Garmin DriveSmart 61

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Garmin DriveSmart 61 Review Facts

Getting a satellite navigation system for your car could mean the difference between finding your way to a place and not being able to navigate through the streets. Garmin is a brand that is well-known for the different GPS dash cams that it has to offer, and the DriveSmart 51 was one of the top-rated of its kind on the market, but the DriveSmart 61 takes it to the next level.

Many people who reviewed this product had mostly good things to say about it and its performance. There are quite a lot of advanced and premium features that come with this dashcam, which will provide you with a much more convenient experience on the road. It has WiFi built-in, as well as the ability to make calls with Bluetooth, plenty of driver alerts, live traffic and parking information, and highly-detailed maps. It also comes with an extremely large screen so you won’t have any trouble seeing everything that’s being displayed on the screen.

In this review, we’ll describe the features offered by the Garmin DriveSmart 61 in detail, as well as some of its pros and cons and why so many people consider this product worth purchasing.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Has a stylish and high-quality build

Provides you with constant updates

Connects with WiFi and Bluetooth

Has live reports and driver alerts

Has a large screen for easier use

Provides voice-activated directions

Cons

Has to be charged frequently

It is rather expensive

Basic Features

This GPS offers highly-updated maps of roads all across Europe and the US. Depending on where you live, you will have to make sure that you are getting the right model. But no matter where you need to go, it’s nice to know that you’re going to get a detailed map. Plus, it provides frequent updates because roads change constantly, meaning that you won’t have to worry about trying to navigate your way through the newly constructed roads in your area.

Another great feature that this product has to offer is voice demands. You can say the address that you need to go to without having to input anything by hand, which helps to make sure you’re always going to stay safe on the road. Some people noted that this voice feature isn’t necessarily the most advanced of its kind, but it certainly does the job. And, you can choose to have a text-to-speech feature, which will cause the device to vocally announce where you’re going.

You can also add some custom points of interest, such as your home, workplace, your kids’ schools, or other places you travel to quite frequently. The system allows you to have unlimited options for this, which helps to make this feature even more convenient.

There are also plenty of updated maps for all over the world, including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Make sure that you take care to purchase the correct model according to where you live. But this also increases the device’s convenience because plenty only offers maps for one destination, which significantly limits how it can be used.

To be able to use the product, it comes with a windshield mount that can be attached using the suction cup. You can easily customize the angle you want the product to sit, so you don’t have to worry about it obstructing your vision or being in an awkward spot.

The GPS also has a huge screen that is almost 7 inches large, so you will be able to see all the maps very clearly and easily. It has a backlit display so you can see everything, no matter what kind of lighting situation you’re in. It has a pinch-to-zoom interface, which means that you can make the screen bigger for your own needs.

Advanced Features

Of course, there are also plenty of advanced features that this product has to offer, which makes it easily one of the best GPS systems on the market.

For one, it allows you to connect with Bluetooth and WiFi. The WiFi is built-in, which means that you won’t have to try and connect your device to the computer if you need to update it. Updates can be done on the GPS itself and you won’t even have to take it out of the car. When you get the navigator, you can set it up to recognize your voice, which will allow you to make commands hands-free.

The Bluetooth feature will allow you to sync your smartphone to the GPS. It’s compatible with both Android and iOS, so it doesn’t matter what type of phone you have. This means that you can carry on phone conversations with the use of the GPS’s speaker and microphone without issues. You will receive notifications on the GPS from your phone so you won’t be tempted to check your phone as you drive- which, we’re sure you know, is very dangerous. In order to do this, be sure to download the Garmin Smartphone Link app.

If you are a parent concerned about your teenager or you just want those around you to know that you’re safe, you can select a few contacts to know your vehicle’s location at all times using the LiveTrack feature. In addition to this live feature, the navigator also allows you to be able to view traffic and parking situations in real-time so you can know ahead of time how busy the area you’re going to will be. If you choose to use the Garmin Live Services from the app, you will be able to get updates on gas prices, the weather, and more.

It also comes with live driver alerts, which will let you know about speed limits, school zones, sharp curves, speed cameras, red lights, and other potential hazards while on the road. There is also the possibility of knowing if you’re driving on a one-way street or if you’re driving over the speed limit.

