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State of my GPS collection


The collection hasn't changed, but something else did.

In Florida, if you wear eyeglasses, it's pretty much a requirement you have to get a very specific sunglass prescription set, that being polarized brown lenses. Brown lens is the absolute best thing you can have. More on that in a moment.

I have four GPS units. A beat-up Garmin StreetPilot i5 pictured above that I just keep around for nostalgic reasons (my first GPS was an i3), two nuvi 200 models and a nuvi 40LM.

The reason I own a very specific pair of nuvi 200s (both start with serial 1GF) is because they have amazing touchscreens and stellar performance.

I bought the 40LM new back in March 2012. Other than when the power button popped off (fixed with a small dab of superglue), it's been doing a good job for the 4.5+ years I've owned it.

I'm not going to say the 40LM is perfect, because it's not. But the screen is great. That is the 40LM's saving grace where readability is concerned. And I presume the same type of screen is in the 5-inch 50LM and 6-inch 60LM models.

Most GPS navigation screens are not polarized lens friendly

I had my eyeglasses prescription updated this year. I have 2 pair. One regular, one sunglasses.

My prescription sunglasses have - you guessed it - brown polarized lenses.

The screen on the 40LM can be read with no issues at all with polarized lenses. But as for the 200, nope.

I was recently checking out the latest automotive units from Garmin, thinking that surely, all of the current offerings are polarized lens friendly, right?


This review explains what happened to someone who bought a brand new Garmin Drive 60LMT. The guy went from an older 1490LMT model to the 60LMT and learned the hard way that it's basically unreadable while wearing polarized sunglasses.

The "solution"? Buy a more expensive (as in more than double the price) DriveSmart 60LMT model just to get a screen that can actually be read while wearing polarized sunglasses.

Well, I obviously won't be doing that.

As I said above, the 40LM can be read through polarized sunglasses just fine. The 50LM and 60LM models can as well.

Will I be buying another backup GPS?

Yes. Not immediately, but it's on the to-do list.

Originally, my intent was to use the nuvi 200s all the time. One for main use, the other as backup. Now I can't do that because the screens aren't polarized lens friendly.

A model I might get is the 57LM. This is a basic unit but that's all I really need. It's actually cheaper to get that instead of another new 40LM or 50LM. I put it on my wish list in case anyone is feeling generous. 🙂

I also put the Rand McNally Road Atlas on my wish list too. Strangely, I've never owned one and would like to.

It's all about the maps...

In case you're wondering how I'm able to still use older Garmin automotive GPS devices with ease, it's because I use free OSM maps to keep them updated. If you have an older Garmin GPS that works but the maps are old, don't throw it out. Update the maps the free way and you can use it again.

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