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Hands-Free Calling

My Garmin 3590LMT has a hands free calling feature that uses bluetooth, but it's so bad I disconnected my phone from it. For every successful connection, there were 5-10 failures, often confusing the caller. And whenever I made the mistake of touching the icon that appeared when someone texted me, the Garmin would immediately reboot.

And the interface for making a call is a joke; my first attempt was my last. So much easier to just pull over and take my phone out of my pocket.

But that's an old model and probably an early effort at hand free calling. Maybe later Garmin models are better at it. Any suggestions for an upgrade from my 3590LMT that works better for hands free calling? Hopefully still an older model I can get inexpensively, used on eBay.

Comments

  • privet01 228 Points
    edited November 2019
    I didn't like the audio on my Drivesmart 61 lmt-s when taking calls. It was very difficult to understand the calling party. Never used it to dial out.

    I disabled the phone connection in the app, however it occasionally would connect in-spite of that and I'd get a call via hands free anyway. Unless you are driving a twenty year old vehicle like me, I'm surprised that you don't have a hands-free built into the vehicle.

    There were also the issues with trying to view a text or push another icon and accidentally hitting the wrong icon. I guess garmin thinks all roads are smooth as glass instead of the norm around here.... pothole ridden.

    Most state's Department of Transportation have a smartphone app and website that provides traffic updates, access to traffic cams, and road closure and maintenance schedules. So I use those along with googlemaps traffic notifications.

    Since traffic updates seemed only marginally helpful and many I was suspicious of it being very old information on the Drivesmart, I quit using the smartphone link to garmin.

    Some say the new version works better with regards to the reboot issue you mentioned.

  • privet01 said:

    Unless you are driving a twenty year old vehicle like me, I'm surprised that you don't have a hands-free built into the vehicle.

    I have a 2004 Toyota Sienna. As far as I can tell, 2011 was the first model year any Sienna was available with factory hands-free.

    And my 1990 Maxima definitely doesn't have it. :-)
  • privet01 228 Points
    edited November 2019
    I wasn't stating that any car not twenty years old would have hands-free calling interface.

    However, I can see where if anyone wanted to grammatically pick a conversation to pieces that it might have seemed that I was.
    :D
  • Boyd 1999 Points
    edited November 2019
    GregL65 said:

    But that's an old model and probably an early effort at hand free calling. Maybe later Garmin models are better at it.

    Actually, Garmin's efforts at hands-free calling go back much farther than the 3590, and they have always been terrible in my opinion (although others seem to have been pleased). I have a DriveSmart 61 and DriveTrack 70 and don't use the phone features because my car has a very nice built-in system. But I did get very annoyed with the DriveSmart 61, because you have to use bluetooth to get traffic data and there doesn't seem to be a way to do this without also sending all your phone calls to the GPS instead of the car system. Finally ended up just turning off traffic and bluetooth because that sounded so bad. X(

    I don't know what your standards are, but suspect you won't be much happier with the hands-free system on newer Garmin devices. Before you buy one, be sure to check the sellers refund policy...

    Are you still using a flip phone in your 2004 Toyota? ;) Seriously, instead of buying a new Garmin GPS, perhaps a smartphone would be a better upgrade? You should be able to find used models from a few years ago very cheaply since people upgrade so often, and I suspect many of them will have a speakerphone mode that's as good as or better than a GPS.
  • Thanks, that's good to know about later Garmin models and hands-free.

    I was a dumb phone hold-out for a while, but finally caved and got a smartphone in 2015. I'm now on a Samsung Galaxy Orbit, running Android 9. $40 refurb from Tracfone. Not really excited about pulling it out of my pocket, mounting it in a dash holder, unlocking it, and configuring it for speakerphone mode, every time I hop in the car.

    Another option would be a replacement stereo from Crutchfield. Lots of them have hands free. Some of them have something called Android Auto which basically makes the stereo an interface for the Android phone in your pocket.
  • alanb 556 Points
    Boyd said:

    Actually, Garmin's efforts at hands-free calling go back much farther than the 3590, and they have always been terrible in my opinion (although others seem to have been pleased). I have a DriveSmart 61 and DriveTrack 70 and don't use the phone features because my car has a very nice built-in system. But I did get very annoyed with the DriveSmart 61, because you have to use bluetooth to get traffic data and there doesn't seem to be a way to do this without also sending all your phone calls to the GPS instead of the car system. Finally ended up just turning off traffic and bluetooth because that sounded so bad.

