Garmin Nüvi 55 LM Review – Garmin Budget Navigator-5 Inch Screen Vehicle GPS

Is it smart logic – buying a new GPS for navigation and traffic when there are hundreds of traffic and free map apps?

But then, there are many who do not stay glued to smartphones and use it as and when necessary. Another important point that works in favor of a navigator is its reliability.

If you are someone who likes dead straight simplicity, Garmin nüvi 55 LM will come close to expectations. The device is a part of the Essential series from Garmin and is often labeled as a high-quality budget navigator.

With numerous features and an easy to use interface, Nuvi 55 LM can easily compete with the best apps till date. And then, there are some cute little features such as the one that shows where you last parked the car; quite useful when you are traversing a complicated traffic region or places where travel regulations are different for different parts of the day.

If you are on a limited budget, Garmin Nuvi 55 LM fits in perfectly with all the basics.

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Features at a glance

  • Works equally well in deal-cellular zones- does not rely on cell towers
  • Lifetime Maps-Highly detailed maps of all US states Preloaded – Load extra maps feature
  • Navigate complex roads with Lane Assist – Lanes indicated via bright colored arrows
  • 5-inch resistive sharp screen with dual display
  • Quick real life voice prompts from Garmin
  • Millions of Points of Interests from Garmin’s database
  • Prior warnings for School zones
  • Total weight – 6.4 ounces
  • Dimensions – 3.4 inches X 5.5 inches X 0.8 inches

Navigation Quality And Overall Design

I found the black plastic body attractive and the 5-inch resistive color screen sleek. A resolution of 480 X 272 pixels allows sharp display of information. The best part is the ability to view the screen both ways; horizontally as well as in the vertical direction. However, the screen does not flip sides on its own. You have to make the changes in the settings section.

The “Power” button, located on the upper left side of the body looks a bit recessed. Essential items such as memory card slot, USB charging port, speaker and attachment for the mount are on the rear side of the panel.

All devices in the Garmin Essential series have a clean interface and this one is no exception. The “Start” screen is simple to understand as there are just two options; a) Where To? b) View Map. You can access the sidebar that contains sections for various buttons such as Volume, Apps, Stop button, and Settings. The “Stop” button, helps when you are on the move and want to end the journey. First-time users may take help from various text prompts. You can easily figure out the subsequent actions by reading the text prompts.

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The mount consists of 2 separate parts. The part containing the suction cup attaches itself to the windshield. The second part joins the GPS unit to the windshield part by snapping to the back panel of the device. It is not complex to mount the unit and I was able to do it with one hand. The movements of a mounted device are digital or jerky in nature. You won’t find a smooth analogous adjustment. However, it does not take much time which is what matters.

You can check the Battery life on the top-right part of the screen. If you are not charging the device, it would work fine for 2 hours in one go. There is a car charging cable in the box so it makes sense to keep the device in charging mode throughout the journey. The charging cable plugs directly into the unit and not via the mounting unit. There is no separate cable to charge the device at home. You may buy an extra attachment to charge at home or use the USB cable to charge from laptop or computer.
Data entry regarding destination is a hassle free process in Garmin nüvi 55LM. The only unique thing is that you have to type the street address first. The device then looks for various locations in a designated area and prompts a few options. You may also add the city name after that. Simply select the address and you are ready to go. On most occasions, you will be able to see the speed limits for various roads. You can always check other details such as vehicle speed and estimated arrival time on the screen.
Signal quality of nüvi 55lm is pretty good in most locations. But I had a few issues in certain subways and metro stations. However, the signal was steady in various remote locations and deep interior parts of buildings. Road exit points in congested areas are a great help, especially for those who do not enjoy driving in heavy traffic. The lane assist feature and timely voice prompts helped in avoiding critical mistakes.

Points Of Interests

You can save the Home address and save time in future journeys. Garmin’s Points of Interests (POI) database is huge and includes detailed descriptions of several relatively unknown POIs. The presence of categories makes it easier to find what you are looking for.

The problem comes when you are going for truly local kind of information. Some grocery stores and restaurants might not feature in the database, especially the newer ones. You are sure to find well-established businesses and services. But the good thing is that the entries are updated every single day. Sooner or later, Garmin will catch with all the information in various localities.


The base model of nüvi 55 does not have free life time traffic updates or lifetime maps service. This implies that the navigator will not be able to search for alternative routes in order to avoid heavy traffic areas. But you have the feature in this LM version.

A free Trip Planner software allows users to chalk out the travel plans on their desktops. The USB cable transfers the travel routes to the GPS unit. Besides speed limit prompts, you also receive voice and text alerts when approaching a school zone.

The Garmin nüvi 55 LM highlights itself as an easy to use low-cost GPS navigation device. Even if you have a smartphone the quality of navigation that you receive via the unit is noticeably higher.



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