Live Traffic ($20) VS. HD Traffic (Free) in Los Angeles - My Experience

 

Hi guys,

I just wanted to share with you my experience after using Garmin Live Traffic service for 5 weeks so far. Live Traffic is considered as an upgrade from the free HD traffic. You can get through SmartLink app for $19.99

My first experience with Garmin traffic services was with the 3597 LMTHD model. I used it for about 2 years, all in Los Angeles and Orange County area. Incase you don't know this disappointing fact, Garmin HD traffic signal strength in Los Angeles is really really bad! It takes forever to connect and sometimes it never finds a traffic provider for hours!!

I remember many incidents when traveling from Los Angeles to Irvine, which is about 1 hour trip, and my Garmin never received any traffic updates until 30-40 minutes later when I am already in a middle of a bad traffic jam and my Garmin was showing "No traffic reported ahead" since I left home!

Day after day I started to ignore using my $330 Garmin and used the free Google Maps on my phone.

When the NuviCam came out couple of months ago, I was about to give up on Garmin, but I decided to give the NuviCam the last shot hoping that the traffic reception issue got solved, but unfortunately it didn't. So I decided to pay the $19.99 and try the Live Traffic service and see if this will solve my long time problem.

The first thing I noticed is that you get traffic updates immediately as soon as you pair your phone with the GPS! This allowed me to better plan my trip before even leaving the parking spot!

Also, I was surprised to know that Live Traffic provides traffic updates of city streets! The HD traffic never provided me with anything other than highway traffic. In many incidents when I was using the free HD traffic during Los Angeles rush hour traffic jams, my Garmin rerouted me to use city streets instead of the freeway. The problem was that these streets were jammed as well and I end up getting in the middle of a worse traffic jam and arriving late. So it is really a big bonus to get street traffic when using Live Traffic service.

Overall. I highly recommend everyone who is suffering from HD traffic reception and accuracy issues to try the Live Traffic paid service. It really worth every single penny and will save you so much time and frustrations!

Thank you

--
NuviCam & 3597

Thanks

Thanks for a thorough review. Many contemplating the $20 subscription will find this very helpful.

Thanks for your review. We

Thanks for your review. We are going to Los Angeles at the end of August this year. I live in Canada where there is no HD signal. So I subscribed to Live traffic from day one when I got my 3597. I was thinking of trying HD traffic in Los Angeles but after reading your review I won't bother testing it. I had tried HD traffic in Buffalo and Pittsburg couple of years ago. I have Smartphone Link subscriptions and always happy with it.
I was not too impressed with HD traffic coverage in Pittsburg and changed it back to Smartphone Link traffic. Live traffic covers side streets in Toronto as well. Very good service. Not perfect but still highly recommended.

--
Iphone XR, Drivesmart 61,Nuvicam, Nuvi3597

.

Los.Angeles.1 wrote:

My first experience with Garmin traffic services was with the 3597 LMTHD model. I used it for about 2 years, all in Los Angeles and Orange County area. Incase you don't know this disappointing fact, Garmin HD traffic signal strength in Los Angeles is really really bad! It takes forever to connect and sometimes it never finds a traffic provider for hours!!

Thanks for the info. In my experience (LA, Orange & San Bernardino counties), the older analog traffic stayed connected in the areas that HD traffic lost signal and took a LONG time to reacquire. When the signal is bad or goes out-of-range, it takes forever (just as you said) to find a new station to connect to.

A big problem (that didn't used to be under analog) is going over Kellogg Hill. The signal drops in Montclair and will refuse to reacquire until West Covina/Baldwin Park (a bad area due to construction).

If you watch the traffic info under the diagnostics menu, you can actually see the unit searching and searching, going through the already populated traffic provider list, continually trying to find a good signal despite the unit already having many valid providers in it's provider table. I think it's just the nature of the HD signal...there is definitely no lack of stations here (last time I checked, I had at least 10, maybe 15-20 in the provider table). This combined with the nuvi's inability to lock onto something rather than continually searching makes for something that's pretty unusable. You'd think issues like this wouldn't exist due to the density of stations here in Los Angeles...go figure.

I now pretty much ignore anything related to traffic on the nuvi. rolleyes

--
nuvi 760, nuvi 765T, nuvi 855, nuvi 3790LMT, nuvi 3490LMT - SoCal area

So much for HD Traffic

When I read the promotional material for the 3597 I thought that would be a cool feature, perhaps better than the optional adapter on my old nuvi 750. As others reported, whenever I was near a big city with HD data, I was pretty much past it by the time the 3597 figured out that there was even a traffic provider. I also opted for the SmartLink app and was impressed at the coverage, including rural areas that otherwise had no coverage. My conclusion is that the HD Traffic amounts to little more that an check box on the list of features and in the areas I've traveled it has been useless. I'm not 100% on this, but I believe that when the 3597 links to the SmartLink app, it disables the HD traffic feature.

