Garmin Drive SmartDrive 86, First Take

 

This changes everything. I have been using Garmin GPS unites since the Street Pilot, and this one is a game changer. Here is my first take.

1. Read every word in the Owner’s Manual. It is not included in printed form but is complete on the 86 itself. It is even better if you download the PDF from the Garmin website and print it or just read it from the 86.

2. The power connection is by a special USB C cable and auto 12V adapter. This requires you to connect to Garmin Express with a USB C cable. That cable must allow data both ways. Most such cables are just charging cable and will not connect to Garmin Express. The cable supplied by Garmin will connect to Garmin Express and Garmin recommends it.

3. You do not need to connect to Garmin Express since all the updates to maps and software can be done by the 86 without connecting to a computer. Garmin recommends doing the updates this way.

4. The 8” screen on the 86 will just amaze you. I expected the improvement in resolution, but the amount of area shown was stunning. You can now use the map on the 8” screen like a real map. The detail is amazing.

5. Unlike the other DriveSmart units, the 86 can be operated in either the normal landscape orientation or portrait orientation except for when using the backup cameras.

6. The view on the backup camera in landscape orientation with the 8” screen will amaze you.

7. I do not find that the 86 in landscape orientation interferes with surrounding visibility, but portrait orientation reduces that interference a great deal. Portrait orientation gives you a large view of the route in front of you – it has great possibilities.

8. You can connect all your 86 audio to your auto stereo system. It produces great sound with extremely easy volume control. The one issue is that the auto stereo system can be set to only one input at the time. If you have the system set for 86 input that’s all you get – no music, etc.

9. “OK Garmin” has been redone. You can now speak to it in phrases. It is now limited to GPS route and search functions and phone functions. You can ask it to go to a place by name and that name does not have to be in your saved or recent list. It will search for it.

10. You can ask “OK Garmin” to call any name in your iPhone phone directory by saying the name.

11. The 86 is set up for Alexa, but I am new to Alexa. I have used it to get weather reports. It does that very well with full reports.

12. Low And BEHOLD! Those nasty icons that showed every “Saved Place” on the map have vanished.

13. I have not said anything the normal GPS features and functions, but I can assure you that they are complete and a little better than previous units.

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wil01

Thanks for the insight, I

Thanks for the insight, I was amazed at the extra screen when I went from a 2689 to a DS61, I'm sure 8 inches is even better for these old eyes.

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. 2 Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S, Nuvi 2689, 2 Nuvi 2460, Zumo 550, Zumo 450, Uniden R3 radar detector with GPS built in, includes RLC info. Uconnect 430N Garmin based, built into my Jeep. .

Re power, what does the 12V

Re power, what does the 12V show for output for each of the ports?

I suspect this unit takes more than the 2.5W (5V, .5A) usually offered by usb.

The spec. says 4.8A

The spec. says 4.8A

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wil01

Great first take! Thank you

Great first take! Thank you for taking the time and posting. Can you clarify the OK garMin update? Can you use voice commands to skip the next waypoint?

I would bet, only if there

I would bet, only if there is a command in the menu to "Skip the next waypoint". Currently, you have to go into the Trip Planner and edit your trip and delete the waypoint. Those steps are beyond Voive Control abilities.

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Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

thx for the helpful info

was quite interesting to read your observations

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Nuvi 2598 LMT Nuvi 3597 LMT

Garmin SmartDrive 86

The previous SmartDrives included 'lifetime' map updates. Does the 86 include 'lifetime' maps? I don't see any mention of it on the website.

It does.

It does.

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Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

At what voltage? Can you

Wil01 wrote:

The spec. says 4.8A

At what voltage? Can you post a pic of the adapter printing? Use imgur.com to host if you don't have your own.

4.8 Amps at 5 volts

The Garmin USB cable plugs into the USB port on the Garmin power adapter. (There are two) The 86 draws 4.8 amps. Since it is USB, it must be 5 volts. The power adapter plugs directly into the cigar lighter outlet. Source - pdf owner's manual.

Seriously??

Wil01 wrote:

The spec. says 4.8A

Seriously! 10x more power?
4.8A is pretty close to the 5A C cable limit.

240W

dobs108 wrote:

The Garmin USB cable plugs into the USB port on the Garmin power adapter. (There are two) The 86 draws 4.8 amps. Since it is USB, it must be 5 volts. The power adapter plugs directly into the cigar lighter outlet. Source - pdf owner's manual.

No, actually USB C is rated up to 20V @ 5A == 100W. A new spec (USB-C Release 2.1) ups the wattage to 240W. They get that by upping the voltage to 48V @ 5A.

You can skip to next

You can skip to next waypoint by clicking on the top part of the navigation screen which pulls up the directions. Then selecting the waypoint after the one you are skipping. This is not easy to do while driving and was looking for a voice command option.

Mount

How does the 8" Garmin 86 mount?

With a suction cup as big as

With a suction cup as big as a plunger? smile wink smile

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Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

Very useful review

Very useful review Wil01--thanks. Good to hear. Currently priced at $350.

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"141 could draw faster than he, but Irving was looking for 143..."

The manual describes

The manual describes mounting it to the windshield with the suction cup.

I mount it on the dash in a DECO Dash Mount. It works very well.

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wil01

Wonder if my home brew mag

Wonder if my home brew mag mount (https://photos.app.goo.gl/UqNKu9fimwQUmMKR7) would handle this. The DS65 is 8.5oz, this is 10.4oz. Maybe...

mount

Does this come with a mount ?

Thanks For The Review!

It's interesting that Garmin has switched to a USB C connector. I suspect the 4.5 amp draw had something to do with the decision.

Time will tell if USB C is any more durable that it's USB mini or micro predecessors. The power port has always been a weak link with Garmin GPSr's.

stronger USB port construction?

bdhsfz6 wrote:

It's interesting that Garmin has switched to a USB C connector. I suspect the 4.5 amp draw had something to do with the decision.

Time will tell if USB C is any more durable that it's USB mini or micro predecessors. The power port has always been a weak link with Garmin GPSr's.

Perhaps the high amperage called for bigger terminals to the circuit board and stronger USB port construction.

Hopefully

dobs108 wrote:
bdhsfz6 wrote:

It's interesting that Garmin has switched to a USB C connector. I suspect the 4.5 amp draw had something to do with the decision.

Time will tell if USB C is any more durable that it's USB mini or micro predecessors. The power port has always been a weak link with Garmin GPSr's.

Perhaps the high amperage called for bigger terminals to the circuit board and stronger USB port construction.

Hopefully, this will be true.

If I do decide to buy the DS 86, I plan to use a short USB C pigtail cable for strain relief just in case.