Are you planning your next adventure motorcycle trip across the country? Do you plan to riddle solo? Or is your gang riding to a new destination?
A GPS navigator is a device that can make your road trips fun and well-planned. One such device we will review today is the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S.
The Garmin device has a 4.3-inch display, which is suitable for motorcycles. It comes preloaded with maps for North America. You can select your preferred routes, like the one with curves or that makes it through the hills.
The device offers features like rider alerts for sharp curves ahead. It makes finding places easier with preloaded Foursquare data and TripAdvisor traveler ratings.
It supports Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. You can control music, make calls, and view text messages through the GPS device.
The device has a short battery life. You may have to pay for installation costs. So, is the navigator worth investing in? Let us start with our Garmin Zumo GPS tracker review to know more.
|Model||Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S|
|Dimension (W x H x D)||4.94 x 3.38 x 0.98 inches|
|Display Dimension (W x H)||3.7 x 2.2 inches
Diag - 4.3 inches
|Display Type||WQVGA color TFT with white backlight|
|Display Resolution||480 x 272 pixels|
|Internal Storage||16 GB|
|Operating Temperature Range||From -20° to 55°C|
|Charging Temperature Range||From 0° to 45°C|
|Price||Starts from $229.99|
|Amazon Rating||4.2 out of 5 (974 ratings)|
Garmin is a well-known brand in the navigation space. They are a global company with a presence in over 35 countries. Their mission is to develop quality products for life on the outside.
Garmin’s product range is divided into categories like automotive, marine, aviation, wearables, sports, and outdoor recreation.
Garmin has an extensive support portal to help you find product user manuals and informative articles or connect to a support agent according to your device.
Who is the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S Tracker For?
The Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S is designed for motorcycle trips across the country. If you are in for an adventure trip, the device will help identify roads with curves and hills.
It offers features like points of interest on your route and TripAdvisor hotel ratings. So you can plan your stops accordingly.
You can control music through the Zumo device. You can share the GPX files with your fellow riders. It supports hands-free calling so that you can stay connected with your gang while on the road.
It also has a safety feature built-in in the form of indecent notification. For example, your chosen contact will be notified if the device detects an incident.
You can, of course, use it for daily bike trips. But note it has a short battery life, so it would be best to keep the device plugged into the vehicle. This can drain the vehicle battery in the long run.
5 Important Factors We Tested the Product On
We tested the Garmin 396 LMT-S on several parameters like build, battery, ease of setup and use, and features. We took multiple routes across different terrains to test device performance. Here are our findings.
The Zumo 396 LMT-S is one of the smallest devices in the Zumo series. Its dimensions are 4.94 x 3.38 x 0.98 inches. Its display dimensions are 3.7 x 2.2 inches, and diagonally, it measures 4.3 inches.
This is a good enough size for the display to be clearly visible while the device itself is not a distraction to the rider.
The display has a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. This is, again, not the best specification, but it gets the job done. The display has a resistive touch, so you will have to apply pressure when using the device or typing something.
When you make the purchase, in the box, you will receive the GPS device, power cable, USB cable, mount and hardware required for installation, and a quick start guide.
The guide instructions need to be more descriptive. You can head over to Garmin’s website to get more details on the device and installation process.
The Zumo 396 LMT-S comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It can last for up to four hours.
You can charge the device using a power adaptor accessory. Garmin recommends you use an AC-DC adapter approved by them for charging the device at your home or office. Using a third-party adapter can take longer to charge.
Or you can charge the device by connecting it to the vehicle’s power.
The four-hour battery life is short, but compared to other Garmin GPS devices, this is to be expected. It is best to connect the device to the motorcycle power source while on a trip.
While installing the Zumo 396 LMT-S, you need to take care of two wires – the red wire connects to a power source while the back is grounded.
You then must install the U-bolt and then the handlebar base to the clutch-clamp or brake-clamp bracket. Then, you need to thread the two wires through the motorcycle mount. Attach the base plate to the mount and the handlebar base. You are now ready to install the Zumo device.
You will receive all the necessary components during installation with the box. Please note if you are not familiar with your motorcycle’s electrical system, get the device installed by a professional. Incorrect wiring may damage your vehicle and also cause injury.
The GPS device comes preloaded with street maps for places like the US, Mexico, Canada, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas.
Finding places on the device is easy as it includes preloaded Foursquare POIs. This way you can find new restaurants and shops quickly. It also has Trip Advisor ratings for hotels along your route, so you can make an informed decision when deciding on a stop.
The 396 LMT-S is loaded with several features. If you want your motorcycle trip to be adventurous, you can use Garmi’s routing feature to select routes accordingly.
