The Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S is a navigation GPS that’s easy to use and loaded with essential and premium features. It has a sleek, modern design and an intuitive interface as well as a nice variety of settings for you to customize. For its abundance of features, extreme ease of use and excellent functionality, the DriveSmart 61 was easily one our favorites.
The DriveSmart 61 LMT-S comes with preloaded maps of North America, and it has a slot for a microSD card for additional storage for things like maps of other countries. Garmin gives you free map updates and traffic alerts for the life of the device, ensuring that you’ll always be driving with the most up-to-date information. The GPS system gives spoken turn-by-turn directions using nearby landmarks – such as buildings, traffic lights and other recognizable landmarks – so you’re never left wondering if that was the turn you were supposed to make.
It also comes with a variety of safety-conscious features to help keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road. Voice-activated navigation lets you enter a destination from your address book, view app alerts, make or receive a phone call or send a text message hands-free. You can even customize your smartphone notifications. It features a speed limit indicator that displays the speed you’re currently driving as well as the speed limit. The device also gives you advance notice of upcoming turns or lane changes.
Built-in alerts keep you aware of school zones, upcoming sharp turns, traffic delays and various other traffic-related items. There’s even a fatigue warning that reminds you to stop and take a break from driving if you’ve been going for a while.
The car GPS has millions of preloaded points of interest, including gas stations, restaurants, hotels and other public places. You can also input some of your own favorite locations, such as your home, work or a friend’s house. If you’re planning a lengthy road trip and want to visit multiple destinations along the way, the device can handle it. Once you get each destination plugged in – or even if you add one on the fly – the system automatically creates the most efficient route possible and guides you to each stop.
This car GPS was a pleasure to use during our testing and, as such, earned the highest rating in our ease of use scoring. It was a cinch to set up and get installed in our car, and with its intuitive interface guiding us through the process, we never needed any additional instructions or assistance. The large 6.95-inch capacitive touchscreen, which has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, makes it easy to see the route, upcoming turns, nearby points of interest and myriad other details. Its interface has clearly labeled icons and menus, allowing you to quickly find whatever you’re looking for. The only GPS with a higher resolution is the Rand McNallyOverDryve, which has 1280 x 800 pixels.
If you need to use the device but don’t want to deal with its accompanying charging cords, the internal battery lets you run it cord-free for up to about an hour. It also comes stock with a variety of driver alerts to keep you aware of your surroundings while driving. The unit can pair with additional cameras, like the BC30 Wireless Backup Camera, to help you keep an eye on what’s behind your vehicle, or the BabyCam in-vehicle video baby monitor to give you a view of your kids or pets right on its screen.
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You can easily contact Garmin’s customer service team via phone or email, although there is currently no live chat option available. Despite that, however, there are otherwise an abundance of informational resources available on Garmin’s website. The 61 LMT-S ships with a one-year warranty, which is standard across the car GPS industry.
The Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S has exceptional design, functionality and ease of use. Though the car GPS is one of the priciest devices in our comparison, it easily justifies that price tag with its array of smart features, advanced traffic assistance capabilities and intuitive menus and displays. Its high-definition capacitive touchscreen is easy to view and interact with, and with millions of built-in points of interest, your daily commute or annual cross-country trip will be a cinch.
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