Gear + Gadgets

New directions


Special to The Miami Herald

Garmin’s newest GPS superstar, the nuvi 3597 LMTHD has a crisp hi-res color 5-inch display screen and is packed with neat features in a slimmed down, half-inch-thick, 7-ounce body. Like its nuvi predecessors, the 3597 attaches to the car windshield via a rubber suction cup and swivel ball system. But gone is the cumbersome bracket that the nuvi had to be clipped into for mounting onto the suction cup device. Instead, you get an unobtrusive little square mount with a back socket that pops onto the suction cup ball, and a powerful front magnet that firmly grabs the nuvi, but lets go with a pull. The 3597 adjusts automatically to landscape or portrait mode, has a multi touch pinch and zoom interactive screen, 3-D terrain and building-view options, and lifetime (the device’s, not yours) maps and traffic updates. You get cutting edge voice-activated navigation, traffic tracking and detour guidance, and Bluetooth wireless technology provides detailed weather updates, and access to many of the functions of a paired smartphone, including contact look-up and hands-free phone calls via the GPS’s integrated microphone and speaker. Be forewarned, that phone pairing means you’ll have to pay your phone service provider for any applicable use and/or data charges — even for such basic information as weather conditions. But that means Garmin won’t be milking you with subscription renewal fees for essential services. And this new nuvi really is a joy to use.

Garmin Nuvi 3597 LMTHD is $379.99. Information at; 800-800-1020.

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 <span class="cutline_leadin">RainRap Rain Poncho</span>

    Gear + Gadgets

    Reigning rain wrap

    Sometimes a raincoat is too bulky to schlep; a plastic poncho too tacky. That may be just the time for a RainRap. This softer, classier water-repellant polyester wrapping poncho has a double-sided button closure and a built-in hood. And it’s reversible, with a range of bright and/or muted color combinations, from black/grey to hot pink/orange, and a black/leopard print. The RainRap has a cape-like flow and drapes to about 26 inches in length at the back. A longer version, the SpiritRap is 35 inches long, and comes in a variety of team color combinations for wet days at the stadium. The fast-drying light-weight (8 ounces) cover-up is one-size-fits-all and stashes in an included travel pouch, which in turn stashes unobtrusively in a purse or knapsack until needed.

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