Car owners that are not satisfied with the performance or features of a GPS-enabled smartphone are likely to go for a Garmin nuvi car GPS product because Garmin offers decent service and quality products. Because Garmin GPS products are so focused on navigation, these gadgets can be significantly more affordable than high-end smartphones. Garmin even offers some GPS that cost less than $200 nowadays and they still boast better navigation features than smartphones. Smartphones can do a lot of things but a dedicated car GPS device is recommended for safe and efficient car travel. But Garmin isn’t alone in this niche market as there are other big brands trying to convince car owners to for their GPS products too.

Garmin has no problems in delivering quality products but consumers that want basic and effective GPS solutions want to spend the absolute minimum. This is where the competition heats up and Garmin is hoping to tempt these users away from budget GPS models by launching the 2012 “Essential” series. Unlike the other Garmin products with confusing model names, these new budget products are easy to spot. The Garmin nuvi 40LM is one of the few models that use 2 digits for the model name. No cutting-edge features can be found in this GPS device but it is a product of good decisions by Garmin to keep the price low.

Garmin nuvi 40LM

Garmin nuvi 40LM

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Design

The Garmin nuvi 40LM is exactly what you would expect from a cheap Garmin product. It has a simple design with a 4.3-inch resistive display and a black frame. The display has a standard WQVGA resolution (480×272 pixels) which is the same as most other 4.3-inch GPS devices.

Features

Garmin nuvi devices in the Essential series don’t get any of the new features that other 2012 products have. This could be an issue as there are already some older Garmin products like the Garmin nuvi 2200 that also strive to provide the basics at an affordable price. However, that Garmin device had a smaller screen. The features of the Garmin nuvi 40LM are more in line with the Garmin nuvi 2300LM but that device launched at a higher price.

This is where the Garmin nuvi 40LM is more of a big deal because it is priced less than $200 and boasts lifetime map updates. The Garmin nuvi 40LM already comes with 5 million points of interest but several months later, the some of the data could be outdated. Garmin’s service delivers the latest map updates 4 times a year so the database stays fresh throughout the lifespan of the device. These updates are completely free with no subscription required.

The rest of the features are pretty standard with the same basic two-icon interface on the home screen. Two icons may not seem like a lot of features to play with but it makes the Garmin nuvi 40LM extremely easy for just about anyone to use. Need to plan a route? All it takes is tapping the “Where to?” icon and you will be guided from there. To switch to the map view, all it takes is to tap the “View Map” icon where your current position is immediately brought up.

The performance isn’t as speedy as Garmin’s pricier products but it should be good enough for the average driver. The experience certainly feels better than any smartphone equipped with a GPS feature. Things like text-to-speech functionality work well while driving as it uses the device’s loudspeaker to voice out the street name once a turn has to be made.

A welcome feature for Garmin’s entry-level lineup is the lane assist with junction view feature. This is great for any driver that frequently uses highways because it guides drivers to the right lane once the exit on the route is nearby. The junction view has detailed graphics so it is possible to see signs like the speed limit clearly.

This is pretty much all the Garmin nuvi 40LM has to offer. The only thing that would have been nice as a feature is the ecoRoute feature that is found in the older and slightly more expensive Garmin nuvi 2300. This feature calculates fuel-efficient routes which could potentially save money. But those that have very little to spend on a car GPS device finally has a $150 option that does what it needs to do rather well. Another nice thing about going for a GPS device with few features like the Garmin nuvi 40LM is that it should be very easy for people that never used a GPS device before to learn how to operate it.

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