Garmin Drivesmart 51 VS 52

We love traveling but there are times when you are not familiar with the area so in this case it is best to rely on the GPS or maps if you bring one. The GPS is a very convenient device to help you travel with ease and Garmin Drivesmart 51 Vs 52 are good options among those many similar devices. These GPS monitors are very similar to each other but they are not exactly the same as well so let’s see below about what they can offer.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • What is a GPS Navigation System
  • What are Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52
  • How are the Design of Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52
  • How are the Navigation in Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52
  • What else Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 can offer
  • How are the Experience with Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52
  • Garmin DriveSmart 51 Vs 52

GPS Navigation for Cars

Traveling with the car is fun but just like when using any other vehicle that you operate on your own, we may find it confusing when arriving at a certain area or when going somewhere we are not familiar yet. Thankfully the GPS system is already so advanced that it is easy to find the location or spot that you are not familiar with yet. It is not a perfect system but no one will argue that the technology is very helpful, moreover in modern days.

The GPS system can be built-in your vehicle so we can access it from the monitor or we can add one that is installed like a radar detector or dash cam. They are very similar to your smartphone with a GPS app but since we are only using them for navigation, it will be more reliable, especially without having to drain your main device’s battery. This type of device is an auto GPS navigation so we are always connected and shown on the map.

As you can expect, this device is acting like a receiver of signal from the satellites to calculate where you are on the earth. Typically they will be receiving signals from three satellites as it is the minimum to triangulate the position but, more satellites also means more accuracy. The satellites and signals gathered from your position are pretty much what tells the device to show an exact location where you are currently at. GPS as a term itself is a Global Positioning System based on US-launched satellites.

 Garmin Drivesmart 51 Garmin Drivesmart 51 VS 52
Product Dimensions 0.7 x 6.8 x 3.9 inches
5.5 x 0.8 x 3.3 inches
Item Weight 6.4 ounces
5.7 ounces
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There are also other global navigation systems that may not be as familiar to many ears like Russia with its GLONASS, European Union with its GALILEO, China with BeiDou, Japan with QZSS, and India with IRNSS or NavIC. This is why when you are specifically calling for a GPS device, it will mean that the US-based satellites are what is used in the operation but, the modern GPS receivers are able to use signals from other constellations of satellites as well for a faster positioning.

For those made to be mounted on the car, they will look like a dash cam for most of the time and similar to those we have on the phone, they can tell you where to go by voice navigation in order to help us focus more on the road instead of watching the screen. Depending on the features on your device, many of them may come with some other features such as traffic alerts or acting as dash cameras. We also think the ability to navigate offline is a great feature of GPS devices.

About Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52

It is true that our smartphones are getting smarter and becoming one of the must have and must carry wherever you go because it is just difficult to let it go even while you are sleeping, for the amount of entertainment and activities we can do from the phone. It makes some of us wonder why there are still people buying a dedicated GPS for a car but, as it has been mentioned above, this device lets you use them without the internet.

Smartphones that are connected to the internet and used as GPS navigation will quickly drain the battery and at this point using a dedicated GPS is just much more convenient for drivers as they don’t have to worry about the smartphone longevity. Garmin is always one of the best options when it comes to anything related to GPS. We are mostly familiar with their smartwatch, but you can find dog collars and golf range as well in their collection so GPS devices for cars should not be a surprising thing.

They are also carrying various options to choose from and this can be a bit confusing since typically there are only some slight differences between the similar models such as Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52. These GPS devices are pretty much the same to each other. While the DriveSmart 52 sounds like the higher choice, it is actually the budget model of the 51 or 51 LMT-S. It doesn’t make the latter less-reliable as they are equally useful.

There are some differences in features that you can look for on the Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 but for the ease of use, they are pretty much the same to each other. We love their large display to see when you are navigating but we also like the traffic feature on these GPS devices. In general, the DriveSmart 52 is less capable but since it is sold with Traffic, the two are more equal and useful. Read also: Valvoline High Mileage Vs Full Synthetic here.


Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 Design

Before getting into what the Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 can offer, first let’s take a look at the unit. They are pretty much the same as you can see and side by side the display size is also the same or at 5 inches wide. It may not be massive but should be enough for checking out the traffic in your area or road. The dimensions are also similar but the DriveSmart 52 is slightly thicker.

The display quality is not the best as well especially compared to the DriveSmart 55 so they are less sharp and pleasant. What’s a bit different is that the DriveSmart 51 is already using a dual oriented display which means it can be used in landscape or vertically. To store the data both devices are coming preloaded with the map already or you can add more memory. The whole build quality is the same and they are battery powered too.

Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 Navigation 

Both Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 are good GPS devices so they are going to be very useful but the two are not the same as well. We do think the navigation features are what set the two apart the most and while the basics are present on both options, some of the more advanced features are not available on the DriveSmart 52. As for the basic features you can find Garmin Real Direction, Tripadvisor, and Traffic while on the alert functions we have Lane assist, Speed limit indicator, etc.

What you can’t find on the DriveSmart 52 are the Bluetooth call and voice activation navigation. It is pretty similar to the digital assistant that is in our phone so we can activate certain functions or ask questions but, there is a version of DriveSmart 52 that comes with Alexa as well to give you this functionality so before deciding the option do check the specs first.

Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 Features

What makes the DriveSmart 52 less-smart in our opinion is the lack of wireless connectivity because this version is coming with neither Bluetooth or Wi-Fi which means there is no way to connect it to the app in our smartphone. Since the DriveSmart 51 has the wireless connectivity, it can work with Bluetooth calling, receiving the notifications via app, updating the map and software via Wi-Fi, accessing the live service via app, and using the livetrack app so in general it comes with more features than the 51 model.

Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 Experience 

As for the experience, we do think the Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 are pretty much the same depending on what you will be using on the device. For the basic purpose such as showing you a route to a certain place, the two are going to show the same amount of information too. The screen is large enough to watch your vehicle slowly moving towards the destination and with the Traffic feature we can get the related information handy too.

But, for the live traffic any Garmin device with connectivity to the app will be the better choice for its range of information. What we like the most from DriveSmart 51 is the voice command and its ability to be connected to your smartphone. This feature allows users to interact without having to physically access the device, very suitable while you are paying attention to the road.

Garmin Drivesmart 51 VS 52

Both Garmin DriveSmart 51 and 52 are good options based on which seems to fit in your application or the type of features required in the vehicle. For those who just want a GPS device to show them the direction and some traffic information, the DriveSmart 52 is already a good option but, since the DriveSmart 51 is coming with wireless connectivity, this device will have the richer features based on the smartphone app. It can use voice commands and Bluetooth calls as well.

- Easy-to-use GPS navigator with connected Features and bright 5.0-Inch Capacitive touch display
- Detailed maps of North America with free lifetime updates.Use our bracket mount to secure nüvi to a suction cup mount, portable friction mount or adhesive dashboard mount. Package includes bracket mount only
- Provides real-time services, such as Live traffic and select Live parking, when using free smartphone link app on your compatible smartphone. This USB mass storage device is compatible with Windows XP or newer and Mac OS X 10.4 or later
- Bluetooth calling, smart notifications and voice-activated navigation. Battery life - up to 1 hour
- 5” GPS navigator with traffic alerts
- Easy-to-use 5” GPS navigator includes detailed map updates of the U.S. and Canada
- Simple on-screen menus and bright, easy-to-see maps. Backup camera compatible-yes (BC 30)
- Garmin Traffic is ready to use right out of the box — without use of a smartphone


There is no bad option but our choice can be different. We do recommend DriveSmart 52 for its simplicity and ease of use but if you want something with more bells and whistles like voice command, the DriveSmart 51 is the one to go.