Pros / Its lifetime traffic updates are sent directly to the GPS, so you don't have to pair your phone with the unit to receive traffic information.
Cons / It has an old-style resistive touchscreen, which is less responsive than a modern smartphone.
Verdict / The Garmin Nuvi 55LMT is a rather basic car GPS, but it does have excellent traffic updates.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Garmin Nuvi 55LMT is a navigation GPS with lifetime traffic updates and lifetime map updates. It ships loaded with maps of the United States. Its traffic updates are better than those of some of its competitors, but it's otherwise a basic device.
Garmin's traffic service works like this: There is a traffic receiver built into the GPS. It gets information on the level of congestion in your path and factors that traffic information into its route suggestions. This is markedly better than the traffic systems in some competing GPS systems, which work by linking your smartphone to your GPS, a process that costs you smartphone battery and data.
The lifetime map updates mean that you can connect the GPS to your computer and keep the onboard maps completely up to date. This feature is essential, especially if you plan to keep your GPS for a few years.
This car GPS has a 5-inch touchscreen. The screen is plastic and uses resistive touchscreen technology rather than capacitive, so it won't be nearly as responsive as your smartphone.
One of the best features of the Nuvi 55LMT is its lane guidance. When you're approaching an upcoming junction, this tells you what lane to get in, so you can avoid a desperate last-second lane change.
The biggest drawback of the Nuvi 55LMT is its lack of voice recognition software that would allow it to accept verbal commands. This is one of the strongest features that smartphone navigation apps and the best navigation GPS units offer.
One feature unique to Garmin GPS units is the ability to be orientated vertically or horizontally. This gives you the opportunity to decide the orientation based on the layout of your car's cabin.
This GPS comes with a mount that receives power by connecting to your car's cigarette lighter port. If you unplug from the power source, the battery in the unit powers it for about two hours, enough time for you to charge your phone or whatever else you need to.
Garmin has excellent customer service. The representatives we've spoken to are friendly and knowledgeable about the Nuvi GPS line. The company offers phone and email support, has a social media presence, and ships the unit with a one-year warranty.
Apart from its lifetime maps and traffic updates, the Garmin Nuvi 55LMT gives you only the basics. However, those basics are all you need to receive clear and useful turn-by-turn navigation.