Garmin DriveSmart 50 VS 51

Garmin is a very popular brand of GPS devices and you can find so many options to choose from such as Garmin DriveSmart 50 Vs 51. These devices are very convenient and easy to use but they are also too similar to each other. You can navigate around with them as they can show you the route to a destination. Both will work very well with some slight difference and if you wonder what, let’s see the comparison below.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • How GPS Navigation Works
  • What are Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51
  • How are the Design of Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51
  • How are the Navigation with Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51
  • What else Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 can offer
  • How are the Traffic Function in Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51
  • Garmin DriveSmart 50 Vs 51

GPS Navigation

As active people, we move a lot and we travel for various purposes. With the growing society and more complex roads, it becomes easy to get lost, even in your own city. This is a personal experience because we have been there lots of times when trying to find an address of a friend’s or relative’s home. Yes the phone is very useful but without a clear direction, driving across unfamiliar areas will often lead you to confusion. Thankfully, we now have GPS that is free to use by everyone.

The smartphone comes with one already so we don’t need to buy additional devices but if you are often driving and need a navigation system, buying a GPS device such as Garmin DriveSmart 51 Vs TomTom Go 520 will be more ideal. GPS itself is a Global Positioning System and is a satellite based navigation which is made up of at least 25 satellites. They are working in any conditions and anywhere all around the world for 24 hours a day and are free to use without charge.

It is owned by the US since the Department of Defense was the one who initially put the satellites into orbit for military use back then but they started to be available for civilians starting the 1980s. Since it is satellite based, they rely on them for providing the information. The GPS satellites are circling the earth twice a day in a precise orbit with each satellite having their own unique signal and orbital parameters to allow GPS devices to decode and compute their location.

GPS devices such as those we use in cars receive and translate this information to calculate its user’s exact location. At its core, the GPS receiver is measuring distances to each satellite based on the amount of time it takes to receive a transmitted signal and so, with distance measurements from a few more satellites, the device will be able to tell its user’s position and display it automatically. This is why we can see the route or travel distance, the map of the golf course, etc.

 Garmin DriveSmart 5051
Product Dimensions 5.5 x 0.7 x 3.3 inches6.54 x 6.5 x 3.62 inches
Item Weight 8 ounces
14 ounces
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To do this, at least a GPS device such as your smartwatch needs to be locked on to the signal of at least 3 satellites and with 4 or more satellites in view, the device can even show you the 3D-position with latitude, longitude, and altitude. In general, the device will be able to track 8 satellites but it is highly dependent on the time of the day or where you are on the earth.

About Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51

There are lots of GPS receivers or GPS devices out there based on what they are made for, whether it is to count your distance while running, to track your dog’s whereabouts when bringing them outside, or to help you navigate around the city and while traveling. If your car doesn’t have a built-in GPS system yet, we can just use a dedicated device since many of them are very affordable. They are extremely useful for people who often travel or need to find unfamiliar addresses or destinations.

Not only for basic navigation, GPS devices can provide traffic related information too so we can travel more effectively. Among those many companies, Garmin is always one of the best choices to consider if you are currently looking for a reliable device. We do think some of us can just use the GPS in their smartphone because it is also useful but this function often drains the battery fast so if you often use the navigation, it is best to get a dedicated device.

Just like most companies, Garmin carries so many options to consider based on which seems to work best for you. There are plenty of similar options too which can be quite confusing such as Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 that not only sound identical but also come with very similar features and ability. As you can guess, these GPS devices are close models and DS 51 is the newer variant so we expect to see some upgrades or new features in the model.

What sets the two apart is not the navigation but as an upgraded navigation, DS 51 comes with new features as well. We do think it is not necessary for most people since the overall function is the same but it surely adds some convenience depending on how you prefer the device to work. In comparison, we can connect both Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 to our smartphone but the latter is more dependent on this connectivity compared to the previous device. 

Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 Design 

As basic models there are not many interesting things about the look of the two and as you can see, they are identical. Both housings are made of plastic and they are at the same dimensions or 5.5- inches wide, 3.3 inches tall, and 0.7 inches thick. The screen itself is only 4.4 inches wide or 5 inches diagonally with a pixel count of 480 x 272 pixels. It is enough for just showing you the map or information but they are not as crisp as typical smartphones.

These GPS is battery powered so you will get the cord to power the device but we are unsure whether it is replaceable when necessary. They also come with a dedicated mount and most of us are probably installing them behind the windshield or on the dashboard. This is a perfect solution for the visibility and we do think the unit’s dimension itself is just fine to not harm your view of the road. Additionally, they have a USB port too when you want to connect them to the computer.

Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 Navigation 

Now for the most important part, let’s see what Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 can offer starting from the navigation and as it has been mentioned above, they are the same GPS devices with the same ability. You can load lots of navigation features from the two with their built-in map and free upgrade. You can just enter the name of your destination or the address if they can’t be found by the device. It is a very easy system with a comfortable user interface.

They will display where you are and the spot you need to go just like most mapping on GPS devices. Your device will show related information too along the travel distance such as important spots that you may want to stop by like gas stations or restaurants. If you are driving to a tourist or recreational city, there is this TripAdvisor feature on both that will show you the important and popular places in the city such as hotels, restaurants, attractions, and of course the route.


Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 Features

As for the additional features, your Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 will be similar as well. We can connect your smartphone to these devices too and since we need to pay attention to the road while driving, test messages and calls will be shown on your GPS device so we don’t have to pick up the phone to see them. They will read your navigation and we can concentrate on the road. Both can do Bluetooth calling and showing you the speed limit for major roads.

Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 Traffic Information

What sets Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 apart from each other is their traffic system. As many already know, to get traffic information a GPS device may need an additional accessory or antenna and they usually come with the device. In DS 50, this system is built in the receiver already so we don’t need the additional accessory that may be necessary for other receivers. This feature only works when you put the power cord on however.

On the other hand, the DS 51 is said to be an upgraded, newer version of the DS 50 with Wi-Fi and phone connectivity. We can connect the DS 50 to your phone as well but since the DS 51 doesn’t have the traffic accessory, it is dependent on the smartphone to receive traffic information as well as the other features from the app.

Garmin DriveSmart 50 Vs 51

Both Garmin DriveSmart 50 and 51 are very similar options with the same capabilities. You can navigate just the same with any of the two since they are based on the same system and all of the features are also similar as well. You can connect them to the phone for more features from the app but to use traffic we need to connect DS 51 to the phone while DS 50 only requires you to connect the power cord.

- Choice of Route Setup:With this fun and innovative feature you can customize your travel experience. Easily setup your route on the basis of time, distance or scenery
- Custom POIs:With the custom POI's function you can add additional points of interest to your GPS internal memory
- Lane Assist w/ Junction View:The Lane Assist feature on Garmin GPS systems guides you to your correct lane when approaching a turn or exit
- Millions of Points of Interest:Pre-programmed POIs make it easy to find gas stations, restaurants, ATMs, coffee and more. Search by name or category near your position or near any city.
- Easy-to-use dedicated GPS navigator with bright 5.0-inch dual-orientation display
- Preloaded with lifetime maps of the U.S.
- Provides real-time services such as live traffic and live parking
- Driver alerts for dangerous curves, speed changes, speed cameras, railroad crossings, animal crossings and more


The choice is all yours because there is no bad option here and since both can be connected to their app, we will get much more features too. We do recommend any of the two that seems to work best in your type of application or currently cheaper.