Home » GPS Navigation » Garmin DriveSmart 55 vs Garmin DriveSmart 65

Garmin DriveSmart 55 vs 65


DriveSmart 55



DriveSmart 65


Best Value See Price Big Screen See Price
Display Type Colored Multi-touch Display with glass and white backlight Colored Multi-touch Display with glass and white backlight
Display Size 5.5 inches 6.96 inche
Display Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels 1024 x 600 pixels
Wi-Fi Connectivity Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes  Yes
Internal Storage 16 GB 16 GB
Micro SD Card Support Yes Yes
Maps Free Lifetime Updates Free Lifetime Updates
Pre-loaded Street Maps Yes Yes
3D Buildings and Terrain Yes Yes
Compatible Backup Cameras BC 30 and BC 40 BC 30 and BC 40
Voice-Activated Navigation Yes Yes
Includes Traffic Yes Yes
Bluetooth Calling Yes Yes
Smart Notifications Via App Yes Yes
Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Battery Life Up to 1 hour Up to 1 hour
Physical Dimensions (W x H x D) 5.40 x 3.0 x 0.70 inches 6.8 x 3.9 x 0.7 inches
Weight 5.31 oz (150.5 g) 8.45 oz (239.6 g)
What’s in the Box Garmin DriveSmart 55, Vehicle suction cup mount, Traffic receiver/vehicle power cable, USB cable, Quick start manual Garmin DriveSmart 65, Vehicle suction cup mount, Traffic receiver/vehicle power cable, USB cable, Quick start manual
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Differences between Garmin DriveSmart Models

The Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 do not have much of a difference as they came from the same Garmin product line. One of their major differences is in the size of their displays. The Garmin DriveSmart 55 has a decently sized 5.5” display while the Garmin DriveSmart 65 almost has a 7-inch panel. Both car GPS navigators have multi-touch capabilities for ease of use. Late-night drives are also possible with their LED backlight. Although the Garmin DriveSmart 55 has a smaller display, its resolution is higher at 1280 x 720 pixels compared to the 1024 x 600-pixel resolution of the Garmin DriveSmart 65. Therefore, the text and graphics on the DriveSmart 55 are sharper and crisper than that of the DriveSmart 65. The larger display of the Garmin DriveSmart 65 also translates to a larger physical dimension and weight.



Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 – Review

The difference between the Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 are primarily found on their displays. Let’s look at their similarities if these car GPS navigators are worth your money.

Map Functionality

Looking for directions to go to a certain place is the main purpose of a car GPS navigator. The Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 do this job perfectly. Both display a clear and detailed map of North America which is updated constantly. You have access to live traffic and weather with the Garmin Drive App. This feature is particularly helpful to avoid delays and find time-saving detours. The Garmin Drive App also lets you access features such as live parking and photoLive traffic cameras. Map coverage includes the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas with the latest map updates and preloaded street maps.

Travel and History

Traveling and road trips are going to be more fun with the travel features that the Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 have. Both GPS navigators have built-in TripAdvisor traveler ratings and driver alerts so you can easily choose the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions along the way or near your destination. Certain attractions also have pictures and descriptions such as notable parks, monuments, museums, and historic sites. Camping and picnics are also easier to do with their National Parks Directory so you can discover more of America’s most treasured natural resources. Moreover, you can use their voice recognition to ask for directions. Both have variants that are Alexa-compatible.

Compatible Backup Cameras

The Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 also function as displays for backup cameras. Backup cameras let you navigate and park your car with ease. As these are Garmin products, they are only compatible with backup cameras also from Garmin. The Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 are only compatible with Garmin BC 30 and BC 40 which, to be honest, is pretty limited. Nonetheless, having compatibility with Garmin backup cameras is still a welcome feature. 

Wireless Connectivity

Although these GPS navigators do not need a wireless connection to function, the Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Their Wi-Fi feature is used to update their maps and software wirelessly without a need for a computer. You will be immediately prompted if there is an available update. Moreover, their Bluetooth lets you sync your smartphones with these Garmin DriveSmart GPS navigators. You can answer the calls you get from your smartphones with their hands-free calling.

