Garmin nuvi 42lm portable gps – discontinued?



This sat nav is one of those units with a smaller screen – 4.3 inches to be exact. It’s perhaps a little unusual as the screen size of other devices appears to be growing every year. That trend may be due to continuing as the Garmin nuvi 42lm portable GPS has now been discontinued by the manufacturer.

Why then should I bother to review the product? Well, simply because there are still a large number available from the various online retailers. It’s also for sale on Amazon at a rather tempting price.

Get a 30% discount on Amazon

Garmin nuvi 42LM

[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]

  • Lifetime Maps
  • Quickly finds a ‘lock’ on your location
  • Small size – easy to carry around
  • Good onscreen scrolling during navigation

[/wpsm_pros][/wpsm_column][wpsm_column size=”one-half” position=”last”][wpsm_cons title=”CONS:”]

  • Small 4.3inch display
  • A not very sharp 480×272 screen
  • No voice activation commands
  • Very poor battery life when disconnected



The design of the Garmin nuvi 42lm is the same as the other Garmin devices on the market. The 42lm is a slick-looking rectangular device with a dark two-tone color scheme. There is a glossy black strip of plastic running along the bottom of the device with ‘Garmin’ written in the middle.


The 42LM comes with a 4.3-inch screen. If you have previously used other Garmin devices then it is noticeably smaller in size. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing particularly if you drive a small car. It also makes sense if you tend to carry the sat nav in your bag when you leave the vehicle.

However, I found that due to the smaller screen size I did tend to keep my eyes on the device a little longer when driving. The information that I need to have whilst driving seemed to take my brain a few additional seconds to decipher. This is only because the screen is smaller than what we are used to. For a larger screen and therefore a clearer display check out the Garmin nuvi 67LM.

The  480×272 pixels display is not the sharpest screen I’ve seen by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is supported by a white backlight that does make the screen clearer, particularly when there is some sunlight glare.


Like most Garmin devices the 42LM managed to find my location quickly and without fuss. It took on average, just under 30 seconds for the device to lock onto enough satellites for it to be able to work correctly. As this is part of the entry-level of sat navs there is no voice activation feature available. So yes, you are going to have to tap all of your destinations into the device manually!

The 42LM performed well and was generally responsive to the touch. There were however some responsitivity issues when used in cold weather. I had left the device attached to the windscreen overnight and was heading off on an early morning drive. The car was freezing and there was plenty of condensation on the windows – definitely a morning to have stayed in the warmth under the duvet!  On this occasion  the sat nav was like the driver was a little groggy and perhaps still half asleep! It took a fair few strong taps on the screen for it to respond. Inputting my destination took a little longer than usual. In fairness, this was the only time I experienced any issues and therefore I don’t believe it should be a deal-breaker if you’re considering purchasing the device.

There have also been a few reports of the device not responding too well when used in very hot weather. Unfortunately, however, I cannot comment as it’s just really cold here at this time of year 🙁 The solution, therefore, appears to be to bring the device into the house during the night. Or at the very least you should place the sat nav into the glove box on the car for a little extra protection from the extreme temperatures.

Driving Guidance

Despite being part of the budget rage the Nuvi 42LM does come with a couple of nifty navigational features that help when driving.

Garmin Nuvi 42LM frontSplit Screen – when you are getting ready to exit the freeway the device will simultaneously split the screen into two. On the left-hand side will be the navigational map and on the right, there will be a ‘lane view’ of what’s coming up ahead. The lane view is generic illustrations of the junctions and therefore not exact but, they are easy to understand.

Lane Assist Function – for me this is probably the most useful feature. In the top left-hand side of the screen you will see a diagram depiction of the upcoming lanes; This will enable you to be in the correct lane for an upcoming junction or turn.

During testing the 42LM impressed by calculating my routes quickly. In fact, the calculation times were comparable in performance to the premium ranges offered by Garmin. It also performed well whilst driving as the information scrolled seamlessly through the various displays.  The instructions given were also clear and easy to understand – we actually had no major mishaps or missed turns on any of the routes we used it for!

Pro Tip

In order to perform a master reset on any of the nuvi 30, 40, and 50 series there are a couple of straightforward steps that you should take. First, make sure that you have removed the charging cable from the device and that it is powered off. Press and hold the power button until you see a display on the bottom right of the screen. Keep your finger on this part of the screen until the words “erase all user data?” pops up. Press “yes” and the device should now reset. It’s a good idea to then take the device outside in order for the device to obtain a lock onto the satellite networks. Once you have completed the master reset all of your favorites will have been removed although your POIs will remain intact.

Map Updates

The updating of the maps is done via the ‘Garmin Express’ program. Basically plugin and update the maps as required. Thankfully with this device, there are no storage issues with the map updates. Given that this is a budget device it most certainly gets two thumbs up from me on this score!

 What will you find in the box?

Inside the box, you pretty much get what you’d expect…..

  • Garmin nuvi 42LM
  • A Power Cable for the car
  • USB cable to connect the device to your computer
  • A Suction Mount – used to attach the sat nav to the windscreen
  • A Quick-Start Manual
  • And thankfully no advertising on the display (at least not on my model!)


There is a lot to recommend the Garmin nuvi 42lm portable GPS. It is a no-frills device that does exactly what it says on the tin – it will get you from A to B and back again!

If you’re not interested in the additional extras that come with the premium devices then this does its job nicely. During testing, it performed strongly doing what it should be doing – namely navigation. With Amazon offering an excellent price on the 42LM, it really is worthy of serious consideration.

[wpsm_button color=”orange” size=”big” link=”” icon=”none”]Buy on Amazon[/wpsm_button]

Latest Posts

  • Garmin Dash Cam Live: Your Reliable Road Companion

    Do you want to prioritize safety and security on your drives? Are you seeking a dash cam with high-quality video, remote access, and advanced features? Then check out this Garmin Dash Cam Live review. Let’s dive into the details, and see if we can help you decide if this dash cam is the perfect fit for your…

    Read more

  • Fish Finder Sonar Technology Explained (with recommendations)

    Fish Finder Sonar Technology Explained (with recommendations)

    Unlocking the Sonar Secrets For many anglers, a fish finder is the ultimate underwater spy. It helps reveal the secrets of the deep and can guide them to hidden fish havens. But with various fish finder sonar technologies available, deciphering which one reigns supreme can feel overwhelming. Fear not, fellow fishers! This cheeky (and rather…

    Read more

  • Garmin Striker Vivid 9sv Review:Is this a Top Fishfinder Choice?

    Garmin Striker Vivid 9sv Review:Is this a Top Fishfinder Choice?

    Seeking a fishfinder that’s both user-friendly and delivers exceptional underwater details? Explore the Garmin Striker Vivid 9sv. This review dives into its features, pros, cons, and user insights to help you decide if it’s the perfect fishing companion for you.

    Read more