Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S review, price, and other things you need to know about this product

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Written by Autofot
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Who would have imagined that businesses like Garmin are still producing GPS gadgets more than ten years after the debut of the first iPhone?

Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S review
Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S review

It is, in fact, and has improved significantly during the previous few years. Consider the Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S, which has a ton of capabilities and may cause you to reconsider relying just on your phone for navigation. What is the cost?

But considering it twice is different from going out and purchasing a GPS. Is the $170 (£160/approximately AU$225) price tag on the Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S justified? To find out, we put it to the test.
The Garmin Drive 51 is relatively small and compact when you first take it out of the box, which we thought was a positive thing. For a device of this type, the device’s dimensions of 5.5 x 3.3 x 8 inches (14 x 8.4 x 2 cm) make it comparatively compact.
The device is actually incredibly simple to set up. A base plate for the GPS and a suction cup mount for your windshield or dash are included in the box.

The base plate should be secured to the GPS unit with a suction cup, and the two portions should be connected. The USB cord is then plugged in, and you’re ready to go.
Although the device already has maps loaded on it, it also features a microSD card port in case the internal capacity is insufficient. So, if you wish to upload more maps to the device than your entire continent, you can do so.

The display’s resolution of 480 x 272 pixels isn’t particularly stunning, but with the blocky-text huge icons, it doesn’t really matter.

Although the 5-inch display worked just well for us, those with weak vision might wish to choose the 6-inch model or get used to using voice navigation.

The device’s battery life is only one hour, which isn’t very long. It basically means that you won’t be able to do anything more than local journeys without a battery top-up, thus we would have rather to have a longer battery life.


Once you set the physical device up, you’ll want to set up the software, which basically entails picking your language and area. It’s all quite basic.

Once you go through the few steps necessary to set up the device’s software, you’ll be led to the home page, where you can either check out the live map or search for a destination to route there.

The buttons are good and big, which makes it easy to control the gadget when you’re driving. Of course, we recommend setting up your GPS before you start actually driving.
The search function on the gadget is normally pretty good. You can search both for specific addresses, or sites of interest, in case you don’t happen to have a specific address for your trip.

Garmin does this by pulling from its enormous database, as well as destinations sourced by Foursquare. You’ll also find TripAdvisor ratings, which can help you find the proper restaurants and hotels.

Perhaps the worst part about the user interface is that it feels a little old. Of course, that’s coming from someone who uses Google Maps – a program that’s routinely updated and adjusted.

Still, even after being updated with the current firmware we think Garmin could stand to work a bit on modernizing the design of its software.

From the main page, you can also change the device’s settings. There’s quite a number choices to go through, if you’re so interested, including the kinds of audio notifications you want (school zones, speed alerts, etc.), whether you like to use side roads rather than motorways, and even the layout of the map.


With a few idiosyncrasies, the voice navigation and visual navigation features of the Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S work fairly well together.

We’ll start with visual navigation, which is straightforward and accurate. The system did an excellent job of displaying helpful lane navigation; for example, if there is a fork in the road, it would clearly indicate which lane you should stay in to reach your destination.

The GPS also constantly displays the speed limit and alerts you when you are exceeding it, for instance by turning the “speed” section red.

However, in a time of smart speakers and often used digital assistants, the voice of voice navigation tended to seem a bit dated, like an older version of Siri from 2011. That really does not look good for 2018.
Despite the archaic voice, we still thought the voice navigation was simple.

Instead than simply relying on the street name, it uses elements like traffic lights and landmarks to direct you to your destination. For instance, instead of telling you to turn right on 41st Ave, it will say to “turn right at the lights,” which we found to be quite helpful in locations where we might not be familiar with all the street names.

Downloading and utilizing the GPS with the Garmin Smartphone Link app is highly advised. Without it, we discovered that the GPS frequently sent us along roads that were slower than those suggested by Google Maps.
The GPS suggested a route that would have added an hour to the travel time on a trip from Santa Cruz, California, to Anaheim, California. That is a significant length of time.

The GPS’s live updates aren’t as sophisticated as Google Maps even with the Smartphone Link app, but they should still be somewhat helpful.


Are you a smartphone user? If so, you would be better off conserving your money and purchasing a simple phone mount for your car as opposed to a specialized GPS.

Even so, Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S and other GPS devices are not useless. The Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S is one of the best GPS systems on the market in our opinion if you’re looking for a reasonably advanced GPS system to assist you go from Point A to Point B.

But it doesn’t imply there isn’t anything greater. The Garmin Drive Assist 51, which has a built-in camera for on-dash video recording and for measuring things like lane placement and how far you are from the car in front of you, was another device we had the chance to test out. The extra features, if you don’t mind stretching your budget a little, are valuable, in our opinion.

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About the author


Autofot is a website that blogs on the importance of taking good care of our automobiles. Little things that are ignored matter the most, hence we try to educate car owners and other different auto owners on how to go about taking care of their cars with little or no cost.

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