Garmin nuvi 52LM Sat Nav Review

This is mostly a cosmetic update to the Garmin nuvi 52LM Sat Nav model the features are very much the same as the older model. The screen and specification are identical just a nicer case, some of the higher end features are missing so don’t expect all the bells and whistles of more expensive models. But it’s certainly decent value for money and a good choice for new users or folks looking for a simple easy to use device.

Garmin nuvi 52LM Sat Nav Review

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As with every Garmin you get the windscreen mount suction pad and the in car power supply/charger

What you get from Garmin Nuvi:

  • Fairly good 5″ LCD screen these have improved a lot over the years it’s not ultra high res (480 x 272) but quite readable in bright light and does the job just fine
  • oute planning is fairly good most of the time, but take note to set the GPS to avoid smaller roads and set the journey time to “quickest time” this helps, like all GPS units I’ve used none are super intelligent but it will get you there
  • You do have speed alerts this displays the current speed limit and you get speed camera alerts
  • Voice technology has improved for Garmin recently it’s not as fluent as Tom Tom but getting better some pronunciations are off, but it’s good enough to know what road you are on and most are fine, street names are spoken so it’s not just a case of turn left next junction you get the road names
  • Lane assist and Junction view, quite handy and fool proof for motorway driving the screen splits in half and the current route on the left hand side, when a lane change is coming up the right part of the screen shows clearly with arrows and signs for the required lane on your route you can’t really go wrong with this and I’ve used it extensively on the M4 (a common route for me) and it was flawless
  • You can add additional points of interests, and you get the “where am I” locator with and information on nearest petrol station and hospitals etc
  • Trip log is included this draws a line on the map showing where you’ve been before and based on some fairly heavy mileage the range is quite a lot (eventually it re-draws the log after a lot of miles)
  • Option to expand storage with micro SD card

What’s missing in Garmin Nuvi:

  • No trip planner this allowed you to set multiple waypoints along a journey not a huge omission being honest more useful for bigger journeys or when you want to visit many locations along a route (you can workaround this simply entering the routes as you need them)
  • Doesn’t have Bluetooth, nor MP3 or audio book playback, or the pedestrian mode… mid level models have this
  • No 3d terrain view or buildings/landmarks (not a huge loss really)
  • No Traffic Trends (which knows the congestion rates at certain times thus avoiding heavy traffic routes) and no My Trends which predicts your route based on previous journeys. You also don’t have multiple route choices as you do on mid level models
  • Not Traffic compatible, even if you buy the add on receiver it won’t work as the GPS doesn’t support it

Garmin quote 2 hours for the battery life, I’ve found that to be a tad optimistic but this is rarely used outside the car

Despite the number of cut down areas the Garmin Nuvi 52LM still has the basics you’d want on a Sat Nav minus a few things which Garmin have decided to keep for the higher priced models, probably the biggest loss is the choice to pick multiple routes for a set destination as it is you’ll get one based on the settings (ie avoid tolls and motorways or non paved roads etc) where as other models I’ve used allow you to cycle through the various routes on offer.

Letting that one point go, overall though it’s a decent enough Sat Nav, but like all models mapping isn’t perfect (some roads in Wales were a bit off due to recent work) and routing isn’t always 100% either you do get the odd trip down a country lane, but it is improving and it’s probably worth going for the lifetime maps if you are a frequent road user (ie for work) if you don’t go with that then you get the “new maps” guarantee which allows you to download the most up to date map.

Probably the best part of a GPS is when you take a wrong turn, it will re-route you fairly quickly to correct that, esp useful if you are driving in an area you are not overly familiar with. Even without that having an on screen rolling map is also extremely handy and I use this a lot just to have the layout ahead right on screen. Once you dip your toes into the GPS water even at this level it’s hard to go back to not having one or using the old paper map method.

Really despite some niggles and missing bits, you can’t really complain too much basic or not these devices cost quite a lot 10 years ago and they’ve improved hugely in accuracy, routing and speed of use. If you want the additional extras I’d look at some of the mid level models in the range, otherwise this is a good buy.

We gave the Garmin nuvi 52LM Sat Nav 3 Stars Tech Review

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