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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 The battery is at the end of its life as it holds a charge for a bit over an hour and the maps are outdated.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 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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VINE VOICEon September 1, 2014
I bought this to replace an old Magellan gps we had, I don't remember the model number because we had it for years and thought it was time to upgrade. I'm really unhappy with the upgrade after our first road trip. Troubles we had:
1. Doesn't realize we're on the road we're supposed to be on, sometimes when we were on a highway it would instead show us on the road next to the highway and start to recalculate, or wouldn't register a turn until after we were already supposed to be turning somewhere else.
2. Lost satellite reception multiple times.
3. Recalculated routes randomly, we would be driving the way it told us and the passenger would look up a few turns ahead, then the route would change for no reason.
4. It literally had us drive in circles in New Haven. Four right turns in a row, after the second time I drove down some random streets so it would just recalculate.
5. When trying to find gas stations it only showed us what was behind us and nothing toward the way we were driving, it did this once with restaurants too. Just weird, I don't want to turn around to get gas, I want something on the way! Other times the POI did work as it was supposed to.
6. It doesn't chime when you're supposed to turn like our old gps did. If there is a setting for this, I have yet to find it. I always liked this because if I missed what the street our gps said to turn at, at least it would chime so I know to turn.
7. Sometimes it tells us 3 or 4 times what turn or exit is coming up, many times we only got one quick warning about a turn/exit.

There are a few other minor things I could list, but I think this is enough. I'm really upset that I bought a new gps (after reading reviews even!) and have so many problems with it.
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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 March 7, 2016
This is an edit of the original review of the Garmin 50LM. I purchased it to help find the way for long trips across Texas. It is worthless for this use. It performs fairly well on short in town trips. The biggest problem is you cannot change the route without basically breaking the route into small pieces. Depending on how many pieces this can be a pain. The routes provided for you are often the exact wrong way to go. Entering the shortest route is a joke. It just gives you some other route that only an idiot would take. As long as your trip is short with no available alternate routes everything is OK. With several alternate routes it will definitely give you the worse one. I rate it as a worthless gadget for my use.
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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 11, 2014
Garmin updated their software updates and as a result the software won't work on thousands of computers (to judge by the number of search results). and the problem is across all versions of windows XP Vista 7 etc.. Their customer service is excellent as far as talking to an intelligent representative who is determined to solve the issues. I went from their first tier software consultants to their second and third with no help and spoke to five different reps in the course of two calls and the better part of a morning.

If you want to order a Garmin product I suggest you first download the free "Garmin Express" software and see if it works with your computer system (at your own risk). Garmin map updater works fine - but is being phased out by Garmin in favor of G Express....

In addition to my problems with the garmin now my scanner won't work either and it relies on the same "Windows net framework" that the garmin uses.

My letter to Garmin:
I've tried to install this software on four computers, three XP boxes,
and one windows 7 Laptop. Two of the XP boxes give me the original
error, the third just won't begin installation (your tech folks are
blaming that on a non-standard windows installation), the Windows 7 box
just locks up the courser and immediately goes to the "windows blue
screen of death," whereupon the computer just totally shuts down AND HAS
NEVER RECOVERED, IT IS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY DEAD - something is
happening with the hard drive but the screen goes dark after the Lenovo
welcome, and it looks like it is in standby!

I tried loading an earlier version of Express and THAT DOES LOAD, but
alas it immediately tries to update and that brings on the error:

"Service 'Garmin Core Update Service' (Garmin Core Update Service)
failed to start. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to start
system services."

Now I've wasted the better part of a day screwing with it, and one of
your techs "Tom" said he's never been able to fix that particular
problem. Searching the web shows a lot of other people with the same
problems with XP Vista and W7 operating systems. I now have a $700
laptop that is dead and needs help and still no way to update the maps.

Needless to say, the Garmin Nuvi is going back to Amazon, and the review
will be as scathing as I can make it without resorting to words Amazon
won't allow....

This has been a very frustrating experience - I pity the pilots and
military that have to deal with Garmin.

AND yes I gave it another try with the scanner uninstalled and neither the Garmin will work nor the scanner after reinstalling the scanner software. Of the two I need the scanner more than the Garmin.
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on November 9, 2014
I have a new 2015 Toyota. The Garmin unit is stuck on top of the $1500 factory navigation system.

I started using automotive navigation systems in 1998. I would estimate I have probably used about 30 different ones. This does not include ones I have used as a pilot. (By the way, if you want THE BEST automotive navigation system, buy a Honda.)

You see, in my view, the Toyota factory navigation system is dangerous. With the Toyota Nav, the PASSENGER cannot enter an address while the vehicle is moving. The voice recognition is terrible. Therefore, with the factory navigation system, additional, and unnecessary maneuvering is required to get the vehicle pulled over and stopped and then back on the road again. With other manufacturers (Honda to name one) Nav systems this is not necessary.

The Garmin nuvi 50LM boots up very fast. It found satellites in about 30 seconds. I intentionally missed some turns, and it recalculated about hundred feet after the missed turn with updated directions.

So far, the routes seem pretty good. In a couple of cases I was traveling to a destination that was on the left side of the road. It had me going around several blocks to avoid a legal left turn. One needs to bear in mind that no navigation system is perfect. My general practice is to "zoom out" all the way and look for anything that is obviously goofy.

The unit comes from the factory in a so-called "Safe Mode". I believe this is something you may want to have enabled for teenagers. Of course, the driver should never program any navigation system while the vehicle is in motion. Make your passenger be the navigator.

Also, the unit comes preset in 3-D mode. 3-D can sometimes be helpful for people who have no sense of direction. However, most experienced drivers will probably prefer 2-D mode, (recommend using "heading up" in 2-D).

It's a shame about the batteries, they are not easily user replaceable. You can find videos on YouTube that will show you how to change the batteries, but it's unlikely that "Suzy Homemaker" will undertake this procedure.

I would like to give this product 5 stars, I am removing one star for the annoying, redundant, obvious, insulting, warning it starts with.
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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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