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on December 18, 2011
I upgraded from a Nuvi 205w, which Ive had for 3 years. The 205w has sure gotten a work out, I work for a large cable company, so I drive all day and the 205w has never failed me as it navigates 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for the past 3 years. The battery is at the end of its life as it holds a charge for a bit over an hour and the maps are outdated. As prices of GPS units are constantly dropping and being offered with lifetime map updates, I couldn't justify updating the maps on the 3 year old unit when for a few dollars more I picked up a new one when it went on sale.
I didn't need all of the bells and whistles like bluetooth, voice activation/voice commands, mp3 player etc. When shopping for a new unit I wasn't convinced that I needed the 5" screen as my old 4.3" unit was mounted next to the rear view mirror and about 22" from my face, and I could read the screen just fine. B*st B*y just happened to have the 50LM version on sale much cheaper than the smaller 40LM, so it was a no brainer. (I picked it up for $117)
After purchasing the unit I had it updated and ready for use in 34 minutes after walking in the house. The update included installing the Web updater, the lifetime map updater, registering the unit, updating the maps and firmware and rebooting the unit twice. Very quick process and everything went absolutely flawless.
After the effortless update process, I took it out to actually navigate, I checked the points of interest, looked up a pizza restaurant across town and it guided me there with zero glitches, hiccups, re-routes or misguided routing. While on the interstate, upon approaching an exit it switches to lane assist and junction view and the exit signs it shows are to-the-letter exact as the actual sign reads. Very impressive.
After getting to my destination I wanted to test the boot time, so I shut the unit completely off and then turned it back on, I did this several times to get an average boot time and was ready to navigate at the "Where To/Show Map" screen in 13 seconds every time I turned it on.
Using the 50LM side-by-side with my 205w they operate very similarly (if you own one you will be right at home with the new one), the 50LM is faster, has smoother map scrolling, has better touch response on the screen and even though the resolution is the same, the 5" screen of the 50LM looks noticeable sharper, and the difference in size is very noticeable. The volume is VERY loud at 100%; you could probably use this in a noisy convertible without problems. One other thing I noticed is the 50LM has very accurate speed zones, if I'm in a 35mph zone and then it switches to 50, the unit updates the on-screen speed zone within a second of physically passing the street sign.
While my 205w workhorse still works perfect after 3 years of constant use, the 2012 units are a very worthy upgrade, especially with lifetime map updates.

***UPDATE 12/23/2011***
After a full week of navigating since my initial purchase, I am happy to report that there have been zero hiccup's, freezes, resets, crashes or faults that I can think of. My unit is in use from 7:30am to 4:00pm everyday and has worked flawlessly, only once has it not found an address, and to its defense the address was a service road within the confines of a gated apartment complex. I cant comment further on the volume level or speech clarity, I have mine muted while driving and just frequently glance at the arrow on the screen for guidance. The screen is really bright and I find that for me, a comfortable adjustment is at 40% brightness in either day or night driving.
Again comparing this with my older 205w, I REALLY like the speed and sensitivity of this touchscreen much better, its almost like texting on an iphone, just light taps whereas the 205w, even after numerous screen calibrations, would take 2-3 taps of certain keys to get them to register. Map scrolling is much smoother and faster also, just swipe your finger across the screen while in 2D mode and the map rolls smoothly, almost too fast at times, I occasionally have to remind myself to scroll slower so as not to overshoot my targeted area.
Just a reminder, this is Garmins base model, no frivolous extra features to make it cumbersome or complicated - it navigates, and it does that task VERY well.

***UPDATE 08/06/2012*** Today my Nuvi50LM had to be replaced. It guided me to my job destination like always, but after my job, I turned the unit on to enter my next jobs address and all I got was a black screen with a faint GARMIN logo, I tried rebooting it several times and never got past the first Logo screen. Luckily I was a few miles from the Best Buy store where I bought it, they happily exchanged it for a new one, no questions asked. The new one already had the newest maps loaded, I just needed to register it online which took about 10 seconds as the website communicator auto-detects the model and serial number. Im hoping the new one works as well as the last one.
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on July 9, 2012
I just bought this from my local Best Buy. I thought the price was great for a Garmin and everything I've heard/read about Garmins was fantastic, so I figured this was a great buy!

