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Garmin Drive 50LMT Review

The Garmin Drive 50LMT offers the basic car GPS features, but few of the premium options you might look for.

Garmin Drive 50 LMT
(Image: © Amazon)

Our Verdict

If you want a simple GPS unit without the extras, and if you can find one for sale, the Garmin Drive 50LMT is a great car GPS option. But if it's features that you're after, you're going to have to look elsewhere.

For

  • Straightforward and reliable GPS
  • Affordable

Against

  • Lack of high end features
  • Discontinued so not easy to find

The Garmin Drive 50LMT offers drivers all the basics that you might look for in a car navigation system. But while it’s undoubtedly a solid device, the Garmin Drive 50LMT is unlikely to make any best car navigation system shortlist, simply because it's missing so many of the premium features that most of us now come to expect. With Garmin discontinuing the model, it's also difficult to pick up right now. 

Garmin Drive 50LMT review: Features

The Garmin Drive 50LMT is easy to use and comes with preloaded maps of all 50 United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, but lacks a few features typically found in the best GPS units, like the Rand McNally OverDryve

First, there's no Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, meaning you can’t pair your smartphone with the device. This could decrease your ability to keep your focus on the road, since connecting your smartphone allows you to send and receive text messages and calls, play music and receive live traffic updates. Second, it doesn’t have voice-activated navigation, so you’ll have to type your intended destination into the device manually.

Garmin Drive 50LMT review: Navigation

Despite the shortcomings in terms of features, the Drive 50LMT is a solid navigation system. You get Garmin’s navigation platform, which allows you to create one or more waypoints along the way to your ultimate destination. It then calculates the most efficient route that includes every waypoint you added.

The navigation software gives you advance notice of upcoming turns and even tells you what lane you need to get into for an upcoming turn. The landmark guidance function shows simplistic representations of nearby landmarks so you can more easily recognize where you are and where to make turns. It also has a speed limit indicator, which tells you both your current speed and the speed limit of the road you’re driving on. This can help you avoid a speeding ticket if you’re driving on an unfamiliar road.

Garmin Drive 50LMT review: Design

The 50LMT has a resistive touchscreen with a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. This is on par with other basic GPS units, especially those in this price range. It also has a rechargeable battery built into it, so you can use the GPS without having it plugged in. The battery lasts for up to one hour. This is especially helpful if you need to charge your phone and only have one DC charging port in your vehicle. However, if you think you'll need more battery life, consider the TomTom VIA 1515M, which can last up to three hours when unplugged.

Garmin has customer support representatives available via phone or email. There are also a variety of informational resources hosted on Garmin’s website if you want to read up on the product or troubleshoot an issue on your own.

Should you buy the Garmin Drive 50LMT?

The Garmin Drive 50LMT is a bare-bones navigation device without many of the fancy extras, such as voice-activated navigation and a high-definition capacitive touchscreen. Despite that, it handles navigational duties just as well as the most expensive car GPS units do. Tracking one down might prove a bit of challenge though, given Garmin has discontinued the model.