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Product test: Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav

Simon Charlesworth March 10, 2014 1 Comment on Product test: Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav

Model Garmin Nuvi 50
RRP
£100

Being nominated as a safety and security tester for Tesco Compare – to review this Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav and see how it improves driving safety – I did wonder if they had the right person.

You see, I remember when Sat Navs were new, which is probably why I don’t use one. The ones car manufacturers fitted tended to go wrong at least once every journey – be it freezing or asking you turn left NOW! just when you were going over a bridge. ‘You have arrived at your destination – plummeting to your doom!’
 
The latest generation of Sat Navs though are vastly superior devices. The difference is almost as stark as that between using an iPad versus programming a ZX Spectrum – and this Nuvi 50 from Garmin is a commendably easy thing with which to get to grips. 

Product test: Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav
 
The graphics are legible, clear and unambiguous, the system’s operating system is also pretty instinctive too. Also unlike earlier devices, it only warns the driver of a fixed speed camera site if it is on your side of the road – which is handy because it cuts down on the number of warnings. Its directions too are nicely timed, clear and do not confuse.
 
The downsides? It really needs to be run off the car’s cigarette lighter for any journeys longer than one hour. It annoyingly froze on its first outing. In some places its out-of-the-box speed limit information is years out of date. It refused to work out a route when I opted for the ‘sites of interest’ facility (so far, I’ve only done this once though). The bonger on the speed trap warning device is a bit loud (but this is probably more a moan about the sheer number of speed cameras). Plus the Nuvi 50 can be a bit slow to recalculate your route – in particularly, if you deliberately turn off a motorway, it will do its level best to get your backside back on what it considers to be the main route.
 
Many of these niggles though are endemic of these devices as a whole and are really overshadowed by the perfect timing of the Nuvi 50’s commands, its clear on-screen map and its intuitive ease of use.

Product test: Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav
 Until yesterday, I wasn’t convinced that this system would be safer than using a map and a piece of paper to plan your route – but when negotiating an unfamiliar ring road with absent and/or unclear signage, my mind was changed. Featuring a junction view facility, there was no danger of being in the wrong lane or heading in the wrong direction – which saves juice and removes the risk of being clobbered by someone who has piled into a roundabout with not enough care or attention.
 
Overall then, I’d have to say that this is one of the best sat nav experiences I’ve had and now, I probably won’t have to replace my increasingly battered 2008 road atlas.

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