Garmin nuvi 5000

Large screen navigation designed for 4WD and truck drivers.

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Garmin nuvi 5000
  • Garmin nuvi 5000
  • Garmin nuvi 5000
  • Garmin nuvi 5000
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5


  • Large display, simple interface and map screen, Where Am I help menu, FM transmitter, Australian text-to-speech voice


  • No internal battery, no Bluetooth, unorthodox address input method, sluggish start-up time

Bottom Line

We really like the nuvi 5000's large screen, but the lack of Bluetooth and an internal battery will undoubtedly turn potential users elsewhere. It’s a shame, as the navigational experience is otherwise excellent.

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Garmin claims its latest 5000 unit, which has a 5.2in touch screen, was designed with 4WD and truck drivers in mind. Just as useful in a regular car, it has an impressively simple interface, but disapprovingly it lacks an internal battery and Bluetooth connectivity.

The 5000 is a large GPS, but the good news is that the display takes up most of this real estate. Despite the large screen, the 5000 is reasonably thin and the gloss black casing does give it a sense of style. But this unit is all about the display: the large screen is one of the brightest and clearest GPS displays we've seen. Maps have vibrant colour and are easy to read, while viewing angles are reasonable.

The biggest disappointment is the fact that it doesn't include an internal battery. This means it needs to be plugged into your vehicle at all times and can't be operated without power. The window mount includes a proprietary charger port and Garmin bundles an in-car charger and a USB cable in the sales package, but the lack of battery is inexcusable. Its sluggish start-up time is also an issue, something that other Garmin units have suffered from in the past.

Garmin is renowned for the ease of use of its GPS devices, and the 5000 is no different. The interface is simple, bright and effective. The main menu is straightforward, with large icons for Where To and View Map, in addition to smaller icons for volume and tools. The 5000 can navigate to a specific address, a Point of Interest (POI), a recent location, a specific intersection or your favourites. It also allows you to directly input a specific GPS coordinate, and it features a Where Am I menu that shows your exact latitude and longitude coordinates as well as the nearest address and junction. You can quickly find the closest hospitals, police stations and petrol stations in case of emergency.

The address entry process is reasonable, though Garmin still hasn't corrected its search order. Searches must be made in order of suburb, street number and then street name, where logic tells us that you should enter the street number after the street and not before. Many other GPS manufacturers have also introduced new software that doesn't require you to access three or four screens to enter a simple address, a luxury not available on Garmin units as yet.

The nuvi 5000 comes preloaded with City Navigator Australia and includes over 600,000 POIs. Safety alerts, such as speed and red light cameras, aren't preloaded onto the unit, but they are available as a free download from Garmin's Web site. Garmin claims the alerts will be preloaded on new devices in the future.

Voice guidance is excellent. Conveniently, this model includes an Australian text-to-speech voice that pronounces most street names accurately. Combined with the FM transmitter that allows the sound to be wirelessly streamed to your car radio, the general navigation experience is excellent. The FM transmitter is a wise inclusion, as volume through the standalone speaker is not as loud as it should be.

The map screen is bright and clear, but the maps aren't as detailed as their TomTom, Navman and Mio counterparts. Regardless, most people will appreciate the simplicity and straightforward nature of the map display as it is not cluttered with too many icons and options.

Garmin bundles a number of extras, including a music player, picture viewer and games, but the lack of Bluetooth connectivity is a sour point, especially given the FM transmitter and large display.

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