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Garmin Nüvi 50LM GPS Navigator Review

The Garmin Nüvi 50LM GPS is the updated version of the Garmin Nüvi 1450LM.


A couple of weeks back I previously reviewed the Garmin Nuvi 1450 LMT. This time around I am taking a look at the predecessor of that model, the Garmin Nuvi 50LM. Not too much has changed in terms of it's design besides the obvious switch from a silver casing to a glossy black finish. Personally, I like the look of this unit much better compared to the previous 1450 model. The only downfall to this change in color is that it does seem to hold fingerprints more noticeably.  It is important to note that the there are two models offered that differ only by a 4.3″ (40LM) and 5″ screen (50LM). Considering the price at the time this review is being written is only $3 more for the 5 inch model, I don't see any reason to settle for the smaller 4.3″ screen.

The build material is of a high quality and the included windshield mount secures tightly to the GPS with no worry it should fall off while in use. The battery life on this GPS is fairly mediocre since if you were to use it without the charger the average battery life only lasts about 2 hours. In my testing and most of my future use I will be using it in my car therefore I can just attach the provided car charger cable making battery life not an issue. The touchscreen on this model did feel as though it was significantly more responsive especially when using the onscreen keyboard to type in your destination. For anyone who has owned GPS units before you likely have experienced the poor functioning touchscreen that most of them come with and nothing is more frustrating then taking the time typing in a long address because the touchscreen only registers 1 out of 5 touches.

I marked down the features a few notches for several reasons. For starters, it is not an expensive advanced model GPS so it lacks the bluetooth connectivity for handsfree calling or MP3 playback. In comparison to the Nüvi 1450LM I reviewed before, Garmin decided to axe the small assortment of tools found within the menus such as the world clock and the currency & measurement converters. The Garmin Nüvi 50LM does feature the same “lane assist” mode that helps you figure out which lane to be in while traveling on the highway and this feature alone sets it ahead of the other brands of GPS units. To sum it the unit up in terms of features this GPS was made to help give directions on the road and get your to your final destination. Besides that important task, I wouldn't rely on it to be able to help you achieve much more than that.

Since this is the LM version and not the LMT version such as I reviewed with the 1450, you are receiving lifetime maps, but not traffic. If you read my previous review then you will remember that the lifetime traffic was very glitchy and never accurately predicted traffic build ups. So the LM model is all you should need especially considering I do not even see a 50LMT model offered. The lifetime maps allows your to update your maps up to 4 times over the course of each year for no extra cost or hidden fees.

When it came to actual performance on the road it worked very well. The only issue I had was due to my own mistake of not updating the GPS maps right after I opened it. During the two and a half hour drive I took it on, there was only a single time where the GPS messed up due to a newly added rotary where there used to be a four way intersection. So naturally the outdated maps told me to take a left when in fact I needed to follow the rotary to the 3rd exit. Not a huge deal considering I should have remembered to update the maps after I took it for my first road trip. Like most Garmin models this GPS posts the speed limits in the bottom right of the screen along with your speed to keep you from going too fast. In the previous models including the 1450LMT there usually is a bit of a delay(5-15 seconds) in which the speed limits updated when it were to change on the current road you were on. In this case, the Nüvi 50LM was near instantaneous to display the new speed limit. Considering a feature like this could possibly save you a hefty speed ticket in the near future, I was very pleased with this particular feature's performance.

Overall, I think the Garmin 50LM is a great GPS for someone on a budget that doesn't need all the bells and whistles some of the more expensive models include. The device has a large 5″ screen, comes with lifetime maps, and performs flawlessly for what it was designed to do. If you are looking for a GPS in the $200 range or below, then make the Garmin Nüvi 50LM one of your top choices.

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