While there’s lots of sat navs out there, only a few of them are still worthy of a place in your vehicle. Garmin and Navman products some of the best options to get you to where you’re going but which is best? To help you in your search, we’ve compared both of these big brands and assessed them against a range of important criteria including features, alerts and user experience. Use this comparison to find the best sat nav for your travels.
Garmin and Navman are two of the best-known GPS brands out there, and for good reason. They both have a long history of producing innovative, high-quality and reliable products.
Founded in 1989 in the U.S, they have been manufacturing GPS systems for cars since 1998. All of the Garmin Drive models include free map updates for life and from the mid range series up they include life traffic information too.
Founded in 1986 in New Zealand, Navman has a reputation for producing high quality devices that are packed with features. Their products include Bluetooth and text-to-speech technology and tend to be more affordable than Tomtom and Garmin.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of two of the most popular sat nav systems from Garmin and Navman.
|Garmin Drive 51 LM||Navman Cruise550MT|
View at The Good Guys
View at Bing Lee
|Preloaded Aus & NZ Maps?||Yes||Yes|
|Map Updates Included?||Yes||Yes|
|Display||5″ WQVGA resistive touchscreen||5″ smooth glide LCD touchscreen|
|Size & Weight||83.8 x 140 x 20.3mm, 181g||86 x 132 x 16.5mm, 470g|
|Installation||Suction Cup with ball joint||Magnetic windshield mount|
|Preloaded Information||Foursquare PoI and TripAdvisor ratings||Smart Find keyword search|
|Compatibility||Works with Garmin dash cam||Has SD slot and additional USB port|
|Other Features||Wireless smartwatch pairing||Digital Logbook|
|Check Price||Amazon, Catch, eBay, The Good Guys||Amazon, Bing Lee, eBay, The Good Guys|
Both sat navs have 5-inch display screens, both screens are colour and touchscreen. The Garmin display is dual-orientation so you can install it in landscape or portrait. The Drive 51LM uses a WQVGA display with resistive touch while the Cruise 550MT uses a smooth glide LCD touchscreen.
Installation and Compatibility
Both devices are quick and easy to install. The Drive comes with a vehicle power cable and a suction cup mount in the box. This straightforward installation means it takes just a few minutes to get the sat nav up and running.
The Navman comes with a vehicle power cable and a magnetic windshield mount. The windshield mount connects to the windshield using a suction cup and then the sat-nav is held in position using magnets. This makes it easy to remove the screen when not in use.
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Both of the sat nav models are small in size. They both have a screen size of 5 inches but the Cruise 550MT is a larger and heavier unit overall. The Cruise 550MT weighs 470g and measures 86 x 132 x 16.5mm while the Drive 51LM weighs only 181g and measures 83.8 x 140 x 20.3mm. This makes the Garmin a more convenient and portable option although removing and replacing the Navman is smoother and faster thanks to the magnetic mount.
Traffic and travel
If you want to access live traffic updates then the Cruise 550MT is the model to choose but if you want lots of travel information and advice then the Garmin is better suited.
The Navman has a built-in receiver antenna so gets live traffic information. There are two downsides of this model compared to the Drive 51LM. First of all, you cannot set the device to “avoid highways” and secondly, there is no remote trip planning option. However, there is a wide range of features offered including parking assist (find nearby car parks), roadside assist (location pinpoint), and drivers alerts including speed limits and driver fatigue.
The Garmin does not offer real time traffic information but it is packed with route information. The trip planner suggests points of interest with TripAdvisor ratings displayed. Garmin DriveSmart also has Foursquare built-in which is loaded with additional places such as restaurants. This means you can access a wider range of information about the area and destination through the GPS navigation without using Google search or another smart app. When it comes to driver alerts, the Drive 51LM sat nav comes out ahead too. They include dangerous curves, speed camera warnings, speed limit changes, railroad crossings, and animal crossings.
Both sat navs come with Australia and New Zealand maps preloaded. This includes free lifetime map updates so your GPS navigator will always be accurate and up-to-date.
If you require World Maps or maps for new regions (outside of Australia), you can download compatible apps from the manufacturer’s website or by contacting customer support. Downloading additional maps to these devices usually come at a small price and may not include lifetime updates.
Ease of Use
Both devices feature user-friendly, easy-to-read displays. When on the road, both units use landmark guidance so identifiable buildings help to make the route recognisable. The Garmin Drive 51LM has wireless smartwatch pairing and is compatible with a Garmin backup camera. Unfortunately, there is no wi-fi or voice control option. While neither of these sat navs include voice control or built-in wi-fi connectivity, the Cruise 550MT does include Bluetooth. This gives the driver the added benefit of connecting their smartphone and using the sat nav for hands-free calling too.
Both GPS units have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery is a backup power source and the battery life is only around 1 hour. Due to the limited battery life, it is best to use both of these units plugged in.
The Cruise 550MT offers a digital logbook with travel monitoring and reporting. This can be a massive help for expense reporting.
Neither models have a built-in dash cam but the Drive 51LM is compatible with the Garmin dash cameras.
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Choosing Your GPS
Both of these sat navs are feature-rich and great all rounders. We like that both models include landmark guidance that helps to make the route easier and more memorable.
The best GPS device to choose for convenience, Bluetooth connectivity, and traffic updates is the Cruise 550MT. While this model is slightly bulkier than the Drive 51LM it does allow you to connect your phone via Bluetooth so you can access your smartphone messages and phone calls while on the go.
The Garmin Drive 51LM definitely has lots to offer when it comes to routes and traveling. This car GPS gives a huge amount of information including nearby points of interest. The maps even include TripAdvisor reviews so you don’t need to check your smartphone or use Google search to create your trip.