Sunday, March 18, 2012


Garmin nuvi 550 review

Garmin nuvi 550

The Garmin nuvi 550 represents Garmin’s foray into the “crossover” GPS market, aiming for a device that functions well whether used for driving, hiking, cycling or boating.

UPDATE: Here’s a post I did about dual-use GPS, and how well they work for both road and trail.

The 3.5″ touch-screen nuvi 550 comes pre-loaded with highway maps of the entire U.S. and Canada. The other model in this series, the nuvi 500, has both topo and highway maps, but limits coverage to the the 48 contiguous United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Neither unit has text-to-speech, so you’ll hear “drive one-half mile, then turn left” instead of “drive one-half mile, then turn left on Main Street.”

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 550

There are other nice features found on the nuvi 550 though. Based on the nuvi 2×5 platform, the 550 offers:

  • A redesigned map screen with an extra data field showing your current speed
  • Speed limit display
  • Tracklog display
  • Recent cities and streets can be accessed from search screens
  • Where am I?
  • Photo navigation
  • Terrain modeling
  • MSN Direct or FM/TMC traffic (optional)

You can read about these features in more detail in my Garmin nuvi 205W review.

There are also a couple of features found on the nuvi 550 that are not present on the 2×5 series nuvis — multi-destination routing and a removable, li-ion battery rated at up to 8 hours.

I’ve posted a hands-on review of the nuvi 500, so rather than repeat myself, I’m going to refer you there for lots of screenshots and details on the other features and performance of the nuvi 500 series.

More Garmin nuvi 550 reviews

Other Garmin nuvi 550 resources

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 550 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.


  1. Does anybody know if I can upload Mexico maps to this device? If so, where can I download them from?

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