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

I keep telling you guys

I keep telling you guys - you have to keep that little box on the end of the cord up and away from the dash.

That's where the antenna is and if it is below the dash, then reception will be affected.

Drape the power cord over the mirror (or something) so that the little box is above the dash. Some folks wrap the cord around the base a couple of times and it seems to work for them as well.

I get HD traffic in my driveway and I'm almost 40 miles from the transmitter.

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

HD Traffic nuvi 2597LMT

I just got back from a whirlwind trip from Albany, NY to Baltimore, the Outer Banks (NC), up the DelMarVa Peninsula, over to Philadelphia and back to Albany. Until about a week ago and the latest software update for the nuvi I had almost no traffic information reported. Since the update I have been getting constant traffic alerts on all of the major roads and some of the secondary roads. Not that Albany has much traffic but throughout the trip I was constantly receiving traffic alerts and updates rather rapidly. My route was automatically altered on several occasions around traffic delays saving me quite a lot of time. Maybe using Garmin Live Traffic with SmartLink app would have given me even more information and faster updates but the HD traffic my unit has was more than sufficient over my 1600+ mile, 4-day trip.

Surface Street Coverage

I've noticed that when an HD traffic signal is being received, I also receive traffic flow info for surface streets, like on Garmin Live Traffic. The trick is that you just have to be in a metro area that has decent HD coverage, which we all know isn't that easy to come by. I would just use the Garmin Live Traffic, however, the Nuvi 3490 cannot communicate with the iOs version of the SmartLink app, and I do not feel like switching to an Android just for Garmin Live Traffic.

--
Garmin Nuvi 3490lmt, 765t with Lifetime maps and Clear Channel traffic

Well worth the $20....

I specifically bought my 2599LMT-HD for the HD traffic, but I've found that the Smartlink Traffic option is always superior....at least in the Orlando area. My 1470T with the older traffic dongle/powercord actually works better!

Looking back, I wish I had not bothered with the HD option, but it may get better in the future with software/firmware updates. I certainly hope so....

--
"Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks" ~ Excerpt from the notebooks of Lazarus Long, from Robert Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love"

The OP's post sounds like a

The OP's post sounds like a sales promotion. Maybe a troll alert?

--
I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

Location, Location, Location!

In a nutshell, HD traffic quality depends entirely on where you are and your ability to properly receive HD traffic signals.

There is little question that Garmin Live Traffic via Smartlink is superior in most areas but requires a one time $20 subscription fee, a smartphone with cellular coverage and a compatible GPSr.

.

bdhsfz6 wrote:

In a nutshell, HD traffic quality depends entirely on where you are and your ability to properly receive HD traffic signals.

Just like over-the-air HD TV (this is all I use)...if the signal is good and unobstructed, you get a great picture. But if a tree branch blows into the signal path due to wind, or if it starts raining, you get a big mess.

--
nuvi 760, nuvi 765T, nuvi 855, nuvi 3790LMT, nuvi 3490LMT - SoCal area

rookie8155 I live in

rookie8155
I live in downtown Los Angeles. You might think that since LA is famous for its traffic jams that you will get extraordinary traffic updates and info. Trust me, lack of HD Traffic updates makes me feel like if live in a small village up on the mountains! So Live Traffic is a MUST. Enjoy your trip to LA and feel free to email me if you need any help.

DorkusNimrod
I totally understand what you are going through because I suffered the same problem. As you said, when you go to settings you see the device searching for a traffic provider despite the fact that you are in a middle of a jungle of traffic transmitters in SoCal.

TXRVer
Live Traffic disables HD traffic. You can't use both at the same time. In my opinion, I think it is a shame on Garmin to still provide such an unstable service after all these years of failure. HD traffic should be dropped and Live Traffic should be included in next models for FREE!

metricman
Hmmmm... I will try to do that and I will post the results.

Freakyfrank79
Lucky guy!

rame1012 & bdhsfz6
As I mentioned above, I live in downtown los angeles and I don't remember getting side streets traffic updates with HD Traffic, but I get it all the time with Live Traffic. Maybe it is different in your area.

ddmau
In SoCal it is never an option to drive without knowing the traffic ahead, both for time and safety reasons.

KenSny
That's funny smile

--
NuviCam & 3597

Los.Angeles.1

Los.Angeles.1 wrote:

rookie8155
I live in downtown Los Angeles. You might think that since LA is famous for its traffic jams that you will get extraordinary traffic updates and info. Trust me, lack of HD Traffic updates makes me feel like if live in a small village up on the mountains! So Live Traffic is a MUST. Enjoy your trip to LA and feel free to email me if you need any help.

Thanks a lot for the update and for help while I will be in LA.
Really appreciate it.

--
Iphone XR, Drivesmart 61,Nuvicam, Nuvi3597