I used to know the back routes of Johannesburg like the back of my hand. Sadly, back home after 15 years, this is no longer the case. Large industrial and suburban developments have sprung up, blocking old favourite shortcuts. Street names have changed. And familiar landmarks? Gone. Nearly every one obliterated by something new. So when I was offered Garmin’s new DriveLuxe 50 LMT GPS navigator to play with for a week, I leapt at the opportunity.

garmin-driveluxe50lmthd_hr_0066sideThe DriveLuxe 50 LMT was a pleasure to use right out of the box. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual, it doesn’t need one – its interface is so intuitive to use that anyone familiar with a smartphone will have most, if not all features up and running in a matter of minutes. I was impressed. It looks and feels like a high-end phone, too; large 12.9 cm (diagonal) WVGA colour TFT white backlight display, with a classy black border thrown in to round off the visuals nicely.

Getting into my car, the first thing I noticed was how well the powered magnetic mount worked. The suction cup stuck to my windscreen like a limpid on steroids (fortunately it detached just as easily, too). The magnet is strong enough to click the DriveLuxe 50 into position the moment it got close, removing any need for you to aim or check that its secure. Removing the unit when leaving the vehicle is a snap, literally.

On the road the bright, high-contrast, multi-touch dual-orientation display really came into its own. I could clearly see the map and all accompanying text and alerts, even with bright sunlight streaming into the car. The touchscreen was very responsive. I also appreciated the loud click the unit made every time I pressed a key when punching in addresses, letting me know my input had been accepted.

Speaking of alerts, the DriveLuxe 50 LMT has plenty. I particularly enjoyed the live traffic alerts, which took a lot of the pain driveluxeout of driving in a congested city. And, as they refresh every minute, I could see how long delays were going to take and check out the offered alternate routes. Other warnings include alerts for approaching blind bends, speed changes, railway crossings, fixed speed cameras and more. There’s even a fatigue warning that suggests break times and potential rest areas for when on longer drives.

Active Lane Guidance with voice prompts help you navigate unfamiliar intersections. As you approach, an animated model uses
brightly coloured arrows to indicate your correct lane. Bird’s Eye Junction View provides a detailed view of junctions, looking down as if from overhead. And photoReal Junction View displays junctions, along with the surrounding landscape.

Other cool features include voice-activated navigation, free map and traffic updates for life, Bluetooth connectivity as well as the ability to add the BC 30 wireless backup camera (for reversing) and Garmin’s babyCam (aimed at the back seat).

Damn shame my weeks up, I would really have liked to keep it. – (c) 2016 NavWorld

About The Author

Sean Woods

Originally a photographer for the Star newspaper in the bad old days, Sean Woods turned to writing after the first democratic elections in '94. The career shift paid serious dividends, culminating in him becoming associate editor for Popular Mechanics magazine with a number of technology writing awards under his belt. His interests include anything to do with boats, motorcycles and all those fancy tech gadgets that help the modern world go around.

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