For the past couple of years, Garmin has been giving minor improvements to their Garmin nuvi lineup every year. The model numbers get pretty complicated too. For instance, the Garmin nuvi 2589LMT is one of the most popular GPS devices for 2015 offering modest improvements over its predecessor. That’s understandable because Garmin always makes great devices that it can be pretty tricky to make something great even better and more importantly, make their loyal customers care. However, Garmin cannot rest on its laurels because car technologies are getting more advanced and smartphones are becoming better car companions. Fortunately, it looks like 2016 is the year where Garmin can confidently say that they have made a big leap. The launch of the new Garmin Drive series is proof because this series is designed to succeed the aging Garmin nuvi brand. The Garmin Drive family and its variants include a flurry of 5-inch GPS navigators with the Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT being one of them.
About the Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT
The Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT is one of the four new Garmin nuvi 5-inch GPS navigators and it is ranked second in terms of affordability. A step above the Garmin Drive and under the more premium DriveLuxe and niche-focused DriveAssist, the Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT looks to be the new mainstream product in Garmin’s portfolio designed to be priced for people with a modest budget and want plenty of features to play around with. With a launch price of $229.99, the DriveSmart 50LMT is a clear successor to the Garmin nuvi 2589LMT.
Comparison with the Garmin nuvi 2589LMT
The Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT pretty much has the body of the 2589LMT. For a device with an entirely new name, that is slightly disappointing but in terms of overall functionality, it isn’t a huge deal. The DriveSmart 50LMT has the exact same dimensions as its predecessor and same glass multi-touch display. The pedestrian WQVGA resolution unfortunately hasn’t changed as with the outdated USB D-connector. On a slight upside, the unit feels a bit lighter possibly due to a smaller battery inside which led to reduced battery life. It’s an interesting trade-off but the DriveSmart 50LMT is designed to be constantly plugged to the car anyway.
The hot improvements of the Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT are all under the hood with the main new feature being a better overall driving assistant. Expect more notifications with the DriveSmart 50LMT while driving than virtually any other GPS device in the past. It will tell you if there is a school zone nearby (like older devices) but it is also smart enough to tell you if there is a sharp curve ahead. The Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT also knows where the railroad crossings are and will notify you accordingly. Even speed changes will trigger notifications. Perhaps the most interesting notification occurs when you are driving for several hours. Garmin calls it the fatigue warning and it will simply remind you to take a break and suggest some nearby POIs to do just that.
If you install the free Smartphone Link app to your iOS or Android device and establish a Bluetooth connection to the DriveSmart 50LMT, you will get even more notifications as you drive. Text messages, incoming calls and even calendar reminders will show up on the Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT screen along with other app notifications supported by the Smartphone Link app. It makes the Bluetooth functionality an even bigger deal.
All of the things that made the 2589LMT great are still present in the Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT. You get the lifetime map benefits across North America to keep the device fresh as well as the lifetime traffic updates so the traffic conditions can help decide the best route to take. Those frequently on the highway can still enjoy Active Lane Guidance.
• The extra notifications make driving even safer.
• Bluetooth more useful than ever.
• All features found in the 2589LMT intact.
• Still costs $229.
• Still the same design.
• Still the same screen resolution.
While the Garmin DriveSmart 50LMT is still technically another Garmin nuvi refresh, it has bigger brains than some of the mainstream mapping solutions found in other hardware and software platforms. This is the direction GPS manufacturers need to head towards.