well at all mainly because of the well documented low-volume issue. The volume of the phone call does not match the volume setting of the Nuvi. To hear the phone call, the volume must be turned up all the way on the phone and the Nuvi. Unfortuneately, the Nuvi then has to be turned back to normal volume after the call ends, or you get blasted out of the car then next time it announces a turn. No amount of fiddling with the volume mixer resolves it and this problem occurs with several different phones we have including an Iphone 5.

--
"Primum Non Nocere" 2595LMT Clear Channel and Navteq Traffic

We tried it for awhile

Too much background noise, especially if window cracked or fan on. Our Nissan OEM BT is much cleaner sound on both vehicles

Same here the voice is clear

Same here the voice is clear enough but not loud enough so I disabled the nuvi and use the built in gps in my car to make calls

--
NickJr Nuvi 3597LMT

Bluetooth for Data Transfer Only

I have a 2797LMT and find the Bluetooth feature useful for data transfer on my iPhone with SmartLink (traffic, weather, cameras, etc.) but I switch off the phone calls on the Nuvi because it's just such poor quality. The mic is so small and as others have said, the background noise is dreadful. I much prefer an earpiece headset instead and just connect to both when I jump in the car.