leaderboard left
leaderboard right
content topleft content topright

Garmin MSN Direct Traffic Receiver GDB 50


This is a placeholder only. You can read this linked article for more information about GPS traffic receivers.

11 Responses

  1. I would like feedback from the actual users of MSN direct services on Garmin device (like 780.) I was reading the reviews of 780 on Amazon and many reported that the traffic data which they received were outdated. Would like to know
    (1). Are the traffic data is outdated almost all the times, or do we have occurance when MSN direct and Garmin together were able to deliver the right data at the right time and you could save time by rerouting?
    (2). If you are using it for long time, tell me approximately how many percentage of time, the traffic data was outdated and how many times it was useful?

    Neal Pressley - September 13th, 2008
    • I have the new Nuvi 780 with the 3 month MSN direct subscription. I agree: it is absolutely worthless as far as traffic goes. I haven’t once seen any updates and the only traffic information that I get has been the same for 2 weeks. I won’t renew this service.

      Doug - January 16th, 2009
  2. I have been using this service for more than a year in the suburban Boston area. I have found reception to be spotty at best. It needs to be re-activated (this involves going on line or calling MSN during business hours) often because my home is not in a good reception area. The information is NOT usually up to date but is better than no information. There seems to be a delay in getting accurate information.

    Michael - September 25th, 2008
  3. I have used the Magellan 4250 and now the msn traffic on a Garmin 680. Both suck, near worthless, but I hope that it will improve – I have been waiting a year and so far nothing…
    The Garmin 680 always wants to have me take back roads most of the time, even though I have it set for highway. It looks at speed limits and takes you off a highway saving a mile or 2, but puts you on a road with a 35 mph speed limit, but with traffic and lites you average 10 mph.

    rich - November 5th, 2008
  4. I will be glad to offer my opinion.

    Simply put, the service sucks and support for the service is equally terrible. Specifically:

    1. Although the coverage maps show signal in my area as well as other areas I have driven, signal is spotty at best. I seriously debate the accuracy of their coverage maps.

    2. The device frequently has to be re-activated for a number of reasons. This is easy to do from the web site, but if you are traveling and the think needs to be re-activated you have to call support and you will sit on hold forever. This is not the experience I paid for when I shelled out for my Garmin GPS with MSN Direct.

    3. When it DOES work, the traffic data is inaccurate. I have intentionally disregarded it’s advice and driven into areas with reported bad traffic only to find that there was no traffic at all. Likewise, I have run into terrible traffic on major interstates in my area experiencing huge delays when there was no reported issue… it never updated the entire time (once almost an hour… and it was one of the rare occasions I had signal).

    4. I have two cars, one of which has constant power to the power plug, the other does not. The GDB 50 receiver has a battery in it that keeps the unit downloading data when your car is turned off. The claim is that the unit lasts \a couple days\ (or something like that) but if you don’t drive long enough to recharge the battery odds are you will wind up with a dead battery and the need to reactivate, wait FOREVER for a full download of data, etc. If you don’t have constant power to your power outlets in your car this unit is a terrible solution.

    5. If you do a lot of between-city driving (specifically between two cities that have service) don’t expect great things from this unit. By the time it actually gets traffic data… that is generally inaccurate… if you get it at all… it’s too late for you do do anything about it. I have had instances where I was driving into Chicago, CLEARLY on the coverage map, and would up stuck with major construction delays I could have easily avoided. The unit didn’t even pick up that there was traffic yet along that there were long-standing major roadworks in the area.

    I have not tested the weather, events, gas prices etc. I bought the MSN Direct support because I wanted the TRAFFIC. I could care less if these other features are accurate or not.

    I have many Garmin GPS units and they have all been outstanding products. I find it very hard to find fault in the non-MSN Direct features of the Nuvi unit I purchased. In my mind I almost entirely lay the blame for this at the feet of MSN Direct… but Garmin chose their partner for this and it’s their name on the box. They took my money and split it up with MSN Direct. I sincerely hope they either fix the service or deliver on what they have sold people before someone gets smart and files a class action lawsuit.