    Are you sure you can't shut off the hands free calling without turning off traffic in Smartphone Link? I am able to do that in my nuvi 3597's and my DriveLuxe's, but I have never had a DriveSmart to fool around with. The setting on my devices is in the Apps menu, not in the Settings menu as you would expect.

  • Boyd 1999 Points
    Don't know Alan. Don't use the DriveSmart much anymore, but a call came in while using it and I could hear the audio on my car system but the GPS also picked it up and the other party could not hear me. Took multiple calls until I finally just picked it up on the phone itself. Looked quickly at the settings and didn't see any options to change it, but didn't want to mess around much while driving in NYC traffic.
  • I have the DriveSmart 55. It uses the Garmin Drive app instead of Smartphone Link, and I use it to receive the traffic information and Smart Notifications (email and texts). My phone is also paired with my car to use the OnStar system for phone calls.
    Once the phone has been paired with the GPS you can choose to use the phone for calls (or not) by going into the GPS Settings, Wireless Networks and looking for a line that has the name/model of your phone (paired device). This line should show 3 icons, a telephone handset (for telephone calls), cellphone (for Smart Notifications), and the Garmin Drive logo. If an icon is black that option is not active/connected, if there is a different color (mine is blue) then that option is selected and the device is connected for it. Press on any of the 3 icons and you will go to the next screen where there is a line for Phone calls with a box on the right side of the screen. Press on the box to check or uncheck the box, selecting or removing the ability to use the GPS for telephone calls.
    Go to your phone's Garmin Drive settings to select which app categories can send notifications to your Garmin.
    I used a DriveLuxe 50 using the Smartphone Link the same way but don't recall the specific settings menu options.
  • privet01 228 Points
    Boyd said:

    I did get very annoyed with the DriveSmart 61, because you have to use bluetooth to get traffic data and there doesn't seem to be a way to do this without also sending all your phone calls to the GPS instead of the car system. Finally ended up just turning off traffic and bluetooth because that sounded so bad.

    I think that when you have your phone paired with the GPS device that it was as @OldGeezer stated in the GPS's device settings under Wireless Networks > Bluetooth. Then another menu would show up that had a toggle for if you wished to takes and make calls hands free through the GPS.

    After turning mine off so it wouldn't take calls, I still would get the occasional call through the gps hands free. Each time I checked to be certain it was still set to not do hands free and it was showing it was supposed to be hands free. If I toggled the BT of my phone off/on then let it reconnect to the GPS, it would work as expected with no hands free but sending traffic.

    Maybe it was fixed in a later update or maybe it was just unique to my experience. However by July or August of 2018, I'd gotten annoyed with the traffic info as being too old to be useful as well as seeing info about where I been in the fourSquare data even though I'd not signed up or knowingly given permission for it's use with fourSquare.

    I would have made more since to me to have the control of such in the garmin phone app itself, but I suppose Garmin wanted to consolidate where you controlled stuff.
  • alanb 556 Points
    On the 3597, to disable the Hands Free Calling you go to Apps > Smartphone Link > (click on your connected phone) > uncheck the box for Bluetooth Hands Free Calling.

    On the DriveLuxe 51 you get to it via Settings > Wireless Networks > (click on your connected phone) > uncheck the box for Phone Calls.
  • Boyd 1999 Points
    Well, this happened awhile ago, but just looking at the device right now, I think I had disabled hands-free calling. That's the way it's currently setup at any rate. Maybe I'll give it a try again when I visit my daughter in New York over the holidays. That is pretty much the only time I ever need to access traffic on the device.

    And the phone was connecting to my car system, I was able to answer a call and hear it. But the other party couldn't hear me. Anyway... this all just reinforces my opinion that the speakerphone feature on Garmin devices is terrible. ;)
  • alanb 556 Points
    I am also not a fan of Garmin's hands free calling feature, but I do like and appreciate the Smartphone Link traffic. One thing I have been surprised with is that I can run Smartphone Link and Android Auto simultaneously from the same phone. Android Auto answers the phone calls using the car's speaker and microphone. If I don't have Android Auto enabled, then the Kia app answers.

    I do recall one incident where the nuvi answered when I thought I had the feature turned off in the Garmin. Since I was driving at the time I didn't try to diagnose it, but I never did figure out for sure what happened.
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