Garmin dezl 780 review – is it the best trucker GPS?

  • By: Dylan
  • Date: May 16, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

It is hard to understand the duties and responsibilities of a truck driver unless you have worked in their position. They have to transfer cargo from point A to point B almost every day of their job. Being a truck driver means you will have to go to new destinations most days and also arrive there on time. Getting yourself lost wastes time and wastes money. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to have a GPS as a companion.

The Garmin Dezl 780 is a GPS device that is specifically designed to be used by drivers of larger vehicles. In this in-depth Garmin dezl 780 review, we are going to be looking at whether or not this is the best trucker GPS available today. So, without any further ado, let’s get cracking!

Garmin dezlCam 785 LMT-S, GPS Truck Navigator with Built-in Dash Cam
  • All-in-one 7” truck navigator with powered magnetic mount plus built-in dash cam to record your drive and enable driver awareness features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings1
  • Custom truck routing² for the size, load and weight of your truck plus alerts for upcoming bridge heights, steep grades and more
  • Free live services, such as traffic and weather, when you download the free smartphone Link app on your compatible smartphone
  • Easy Break Planning with timely notifications plus a Truck & Trailer Services directory, searchable by brand or amenity (e.g., “Flying J” or “showers”)

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Might You Consider the Garmin dezl 780?

  • Large 7-inch touchscreen
  • Voice-activated navigation
  • Dedicated truck routing
  • Lifetime Maps & Live Services
  • Garmin eLog compatible
  • Dispatch & track function
  • Driving Break Planner

Things To Consider Before Buying A GPS System

There are a few factors that you need to look into when buying a GPS specifically designed for drivers of trucks, vans or buses. Doing this at the outset can save you the pain of purchasing an unsuitable device. At the very least it will stop you from spending too much on a feature-loaded device that you just won’t make the most of and a cheaper more basic version would have sufficed. 

So, what exactly should you be looking for in a trucking GPS? 

  1. Screen size: If you drive a big truck, you need a bigger screen. It’s that simple! Look for a screen size that suits your cabin the best and one that’s large enough to stop you from squinting.
  2. Voice commands: This makes it easier for you to follow the routes, as you don’t have to keep staring at the screen while driving. This is a feature that makes your life a lot easier. Period.
  3. Customised Routing: You drive a truck and are therefore substantially larger than other vehicles on the road. This means you aren’t going to fit on narrow streets or under low bridges. A device that provides proper routing based on your truck dimensions is a must.
  4. Traffic Updates: Driving a truck means delivering goods. Traffic jams waste time and waste money. Avoiding traffic provides better results for you, your customers and less stress all round. Some devices may also provide you with weather updates as you drive.
  5. Bluetooth Connectivity: A Bluetooth enables GPS can connect to your smartphone. This makes it more convenient and safer for you to make calls and read your messages.
  6. Planning Features: The best trucker GPS devices will allow you to plan your journey correctly, and that means taking breaks at truck stops. Knowing where you can park up correctly to take a break and rest means it’s easy to comply with ELD mandates.

Design

It’s pretty challenging to wax lyrical about the design of any vehicle designed GPS device. I mean that because, in all honesty, they are pretty much all the same – a rectangular box with a screen! Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with that because the design works just fine. it’s just not something to get overly excited about!

Picture of the Garmin dezl 780

This Garmin has a capacitive screen with an excellent screen resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. This is a better screen resolution than the TomTom equivalent, however, which only has 480 x 272 pixels. What does this mean in reality? Well, the screen is sharp, and the routing instructions and details are easy to read in any light condition. If we were to criticize the display, then at times the information may appear to be a little blocky. Overall, however, the graphics are top-notch.

One feature that I do like about the screen is the ability to quickly zoom in on anything using a pinch-to-zoom. Using your thumb and index finger in a pinching motion gets the screen to zoom in and out as required. This is useful if you are driving towards to a confusing or busy junction on the road.

What’s In The Box?

Inside the box, you will find the following items:

  • The Garmin dēzl 780
  • Suction cup mount with a powered magnetic mount
  • Power cable
  • microSD card for video recording
  • USB cable
  • Quick start manual 

The manual provided is pretty basic, but it is enough to get you up and running in a short space of time. The full owner’s manual can be found here on the Garmin website. There are also several helpful videos available to get you up and running with no hassle.

Mounting System

The suction cup can be secured on any smooth surface, i.e. the windshield or the dash of the cabin. The mount once in place is solid will keep the sat nav fully charged. Without using this mount, you will only get a couple of hours of battery life.

Navigation

The Dezl 780 comes with a 7” touchscreen display (it’s also available with a 5” screen). The main highlighted navigational features of the unit include premium mapping, advanced connectivity, and voice-controlled driving instructions. This device is designed to find your routes based on the size, weight, height, width, and length of your truck. In practice, this means that you shouldn’t find yourself stuck under a low bridge or having to turn around because the road is too narrow. For heavy hauliers, this device will keep you off any weight – restricted roads, along with any unsuitable bridges or steep gradients. In other words, it takes away the stress and the worry of being able to drive to places safely with a big load.

Map Showing Narrow Roads of Mosel Route
Avoiding narrow roads is vital when driving a truck

What if you are driving with a trailer attached? Or perhaps you have dropped off a trailer and are now returning to the base trailer free? The Garmin handles this quickly and easily, as you simply change the settings within the vehicle profile. It’s possible to remove the container or trailer from the routing calculations without changing your vehicle sizing.

