I haven’t used a dedicated GPS unit for a while as most of the time I use my smartphone but sometimes you can’t beat the simplicity of a dedicated device. I was asked to test Garmin’s nuvi 50 by Tesco Compare car insurance, the device has 5 inch touch screen and comes with a solid screen mount and separate USB charger for in the car.
The device feels well-made and it has a nice chucky feel to it. The resistive touch screen is responsive but it takes a bit of time to get used to after using a capacitive touch screen but it works fine. There is a MicroSD slot for adding extra maps to the device but it comes with UK and Europe maps.
The device is easy to use, you can tap the screen and enter a postcode and go straight to a house number. Most of the time you have a postcode so it’s a very quick way to get started. You can also go down the traditional city and street route as well, or scroll through the whole UK street list! You can save address details as favourites and it also remembers recent addresses you have searched for. There is also the large point of interest directory (5 million POI), you can type in the name or search via categories.
Navigation is nice and clear and there is a split screen mode that shows up with lane assistance when you come to lane changes. You can add detours to routes but I couldn’t seem to find a way to build a route plan in advance. I also couldn’t find an easy way to detour if a route was blocked. It also seems to only suggest one route which is based on the fastest route, you can change the options in the settings but it would be better if it offered you a few alternatives during planning. It does re-calculate routes pretty quickly so if you do detour it will catch up without to much of delay.
One downside is there are no traffic alerts (but there is traffic camera alerts) or real time data so its calculations are based on the map data, there are no options to use a phones data connections so it’s totally a standalone device.
The Garmin NUVI50 costs in the range of £65-£95 on Amazon and for a low cost sat nav with a big 5 inch screen is good value.