Battery and Battery Life

The Garmin DriveSmart 55 and Garmin DriveSmart 65 are powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. Their batteries are rated to last up to 1 hour of continuous usage. Their battery life fluctuates depending on certain conditions such as temperatures (on a sunny day where temperatures are high, expect it to be lower). You will be needing to connect it to a charger after this period. If you are going on a long trip, I suggest preparing the charger before the trip or connect it to a charger immediately.

Internal Storage

Since maps can be accessed without the usage of the internet, these maps are stored locally on the devices. The Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 have massive internal storage of 16 GB which is plenty to store data and its updates. Moreover, this internal storage can be expanded via a Micro SD card that you have to separately buy. There is no mention of the maximum capacity of compatible Micro SD card, however.


Pros and Cons

Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65


  • You can interact with the Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 with their gigantic colored touchscreen display.
  • These car GPS navigators do not need an internet connection for accessing their maps.
  • Traveling is way more fun with its directories of the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions around your destination.
  • The Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 also functions as displays for Garmin backup cameras.
  • You can answer calls without using your hands with their Bluetooth feature.



  • Their short battery life makes it harder to use when going on road trips.
  • Both have limited backup camera compatibility.


Final Verdict: Garmin Drivesmart 55 vs 65

As I stated earlier, choosing between the Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 is simple and straightforward as both share so many similarities. If the size of a car GPS navigator is of importance to you, then there is no reason not to go with the DriveSmart 65. However, you should take note that this larger display also comes with small caveats such as a lower resolution yet a higher price tag. If you are going to place the Garmin DriveSmart 65 on your car’s dashboard far from your sight, then a larger screen will certainly help. Also, its lower resolution is negligible from that distance anyway. Otherwise, I would rather choose the Garmin DriveSmart 55 since it has a higher resolution but at a lower price.


Two Real People’s Opinions

George S – Scranton, PA

I got the Garmin Drivesmart 55 model. Do you know why? Because it’s better. The first thing that makes it better is that this actually has a 1280×720 resolution while the Garmin drivesmart 65 has a 1024×600 screen So, yes this is in fact better resolution and it’s easier to read for some people. Do you think bigger is better? Well, technically this is the better model and it’s cheaper so all you’re paying for with the 65 is a bigger size and if that’s what you want you can get it for sure but this works just fine for me. You can also put it on the garmin universal bracket mount.

I got this one brand new. It’s a drive smart 55x and the only difference between an x and a “non-x” is that the ex is sold exclusively sold through retailers such as Walmart. There’s no difference between an ex and a non ex they’re the same gps devices. The only difference is that some come with Alexa which this one did not. I didn’t want that because I think that’s garbage.

Anyway, the first thing is that nobody ever shows the map on these things so that’s why I am showing you this first. How does it compare to the 51 drive smart or drive assist? It is notably better because it is far less annoying and far more readable. It stays nice and still on the garmin portable friction mount. The garmin vehicle power cable looks stout. The smart notifications are another nice feature.

I want you first to pay attention up here to the highway exit number. Now while this is relatively the same size as the previous generation, this is much better implemented in the garmin drive app. It has a much thicker, more readable font. The turns feature which i’ll get to in a moment is also all more readable. It’s beautiful! You’ll notice up here instead of the arrows coming up stealing space from up here it’s down here. In addition to that those animated orange banners are 100% gone! Those were things you could not turn off in the drive smart 50, drive smart 51 and drive assist 51. You could not turn them off, just like driver alerts. This one you can which is great. It looks great on the garmin universal bracket mount that comes complete with a garmin usb cable. Or sometimes I will use the garmin suction cup mount.

What it does is that instead of showing an animated banner it will show a little icon down here instead for driver alert features. This is just so much better compared to the previous generation. This one is not annoying to use This is actually very nice to use which I very much appreciate, almost as much as the garmin vehicle power cable.

The Garmin ac adapter cable looks more sturdy than most. The Garmin portable friction mount is another big plus. Sometimes I use the garmin air vent mount. The garmin usb cable is long enough to reach it.

When I remove it from the garmin suction cup mount, I place the unit in the garmin universal carry.