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Review: Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed) – Solid and reliable GPS with real-time features

Review explores the Garmin 52i GPS’s features, performance, and utility for travelers... Read more

Review of Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed)

Test of Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed)

4.3/5 - (834 votes)

Cena: $79.95


  • Functional without inputting an address
  • Offers multiple route alternatives
  • Provides real-time navigation
  • Includes extra features beyond basic GPS
  • Sturdy mount and slim design
  • Has Wi-Fi capability for easy updates


  • Large, potentially obscuring windshield views
  • Demanding ‘make U-turn’ directions
  • Address input can be antiquated
  • Frequent speed limit change alerts
  • Confusing instructions for parking lots
  • Needs regular paid updates

“Given my personal experience, the Garmin 52i GPS is a functional device with impressive real-time features. Although it has limitations, like its insistence on rerouting and its unusual navigation suggestions at times, it is undeniably efficient in providing navigation assistance. It is certainly useful, especially for older car models, but with integrated navigation systems in most modern cars and smartphones, it may not be the first choice for everyone. So, while it won’t set your world on fire, it’s a solid and reliable GPS device that delivers what it promises. However, its necessity might largely depend on individual needs and the technologies they already have at their disposal.”

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Brand Garmin
Screen Size 5 Inches
Special Feature Bluetooth
Connectivity Technology Bluetooth
Map Type City Tour, Street
Sport Boating
Included Components Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator
Mounting Type Vehichle Mount
Product Dimensions 5.5″L x 0.8″W x 33″H
Item Weight 0.88 Pounds


When it comes to GPS technology, I’ve always been a bit skeptical. I’ve always favored integrated gadgets over those that need to be stuck to my windshield. So, when I stumbled upon the Garmin 52i on sale at a truck stop, I figured I’d give it a fair shake and share my experience.

Unboxing: A Closer Look at My Garmin 52i

Right in the palm of my hand, the Garmin 52i seemed breathlessly inviting. Despite being fresh out of the box, it carried a sort of familiarity. Held close, the slick, brand-new device promised an interesting journey ahead.

For an unbiased take, I figured I’d evaluate it based on a few constructed benchmarks. Sure, the Garmin 52i looked neat, but looks alone couldn’t cut it. Functionality and performance would have to come into play.

Garage Talk: The Initial Setup

Before diving headlong into the fray, I invested some time into familiarizing myself with the Garmin 52i. Right off the back, the device promised several intriguing features. It boasted a typical, yet reliable suction cup mount that seemed sturdy enough. The cords, despite being a bit cumbersome, came with two variations – one for the cigarette lighter and another USB-styled one. These, I noted, were aligned with modern-day needs.

Admittedly, the initial setup was fairly straightforward. Then again, the true test of this device wouldn’t be in the ease of setup, but in real-world performance. A road trip was in order – a chance to see if the Garmin 52i was indeed user friendly or an extravagant windshield ornament.

My curiosity piqued, the Garmin 52i wired in and ready, it was time to hit the road and critically evaluate this gadget. I didn’t just want to test its navigation prowess, but to also gauge its overall usefulness, reliability, and consistency.

Expose on Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed)

Usability Experience

  • Garmin 52i operates without a specific address inputted
  • Maps need regular updates for business landscape changes
  • Garmin 52i provides alerts, stats and multiple stops options

When it comes to using GPS devices, user experience is key. During my time testing the Garmin 52i, there were strong points and weaknesses that factored into my overall experience. Let’s dive into this.

Functional Even Without an Address

One aspect of the Garmin 52i that immediately struck me was its ability to operate even without having a specific address inputted. This is a marked improvement from several older models that become borderline obsolete without destination details. This feature means that even in the absence of a concrete game plan, I was able to drive freely, always informed about my current location and surrounding points of interest.

Trip Around Town: Testing the Garmin 52i navigation

To put the device to the test, I embarked on a typical trip around town, marking out Kenworth to score some fuel filters. I could noticeably see that the GPS was diligent in providing the quickest routes and alternate shortcuts. However, there was still some information lag, as it fell short of recognizing a few changes in the business landscape. Case in point? It still had Newell’s listed, oblivious to its transformation into a pilot station but with regular map updates, this should be a non-issue.

