Garmin DriveAssist 51

7.5 score
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Editor rating: 7.5 / 10
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Garmin DriveAssist 51 Review Facts

Surely there are plenty of people who think that GPS systems are completely unnecessary. We do have our smartphones, after all, which are portals to an entire world of information. They have highly accurate maps that allow us to see exactly where we are going. However, most states and countries have laws that prohibit the use of smart devices while driving. So having one visible on your dashboard- even if you’re not using it to text or call- could leave to dire legal consequences. So GPS navigators don’t seem to be all that useless after all.

The Garmin DriveAssist 51 is a great option for those who want something that is simple, small, and portable. With a display screen of only 5 inches, this product isn’t going to take up that much room in your car and you will easily be able to take it with you wherever you go. Despite the fact that it does have such a small screen, you will be able to easily see what it says. There are plenty of other interesting features, too, such as Bluetooth, live traffic alerts, and more. So let’s delve deeper into all the Garmin DriveAssist 51 has to offer and whether or not it’s something worth purchasing.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Has a small and portable design

Has detailed and up-to-date maps of North America

Sends live traffic and parking alerts

Allows for hands-free calling with Bluetooth

Includes high-quality bracket mount

Has smart notifications and voice control


It is a bit expensive

The battery life lasts 30 minutes

Does not always give accurate directions

Basic Features

For one, the Garmin DriveAssist 51 offers many of the same features that a regular GPS device would. It provides you with up-to-date maps of the North American continent (if you live in Europe, it does not seem like this Garmin product has maps of Europe, but there are other options offered by the brand that do).

It has a nice, small screen, but the screen has a large enough font for you to be able to see the screen clearly. Perhaps the biggest selling point of this device is the fact that it is so small and portable, so if you need to take it with you elsewhere, it will be very easy for you to do so.

The GPS navigator offers maps of North America, and these maps update constantly for you to always have the opportunity to have updated maps. You can easily attach this device to your dashboard using a high-quality bracket mount and suction cup.

Advanced Features

While this product is lauded as being somewhat simplistic, there are some more advanced features that it has to offer.

For one, you will get live updates when you encounter any obstacles on the road, such as when you’re driving too close to another car, forward collision alerts, lane departure warnings, and alerts for parking and traffic. These can all help you drive more safely and to know precisely what the situation is like where you want to go.

You also will be able to check out some interesting sites, restaurants, gas stations, and more in your location using the TripAdvisor feature. This is especially helpful if you plan on going someplace you’re unfamiliar with, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost.

It also allows you to connect your phone using Bluetooth, which allows you to be able to receive smart notifications for social media and such, and you also will be able to make phone calls without any problems. The device has built-in WiFi, too, so it’s easy for the device to get a good connection no matter where you are.


It’s extremely important to take note of the durability of such a device. It’s highly likely that this is something you will use just about every day unless you frequently go places that are in familiar routes, so you want to make sure that it will last you for as long as possible. Thankfully, that seems to be the case with this device.

There weren’t too many reviews regarding its durability, but the fact that no one said that it stopped working on them seems to be a good thing. One thing that most people did note was that this product comes with a durable dashboard mount, which means that it will stay sturdy and secure when you place it on your dashboard for use. The device’s system updates constantly for the lifetime of the product so that you can always be up-to-date on where you’re going.


This happens to be one of the smallest GPS systems made by the brand, which makes it a great option for those who don’t want something that will take up too much space on their dashboard. The dimensions are 140 x 84 x 21mm, so you’re certain to appreciate the size of this product.

It also is portable, so if you want to take it with you different places, if you need to put it in your bag, and more, you will definitely be able to do so easily. The small size will allow you to have a better view of the road and decrease the likelihood of you getting distracted. But it is important to keep in mind that this might be a bit inconvenient for you if you have bad eyesight since it’s only 5 inches, but you should be driving with the proper glasses or contact lenses anyways.

As we said above, the display is 5 inches, which is not that large when you compare it to many other options on the market. However, again, this is highly convenient for those who want a more portable and efficient option. Even though the resolution is only 480 x 272, everything is written in a large font, which makes it easier to see. The product itself is black and the screen takes up most of the front side. It has a simple design and a small mount on the back for you to attach it to your dashboard.


