Review: Garmin Nüvi 42LM Vehicle GPS


GPS devices have proven to be an invaluable part of our lives. These devices have made navigating around our world much easier, long past are the days of using a map and a compass. I found myself in the market for a GPS device after I stopped using my cell phone as my primary means for GPS. Typically I would just plug in the route on my cell phone and off I went. However, for a variety of reasons I stopped using my mobile device for GPS, but the biggest reason was increased data costs.

The search for a new electronic device is never an easy task, and in the world of GPS devices there are certainly plenty of devices to choose from.

One of the underlying factors for me was cost. I didn’t need something that had all the bells and whistles, I wanted something that would efficiently get me from point A to point B. At the same time I didn’t want some cheap knock-off either, that was slow and unreliable.

My search led me to the Garmin nüvi 42LM. It has a base price of $129.99 USD and was on sale at my local Best Buy for $80 (a steal).

The nüvi 42LM is part of Garmin’s Essential Series which is the company’s value-priced line of devices. Now don’t get thrown off on the value-priced clause, this device is feature rich and will more than likely fit most people’s navigational needs.

Garmin Nuvi 42LM

The nüvi 42LM comes with a bright 4.3″ color display. The touchscreen interface is easy to navigate and its large enough so that you’re not squinting to see it. I found myself pleased with the responsiveness that the screen had when entering information. The user interface is simple to use with minimal clutter, and simple direct option. You won’t get lost here, its as simple as it gets which is nice, because personally I did not want to spend a lot of time trying to figure things out. This also comes in handy if you ever want to lend your device to a friend or family member, as you won’t have to spend any time trying to teach someone how to use the device.

One thing I did need to get used to was when you get to the “Select City or Postal Code” screen, you need to make sure you tap on the “State or Country” option on the bottom of the screen to ensure that you are searching the right area. While you can select the option to “Search All”, I still found it to be much more accurate to explicitly state the state or country.

In the box you will find a mounting kit that will fit any vehicle make and model, as it uses a suction cup as its mount base. I was happy to know that this was included, and had no issues installing it. It is sturdy, strong and flexible, so it can be positioned and turned to your preferred viewing angle. Also included in the box are a vehicle power cable, USB cable, and quick start manual.

As mentioned before, there are a number of GPS models to choose from, and it is important to make sure you choose the one that best fits your needs. As you do not want to over pay for a device in which you will only use a fraction of its features.

This model in particular, the nüvi 42LM, has some distinct features that you will want to take note of. The first being that it caters to the United States. Meaning that the maps it comes with are only for the lower 49 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, and Jamaica. So if you are planning on visiting one of those lovely areas you should be covered by this model, otherwise you will need to purchase additional map packs. It also has free lifetime map updates.

The other thing to note about this device, and one of my only negative complaints; is that it does not have any traffic information. Where I live being able to create routes based on traffic would be a great help. For a few more dollars you can move up to the nüvi 2457LMT, which has Garmin Traffic.


The 42LM also includes lane assist with junction view, which indicates the proper lane for a turn or exit with brightly colored arrows and detailed images. This is a great help, it prepares you for the upcoming merge or turn so that you are not suddenly surprised.

In addition to the features listed above, the device also shows displays the current speed limit, your current speed and very accurate arrival times. On rare occasions I found that the device would lose its signal and suddenly have to recalculate the route. This did not happen very often, but it’s still worth noting. Although I have found that at times most GPS devices may lose their signal.

The Garmin nüvi 42LM, is an affordable, complete vehicle GPS solution. While it may not have some extra features like traffic, it will suite most people’s need for navigation. For the price its worth it, and you probably wont find a better one along the same price line.

Quick tips: make sure you update your device first, there are a ton of map updates that you will need. Using the Garmin Express software you can get extras like vehicle icons, voices, and bundle packs.

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About The Author

Lover of technology, Christ follower, father, and husband. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of DigiSpun.