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Garmin DriveSmart 55 vs 65: Which Car GPS Navigator is Better?

Garmin DriveSmart 55 vs 65

Stuck with choosing between the Garmin DriveSmart 55 and the Garmin DriveSmart 65? I do not blame you since their physical appearance and design is virtually identical, these GPS navigators have a huge display on the front with the Garmin logo on the left-hand side. Choosing between Garmin DriveSmart 55 or 65 is in fact simple and straightforward. Let this article serve as your guide in your purchasing decision.

Getting lost is never a good situation and no one wants to be in one. It is not only a waste of time but also a waste of resources such as your car’s gas (or your car’s battery if you are running an electric car.) I did my testing, extensive research, and analysis of both car GPS navigator to help you in choosing which is better. Let’s jump straight to Garmin DriveSmart 55 vs 65 comparison

Garmin DriveSmart 55 vs 65 Comparison Table

Name

Garmin DriveSmart 55

Garmin DriveSmart 65

Image
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 inches
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
Price Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon

 

Differences between Garmin DriveSmart 55 vs 65

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 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 plentiful 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


Pros:

  • 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.

 

Cons:

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

 

Final Verdict

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.