While once relatively obscure, GPS devices have become more commonplace in modern vehicles. Of course, for owners of vehicles without built-in navigation units, there are plenty of third party options available. Garmin is a trusted name in navigation, and they regularly release high quality and affordable devices. This Garmin Drive 50 LMT review will look at one of the most popular units currently available, and see how the features can benefit you if you’re looking for a reliable GPS.

Garmin Drive 50 LMT

Garmin Drive 50 LMT

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Key Features

  • A large 5-inch display with touch screen and pinch to zoom.
  • Preloaded with comprehensive maps for the North American market.
  • Smart features like sharp corner warnings, school zones, and speed warnings.
  • Voice guided navigation and split screen navigation.

Great Packaging with Everything You Need

There’s nothing worse than purchasing a new gadget, only to find that additional accessories are needed to get the most out of it. Thankfully, the Garmin Drive 50 LMT doesn’t have this problem. It’s a standalone device, and comes with the USB charging cable, and a high quality suction mount to attach the device to your windshield or on some dashboards (depending on your vehicle and the materials used).

An instruction guide is included, but if you’re familiar with a smartphone of any kind it will be fairly easy to quickly get going with this device. Build quality is excellent, with the device being made from heavy duty plastic that will endure a hot car interior and sunlight exposure. As far as quality goes, everything feels premium and if this is your first GPS unit you will be quite impressed. Even users who have owned older units will be happy with the high quality and small footprint.

The 5-inch screen size is a highlight of the Garmin Drive 50 LMT. Colors are bright and there is no problem with daylight visibility. The unit can be dimmed for nighttime operation which makes it easier to concentrate on the road ahead. One excellent feature of the screen is that it has dual display orientation. Whether you prefer landscape or portrait, you are covered with this device.

Navigation and General Usability

The true test of any GPS device is finding out how good it is at getting you where you need to go. Garmin is a leader in mapping technology and consumer devices, and the navigation experience with the Drive 50 LMT is nothing short of excellent. There are various navigation modes, such as the split screen mode that displays a GPS route, along with a graphical representation of main roads and the lanes available. This is especially important when navigating complex highways and interchanges, and can help to prevent accidents or time wasted on incorrect routes.

Garmin has their own technology for voice directions, known as Garmin Real Directions. This feature is incredibly useful as the unit will give navigation instructions in clear and casual language, referencing landmarks, stop lights, and even specific buildings. You can think of the device as a friend giving you instructions to get somewhere, and once you experience this technology it will be hard for you to go back to any other GPS device.

Searching for your destination is also easy, and the touchscreen makes it quick to type in anything that you’re looking for. You don’t necessarily need to type in a full address to find what you need, as the device can recognize landmarks, proper names of businesses and other locations, and can even help you to search based on general queries, such as ‘gas’ or ‘pizza’. As far as making it easy to get where you need to go, this affordable Garmin unit performs the most important functions just as well as more expensive units.

Bonus Features for Safer Driving

Voice guided navigation should never distract you from the road, and the Garmin Drive 50 LMT goes one step further by providing you with timely warnings and alerts. For example, the device can let you know to adjust your speed and be cautious when you are approaching a school zone, or it can even tell you when you are approaching a sharp bend or a blind corner.

The unit also includes preloaded foursquare™ data, which can help you to discover new places to eat and be entertained. No network access is required to access these points of interest.

Conclusion

It was easy to find great value when reviewing the Garmin Drive 50 LMT. This is the entry level unit in the series, but it doesn’t skimp much on the features that are available. Most importantly, it has everything that is needed for safe and accurate navigation, and still has a few value-added features that make it worth much more than the asking price.

PROS:

  • The big, bright display is excellent and makes for easy viewing in any condition.
  • The natural voice navigation makes it easier to get where you need to go.
  • The North American version has preloaded maps, allowing it to work right out of the box.
  • Additional safety warnings are excellent.
  • Displays current speed, speed limit, and time of day.

CONS:

  • Users looking for voice activated navigation won’t find it on this model of the 50 LMT.
  • No Bluetooth calling or notifications from smartphones.

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