Garmin DriveSmart Review – 2019 Buyer Guide

Garmin DriveSmart Review

The Garmin DriveSmart is probably my favorite GPS unit of 2019 and comes with a value for money price tag, features that you’re going to use and most importantly, a choice of two models; the 51LMT-S that comes with a 5.0-Inch Capacitive touch display, and the 61LMT-S that comes with a 6.95-inch capacitive touch edge-to-edge display. The edge-to-edge display is new from Garmin and means the actual gps size is not much larger than the smaller 51, but the screen size and therefore your viewing ability is much greater.

Of all the gps units that we have tested this year, the 61LMT-S has that "Wow!" thing and displays good contrast, brightness, and color. Both units come with detailed maps of North America that are continually updated with free lifetime maps, places of interest and essential information for navigation.

Garmin DriveSmart Review

As with all GPS units, the first thing you need to do when buying a new gps unit, is connect it to the Wi-Fi and both update the software and maps. Once this is done, the gps quickly switches on and allows you to enter your destination using the touchscreen.

Maps are fantastic and there is plenty of information to help you get to your destination. The Garmin DriveSmart has a much faster processor than previous models and therefore calculates and recalculates routes faster than any other models on the market at present. The data entry "keyboard" on the Garmin DriveSmart is user friendly and you can toggle between numeric, alphabetic, and special characters as per your requirements.

The menus and displays can be further customized to suit the requirement of the user. You can choose icons amongst the categories, sub-categories, saved searches and even custom Points of Interests. The flexible search function allows you to search from your current location, your route, your destination whilst being constantly informed of nearby services, including restaurants, fuel stations, Gas Stations and ATM's.

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Maps & Directions

Garmin has developed their own “Garmin Real Directions” for the DriveSmart and it’s a much-improved version of previous models. The unit provides “spoken turn-by-turn directions” which makes understanding directions easy. Instead of asking you to take the third left or second exit, the unit speaks direction using recognizable landmarks, buildings and traffic lights.

Driving through difficult interchanges or junction is often very difficult, however the DriveSmart gives you confidence through the voice prompts and images from the “Active Lane Guidance” which uses an inbuilt animated model with brightly colored arrows to show the proper lane for your route.

Bird’s Eye junction view is yet another unique feature offering an overhead detailed view of interchanges while the “Photo Real Function” realistically displays the junctions and interchanges along your route.

Another feature the DriveSmart has up its sleeve to help you with your directions is to show you real road signs as they appear along your route.

The Points of Interest (POI's) database is huge and comes preloaded with thousands of POI's all over the country including, business addresses, stores, restaurants, ATM's and much more. You can customize your Garmin GPS Device to show you what's ahead in your direction of travel automatically or use the device to show you wants in your area.

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With your driving directions taken care of, additional information can be shown on screen if you choose such as the speed limit, your current speed, time of arrival and the name of the road you're on. The DriveSmart also provides driver alerts for sharp curves, speed changes and can even warn you when driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Overall, the DriveSmart is what I chose to to buy this year as a replacement for my out-going gps unit and i love it.  It does exactly what I want, with a price tag that I am happy to pay.

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