Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin nuvi 44LM

Garmin nuvi 44LM review

The Garmin nuvi 44LM is one of the company’s 2013 Essential series models. While this 4.3″ device is considered an entry-level model, it includes features such as speed limit display, junction view and lane assist; things that were relegated to high-end units not that long ago. The 44LM comes with preloaded maps of the US and Canada, includes lifetime map updates, and is a great choice for someone who needs a basic navigator without a bunch of bells and whistles.

Related units

  • Step up to a 5″ screen with the nuvi 54LM
  • Or drop down to the Garmin nuvi 44 for all the 44LM’s features, minus the lifetime map updates
  • The Garmin nuvi 42LM drops the maps of Canada and Alaska, offering only a 49 state map set
  • To see how the 44LM stacks up against other models, use this compare Garmin nuvi chart

NOTE: Much of the following is adapted from my hands on review of the nuvi 52LM, which is a 5″ model with US maps. Otherwise the software and interface are identical.

What’s new?

The 44LM updates last year’s nuvi 40LM. Here’s what’s new:

Processor upgrade?

There’s not a whole lot different on the nuvi 44LM compared to the previous generation 40LM. I did notice a snappier response in testing the 2013 Essential seriesthough, so it’s quite possible they’ve beefed up the processor a bit.

New style mount

There’s a new style mount; here’s a short video demonstrating it…

New interface style

Garmin has also polished the interface a bit, as you can see below:

Garmin nuvi 44LM main menu

Garmin nuvi 44LM main menu

Garmin nuvi 44LM Where To menu

Garmin nuvi 44LM “Where To?” menu

What’s missing?

Why would you move up to one of the Advanced or Prestige series units? To get any of the following features:

  • Traffic (you cannot use a traffic receiver with the Essential series)
  • Multi-destination routing (with the Essential series you can only add a single via point)
  • The Advanced and Prestige series allow for extensive customization of the Where To screen
  • Maps of Mexico
  • Ability to clear the Trip Log (shown below; you can hide it but the only way to clear it is to do a factory reset and clear all user data)
Garmin nuvi 44LM trip log

Garmin nuvi 44LM trip log (the thin blue line shows where you’ve been)

There are many other features found on the Advanced and Prestige series, but these are some of the more basic ones. The remaining differences are covered in my reviews of those models.

Other Garmin nuvi 44LM features

More data

You can shift the data fields to the right and get two additional fields by selecting Settings > Map (scroll down) > Map Data Layout > More Data.

Garmin nuvi 44LM more data

The “more data” map layout

Lane Assist

This feature shows you which lane to be in for upcoming turns, as shown  in the upper left portion of the image below.

Garmin nuvi 44LM lane Assist

Lane Assist on the Garmin nuvi 44LM

Junction View

This split screen view pops up for many limited access highway exits. Note that the junction view images are generic and not the photo-realistic ones found on more advanced models.

nuvi 44LM junction view

Junction View

Garmin nuvi 44LM pros

  • Lifetime map updates
  • Lane assist and junction view
  • Speed limit display
  • Speedy processor
  • Includes maps of the entire US and Canda

Garmin nuvi 44LM cons

  • While you can hide the trip log the only way to clear it is with a hard reset

Recommendation

Highly recommended. The only trouble I had testing the Essential series was that it wouldn’t connect to the computer once. But after I used it in the car, I was able to bring it in and connect it with no problem. This is a basic navigator but it has all the features most people will need. An improved mounting system and faster processor mark the most significant updates since the nuvi 40LM.

More Garmin nuvi 44LM reviews

I’ll be posting links to other reviews as they show up.

Other Garmin nuvi 44LM resources

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 44LM at these merchants:

 

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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