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The 3.5" Garmin nuvi is still needed after all


A weird chain of events led to the point where going back to a GPS navigator made in the early 2010s is sometimes actually the best (if sometimes not the only) option.

The 3.5" screen Garmin nuvi was around from 2007 to 2011. The model you see above is the best one they ever released, the 2250LT. I own two of these. I also own the very last 3.5" model Garmin ever made, the 30LM, although it doesn't have anywhere near as much features as the 2250LT does (like traffic reporting when connected to a GTM36).

At the time I write this in 2021, all new cars now have an infotainment screen that starts at 7" in size and goes up from there. The problem is that in-car navigation is terrible, making that big screen useless for actually giving directions.

Is the smartphone a good alternative? It may not be. There are three problems with it. First, it can't be mounted anywhere because of modern car interior design. Part of the screen will always be blocked. Second, connecting it wirelessly to the car's infotainment system will at times drop connection, making that option useless. Third, the GPS antenna on the phone is weak and will also drop connection often...

...which is when the 3.5" nuvi, as old as it is, sometimes ends up being the only usable option.

Better to use a 3.5" than "mod" your car interior

I've read stories and seen photos of "mods" by guys who did some seriously stupid things to their car interiors just to get a good screen mounting position. Brackets and/or plates that required drilling holes, crazy gooseneck mounts, and so on. Not smart.

A 3.5" is basically the size of a car gauge. And because it's so light, it's unlikely a suction mount will fall when used with one.

Where a 5" or greater size screen can't go, the 3.5" can, and it's legal to mount it in the lower left of the windshield in all 50 US states...

...and that alone makes it worth having one, just in case you ever need to use it.

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