PROS:
Screen: The screen is great! Very bright and easy to see without taking your eyes off the road. The windshield attachment works perfectly (don't let the salesguy sucker you into buying a dashboard attachment; you don't need it). Touch screen works like a charm. Very sensitive. As good as my iPhone's touch screen!

Voice: Voice is very clear and easy to understand. What I love about this GPS is that the voice tells you what street you'll be turning onto. I love that because then you know what to look out for and you don't have to keep looking at the screen wondering if you missed your turn or not (that can be very dangerous/distracting while driving!). Plus, let's face it, pretty much every GPS is off by a few feet when telling you where you're turn is in relation to where you are...

Destination: When typing in your destination, the GPS searches for the address as you're typing. At first this annoyed me, but then I found it to be quite helpful. It allows you to plug in your destination faster and get on the go. Very cool feature.

Real View: When on the highway, the GPS shows you a picture of what your exit looks like so you know what to look out for. Kind of like google maps does online. I thought this was pretty cool when it popped up.

Red Lights: While on the road, the device will warn you if there are traffic lights that are camera sensitive. This way you know to stop when the light turns yellow instead of risking going through it and getting a ticket. LOVE IT!

Speed: Device shows the speed limit wherever you are and warns you if you are going over the speed limit. I'm sure there is a way to turn the alarm on so you can hear when you're going over, but I prefer the visual warning (mostly because it's less annoying and I live in Jersey where the speed has no limit ;P).

CONS:

These aren't so much cons for me as they were just quirks that can be easily fixed.

No satellites: The first two times I used this device, I got really frustrated because it would NOT find satellites. I had no idea what was going on and I was really getting angry and ready to return it altogether. However, I realized soon this was due to my own stupidity. READ THE MANUAL!!!!!!! For the first use, you must remain still with the GPS having a clear view of the sky. The manual says wait 3-5 minutes but it actually only takes about a minute to find signal. After that, it takes about ten seconds for every use afterwards. Calculating your route is super quick! Takes about two seconds if that.

Directionally challenged: I held off on getting a GPS for a while because I know my way around pretty well. However I recently got a job where the device seemed necessary. Anyway, I was traveling somewhere and the route that it decided to take me on (albeit still a decent route) was a little bit longer and more convoluted than one I knew. I decided to follow it thinking the GPS must know something I didn't. However, I was correct in thinking to go the route I knew. It ended up taking me on the turnpike and leading me through some pretty heavy traffic. However, this can easily be avoided if you recognize the route it's taking you on and choose to go your way. The GPS will reconfigure to your route in seconds, and you'll be on your merry way. (: If you are not directionally savvy, I recommend you get a different device.

Addresses: Typing in addresses can be kind of annoying because unlike the TomTom interface where it guides you through choosing city, state, street, and street number step by step, Garmin has city and state preset. If you forget to change it ahead of time, don't expect to find your destination. Kind of annoying at first but an easy adjustment to get used to.

All in all, this is a great GPS. Does its job famously. I would definitely recommend this. (:
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on May 31, 2012
My previous GPS (Magellan) also came with "lifetime" map update but after one update which went fine, it refused to do further update. I have dealt with Magellan customer service and after getting no satisfaction to the issue I decided to come back to Garmin.

Nuvi 50 was on sale so it was worthwhile for me to get slightly bigger 5 inch model rather than 4.3 inch model. It is basic in that it has no bluetooth and other "extra" feature that I really have no use for. Aside from "lifetime" map update, it also had one feature that I wanted which is to indicate speed limit of highway and streets. Depending on where you're travelling certain jurisdictions of cities and freeways are nothing but speed trap and often you will not see the posted speed limit sign until you're too late.

For those new into purchasing GPS, I bid you welcome. Good GPS will do a lot to alleviate figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B smoothly and efficiently (usually). However, it is not going to be 100% perfect in execution so I suggest you carry map of the area you are going to travel (just in case GPS fail).

