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Traffic Cable vs Smartphone Link

I am the new owner of a Garmin Drivesmart 61. I have a GTM 60 traffic cable on order. I am now using the Garmin Smartphone Link which seems to work fine. What does the GTM 60 do that the Smartphone Link does not and/or vice versa. I got the cable to save data on my smartphone. At least that was my logic. Is one better than the other and if so why? Also can they be used in tandem to create additional benefit or does that create confusion for the electronics.


  • alanb 557 Points
    edited June 2017
    I think you will find Smartphone Link Traffic superior in both accuracy and coverage compared to the HD traffic with the GTM-60. I have both on my nuvi 3597LMTHD and there is no HD coverage at all in my local driving area, but the Smartphone Link coverage is quite good.

    The main advantage of HD traffic with the GTM-60 is that it doesn't need a cellular signal, the smartphone, or its data allotment. However wherever there is no cellular signal you will find that there is no HD traffic coverage either.
  • mike41 38 Points
    I have a Drive Smart 61 with the traffic cable and also the Smart Link app. Traffic is terrible. It shows traffic on the app but very seldom on the Drive Smart device. I am in areas where traffic service is available. Garmin support has been no help.
  • I have to agree. I live in the Los Angeles area and traffic can be nightmarish most days. I bought a DS61 with traffic hoping to replace my Tomtom GO 620 device. I've been running a comparison between both devices for over a month and I find the Garmin Live Traffic to be from inconsistent to non-existent most days. Where as the TomTom is usually dead-on accurate most of the time with the start/end points of the traffic, the Garmin would show "No Traffic Reported" even if I'm sitting right in the middle of a 5-mile backup. I confirmed Bluetooth connectivity, SmartLink connectivity, etc, but still no dice. Strangely enough, the SmartLink app DOES show traffic accurately enough, but that's not being passed down to the unit. The other occasion would be it would show traffic, then with the next update, the traffic would disappear show "No traffic reported" even though the previous update showed a 30 minute delay. So, after a month of day in/day out comparison, the Garmin SmartLink traffic is pretty crappy when compared to the likes of Waze, Google Maps and Tomtom....I usually had 3 devices up on the dash(my iPhone 8 Plus running Waze, my Tomtom Go 620 and the DS61). Waze/Google is superior to them all with Tomtom a very close 2nd place and Garmin trailing a distant last place.

    On the bright side, not every day was this bad. There were some days where the Garmin SmartLink traffic was spot-on accurate, but these days were too few and too inconsistent. It's a great looking and has ALL the features I wish the Tomtom had, plus an up-to-date UI when compared to the Tomtom. It's unfortunate that the traffic quality is not more improved. I hope this helps anyone looking for info about the DS traffic service.
  • sussamb 829 Points
    In UK traffic via cable, I don't use smartlink, is amazingly accurate ... I've seen reports on other forums that traffic in UK via smartlink isn't as good.
  • truckinguy 116 Points
    I love the 61 S drive smart with smartphone links.. I just did 2600 miles in 4 days and loved the traffic reports. very accurate and easy to use and see what I needed to see. Best ever Garmin has put out. And it doesn't use any data at all...
  • mike41 38 Points
    I am starting to think Garmin is getting out of the PND business. Map updates being recalled, Traffic service that doesn't work. No new devices being introduced. Any thoughts?
  • alanb 557 Points
    My Smartphone Link service works great. Map updates have been recalled before because of errors so I don't think that is a big deal. But I think you are right about the PND future. If Garmin wants to stay in the automotive navigation business, they need to embrace smartphone technology much more than they are doing now ... like compatible apps for Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
  • Boyd 2002 Points
    I think they are scaling back, but not getting out. Was looking on their site the other day and was surprised to only see 4 automotive GPS models (plus that strange Amazon Alexa thing ;) ). This is a very consipicuous change from the past when there were 4 or 5 pages of automotive devices listed.

    Now there is a link for "previous models" in small text that isn't especially noticeable on that page. But there are only 11 additional models there - still much less than previous years. IMO, this is a good thing however. Garmin's product line was way too confusing in the past.

    The Drive 51/61 series was introduced at CES in January 2017, so you're right, no new models for over a year. Hadn't noticed that. Again, not sure why new models are needed. What features do you want that aren't available on the current models?
  • mike41 38 Points
    I have a Garmin model 61. It is a nice device. Traffic is on the app but only occasionally is shown on the device. I also have Car Play on one of my vehicles. I also have the latest I phone 8. I prefer the Garmin PND. I am concerned with no new devices there will not be support for the current models.
    That has happened to me on my TomTom and various models of Apple products.
  • Boyd 2002 Points
    It's a disposable world now, we are lucky to find any support for a 5 or 6 year old product. There was just a study from a research company that said 4 years was the average lifespan of an Apple product.

    I have both carplay and android auto in my new Volkswagen. Tried carplay on the way home from the dealer and it really didn't do anything for me. Have not used it since. The main deal killer for me is that you must enable Siri and I just don't want to do that. But regardless, I don't want to be limited to only using Apple Maps and forced to load everything over my data connection.
  • alanb 557 Points
    I came to the same conclusion as you Boyd regarding Android Auto with Google navigation. It just doesn't measure up to Garmin navigation with Smartphone Link IMO. I think the Apple Carplay / Android Auto are good concepts, but better apps are needed for them. I haven't tried Waze with Android Auto, so maybe that is better. But I really do wish Garmin would offer something in that environment.
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