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Garmin DriveSmart 65 Tracker Review [Updated, 2023]

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Do you have to travel to new places for work? Or do you like taking road trips across the country? In both scenarios, a GPS navigator can be an ideal companion. It will help you efficiently get to your destination.

One such navigator we will explore today is the Garmin DriveSmart 65 GPS navigator. The navigator has a convenient size and quality display. It offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It supports voice assistance and hands-free calling.

Moreover, it includes a national park directory leading you to some of the national treasures in the US.

The internal battery, though, can drain out in about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the usage. Understanding and using the device to its full potential can also take some time.

So, is the DriveSmart GPS navigator the right choice for you? Let us find out.

Product Overview
ModelGarmin DriveSmart 65 & Traffic
Dimension (W x H x D)6.8 x 3.9 x 0.7 inches
Weight8.45 ounces
Display Dimension (W x H)6.0 x 3.5 inches
Display TypeMulti-touch, WSVGA color TFT with white backlight
BatteryLithium-ion rechargeable
Charging Temperature Range0° to 45°C
Power InputVehicle power (cable included)AC power using optional accessory
Operating Temperature Range-20° to 55°C
Communication TechnologiesWi-Fi Bluetooth
Internal Storage16 GB
External StorageUSB storage device compatible with Windows XP or newer, Mac OS X 10.4 or newer
Warranty1-year limited warranty on defects in materials and workmanship
Amazon Rating4.5 out of 5 (13, 931 ratings)

Our Rating




Easy to Install

Easy to Use

Value-Added Features


Overall Rating: 4.6/5

About Garmin DriveSmart 65 Tracker

Garmin is a brand that specializes in GPS navigation and wearable technology. The company is spread across 35 countries, is headquartered in Kansas City, and has over 19,000 associates.

Garmin’s product range is divided into categories like wearables, sports, and fitness, outdoor recreation, automotive, marine, and aviation.

Under the automotive category, you can find fully-functional GPS navigators ideal for everyday commutes or adventure trips. Depending on the product series you opt for, specialized apps are available to make your journeys seamless.

Who is the Garmin DriveSmart 65 GPS Navigator For?

The basic purpose of a GPS navigator is to find an efficient way of getting from point A to B. It shows you the route, timing, and traffic conditions. The DriveSmart 65 by Garmin fulfills these essential criteria and provides additional features.

For example, the navigator is equipped with live traffic and weather forecasts. If you want to avoid delays due to road closures or high-traffic areas, the Gramin Drive app offers time-saving detours.

You can sync compatible mobile devices with the navigator if you need to be available on call. Once synched, you can make calls without taking your hands off the steering wheel.

It can be a good tool for beginner drivers as well. For example, It alerts drivers of sharp curves or speed limit changes. This can help develop safer driving habits among your teenagers.

The GPS navigator can also come in handy on road trips. It provides ratings for places like hotels and attractions from TripAdvisor along your destination route. 

So whether you need a GPS navigator to drive to work or for road trips across the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, or the Bahamas, the Garmin DriveSmart 65 has you covered.

6 Important Factors We Tested the Product On

The Garmin DriveSmart 65 GPS navigator offers features like a convenient display, voice updates, smart notifications, a history database, driver alerts, and more. Let us explore how the device fares in terms of its features, design, battery, and usability.

Here are the six important factors we tested the GPS navigator on.

1. Design

Image Source: garmin.com

You will find the navigator, vehicle power and USB cable, vehicle suction cup mount, and documentation in the box. The device is conveniently sized and has a bright display that helps users see the maps clearly.

The device dimensions are 6.8 W x 3.9 H x 0.7 D inches. The display dimensions are 6.0 W x 3.5 H inches. The display type is multi-touch, glass, and WSVGA color TFT with white backlight. The display resolution is 1024 x 600 pixels.

The technology used leads to enhanced image quality. The display size makes it easier to see the routes and read instructions clearly. You can use the finger-pitching motion to zoom in and out of maps.

The navigator is also voice-assistant enabled. You can ask the device to find a location and navigate to the destination. A handy feature that gets you the required information while you keep your eyes on the road.

In terms of accessories, you can purchase dash and backup cameras, adapters, portable friction mounts, memory cards, and traffic receivers.

The device size, touchscreen display, and voice assistant features make the GPS navigator a fairly well-designed device.

2. Connectivity

You can use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect the GPS navigator. You can search for nearby Bluetooth devices, pair them, and through the Garmin app, receive updates.

You can connect the navigator to a computer with a USB cable when you have to perform updates. Alternatively, you can connect to a Wi-Fi network to perform the necessary updates. The Wi-Fi network works, but we found it to be slower than other connectivity methods.

You can find all these features under Settings > Wireless Networks. Here you can enter a friendly name for the navigator, search and pair devices through Bluetooth, search for networks, and edit and remove devices and networks.

Garmin also offers backup cameras that can help you drive and park better. You will need a wireless camera receiver cable to connect to the navigator. And you can access the settings menu only once the camera and navigator are paired.

3. Battery

Image Source: youtube.com/@NewLife2OldStuff

The Garmin DriveSmart 65 navigator comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery life is supposed to last up to an hour.

We found the battery can drain out pretty quickly. So if it takes you over 30 to 40 minutes to reach your destination, you must carry the vehicle power cable with you.

Using a wall power adapter, you can also charge the device at your home or office. You can use a third-party adapter or purchase one from Garmin. However, the device will take longer to charge using a third-party adapter. You can overcome this problem by putting the device in power-saving mode while charging.

