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[Review] Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT

Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT 4

GPS navigation devices are still one of the more popular devices in the car today despite having your smartphone with you. Most people prefer GPS navigation devices because they don’t have to take their phone out of their pocket, or they don’t have data to access Google Maps. Yes there are some offline choices available such as HERE Maps too, but having a device that can stay in one place in the car for the duration of your time with your car is a huge bonus.

Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT 5
Garmin DriveAssist Dash Cam and windscreen suction mount

The Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT has a 5.0″ display with a built-in dash cam that continuously records your drive and saves video on impact. It is a pretty lightweight and slim device too so if you did want to take it with you, or hide it in your glovebox during those supermarket trips in case someone steals it, it’s very easy to slip off its windscreen suction mount too.

Garmin DriveAssist Dash Cam
Built-in Dash Cam

Lots of juicy features come with the Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT device, not to mention free lifetime map updates and free lifetime traffic updates for the duration of your Garmin! Traffic updates require the use of a traffic antenna which is part of the vehicle power cable included with the device.

Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Traffic is Moving ahead all come on the Garmin DriveAssist. These are features that predominantly come as standard or on a higher model on new vehicles these days. Smart features including Bluetooth Hands-Free Calling, Smartphone notifications and voice-activated navigation are also on the Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT. Bluetooth calling works directly on the speaker of the Garmin DriveAssist, which was a nice touch.

Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT 7

By syncing a Bluetooth-enabled device, such as your smartphone, to the Garmin DriveAssist, you are enabled for hands-free calling, and smart notifications on your Garmin DriveAssist display. You can receive calls, text messages and calendar reminders without ever removing your hands from the steering wheel to reach for your phone. This enables you to stay focused on your drive ahead while staying connected with customizable smart notifications that conveniently appear right on your navigation display.

Garmin DriveAssist Real Vision

I’m sure a lot of you have also been down the street you’re looking for, then slowing down all the traffic behind you (if any) in search of that “21B” house. The Garmin DriveAssist has a Real Vision feature which switches to the camera when you’re close to your destination, and an arrow will show you which house it is.

Garmin DriveAssist notifies you when you’re driving the wrong way on a one-way street and sends warnings for nearby school zones. You’ll also receive alerts for nearby red light and speed cameras, and receive alerts for sudden halts in traffic with upcoming traffic jam warning.  For longer drives, a fatigue warning suggests break times and potential rest areas after hours of driving. Other safety features include alerts for sharp curves, speed changes, railroad crossings, animal crossings and more. The Up Ahead feature lets you easily see places up ahead and milestones along your route, without leaving the map view.

I’ve tried GPS navigation devices before such as TomTom, Navman and even an older Garmin unit, and I had never been that impressed with them especially their lack of features. The Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT is the GPS that has changed my mind, because of the added features and safety features such as Lane Departure warning and so on.

Garmin DriveAssist Incoming Call
Garmin DriveAssist Incoming Call

The Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT is very smooth to operate. There is literally no lag when switching between screens, clicking on icons, and scrolling through menus. It is easy to see in daytime (you can adjust to the max brightness) and not too reflective on the windscreen at night, provided you turn down the brightness. I have set the Day/Night mode to Auto, but haven’t been able to see a difference yet. Will investigate this further.

What most GPS devices used to lack in was the ability to be “friendly”. What I mean by this is that the GPS was very straight-forward in saying street directions. The Garmin DriveAssist changes that by speaking to you like a friend would do when giving out directions, but more accurately. For example, it can say: “Turn right after the red building”. It’s preloaded with millions more new and popular places, thanks to Foursquare.

Search is also improved, with its ability to be able to guess what you actually meant if you have a spelling mistake, or even search for nearby “pizza”, “starbucks” shops.

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By saying a hot-word, you are also able to talk to your Garmin DriveAssist without taking your hands off the wheel.

Garmin Wireless Backup Camera Installation 13

Thanks to Garmin, I was also given a Garmin BC30 Wireless Backup Camera (sold separately) to pair it with the Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT. I managed to install it this long weekend on a 2001 Mazda Familia sedan. Read this post to find out more about my installation and the camera.

Overall the Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT has certainly changed my thinking of what I thought was almost becoming defunct, the GPS navigation system. The DriveAssist has a tonne of features ranging from Bluetooth hands-free calling to Lane Departure Warning through its built in dash-cam, which also continues recording what’s ahead of you. Also, with Lifetime Maps and Traffic (Not a lot of GPS providers offer this), you really are sorted for your future drives!

For more information, watch the video below or visit this site: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-road/automotive/garmin-driveassist-50lmt/prod524703.html