The Garmin DriveAssist 51 is easy to set up when you receive it. It’s important to note that you have to have it connected to power, especially since it dies quickly because of the poor battery life. There are large icons on the screen that allow you to plan where you’re going. When you type in an address, it will give you multiple different options on how to get there, so you have the ability to choose the route that suits you best.


While all of these other features are fine and dandy, it seems like the Garmin DriveAssist 51 might be lacking in what is the most important feature of them all- navigation. Most people seemed to be pleased with the fact that it offers voice control, WiFi, it’s touch-responsive, has a nice screen, it’s small and portable, and more. But when you read some of the reviews, a lot of people seem to be saying the same thing- the navigation doesn’t seem to be all that accurate.

One thing that seems to be the general consensus is that it’s not quite the best at finding the fastest route. While this is what GPS systems should be made to do, many people found that the DriveAssist 51 would lead them in circles and even get lost in large cities. Many people also felt that the device gave them repetitive commands and would not give directions in terms of mileage. For example, one individual noted that it would simply tell them to continue going straight, but would not specify how long this needed to happen.

But there are some positive features about this device’s navigation, so this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should feel discouraged. For one, it has TripAdvisor built in, so if you plan on going somewhere that is a bit unfamiliar territory for you, you can easily check out any hotels, restaurants, cafes, or other places of interest using TripAdvisor. Also, if you’re not sure what the address is of the place you’re going to, you can easily look for some points of interest nearby, including gas stations, restaurant chains, and more, so you will be able to get a better picture of where you’re going.

In addition to all of this, the navigator does give you live updates of what the traffic is like where you’re going, and in some cases parking, so you can get a better idea of how long it will take to get there. And the device also will tell you how much time is left.


One feature that many people were pleased with was the mount, or the docking cradle. This feature was extremely easy to use and did not require a lot of effort to figure out. Moreover, you will be able to easily adjust it and move it around as necessary. It’s not difficult to remove from the suction, and you can even do this with one hand. This is essential because it’s possible for your GPS system to obstruct your vision, which would demand that you move it to a more convenient location.

However, many GPS systems have a suction that is hard to move, which may be a good thing because it means it won’t fall, but it can also cause a major inconvenience if you intend to move it. Even though this might cause you to worry about whether or not you are getting a durable product out of the deal, you will be pleasantly surprised about the quality of this mount.


People were quite shocked about the price of this Garmin unit because it does not offer many features and it isn’t necessarily as advanced as some of the other GPS systems made by the same brand. Its retail price is $199.99, but you will be able to find it cheaper on websites like Amazon, where it is available for $149.93 currently.

This still means that you will be able to save and end up getting something at a price that is comparable to other systems of its type, but since the DriveSmart 51 is so small and does not necessarily offer you anything too unique, there were many people who said that they weren’t sure it was priced correctly.

Key Features

Very easy to use and figure out
Has a 5 inch touch display screen
Provides maps of North America that are constantly updated
Includes real-time alerts for traffic and parking
Allows for Bluetooth calling and notifications
It is small and portable
Allows you to see where you’re going with TripAdvisor

Bottom Line

There were some features that left people feeling a bit discouraged with the Garmin DriveAssist 51, particularly the relative lack of accurate navigation and the fact that it has such a short battery life, but there were many features that could add to your personal convenience. For example, the fact that the Garmin DriveAssist 51 is so small and portable will greatly help you out when you want to take it with you places and it will help to not obstruct your view as you drive. It has a clear display so that you will be able to see the screen, even if you don’t have the best eyesight.

It also will provide you alerts of what the situation on the road is like and it constantly updates its maps of North America so you can always have accurate information. You can use additional features such as TripAdvisor so you can know what some interesting places are that you can go to near your location. The device also connects with Bluetooth to allow you to make phone calls hands-free, which is certainly a convenient and helpful feature so you can stay safe on the road and not risk getting caught.

As you can see, there are plenty of interesting features that this product has to offer, so it’s something that is worth looking into if you want a simple GPS navigator. Also, there is a newer model on the market, the Garmin DriveAssist 61, which is also worth checking out.