While driving, you are provided with lane guidance and will receive an adequate warning as to which lane you should be driving in. You also get a birds-eye view of the road layout ahead. This makes approaching those complicated and confusing junctions on the motorways a breeze to navigate.

Break Planning

To make your journey on the road more manageable, the unit provides you with the easy break planning feature. With this feature, you can locate points of interest such as fuel, food, showers, rest areas, lodging, ATMs, that are suitable for truck drivers. After all when driving heavier and larger vehicles you can’t just park anywhere. You need to be able to find truck-friendly car parking spaces.  

Voice Control

You can control the Dezl with your voice, which means you can keep your hands on the wheel. Additionally, you can also make telephone calls and read any notifications on the screen.

Trucker using voice control and keeping his hands in the wheel

Traffic Updates

Garmin Live Services provides traffic alerts and allow you to see what’s happening on the road ahead. These alerts will forewarn you of any bottlenecks and provide you with an alternative route. This means that you can complete your journey with as little disruption and as quickly as and safely as possible.

For the live services to work, and to be able to access all the features, you will need to connect your smartphone to the GPS. With the help of the Smartphone Link, a free mobile app that can access real-time information. You get all the weather and traffic-related information. There is also an option to purchase premium content images from traffic cameras and weather radar data within the app (this is not something that I have done to date).

Mapping updates 

For some reason, Garmin has removed the term ‘lifetime’ from their mapping products which is a little confusing as they do offer map updates on their products. Once you have purchased the Dezl 780, all of your available maps will be updated as required without any additional cost. So I guess this is lifetime maps in everything but name!

Wi-Fi Connection

You will need to keep your GPS up to date with the latest software and mapping updates. The good news is that you no longer need to connect the device via a USB cable to your computer. All updates can now be done by connecting to any available Wi-Fi connection. This makes it much easier to keep everything working in tip-top shape.

Garmin eLog ELD Compatibility

The Dezl is compatible with the Garmin eLog ELD. This makes keeping a log of your driving hours far easier and keeps you in compliance with FMCSA ELD mandates. You can view your hours of service easily on the screen without having to connect your smartphone to access the data. Unfortunately, however, to access and set up these additional functions, you will need to purchase an additional device. The good news is that this is a once-off purchase and there are no subscription service fees thereafter. The bad news? Well, you have to fork out an additional amount in order to avail of the e-Logging features.

Service History Log

There is an option within the settings to note and log all of your truck service details. This is great for keeping up to – date records of all the work that has been carried out on your truck. Also, should you, at any point in the future, break down or begin to have issues whilst out on the road, there is a Truck and Trailer service directory.

This directory lists over 30,000 truck repair and service locations in Canada and the U.S. Also included are details of repair centers that offer after-hours services, meaning that you can get fixed up and back on the road as quickly as possible.

Keeping track of your vehicle service log is a great feature

Cars, Buses and Vans

This GPS unit is primarily designed for truck drivers who often move to different places to transport cargo. It can also be used in other larger vehicles like buses and vans. You can also use it in your car by disabling the truck size within the option menus. This is a great feature if you find yourself changing vehicles regularly.

If however, you are only using a GPS in a car, then you should look for something that is specifically designed for cars. Take a look at the excellent Garmin DriveSmart 65 for some inspiration.

Additional Features

Dispatch and Track

This GPS unit comes preloaded with a truck monitoring solution that allows fleet operators to track their drivers locations. They can also communicate with them and share addresses through text messages. The delivery driver can then use these messages to set their new destinations and their new route will be calculated.

Back-Up Camera

It also gives you the option to add a back-up camera to the system. This will enable you to see what’s happening behind your vehicle. When connected to your GPS unit, it will show you transmitted footage from your rearview on your display. Similarly to the eLogging options, however, you will need to buy the back-up camera separately. Take a look at our camera installation guide for further details.

Summary

Pros:

  • Customised truck routing
  • Large clear screen
  • Traffic and weather updates
  • Wi-Fi updates and voice controls

Cons:

  • Weigh station information not included
  • Software can at times be glitchy
  • No need for the music app
Garmin dezlCam 785 LMT-S, GPS Truck Navigator with Built-in Dash Cam
  • All-in-one 7” truck navigator with powered magnetic mount plus built-in dash cam to record your drive and enable driver awareness features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings1
  • Custom truck routing² for the size, load and weight of your truck plus alerts for upcoming bridge heights, steep grades and more
  • Free live services, such as traffic and weather, when you download the free smartphone Link app on your compatible smartphone
  • Easy Break Planning with timely notifications plus a Truck & Trailer Services directory, searchable by brand or amenity (e.g., “Flying J” or “showers”)

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In this Garmin Dezl 780 review, it seems that this is one of the best GPS units made for larger vehicles. This is an excellent GPS for trucks or anybody driving with a trailer attached.

It comes with all the essential features that you would want, including customized truck routing, voice controls, and a large display screen. It provides you with additional details such as fleet management, hours of service logging compliance and some useful planning for driver breaks.

The points of interest are updated regularly, making it easier to find ATMs, diners, and driver-specific facilities. If you’re a professional truck driver, this will prove to be a valuable tool and a worthy investment that will undoubtedly make your life much easier.

This is an excellent GPS for trucks, buses, or anybody driving with an attached trailer. The menu system is intuitive and easy to use, and the additional features make it easier to plan and log your journeys.

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