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Garmin 2017 Drive 51/61 series



  • sussamb 961 Points
    In the UK it's the digital receiver that's built in requiring only the standard power cable which acts as the antenna.
  • Yeah 1 Point
    Thanks for all kind help! for now i bought a Drivesmart 50 lmt-hd refurbished, will keep you guys posted.
  • alanb 557 Points
    Good choice! Enjoy!
  • sussamb 961 Points
    Yep, good choice, I have one :)
  • Having a 61 Drive Smart and loving it (own 2 actually) I realize if you can't get cell coverage then you probably don't need traffic data..and it draws just a fraction of data per day. I have no issues with this unit connecting,etc. The only issue I have it routes me on some funky routes unlike previous units.
    I have a Note 8 now and still prefer dedicated GPS. Especially after owning the 61 Drive Smart. I am a serious user of GPS thou. I do about 35k miles a year or more between customer base,personal use and also keep it on when not navigating just to see the curves ahead at night or snow storms or for speed limits,etc.
  • Boyd 2045 Points
    edited April 2018
    Guess what? I just brought home a DriveSmart 61. :)

    I had planned to stop making maps in Garmin's format but one thing led to another and I got interested in a big new project - will be available for download soon

    This map is a real stress-test for a GPS, my Nuvi 3550 is really too slow but my Dezl 760 is (surprisingly) quite a bit faster. But this is a 2013 model and I really wondered what to expect from Garmin's new devices. So I grabbed a DriveSmart 61 at Best Buy today, used some rewards points to get the price down. My first impression is that the DriveSmart is just a bit faster at map rendering than the Dezl 760, but it's pretty similar.

    Just getting started with it, but the screen is really nice and the slim bezel makes it quite attractive. Also really thin and light - my 7" Dezl is almost twice as thick and twice as heavy.

    I will mostly use this device to test my own maps so many of the new features don't do anything for me. Not likely to use the wifi, when I connected to my 802.11ac network it said a map update would take 2.5 hours. I don't know how accurate that estimate is, but the last update I did took less than 15 minutes with Garmin Express on my 150/150 FIOS connection. My DriveSmart 61 still had 2017 maps, so I guess it's been in the pipeline for awhile.

    Windows says that the internal memory is 14.2gb and a little over 7gb was free "out of the box". This is nice - the map I'm testing is about 3gb and I ended up moving City Navigator to a SD card so I could load it into internal memory on the Dezl 760.

    There is a new (to me) option in the diagnostic menu for RWFS settings in mass storage mode. Enabling this will mount a second volume when you connect the device to your computer, and this volume also contains a hidden .System folder. It contains a variety of things, the most interesting is SQLite folder with a file that seems to contain all the menu settings for the device. Really didn't spend much time on this. I disabled the RWFS setting for now because it's a nuisance to eject two disks every time you remove it.

    BTW, I found a little "trick" to access the hidden .System folder on any of Garmin's devices without changing control panel settings for hidden files. Assuming that you have Mass Storage mode enabled, when you connect the device, click on the drive letter in address bar in Windows Explorer, for example


    Now just type .System, so that you have this


    And you are instantly inside the .System folder. After you do this one time, Windows will auto-complete it the next time when you type a period (.) I guess this should have been obvious but I've never seen it suggested before.

    A few other random thoughts... The screen is very bright and the 1024x600 resolution makes text appear sharp. But that's really the only benefit of the higher resolution. Side by side with my 7" Dezl 760, the extra pixels are not used to show you more of the map, the two look identical when set at the same zoom level. The text is sharper on the DriveSmart, but you have to look closely to really notice the difference.

    I'm using the power cord from my Nuvi 3550 which looks exactly the same and works fine. I also have a GTM-36 cable from the Dezl but have not tried it on the DriveSmart.

    The removable "ball socket" on the back of the device is a bit odd and looks cheap. But removing it gives you a very thin device that may be a better fit in a third party cradle than my bulky Dezl 760.

    All in all, this is a nice piece of hardware, although it feels much more cheap and "plasticky" than my Nuvi 3550. But Garmin has really gotten the price down on this premium device - $250 vs something like $450 (IIRC) on the Nuvi 3590 and 3597. I do miss the 3d mode of the Nuvi Prestige series though. The DriveSmart 61 doesn't have the 3d map browser and doesn't display the 3d map in the same style as these older units - a noticeable difference is that you don't see the sky or horizon line in 3d view.

    Also, it would be nice if the DriveSmart 61 had a portrait view option - and it would make sense because the Garmin logo is sideways when you use it in landscape mode. :D
  • Boyd 2045 Points
    edited April 2018
    Boyd said:

    The DriveSmart 61 doesn't have the 3d map browser

    After a bit more playing around... the DriveSmart doesn't have the 3d browser with its icons for rotating and tilting the map, however the multi-touch gestures still work the same as the Nuvi Prestige series. Swiping left/right with two fingers rotates the map and swiping up/down with two fingers tilts the map. Still wish you could tilt it enough to see the sky though. :)

    Here's a screenshot of my new map, click on it to see the full resolution 1024x600 image.

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