When you open the box, you will find Nuvi 50 with no plastic wrappers. Lift the unit out of box and lift the cardboard box beneath it and you will find, car charger, USB cable, window mount, paper for "Need a dashboard disc?", "Activate your Lifetme Maps", "Important Safety and Product Information", "Free Trial Update Your Safety Camera" and no owner's manual but there is quick start guide that is only apparent if you open the paper showing picturegram of mounting GPS to windshield of car. In it you will find quick-start picturegram so basic I can't believe what length Garmin went to cut cost.

1) Type in Garmin web address on your computer's browser. (Earlier I typed in web address but Amazon did not like it. Don't know why.)

2) Connect GPS using included USB/mini USB cable to your computer

3) Register your Garmin once you open an account.

4) Download updater so that you can get the latest map.

Other reviewers have already noted, be forwarned that update of map will take time. During download of new map, at one point, updater will instruct you to detach GPS from computer and turn the unit on. This is to allow the GPS to load what was already downloaded into the unit.

Once GPS finished loading the update you will be instructed to attach the unit via USB to computer again and continue updating process. Just follow the instruction given and all will be fine.

The actual registering and downloading updater went smoothly for me. The updater will notify if there is any available map update.
Those interested can download owner's manual from Garmin site but this GPS (to me at least) was so easy to operate that I find no need to read it. Still, for those buying their first GPS it might be good idea to peruse the manual.

AC charger is not included and really there is no need to purchase one. Use the supplied USB cable and charge your GPS from your computer.
In actual operation, the GPS worked fine for the most part but compared to my previous Magellan Roadmate 1424 LM, I found that Garmin was slower in doing reroute/recalculating. Whereas Magellan was quick to give revised direction if I deviate from route, I noticed that Garmin was sometimes noticeably slower in giving revised direction; a minor quibble but still noticeable if you have owned another brand GPS.

I will be adding additional update (positive or negative) if there is need to as I have had this unit for few days only and haven't had chance to really give it a go. But for the brief time I have had it is a keeper.

***UPDATE 06/12/12***

It may or may not be an issue but on my nuvi 50, I have determined that reroute feature will not kick in immediately if I deviate from route given by Garmin during the first initial guidance.

Example: I turn on the GPS. I input address or favorite. GPS give first guidance: "Proceed on highlighted route on (street you are driving)."

The way my home street is laid out it is better to take opposite route initially to get to main street where I am heading due to traffic. My old Magellan GPS also gave same guidance initially but it learned to adjust guidance after I deviated a few times. Nuvi 50 seem to be unable to do that (for now).

Magellan also excelled in guessing correct address with few keystroke. I had to type street almost all the way on some addresses on nuvi 50 before it filled the rest of the field.

If you pick different voice some of them will not give street names. However, in the voice setting it will clearly tell you which one of them will give street names or not in parenthesis. I guess this is Garmin's way to save money.

On my old Magellan, it was slow in catching GPS signal during initial power up. By comparison, Nuvi 50 was very fast in catching satellite signal.

Taking into account of what I have so far I find Garming Nuvi 50 to be:

POSITIVE:

- East of operation

- Fast signal capture

- Split screen lane assist (some reviewers did not like it but I like it.)

- Where available will post speed limit

- Accurate guidance (for the most part)

NEGATIVE:

- Reroute slow in some situation (see above)