Discovering the Features: More Than Just a GPS

As I spent more time with the Garmin 52i, I noted that it was more than just a route-directing device. From toning down route alerts to providing crucial stats about my journey’s Speed, Distances, and Elevation, the Garmin 52i seemed ideal for someone who enjoys comfortably managing their transit expectations. It even included a nifty little option to plan multiple stops along the way, proving its capability as a reliable and efficient travel companion.

In Conclusion

In terms of usability and features, Garmin 52i holds its own as a competent GPS system. It does leave some room for improvement but delivers a strong, noteworthy performance that meets the basic, if not advanced, navigation needs in real time.

Examination of Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed)

Real-World Testing

  • Garmin 52i offers accurate real-time navigation and rerouting
  • Alerts about speed limit changes
  • Potential issues with localized tracking

Driving to Charlie Newell’s: A Test on Real Time Navigation

To evaluate the real-time navigation prowess of the Garmin 52i, I decided to drive to Charlie Newell’s. The nice thing about this GPS is it has a bunch of places pre-programmed into it. Given that Newell’s has recently turned into a Pilot, it was interesting to see that the Garmin still recognized it by the old name. Here, real-time updating could be a welcome feature. Nonetheless, the GPS guided me accurately, displaying turns and my driving speed prominently.

A Detour to the Pawn Shop: Testing Route Recalculation

On a whim, I decided to divert my route to a pawn shop, helping me test the Garmin’s rerouting capabilities. I found the rerouting process to be rather insistent, repeatedly urging a U-turn. However, a welcomed audible alert was produced when the speed limit changed. This could be particularly helpful on long drives where speed limits are likely to vary. The GPS recalculated the route smoothly, proving its reliability in unanticipated changes in the journey.

Unexpected Turns: When GPS Direction Gets Weird

It’s worth noting that the GPS guidance took me to a peculiar detour once, suggesting me to continue to an alley and apparently walk somewhere. Reality check: I was in a parking lot. While this may have been a one-time issue, it could reflect potential problems with localized tracking, warranting critical attention.

  • Pros: Accurate real-time navigation, effective rerouting, notify about speed limit changes.
  • Cons: Persistent insistence on taking a U-turn, potentially problematic localized tracking.

In summary, though the Garmin 52i exhibited some notable strengths, such as effective rerouting and speed change alerts, it wasn’t without its quirks, with the peculiar detour incident being especially bewildering.

Probe of Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed)

The Verdict

  • Garmin 52i is slim, has preloaded locations.
  • Has improved functionality but outdated interface.
  • Provided accurate navigation, room for interface and accuracy improvement.

Analysing the Pros

Now, let’s touch on what I appreciate about the Garmin 52i. The device is impressively slim and snugs tidily into its mount, making it less obstructive in the windscreen. The functionality without an address is spot on! It was refreshing to be able to navigate without having to input specific locations, definitely a step up. Furthermore, pre-loaded locations and the ability to use names instead of just addresses are thumbs-up worthy features.

I also noticed significant improvements in terms of overall functionality as compared to older models. The digital speed readout and ability to choose best routes with multiple stops are features that other GPS units could benefit from. The touch screen was responsive and the unit recalibrated not once, but quite a few times swiftly to ensure I was always on track. The chime indicating speed limit changes is a helpful feature, increasing driver’s awareness.

Critical Look at The Cons

However, there are a few aspects of the Garmin 52i that left me wanting. The user interface felt quite dated and surprsingly similar to older models; I expected a more modern, user-friendly design. Another gripe was the incessant ‘make a U-turn’ alerts when off course. A simple ‘re-routing’ notification would be much less bothersome.

I also encountered a weird instance where the device directed me to continue driving to an alley in a parking lot, which was quite a detour from my actual destination. Also, the GPS assumes you to be in a car and not a truck, which might throw off some truck drivers.

The Final Evaluation

Weighing the positives against the negatives, the Garmin 52i does a fairly decent job as a standalone GPS unit . It’s price at the truck stop is decent and can be seen as a good buy considering the multitude of improved features. However, in an era where smartphones and cars come with inbuilt navigation programs, standalone GPS units like this might find it challenging to cement their place in our cars.