If you’re traveling and on the road, you can also use the navigator to help you out to find hotels or hostels near you using TripAdvisor. And you will be able to check-in using Foursquare when you connect the GPS to your smartphone.

Durability

Although the GPS only weighs 8.57 ounces, it is made out of highly durable materials. There is not much information regarding specific features that make it durable, but most people agreed that this is a product that lasted for a very long time without any problems.

It does have a sturdy screen that won’t get cracked or broken easily and the mount that you will use to attach it to the windshield is also meant to last. You get a 1-year warranty when you purchase this product along with a 60-day money-back guarantee if anything happens to go wrong.

Design

This product has a very sleek and simple design. It might not be what everyone is looking for in a GPS, but it certainly isn’t clunky or overly large. It’s a small, thin product with a screen that basically takes up the entire front side. You get a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, which is perhaps as good as you can get for a GPS like this one.

Some people only said that they had some issues when it came to how bright the screen was, but this also was not much of a problem for other people.

Navigation

One of the best parts of this map is that it offers plenty of maps for almost any location you can think of. No matter where you plan on driving in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, almost all of the Caribbean islands, and anywhere in Europe, this device has maps for everything. Just make sure that you purchase the correct model, i.e., if you live in Europe, get the European model, and if you live in the US, get the American model.

It offers thousands of different up-to-date maps that update constantly, so you won’t have to worry about whether or not using an old address or using a detour will cause you to get lost in an unfamiliar location. And, again, you do have the option of allowing people of your choice to be able to check where you are at any time using the tracking feature, so you can easily get help if you’re lost or in a sticky situation.

The navigation system will also provide you with live updates on what is going on on the road. For example, you can get updates on the traffic in your area and on the parking situation where you intend to go.

Mount

The mount for this product is not anything special. It’s a plastic windscreen mounting system offered by the Garmin brand that attaches to your windshield. This will allow the GPS to remain firmly in place so you can see it clearly, but you also will be able to customize where on the windshield or dashboard you want to place the GPS so that it won’t obstruct your view.

Price

One thing that you should note when it comes to such advanced GPS systems as this one is that they do not come cheap. That’s one of the main areas where quite a lot of people had complaints when it came to this product. Now, considering the fact that you won’t have to get a new one for several years since this Garmin product offers frequent updates is a major plus, but nevertheless, not everyone might be as willing to spend this much on a GPS.

Its retail price is $249.99, but you will be able to find it for a bit cheaper on sites like Amazon, where it is available at $199.99. Again, the fact that this offers such highly-advanced features in comparison to other ones of its type on the market might make it a more attractive option and worth the price. But it’s ultimately up to you whether you are willing to splurge a little bit on a GPS.

Key Features

Has a large and bright display
Provides detailed and updated maps
It updates frequently as roads change
Gives you live updates of traffic and parking
Offers Bluetooth calling and WiFi
It’s extremely easy to use and to configure

Bottom Line

To summarize, the Garmin DriveSmart 61 is easily one of the best GPS systems on the market. Yes, it is a bit more expensive than some of the other options that you might have come across, but it does offer a lot more features than you may have expected. And, it also does have a rather short battery life, which was off-putting for many people.

But as far as its great features go, you will be able to use voice commands, so if you need to have a hands-free experience while driving, this is highly convenient for you. It allows you to make phone calls again hands-free, so you’re going to have a much smoother experience on the road. It also provides you with highly-detailed maps of anywhere you want to go, no matter whether you live in the United States or Europe, so you’ll always know where you’re headed.

Also, it always updates to provide you with the most accurate information because people create new roads and addresses constantly. No one wants to have to purchase new GPS systems every so often because their old one is now outdated. Also, these frequent updates allow you always to have a GPS that works quickly, and that is consistent. If you’re traveling somewhere new and find that you have to stay the night, this GPS also gives you the option of checking out sites like TripAdvisor and Foursquare to see the hotels that are available in the area.

We could go on and on about all the great features that this product has to offer, but we think you got the picture that the DriveSmart 61 is one of the top-rated GPS systems on the market, despite some of its rather minor shortcomings.