Garmin nuvi 57LM review

Every year the GPS market receives a surge of new models, some worth a second look, and others not worth exploring. Garmin’s Nuvi 57LM slots in nicely in the former category for several reasons starting with its 5 inch color touch display, which works in both horizontal and vertical orientations. The suffix LM in the world of Garmin portable navigator devices stands for Lifetime Maps, which is a key aspect to consider when buying a GPS device especially if you’re worried about obsolete POI (Point of Interest) data in the future.

The Nuvi 57LM is a slightly upgraded version of the much successful 55/56LM, and weighs the same, only with a modest front facelift and the ability to connect a BC30 backup wireless camera (sold separately). Part of the Essential Series, the Nuvi 57LM offers several premium features as standard, which were only available in Garmin’s higher priced and advanced models including Direct Access and Foursquare® data and Real DirectionsTM.

Highlights of the Garmin 57LM

  • Millions of points of interests
  • Lane assistance and junction view
  • Auto transport modes
  • Trip computer
  • Text to speech voice prompts
  • 5 inch color touchscreen dual orientation display
  • School zone and speed limit indicators
  • Current street display
  • microSD card slot
  • 1 year warranty
  • Preloaded with maps
  • Lifetime map updates
  • Direct Access simplifies navigating to complex destinations such as airports and malls

In the Box

  • Nuvi 57LM device
  • Vehicle power cable
  • USB cable
  • Quick start guide
  • Vehicle suction cup mount
  • Lifetime maps
  • Preloaded with City Navigator®

Design of the Garmin 57LM

Weighing just 6.4 ounces and measuring 3.4 by 5.5 by 0.8 inches (HWD), the back panel of the Garmin Nuvi 57LM is integrated with a speaker, USB charging port, mount attachment and memory card slot, while the recessed power button is located on the top left of the device. The plastic body has rounded edges and is embedded with a 5 inch color touchscreen dual orientation display that boasts a resolution of 480 by 272 pixels. One of the noteworthy features of the Nuvi 57LM display is its ability to be viewed in both horizontal and vertical orientation.

The mount arrives in two parts, and attaching it to the Nuvi 57LM is easily done by snapping the one piece to the back of the device, and the other piece with the suction cup snaps into that and then your windshield. Powered directly and not through the mount, the battery of the Garmin Nuvi 57LM provides up to 2 hours of use, and there’s even a helpful battery life indicator graphic located at the upper right part of the screen.

When you first turn on the Nuvi 57LM, you will be greeted with a clean interface and two main options – Where To? and View Map. Upon startup, you will also notice the display being populated with a sidebar with links to volume, settings, app and a stop button if you’re already on a route. In addition, you will also receive helpful tips when navigating through the interface such as pressing the holding the back button to return to the main screen.

Features of the Garmin Nuvi 57LM

The Garmin Nuvi 57LM is feature rich, and includes all the features of the entry level Nuvi 54Lm plus new refinements, most notably the ease of setting your preferred destination. Inputting a destination is pretty straightforward, where you can tap on the Where To menu and search for your destination before actually typing it in. Another option to locate a destination and exclusively featured in the Nuvi 56LM and onward models is an Enter Search field, which allows you to immediately type in places, coordinates, categories and complete addresses and get speedy and accurate results given that this device works offline.

The fun begins when you’re tracking your location after you’ve set your route, which displays both 2D and 3D views, and even several different useful statistics such as distance information, next turn and important signs. Outfitted with text to speech technology, the Nuvi 57LM actually speaks to you through voice prompts whenever you make a turn and even pronounces the street names. Most standalone GPS navigators come standard with voice prompt and the aforementioned basic features, but it is the Up Ahead feature that makes the Garmin Nuvi 57LM distinct from its competition.

Using “Up Ahead” provides you with information on any key points of interest currently in your path, and you can even add POI categories and track them to determine how far or near you are to a particular POI. Partnered with Foursquare – the crowd sourced POI database, you are provided with the most relevant results at the top of the search bar, which are verified by actual users. If you travel often to new places, you will love how Foursquare makes it easy to discover new places and without any cellular coverage.

As mentioned earlier, the Nuvi 57LM comes with a few extra features that were only limited to mid to higher end models such as the Garmin Real Directions. This feature provides comprehensive and detailed turn by turn instructions, where rather than using a street name as a reference when making a turn, the Nuvi 57LM can cite something more obvious such as a gas station, traffic light, supermarket or any other landmark. This makes it much easier to navigate through unfamiliar streets without looking at the map especially when you need to make a sudden turn.

Another feature worth mentioning is Direct Access, which pinpoints the exact location within a specific POI. For example, other GPS navigators will guide you as close to a particular POI, but the Nuvi 57LM will guide to a specific terminal at an airport or certain store within a shopping mall. These new features are excellent additions to an already rich set of features carried forward from previous versions of the Garmin Nuvi 57LM.

These include Lane Assist with Junction View, which helps you avoid incorrect turns when exiting freeways and school zone warnings which emphasizes the speed limit when you approach one. If you don’t have a backup camera in your vehicle, the Nuvi 57LM can be paired with BC30 backup camera (sold separately), allowing you to get a clear glimpse of what’s behind you when you’re backing up.

Pros of the Garmin Nuvi 57LM

  • Easy to use navigator
  • Garmin Real Directions
  • Direct Access simplifies navigation
  • Free detailed maps with periodic upgrades
  • Foursquare adds millions of points of interests
  • School zone warnings
  • Easy device management

Cons of the Garmin Nuvi 57LM

  • Battery life could be higher, but this isn’t a big deal considering the Nuvi 57LM can be charged on the go with the included vehicle power cable.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the Garmin Nuvi 57LM is a well priced device that comes loaded with useful features, and some that aren’t available in other navigators in its segment. It makes a great buy if you don’t have a smartphone or desire a bigger screen for navigating. Or just simply peace of mind while navigating in big cities like Bangkok, and not being disturbed by incoming phone calls.

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