- Not all voices will give street names

- Although I have latest map update, map still not showing new layout of freeway exit near my place
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on July 14, 2012
This was to be my first GPS and I wanted outstanding performance in a 5 inch screen, but didn't want or need anything fancy (like Bluetooth, etc) but did want lifetime maps. The Garmin nuvi 50LM was the perfect choice and I have not been disappointed. It is easy to use, fast and accurate. The screen is bright with excellent contrast. It is 'turn by turn" and specifically mentions the names of the streets. The default voice is strong and easy tonhear/understand. Overall, the Garmin nuvi 50LM is simple, basic and outstanding. I also bought the "beanbag" mount for the top of the dashboard and it is GREAT!! It makes is so easy to remove the GPS from sight when parked or after use, plus move the Garmin nuvi 50LM from vehicle to vehicle. In my opinion, the Garmin 50LM is the best value for money for basic "no frills" automotive GPS. I am very pleased with the Garmin nuvi 50LM and my choice in buying it. You can be too!!
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on July 10, 2012
I did a lot of research before I bought. This is my first gps navigator. I decided against the comparable TomTom unit because reviewers stated that the TomTom screen wasn't as bright as they'd like and was particularly difficult to see in bright daylight. Reviewers also said that the TomTom audio volume was not loud enough to always hear clearly even at max. My thinking was... when I'm driving down the highway, the number one thing I need from a gps unit (besides accuracy) is to be able to hear it clearly and see the screen clearly... else what good is it to me? If I can't see and hear it clearly, I may be distracted from focusing on my driving and the more distractions the less safe is one's driving and who wants to have to pull over to see/hear the dang gps? Reviewers of the Garmin Nuvi 50 generally said the screen was large enough and bright enough and the audio was plenty loud enough even when the volume was not at highest setting. When I read reviews comparing the 5" screen to even slightly smaller screens, the 5" won out being large enough to accommodate a nice sized view of the map, as well as written content in top, bottom, or side margins.

I find the Nuvi simple, easy, and pretty intuitive to use. It is plenty loud...I never have it on the max setting. It is plenty easy to see on the dash, even in bright sunlight. I like the 3-D style map. I like that it shows the speed limit and the speed I am going.

It does a good job of getting me where I want to go, which is the whole point, of course. Now, I have read reviews where people complain that it doesn't always take the "best" route as judged by an individual familiar with the city/town. Well, people, it's a machine, not a person. It gets me from A to B, mostly on main roads, when B is in unfamiliar territory and that's good enough for me. If I then become familiar with the area and find a short cut to B, fine, but I don't blame the Garmin for not taking me on side roads and back alleys to start with. Frankly, in an unfamiliar city, I would not want the Garmin to route me through side roads, strange neighborhoods, and far off the beaten path, even if it were the shortest route. In some places that would be not even be safe.

Oh, and I wouldn't get any navigator device without the lifetime map updates. It just makes sense.

I love my Garmin. It's a pleasure to use. In fact, my husband bought a cheaper Magellan for a project where he needs the gps coordinates. It actually gets him where he wants to go, but when he checks the coordinates, they are incorrect. Go figure that. The coordinates on my Garmin, however, are spot on. Soooo today he just ordered a Garmin Nuvi like mine. :o)
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on May 9, 2013
I bought the Garmin Nuvi 50LM for my wife for Christmas 2012 as she had mentioned wanting a GPS for trips. I did some research and settled on this make and model because of the positive reviews and lifetime maps. I honestly thought I would never use this thing but she wanted it so I got it for her.

Well, we recently got the chance to test it out on a trip to Maine and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. Margo, as we named her, did a great job getting us to our destination and came in very handy when we took a drive through the backroads and had no idea where we were. I pulled over, entered the number of a house on the road we were on and entered the address for a restaurant we were thinking of going to for dinner and Margo got us there with only one hitch, and I can't blame her for that. There was a small section of street that appeared to have recently been converted to One Way so we just followed the signs and came out where we should have. And Margo never missed a beat. She straightened everything out and gave us directions from the detour to the restaurant without giving us any attitude (no she doesn't say "RECALCULATING...." in that snotty way I've heard some GPSs do.

It turned out to be a good trip. And I have to say the Garmin did really well and I can recommend it highly.

Oh, one more thing. There were times when I didn't know what the speed limit was as I hadn't seen any sign but this unit tells you the speed limit of the road you're on and shows your actual speed at the same time. I found it to be very accurate and believe it saved me from a ticket when the speed limit went from 50mph to 25mph. I slowed down immediately and low and behold there was the local police sitting on the side of the road waiting for some unsuspecting out of stater like me. But Margo saved my butt. She deserves the 5-star rating.
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on November 27, 2013
This is a great GPS, its has take me from Texas to Pennsylvania and back to Arizona.
The only issue is when you get off the highway to get gas, it sometime takes the long way to get back to the highway... I'm not sure why.
This model does not yell "recalculating," when you get off course, it simply recalculates and tells you were to turn.
Sometimes it does take weird routes, taking me in a big loop to get to a shopping mall, when it could have just told me to turn left, but its still the best Garmin has made and we have had 3 models to date. And the price is a long way from the $300 we paid for the first one. I didn't give it five stars, because of the issue with getting me back to the highway but that's no big deal really.
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on December 12, 2011
I own Garmin 265 and it has been great. I purchased this one while it's on sale for my girl friend.