While the Garmin 52i is great for those of us who still prefer a separate device for navigation, there is scope for improvements, especially in terms of the interface and routing accuracy. Overall, its worth is contingent on your needs and the type of vehicle you’re driving. To conclude, it’s a reliable device but don’t expect it to reinvent your driving experience.

Highlight: Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed)


In sum, the Garmin 52i GPS presents a mixed bag. It’s clear that the developers behind this device have given considerable thought to the user experience, resulting in intuitive features like automatic rerouting, pre-programmed locations, and multi-stop options. There’s also a level of nostalgia that comes with having a standalone GPS in a world where smartphones and in-car technologies have claimed dominion.

However, the Garmin 52i isn’t without its flaws. The intrusive reminders to make a U-turn when off-route can be grating to some users. Its insistence on providing routes that lead to front doors as opposed to general areas could potentially be improved.

The device’s design, while sleek and modern, can also be problematic. For larger vehicles, the GPS unit takes up more windshield space than one would like. The trade-off, though, is a larger display that could be beneficial for cars with smaller windshields.

A Look Back and Forward

It’s interesting to compare the Garmin 52i to older GPS units. The software and map interface share many similarities with devices released 20 years ago. While this consistency can be comforting, it’s somewhat disappointing that innovative functionalities haven’t found their way into the layout of these GPS systems.

Looking ahead, it’s clear that the era of standalone GPS devices is fading. With car dashboards now featuring built-in navigation and smartphones offering myriad map apps, external GPS systems like the Garmin’s are increasingly fighting for relevance. But for those who want a dedicated GPS device that doesn’t drain the smartphone battery or require a data plan, Garmin 52i could prove to be a valuable tool.

Ultimately, the worthiness of the Garmin 52i as a purchase boils down to individual need and preference. It’s most valuable for individuals who often switch between older vehicles or those who prefer a dedicated device over using their smartphone.

In the End

The Garmin 52i is an excellent, functional GPS, imbued with quirks and features that make it a potential asset for travellers. If your use case matches what the Garmin 52i can offer, it’s likely to be a worthwhile addition to your tech assortment for comfortable navigation.

Should you buy the Garmin Drive 52: GPS Navigator, Model:010-02036-06-cr (Renewed)?

Buy it if…

You Appreciate Easy Functionality

The Garmin 52i GPS is user-friendly and fully functional even without an address, which makes it suitable for straightforward navigation.

You’re a frequent traveler

This GPS comes with a sturdy suction cup mount, making it a convenient tool for individuals who are constantly switching cars, like salespeople.

You Prefer a Separate Navigation Device

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to use your phone for navigation, then this standalone GPS might be a perfect fit. It lessens the distraction of phone notifications during the drive.

Don’t buy it if…

You Prefer Integrated GPS

The Garmin 52i GPS is not integrated. If you don’t like having devices in your windshield, you might want to skip this one.

You Own a Modern Car

Most modern cars come with built-in GPS systems, which makes buying a separate device like this one redundant.

You’re Sensitive to Noise

For people who prefer a quiet ride, the repeated alert sounds when rerouting or during speed limit changes might be bothersome.


Does the Garmin 52i function without inputting an address?
Yes, the Garmin 52i continues to work and show you everything, even without an address input.
Can you put names instead of actual physical addresses in Garmin 52i?
Yes, unlike older models, the Garmin 52i allows you to input names. However, the names should still exist in the system, as changes in names may not be updated immediately.
Does the Garmin 52i provide multiple route alternatives?
Yes, the Garmin 52i provides up to three alternative routes for your trip.
Why is the Garmin 52i not ideal for truck drivers?
The Garmin 52i is not ideal for truck drivers because it’s designed for cars and takes up more windshield space than preferred for truck drivers.
How long will the Garmin 52i last before it needs to be updated?
It’s expected the Garmin 52i would need an update after one to two years of use.
Can the Garmin 52i GPS device get updated remotely?
Yes, the Garmin 52i has Wi-Fi capability which allows for remote updates.
Does the Garmin 52i make a sound when the speed limit changes?
Yes, every time the speed limit changes, the Garmin 52i gives an audible alert.

About Laura Daniels

Laura DanielsLaura brings a world perspective to her reviews. With extensive travels and a diverse background, she evaluates products with a global lens.

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