Garmin Smartphone Link Overview

Garmin Smartphone Link Features and ActivationGarmin Smartphone Link is an app available for iOS and Android phones.  This app enables integration beyond the basic Bluetooth connectivity for voice calls.  This app is available for us on many of Garmin’s GPS models from the past several years.  These models include the higher end Garmin Zumo 590LM and Garmin Zumo 595LM.  Smartlink also integrates the Garmin DriveSmart, DriveAssist, DriveLuxe and many of the Nuvi models introduced over the last several years.

Garmin Live Services

This service provides real time traffic, weather and live services to your GPS.  Garmin Smartphone Link retrieves this information using your smartphone and current data plan.

You can display a lot of this information on your phone prior to starting your ride.  An example can be seen in the accompanying photo.  You get a full map of the desired area along with traffic alerts.  This is a free service.

Basic weather is another free service that provides the next six days worth of forecasts.  Basic weather can be accessed from the first screen of services.

Other Notable Live Services

Dude, where’s my motorcycle?  Last Mile remembers your parking spot and guides you back to where you parked your bike.  Useful if you parked in a fog and can’t remember where you left your motorcycle or car.

LiveTrack allows sharing of your current location with friends in your contact list.  Useful if sitting in a large field all by yourself and requiring company.

Live Parking provides availability and pricing of parking spaces.  It also provides trends for free on street parking spaces.  This is useful in big cities like New York City where finding a parking spaces takes longer than the journey itself.  This feature is only available in certain parts of the country.

Premium Live Services

Smartphone Link provides links to paid services such as weather alerts and traffic cameras.  The fee for these services starts at $4.99.

Smartphone Integration with a Garmin GPS

When you first install the app on your phone and start it up, you are prompted to pair with your Garmin GPS.  Smartphone Link allows you to receive some basic smartphone services on your Garmin GPS.  Think of the integration similar to the Apple Watch but in a more simplistic manner.

Once your Garmin GPS is paired with your phone that has Smartphone Link living on it, you can begin to receive notifications right on the GPS.  View text messages, calendar events and other application alerts directly on your Garmin GPS.  You can also send address information from your phone right to the GPS for navigation.

The Verdict

The app is free.  Might as well install it.  Some of the services are redundant with other apps that are likely already installed on your phone.  In some cases, those other apps will do a better job.  This is especially the case with weather and even traffic cameras.  Last Mile functionality which provides your parking space location can be replicated with Waze or Google Maps.  What was fairly revolutionary a few years ago is now commonplace.

The ability to send an address from your smartphone to your GPS is nice.  So is the ability to receive text and application alerts on your GPS.

So, it’s worth installing Garmin’s Smartphone Link if only for those last few points of integration.