For example, you can ask the device to suggest curved roads if you prefer the hilly terrain or if you want to avoid major highways.
It can make your adventurous trips safer by providing alerts before you hit a curved road or enter a speed change area.
Using the map view, you can see places of interest along your route. So you can plan your stop accordingly.
The GPS device supports WiFi connectivity. So you can make software or map updates over WiFi. You do not necessarily need to connect to a computer.
You can pair the GPS device with the Smartphone Link app and get live traffic and weather information.
You can play and control music through the 396 LMT-S device. The feature may work with iPhone 4 or later and on some Android phones only.
The 396 LMT-S is smaller than the other devices in the Zumo series. But the display is adequate enough to see the route clearly. The display is indeed glove-friendly, so you do not have to go through the hassle of removing your gloves every time you want to use the device.
The display does well under sunlight. This is a concern I have seen with other Garmin devices as investing in a sunshade or guard becomes necessary. But the display on this device holds up well.
The mounting process comparatively involves a few more steps, but it helps the device stay in place.
Navigation-wise, the device performs pretty well. Finding places and routes is straightforward. The live traffic and weather details can help you plan your trip better.
With Garmin Real Directions, you get simple turn-by-turn instructions and not complicated road names. Using the Trackback feature, you can take the same route in reverse when it is time to get back home.
Some users did report issues of the device hanging and restarting itself a few times. The device responds slowly to typing but makes it up in the navigation department.
Overall, it is a good navigation device in the Zumo series.
What Sets the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S Apart from its Competitors?
You cannot pay attention to your phone while riding your bike. But what if you are waiting for some important messages or you need to make urgent calls?
The Zumo 396 LMT-S makes this possible with its hands-free calling and smart notification feature.
Once you have paired a compatible smartphone or helmet with the GPS device through Bluetooth, you can make calls hands-free. Similarly, once you have paired your phone with the Zumo device through the Smartphone Link app, you can see text messages and other notifications on the Zumo screen.
Another distinguishing feature of the 396 LMT-S is that if the device detects an incident, it will notify your chosen contact. It will send the contact a text message and a map link to your location.
Should You Purchase the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S?
The Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S offers good navigation features. You can find routes and places as per your preference. Its Smartphone Link app makes live traffic updates available and lets you keep track of important notifications.
Installation can be a challenge for the average person without any knowledge of the bike’s electrical system. The battery can be an issue.
Here are some pros and cons for you to consider before buying.
- It has a rugged, glove-friendly display.
- You can share GPX files from your phone to the device or with other riders.
- It provides alerts for events like sharp curves or speed changes
- It supports hands-free calling.
- Use the Smartphone Link app to have phone notifications displayed on the Zumo screen.
- It can send incident notifications, along with a map link to your chosen contact.
- The GPS device has a short battery life.
- Some users have reported the device shutdown on its own.
- The device is best installed by an expert.
The Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S has a listing price of $399.99. At the time of writing the article, Amazon was offering the GPS device at a discounted price of $229.99.
The GPS device comes preloaded with the City Navigator North America map. If you need maps for other regions like North Central or South West, you have to buy them separately. These maps can cost about $100.
You can also buy a range of accessories like adapters, cables, chargers, and carrying cases. These accessories can cost anywhere between $15 to $50.
Yes. The Garmin 396 LMT-S has a sunlight-readable display. It is resistant to fuel vapours, UV rays, and extreme weather conditions. The display is also glove-friendly, making it easier to operate under sunlight.
The 396 LMT-S has an IP67 waterproof rating. This means the device should be fine when exposed to water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. So your navigator should be fine under rain and snow.
The Zumo 396 LMT-S comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasting up to four hours.
The Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S can be an ideal companion for your next road trip. It has a 4.3-inch display, which is sunlight-readable.
It has features like easy route shaping, Garmin Real Directions, and preloaded Foursquare data.
When connected to the Smartphone Link app, you can view live traffic and weather updates. You can get text messages and notifications to display right on the Zumo screen. It supports hands-free calling.
Overall, it is a well-performing GPS device and provides value for money, more so if you can get your hands on it at a discounted price.
We hope our Garmin Zumo GPS tracker review helps you buy the right device for your adventure trips.
Carson Harris is a highly qualified author and expert in GPS tracking technology. With a background in electrical engineering and machine learning, he has established himself as a trusted source of information. Carson’s work experience at Garmin and Panasonic has further enhanced his expertise. He possesses creative skills in website design and AI applications. Known for his clear and concise communication, Carson’s articles on Trax Family’s website provide valuable insights on GPS trackers.