    I also own a Tom Tom. I have run both units in my car at the same time. While I can discuss the accuracy of the traffic data for this unit it’s off-topic. What I will say is that the approach of using Bluetooth/Cell Phone internet access to get traffic data is a massive improvement over the approach provided for by the GDB 50 receiver.

    Summary: Garmin Nuvi units bought for use with the MSN Direct features… zero stars. Stay away from them with a 10-foot pole. Garmin Nuvi units bought with the understanding that the MSN Direct service is trash… 5 stars… outstanding GPS.

    Jim - June 9th, 2009
  5. I totally agree with Jim. The MSN service is awful…. AND inaccurate! Every Sunday evening…. while driving from Cape Cod to Boston … my MSN report states a back-up, sometimes listed as a 40 minute delay! I have yet to find this phantom traffic and I have learned to ignore it!
    I will no longer trust Garmin products for accuracy/quality!

    m John - June 11th, 2009
  6. To add my 2cents, I’ve been using MSN Direct for two years now with a Garmin 680. I live in Madison,AL and their is no MSN Direct svc here. But I travel between Madison, Bham, Nashville,Indianapolis and Atlanta and each of these cities have this svc. I can honestly say the only time I have gotten any kind of warning, I was heading back to AL and about 20mi N of Nashville on instate65 S and that was it. Anybody who has traveled thru Nashville on interstate 65 knows it gets bad in the morning’s & evenings and I don’t get any kind of notices from MSN Direct. Atlanta is the same way as far as traffic jams goes and yet, nothing from MSN Direct. To be honest I forget it has this svc since it never works. I use it more for the other features like movie times & gas prices. I just purchased a new nuvi 765t and it comes with the GDB 55 receiver (live traffic) so when I had to Indy in two weeks I’ll see if the Live Traffic is any better.

    Don - September 2nd, 2009
  7. IMHO, I could agree more than what other have said here. In this era of lightning speed, MSN direct damn slow and inaccurate. MSN claims to have Stock/Fuel/Weather and the
    traffic and all these features depend on speed of delivery and accuracy. The product doesn’t have both!! BTW, I live in San Jose and the signal strength seems to be always high with NO content !

    MSN-Direct came with Garmin 780. I am quite displeased.

    Muthukumar - September 25th, 2009
  8. Just to echo what everyone else here has said. Do not waste your money thinking this will ever help you avoid traffic. If you want a report on what the traffic was like several hours ago, then go ahead and buy the product. Luckily, the Garmin I bought came with a free trial period. After the first week, I realized MSN Direct Traffic data was worthless, so I didn’t waste my money on a subscription.

    Jason - October 22nd, 2009
  9. MSN Direct now says they will discontinue the service in a few years. That means it will NOT get better, it will get worse and then die. What a disappointment. I just emailed Garmin asking if they will replace this traffic receiver with a supported one. I’ll post their reply, if useful.

    steve - December 8th, 2009
  10. i purchased the garmin 855 then the gtm 50 (MSN)afterwards. this review is for canadians. The traffic outside of Toronto (oakville and milton ) and Hamilton is below average. the majority of times it tells me there is a traffic delay in toronto and this is incorrect. gas does not work in Canada. only in us. this sucks and this includes any entertainment (us only) no telling of when Toronto maple leafs or raptors are playing.Do not use the Stock Reports. Weather is OK. News is great, but is it really good to be reading the news driving down the road. yes I know we all follow the law. don’t drink a coffee, dont talk on the cell phone and dont read something on your seat… airport information seems to lock up the garmin. google information on your cell phone is better for flight information and quicker too.If I had to do it again this canadian would have bought the GTM 20 with lifetime traffic. it was more accurate on when there actually was a delay or accident. besides as of 2012- msn direct is cancelling all service and the 100 dollar unit is just a memory in a junk drawer. The sad part is Garmin is now switching over to Google with built in units for transmitting data right into the Garmin.

    As for the Garmin 855. Highly recommend.

    Bill - February 21st, 2010

content bottomleft content bottomright