Garmin DriveSmart 61 VS 65

Garmin is one of the most popular GPS devices that you can opt for when navigating. They carry more than plenty of options to consider such as Garmin DriveSmart 61 Vs 65 that are both reliable and easy to use. As different models however, they are not going to be identical and so, we have to consider the choice wisely. If you also wonder which of them will be the better option, let’s see below about what they can offer.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • Which GPS Device to Buy
  • What are Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65
  • How are the Design of Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65
  • How are the Interface of Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65
  • How are the Features in Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65
  • How are the Experience with Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65
  • Garmin DriveSmart 61 Vs 65

GPS Device for Car

In modern days we are traveling everywhere and while most of them are around where you live, there are also times when we need to visit a new place or navigate in an area that we are not familiar with yet. In the past people relied on the printed or hard copy of a map for the area or city but today we can just open the app on a smartphone and let them guide you to the destination. GPS systems indeed become very useful after it is available for mass use.

You can find them easily built-in on most smartphones but if you will often use them while driving, it is best to get something that is more reliable. There are more than plenty of good GPS devices to use depending on which seems more useful in your type of application or just personal preference. There are those ideal for car use, marine use, motorcycle use, and golf. All of them are based on the same system but may show you different information, especially for marine and golf use.

When it comes to GPS devices, you may want to check what they can offer first just to see whether the device is useful or less. POI is always the most important feature because point-of-interest contains the popular locations around your area like airports, restaurants, shopping centers, hospitals, etc. This is a must have for those who are going to travel or navigate in an unfamiliar territory so we can find these important facilities easier. 

Next is don’t forget about the screen size because they are also available in a wide range of form factors that directly affect the experience. Of course not all of us will be happy with an easy to read and easy to look large display on the dashboard since they will harm your view. For those who need something compact, a typical 3.5 inches option will be just fine but if you find it difficult to read, especially with aging eyes, it is nice to get something at least 5 inches diagonally or larger if needed.

For most GPS, they will be able to send audio cues about your navigation in order to let us focus more on the driving. In some models they can even be connected to your smartphone to show notifications including reading the text messages. Additionally, a feature that will be very useful is traffic updates to deliver you real-time information about the traffic in your driving route so we can choose the less packed road to travel effectively.

 Garmin DriveSmart 6165
Product Dimensions 6.8 x 0.7 x 3.9 inches
6.8 x 0.7 x 3.9 inches
Item Weight 1 pounds
8.5 ounces
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About Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65

Most cars probably don’t have a GPS system built-in yet so a standalone GPS device is still very common nowadays. They are not cheap but will be extremely useful for those who often drive in an unfamiliar condition or area. The difference between one model to another is often the features including their connectivity. In general, you can always choose based on what they can offer and what you will need in the application because not everyone will be happy with the same option.

In the era of smartphone being so capable it is quite surprising to see companies still making GPS devices but while the Google Maps is already very reliable and useful, do note that it also drain our battery fast and this is why having something like Garmin GPS in the car will be more ideal if you often use this function. This company is very popular for their wide range of devices and we can always rely on them when it comes to ease of use even though they carry so many similar products too.

They may not be exactly identical to each other but in many cases they come with the same set of functionalities such as Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65. These two are very similar to each other for what they can offer and the easy way to say it is that DS 61 is an older variant of the DS 65 so as expected the latter is more expensive. There seems to be some upgrades as well on the unit but they are not majors.

In comparison, you can see both Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 are coming with the same quality including their large screen which is great for users who find it difficult to read on a small display. The two can show you all the basic features and they are connected to the traffic as well as your smartphone. More than GPS, the two can be used as a dash camera too with an additional camera that we can purchase separately.

Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 Design 

Before getting into what the Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 can offer, let’s check out the unit first. They are pretty much the same and physically there is no noticeable difference between the two. We do like that these devices have an ample amount of screen to show you the information, measured at 6 inches wide or 6.9 inches diagonally. Apparently the resolution is still the same which is 1024 x 600 pixels so the image quality stays the same too.

It is a typical touch-screen with multi-color display to show you various information. They are easy to read but under sunlight or bright conditions they produce reflection. As expected, they are running on a battery which is claimed to be up to 1 hours and we found that it is pretty accurate. In the box you will get the main device, a cup mount, traffic receiver or power cable, USB cable, and documentation. Read also: Garmin DriveSmart 50 Vs 51 here.

Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 Interface

Now for the most important, let’s see what the Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 can offer starting from the navigation and ease of use. The interface is still very simple so if you have the DS 61, the new one will be mostly the same. You can start entering the address by pressing a magnifying icon or just put the name of the building or place. When the information you look for is not available, we can use the detailed information with road names and numbers.

Another method to find an address is from your phone because both of them are compatible with the Garmin smartphone app yet, the DS 65 is also compatible with the new app. Using Google Maps API we can send the address to the GPS device and this method sometimes can be even faster than using the address option we have mentioned earlier. Overall the differences we see are on some icons and interface that is just slightly improved.

Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 Features

We do think what set the Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 apart from each other is the ability to have the built-in traffic which is available for the DS 65. Just like many other Garmin older GPS devices, traffic is a very important feature to show you the live condition of your route and while this feature is only available in big cities and main roads for most of the time, it is still useful. To use this function in DS 61, we need to attach the receiver which is the power cord itself.

For all of the basic features the two are identical including the additional memory card slot, built-in maps that can be upgraded, the same 16GB internal storage, and an option to add a backup camera. Additionally you can find Bluetooth connectivity to your phone, speed limit indicators for main roads, and alerts for the driver for school zones, red light, speed camera warning, etc.

Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 Experience 

Lastly for the experience, it is slightly different between Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 yet all the functions are the same. We do think besides the built-in traffic receiver DS 65 also coming with new or additional points of interest because you can find more information and building names around the area. Performance wise we also like the DS 65 because it is more reliable and it seems some users also find the older DS 61 to crash often.

Garmin DriveSmart 61 Vs 65

Both Garmin DriveSmart 61 and 65 are good options based on what they can offer but in comparison they are not exactly the same. The noticeable difference is only the built-in traffic feature so we don’t need to always plug the power cord to use it in DS 65. The interface is also renewed slightly on the new GPS device and it is used with the new Garmin app so in terms of information the DS 65 will be a richer option.

- Stay connected behind the wheel with Garmin DriveSmart, the navigator that features a collection of smart features in addition to helpful driver alerts and easy-to-follow directions.
- When you sync your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to Garmin DriveSmart, you get great features that let you stay connected without taking your hands off the wheel.
- To encourage safer driving and increase situational awareness, Garmin DriveSmart provides driver alerts for sharp curves, speed changes, railroad crossings and animal crossings.
- When you pair this navigator with your compatible Garmin smartwatch (sold separately), you can receive navigation right on your wrist, even after you've parked your car and are walking toward your destination.
- Easy to use 6.95” GPS navigator
- Simple menus and bright, easy to see maps
- Garmin Traffic suggests alternate routes. Backup camera compatible-yes (BC 30 or BC 40)
- Voice activated and ability to pair with a compatible smartphone for hands free calling


There is no bad device between the two for how reliable and useful they are but, you can get the DriveSmart 65 often at a lower price point these days and thus we recommend choosing this variant both for the price and upgrades.