Couple things I like:
- 5" screen. It is easier to see the detail on on the GPS. Saves me perhaps half a second looking at the GPS while driving.
- QWERTY keyboard. Even though I am used to the old alphabetical keyboard, it's just so much convenient and natural for me to type on QWERTY keyboard. Which I believe applies to most people.
- Lane assist. I drive in a relatively rural area so it doesn't help much. But when I go to Florida, or urban area that I am not familiar with, it help A LOT,
- Speed limit indicator. Even though some places it does not show, or does not show the correct speed limit. Generally speaking, it is accurate. If you are speeding, your MPH will turn red, to let you know that you went over speed limit.
- Zip code option for entering the city. Rather than typing the whole city name to search through the whole database. A simple 5 digit zip code will be able to pick up the city of your destination.

Couple things I don't like.
- 5" screen. It's big enough to actually block some view sometimes.
- Keyboard lag. Sometimes you thought you don't press hard enough so the letter doesn't show by press multiple times, turns out to be a lag. Then you need to erase the duplicates, and it lags again so you erase too many characters. This did no happen even in 265, not sure why newer model has this issue?

Other than above things I don't like. It's a great GPS.
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on December 28, 2014
This is the second Garmin (same model) we bought from Amazon. The first was used when traveling with my in-laws to a wedding in up-state New York, where none of us were familiar with the area. Though my father-in-law pretended to ignore it, he came to rely on it after we left Michigan. The real test came when we were expected to attend the wedding rehearsal dinner (which we knew nothing about and it was quite a surprise to us). It was at the groom's parents' house, in a very secluded area and the street signs were not labeled very well. By the time the dinner began, it was already getting dark. Getting from our hotel to the house and back was quite a challenge when one had great difficulty ready the street signs at that time of night. We only had to input the hotel address and the house address and the Garmin directed us straight from point A to point B and back again with no problem (aside from the brief time when he decided to deviate from it). This year, my mother-in-law asked for a GPS for Christmas and my wife & I knew exactly which one we'd get them. Now whenever they decide to go into the 'big city' of Grand Rapids, they can be rest assured of not getting lost.
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on May 4, 2014
This product will definitely get you there. It costs much less than the Garmin nuvi 350 that cost me $278 six years ago. The LCD display is much better, high resolution and helpful at showing the correct path at complex interchanges. And it includes free map updates.

But the navigation is noticeably inferior to the Garmin nuvi 350, or the TomTom XXL 540TM that I bought 4 years ago.

The way I judge efficiency of a GPS is by asking it to navigate local roads that I know very well, to see whether it comes up with the most efficient route. This GPS does poorly with this. For example, when I asked it to take me from my home to a destination seven miles away, and I started taking some back roads, it kept telling me to revert to my original route, even though this would have been substantially slower. In other words, if you deviate from the original route, it just tells you to go back to that route, rather than recalculating and finding the most efficient route from your current position.

Another way of judging a navigator is how well it predicts travel time. In this respect this GPS is seriously deficient. For example, on a recent journey late at night with very light traffic and no obstructions, it started out predicting 19 minutes and ultimately the journey took 26 minutes, even though I was exceeding the speed limit most of the time and there were no holdups. This is what it usually does. My 6 year old GPS, on the other hand, is usually within a minute or two for short trips, and within 3 or 4 minutes for longer journeys in excess of 50 miles. If you are like me, and phone ahead if I am going to be late for an important appointment, this is a real defect.

So, I am giving this product 3 stars, because it is significantly worse at navigating than older navigators that I own, even though it will get you there eventually.

I bought this product because my nuvi 350 maps are increasingly out of date. But I am returning this product and looking for a GPS that is good at recalculating efficiently if I take a wrong turn or deliberately deviate from the initially chosen route.
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