Thursday, 20 February 2014

Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav Review

If there is one thing that I have inherited from my mother, it’s my sense of direction- or lack of.  Despite years spent map reading in the Brownies and orienteering in P.E., reading a map is not my strongest point and for that reason I rely on a sat nav to get me from A to B, particularly when I’m going somewhere new or travelling a long distance.  The sat nav that I am using in my car at the moment is the Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav that I have been trying out as a safety and security tester for Tesco Compare.

When I very first passed my driving test many years ago, Garmin was the first make of sat nav that I had, which was a gift from my dad as he had one of his own that he found invaluable.  Whilst I have used other sat nav brands since, it has been great to go back to my roots with the Garmin Nuvi 50.

What I like the most about this sat nav is that it is incredibly easy to use.  There is no complicated set up; you simply open it up, pop it in your car and go.  Inside the box there is the sat nav itself, a suction cup mount to attach the Nuvi to your windscreen and a vehicle power cable that plugs into the cigarette lighter of your car to power the sat nav.  Other accessories are available but everything you need to get up and running is in the box.


The sat nav itself is a sleek black colour and has a superb 5inch screen which is so easy to see at a glance without needing to take your eyes off the road, meaning that it provides for a less distracting, safer drive.  Whilst the screen is large, the casing around the screen is streamlined so it doesn’t add any unnecessary bulk to the sat nav.  When I go out at night I often take the car with me as I very rarely drink; taxis into town to see a band or comedian can be pretty pricey but at the same time, some venues are very hard to find so a sat nav is an essential to me.  This one is great because once I’ve parked up, I can easily dismount the sat nav and slip it into my bag as it fits into all but the smallest clutches.  For added security, I always take the suction cup and charger lead away from view and lock them in the glove compartment of my car.


The widescreen is brilliant because it gives a really good view of the road and the map ahead which is great for when you’re driving in the dark on a country road because you know where the twists and turns in the road are going to be.  I find this feature invaluable in a sat nav because I’m often driving along rural areas at night and particularly if the visibility is poor, it can make the journey unsafe as there can be lots of sharp bends without street lights.  Speaking of driving at night, I love the way the sat nav screen dims when it gets dark so that there isn’t a glare from the screen shining in your eyes which can make it hard to see the actual road in the dark and be a big distraction.


The sat nav navigation menu is really easy to use thanks to the simple layout with address, go home, points of interest, recently found, favourites and intersection options.  The go home feature enables you to programme your home address into the sat nav so that wherever you are in the country, you can get home at the touch of a button without having to input the address again.  The address function is so easy to use with options of either inputting the UK postcode and door number, or working through from city to street name to the number of the building you need.  It also gives you the option of searching for a street name across the whole country which I haven’t seen on other sat navs I’ve used but it is handy to have.  There is also the option of saving different locations to your favourites.  I have done that with places I go to, or will go to, regularly such as friends’ houses, doctor’s surgery, physiotherapist, etc.

The sat nav saves the locations of places you’ve input into the sat nav recently so if you go away for a weekend and are driving about a new area then you don’t need to worry about having to re-enter the details of the hotel you’re staying in, etc.  Another feature that I have found useful when away from home is the ability to search for points of interest nearby, such as restaurants, hotels and petrol stations which saves spending ages driving round and round an unfamiliar place, particularly when low on fuel!  The Nuvi 50 also gives you the option of diverting to a point of interest during a journey as well which is good for if you need to fill up on the way somewhere.

The map that is preloaded onto the Nuvi is for the UK and Republic of Ireland which is all I will need however if you’re someone who travels and drives abroad, then maps are also available for Europe, Mexico and Australia.  I think this is a great idea as driving abroad can be daunting at the best of times so knowing where you’re going and being able to see the route on a sat nav increases confidence and safety when driving in a foreign country.

The map itself is very easy to view on the screen, combining words with the image of the map, without needing to pay much attention to it, making it a safe addition to your car.  It has clearly spoken turn by turn directions too so you don’t even need to look at the sat nav while driving because it explains where to go; it even reads out the street names which I think is very handy, especially when there are lots of little turns in a location.  What I find the most useful is the lane assist feature that tells you which lane to go in and displays upcoming junctions on the screen.  This is so helpful, particularly when you’re on a motorway with lots of lanes and you need to turn off.


I think that this would make a fabulous sat nav for someone who has recently passed their driving test as it is so simple and easy to follow and doesn’t distract you when driving.  It would also be ideally suited to someone who doesn’t drive long distances too often.  That’s because whilst it plans a route well and doesn’t create a distraction when driving, it doesn’t have live traffic updates which are handy particularly when you’re doing a lot of motorway driving and it doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities to sync your mobile phone up with it.  Personally I think that this is a good thing because I think that driving whilst on the phone on loudspeaker through a Bluetooth device can still be dangerous, however I know that there are some people, particularly those who are traveling on long journeys who would benefit from such a feature.

A feature of this sat nav that would benefit everyone is the safety camera warning.  The sat nav tells you your speed compared to the legal speed of the road and if you are in a safety camera zone but it also lets you know when you are approaching a speed camera too.


The Garmin Nuvi 50 as it is great value for money for the quality you get and the safety it provides when driving.  For a budget sat nav, I am very impressed.  You can find out more information about this sat nav and buy one for yourself, here.

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1 comment

  1. I have this sat nav had for xmas present last year its my saviour

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