Having reviewed the amazing ‘Dash Nav Cam’ that is the DriveAssist 50 we thought we best check out its little brother, the DriveSmart 50.
Coming in at £159.99 from Halfords, the DriveSmart 50 is a whopping £120 cheaper than the DriveAssist model.
It’s all very no frills with the Garmin, you get the basics that will get you going. That includes a USB to Mini USB data cable, the unit itself and the car charger.
Annoyingly, you cannot replace this car charging cable with any old Micro USB jobbie as it has the DAB traffic aerial built into it. It also means you’re power socket is filled entirely by the sat nav. Why they can’t add an additional 5V USB port onto it I do not know.
Garmin have uniformity across its range these days. You get a glossy 5 inch screen with a slim bezel all the way round, it’s roughly as deep as your average mobile phone and has slots on the rear for a MicroSD card and a Mini USB cable.
The power button is found on the top right at the back and there is a large speaker situated in the bottom left. A small hole for the microphone sits on the bezel up front.
With its bright screen the Garmin maps are easy on the eye. It may not be the highest resolution, but it’s clear and shows you all the necessary information in a well laid out manner.
You can use the Garmin as a handsfree via Bluetooth which is now a given on most Navs, but you can also use your phones data connection. Simply downloading the Smartphone Link app on either App Store enables you to see your route on your phone, send a new route to the Garmin and receive numerous notifications on the sat nav allowing you to stay totally handsfree.
You can also use voice commands through the sat nav to send texts, emails, find destinations etc.
There are a number of different add-ons you can buy for the Garmin, a wireless baby camera, another reversing cam, along with numerous in built apps that can be installed when linking to your smartphone.
As standard you do get some rather odd alerts on the Garmins. One of them is animal crossings…few and far between in this country, the other is for bends. Some of these bends can be really gentile and sweeping, not sure why I need to be alerted of those. Thankfully they can be turned off easily within the Alerts menu.
You don’t get lifetime speed camera updates which is a shame, but you can opt for a £16.99 a year subscription to keep these updated. The maps are updated for life, and over the time we had our Garmin there were two full map updates downloaded via the desktop software.
With regard to the desktop software, it’s a little glitchy. You cannot download any new vehicles, voices or bundle. The menus are there but they just don’t load…fix it Garmin!
All the menus on the device are really nippy, you can zip between them with no lag or delay, in fact the whole device feels very nimble. It picks up location quickly and calculates a route with about 20 seconds or so.
Due to the screen being capacitive you get the – now default – pinch to zoom function which works pretty smoothly and is easy to use on the go.
It would be handy if the font size and menus could be reduced, as in some menus it can all get a little cluttered which means a lot of scrolling.
Halfords have some really good prices at the moment, in fact they are the cheapest on the high street. So if you want one in your mitts right away, look no further.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter