Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin nuvi 500 and 550 for driving, walking, cycling or boating


UPDATE: Read my hands-on Garmin nuvi 500 review. I’ve also posted a Garmin nuvi 550 page.

The rumors were true — Garmin announced today the introduction of the nuvi 500 series — multi-use navigators for driving, cycling, walking and boating. Ruggedized and waterproof, the nuvi 500 series sports a 3.5″ touchscreen and appears to share the feature set and much of the interface of the nuvi 2×5 series I wrote about this morning, including the ability to add MSN Direct or FM/TMC traffic.

The nuvi 500 comes with pre-loaded City Navigator and topo maps of the 48 contiguous United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The 550 offers highway coverage of the entire U.S. and Canada but drops the topo maps.

Both units have a removable, li-ion battery (rated at up to 8 hours), with a micro-SD card slot underneath it. A usage mode indicator at the top of the home screen (pictured below) allows you to change modes.

Unlike the  2×5 series, the units support multi-destination routing, and I assume this applies to driving mode as well as the other modes. They do not support text-to-speech.

EDIT: One big unknown is whether or not the The units fully support paperless geocaching.

Availability is listed as the 3rd quarter, and I expect we’ll see these units at the Outdoor Retailer (OR) trade show next month if not sooner. One retailer is showing an availability date of August 10 for the nuvi 500, which coincides well with an unveiling at OR.

I’ll either update this post or put up a new post as additional information becomes available.



About Rich Owings

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


  1. How is this unit supposed to mount on a bicycle? The standard nuvi ball-and-socket mount does not seem appropriate for use on a bicycle.

  2. No word yet, but they are listing a scooter mount (no photo yet, either!). There are RAM mounts for nuvis and there is usually someway to make it work as a low profile mount. Here’s how I did it with the Colorado…

  3. Brian Conner says:

    this is a great unit, i got my Garmin Nuvi at

  4. I’m happy to discover that al last Garmin has released a multi-purpose device suitable for all-terrain purposes.
    Nevertheless they are really far from offering a decent successor of glorious 276c.
    Perhaps this is only a test for this kind of market.
    I hope that in the next month we could see an unit with enhanced features that will better suit the tastes of advanced users.
    .larger display (4″ – 640×480 would be great)
    .2 axis compass sensor (can’t do without in pedestrian mode)
    .capability to manage multiple tracks
    and all the features we can find in units such as 276c or 60csx.

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