Garmin Drive 50LMT Review

The Garmin Drive 50LMT is a basic car GPS. While it’s still a solid device, it is missing many of the premium features we look for.

Our Verdict

With such a low price, the Garmin Drive 50LMT is an excellent value for those wanting a simple GPS unit without the extras.

For

  • It has driver awareness and lane departure features.

Against

  • It only works in a vehicle.
Image 1 of 5

You can see a street view of the road you’re driving on, and the 50LMT’s lane assist feature tells you the right lane to be in for an upcoming turn.

You can see a street view of the road you’re driving on, and the 50LMT’s lane assist feature tells you the right lane to be in for an upcoming turn.
Image 2 of 5

With preloaded maps of North America and millions of points of interest, you’ll always be in the know.

With preloaded maps of North America and millions of points of interest, you’ll always be in the know.
Image 3 of 5

The 50LMT has a microSD slot and a 5-inch resistive touchscreen.

The 50LMT has a microSD slot and a 5-inch resistive touchscreen.
Image 4 of 5

The Garmin Drive 50LMT offers landmark guidance, lane assist and a speed limit indicator.

The Garmin Drive 50LMT offers landmark guidance, lane assist and a speed limit indicator.
Image 5 of 5

You can easily view nearby points of interest on the Garmin Drive 50LMT, which is handy if you’re driving through an unfamiliar location.

You can easily view nearby points of interest on the Garmin Drive 50LMT, which is handy if you’re driving through an unfamiliar location.

The Garmin Drive 50LMT is a basic car GPS. While it’s still a solid device, it is missing many of the premium features we look for. However, the GPS system is decently easy to use and comes with preloaded maps of all 50 United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

This navigation GPS is lacking a few features typically found in the best GPS units like the Rand McNally OverDryve. First, it lacks both 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.

Despite those shortcomings, 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.

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.

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.

Need a better alternative?

Best Car GPS Navigation 2019

Top Ten Reviews has reviewed the Best Car GPS Navigation 2019 so that we're able to offer you the authoritative buying advice you expect.