Garmin Nuvi 50 Review

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The Nuvi 50 is essentially a 5-inch touchscreen version of the Nuvi 40LM, but without lifetime map updates. This model works very well, but the 40LM is a better value. If you prefer the larger screen, the Nuvi 50LM includes map updates but costs about $50 more for a new unit or $25 more refurbished.

The Garmin Nuvi 50 is a bare-bones, portable GPS that enjoys a reputation for speed and accuracy. The Garmin Nuvi 50 review by CNET notes that it finds a correct path through the core of a big-city downtown within a few seconds (slightly longer for trips extending out about 50 miles) and quickly locks on to a satellite signal subsequent to the initial boot. The interface is user-friendly, Garmin Nuvi 50 reviews at Best Buy and PC World maintain, with points awarded for an uncluttered 5-inch display with large menu boxes and icons. At Amazon users describe the interface as smooth and say the screen is readable even in the sun; one post simply says the Nuvi 50 is a huge improvement over cell phone GPS. Still, a few minor irritants surface: A heavy hand is needed to key in locations, asserts one review, while some say directions are occasionally off, especially if you've deviated, and slow to arrive.

The 5-inch color touchscreen on the Garmin Nuvi 50 (starting at $80 new/$75 refurbished, Amazon) is a bit larger than most budget GPS systems but comes at the cost of forgoing lifetime map updates and traffic reports. In addition to the usual turn-by-turn directions and spoken street names, this GPS features lane assist with junction view and speed limit alerts and can route you along a path that avoids tolls and highways. The Nuvi 50 includes more than 5 million points of interest (you can add your own) and is preloaded with maps of the lower 48 states (another version features maps of the U.S. and Canada). Screen resolution is the standard 480 x 272, and battery life on the rechargeable lithium-ion battery hits two hours.

Where to buy

Kohl's
$159.99
Shopping.com

The Garmin Nuvi 50 is a good product -- it performs well and can be mastered even by the technically-challenged. It comes with all the critical features and a large screen, and gets you where you want to go. That said, about $50 more for a new unit and $25 more for a refurbished unit gets you the Nuvi 50LM, which offers free lifetime map updates and traffic reports. The Nuvi 40LM provides these two features in a smaller package and costs about the same as the Nuvi 50. Your choice.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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