4. Usability

The GPS navigator is pretty easy to install and use. However, it does have a learning curve to it, owing to the range of features it offers.

If you want to use the device’s battery, you will have to first charge it. The power button is located on the top back of the device. To turn on the navigator, once charged, press the power button or connect to the power cable.

You need to be in an open area as the device needs to acquire GPS signals. This step can take several minutes. You can view the GPS signal strength in the status bar. The icon is similar to the one we have on our phones, indicating network strength. At a minimum, half of the bars should be filled for the device to be ready.

There are multiple ways you can find and save locations. For example, in the search bar, you can find a place by typing address, brand name, city, category, or coordinates. And as mentioned above, the device also understands voice commands.

Another feature that we like is that you can change the search area. For example, by default, the navigator will search for a place near your current location. But you can change the search area to another city and locate an address there.

There are driver awareness features like schools, railroad crossing, speed limit changes, and curves that you can use for better driving. You can enable or disable these settings under Settings > Driver Assistance > Driver Alerts.

Our verdict is that you will have to spend some time exploring the device to make the most of its features.

5. Performance


In terms of display, the routes are clearly outlined, and the screen has a nice contrast to it. You can zoom in and out of the maps using the finger-pinching motion. The response to the motion will not be as smooth as on our mobile devices, but it is good enough.

On one side of the screen, you will see the next turns that you have to make. On the other side, you can view the speed limit and your current speed. The speed can be 3 to 5 mph off compared to the car’s dash, which is an acceptable difference.

You can customize the device to avoid routes that require toll roads, bridges, and traffic areas. However, if no better alternatives are available, the device will show such routes. In such cases, you can set the device to ‘Always Ask.’ You can then decide if you want to take the toll route or not.

The driver awareness features can be a hit or a miss depending on location. For example, you will get speed change alerts if the maps are updated with schools and playground areas. But going through customer reviews, we found this is not the case for all cities.

We also found the device may not always point in the right direction at the start. But driving for a few seconds should resolve the issue.

6. Value-Added Features

Value-Added Features
Image Source: nytimes.com

Garmin’s spoken directions are easy to understand as it uses famous and recognizable landmarks. Similarly, you can use the Foursquare network to find places of interest.

With the Garmin Drive app, you can avoid delays with live traffic updates. We found these updates to be accurate most of the time. We have seen reviews, though, that in extreme weather or traffic conditions, the device suggests detours without the user’s permission. This typically should not be a problem for everyday commutes but should be a consideration if you are planning cross-country road trips.

Garmin has a feature called check-up ahead. You can check for rest stops, fuel stations, and cities along your route. You can also see Trip Advisor traveler ratings for these places so you are not caught unaware.

When paired, using the app, you can see notifications from your smartphone on the navigator screen. Other value-added features include wireless updates and traffic cams, and parking.

What Sets the Product Apart From It’s Competitors?

The Garmin navigator has a good display size with multi-touch functionality. But what sets it apart is that the navigator can take spoken requests and navigate to the place of interest. Using Bluetooth technology, you can enjoy hands-free calling.

The navigator supporting Wi-Fi connectivity is another distinguishing feature. As a result, you can keep the software and maps updated without connecting to a computer.

If you are a history enthusiast, you are in for a treat. The device has a history database that includes pictures and descriptions of notable historic sites and parks. The feature is currently available in select cities.

The device also includes a national parks directory of North America. You can find a national park, find one closest to your location, and even look for specific amenities inside the park. For example, once inside the park, you can search for visitor centers, camping grounds, and parking.

Should You Purchase the Product?

If you are looking to find routes that will efficiently get you from point A to B, then the Garmin DriveSmart 65 does the job. You also get additional features like live traffic, driver awareness alerts, traffic cams, and parking.

You should, though, check for map coverage. Some features like 3D buildings and terrains, schools, and playground areas can be restrictive depending on the city. You can buy micro SD/SD cards from authorized dealers for maps of Europe, the UK, Spain, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and more.

The device can be a good addition if you travel for everyday work. You can give voice commands, use hands-free calling, and see phone text messages and notifications on the navigator screen.


  • The 6.95 inches display with multi-touch capabilities makes seeing and using maps easier.
  • The navigator can respond and navigate according to voice commands.
  • The device has built-in Wi-Fi technology.
  • Offers live traffic updates and weather forecasts.
  • Includes driver awareness alerts like sharp curves and speed changes.
  • Includes a history database and a national parks directory for the US.


  • The built-in battery lasts for a maximum of an hour.
  • Live traffic updates show less accuracy than counterparts like Google Maps.
  • The navigator can be comparatively expensive.


The original price of the Garmin DriveSmart 65 & Traffic is $269.99.

You could get discounts or interest-free payment plans if you buy the device from Garmin’s website. At the time of publishing, Amazon is also offering discounts on the purchase of the navigator.

You will also have to pay for map coverage and updates outside the US. These charges may vary depending on the authorized dealer you opt to purchase from.


What is the difference between Garmin DriveSmart and Drive?

The Garmin DriveSmart and Drive series differ in terms of the features offered. For example, DriveSmart includes features like hands-free calling, smartphone notifications, and Wi-Fi connectivity that the Drive series navigators do not offer.

Does Garmin DriveSmart 65 offer live traffic updates?

Yes. The Garmin Drive app lets you receive live traffic updates such as road congestion, accidents, delays, and road closures.

What is the maximum memory capacity for the DriveSmart 65? 

With the DriveSmart 65 navigator, you can use a microSD card with a maximum capacity of 32 GB. The compatible class of memory cards is class 2 to 10.

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