Ownership Review of Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S GPS Guide

Are you confused about the Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S GPS Guide? I have used this for more than a year now, and before buying this, I was also confused about whether to go with it or not? But after buying and testing it, now, I can tell you about the good things and bad things about this product. 

Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S has a bright screen that is easily visible under sunlight, and the body is rugged and can take many falls, which is also weatherproof too. The software is a bit confusing, using it is a learning curve and comes with all the benefits that it is supposed to offer (music, traffic, weather, hands-free phone use).

Display4.3 inches WQVGA color TFT
Screen Resolution480 x 272 pixels
Battery Backup4 hours
Internal Storage16GB
Weight1.76 Pounds
Dimensions4.94 x 0.98 x 3.38 inches
Waterproofing RatingIPX7
Box Contentszūmo 396 LMT-S, Motorcycle mount and hardware, Motorcycle power cable, USB cable, Quick start manual

Nothing matches the thrill of going on an adventurous motorcycle trip after a busy week of work. It feeds your soul and instantly boosts your energy and mood! 

And what better than riding to unknown places, meeting unknown people! It also means unknown roads, but don’t worry, a GPS guide will get that covered! 

You will know the importance of GPS if you are an avid rider. You’ll definitely know of Garmin if you love high-quality products.

Garmin’s range of GPS trackers is impressive and made using innovative, up-to-date technology. Ever since the beginning, Garmin has continuously evolved to develop fantastic products without missing a chance to impress us!

Review of Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S

Garmin launched the Zumo 396LMT-S in 2018 in a deep, black color, which makes it look super cool. For its price, you’ll be blown by the features of this GPS tracker. The 396LMT-S is considered to be a viable alternative to the more expensive 595LM launched by Garmin. 

Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S GPS Guide

Installing this Garmin GPS is pretty easy as it does not have a lot of wires, connections, or jacks to fire up the device. A simple, single-cable wire needs to be attached, and the Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S will be at your service! 

The weatherproof construction of the GPS enables you to use it throughout the year, during every weather. This Zumo 396LMT-S can survive incidental water exposure of 1m for close to 30minutes. 

What makes this GPS more popular than the others is the fact that bikers design it for bikers. So, Garmin knows just what you are looking for.

It has a rugged body, and the case is resistant to UV rays, fuel vapors, dust, and other elements that can otherwise damage the unit. 

This rugged, all-weather construction of the GPS makes it durable and highly suitable. The road-tested device uses road-savvy technologies to give you safer, better rides!

Moreover, it has a 4.3″ touchscreen display that is glove-friendly. We all hate abruptly stopping in the road and taking off our gloves simply to tap on the screen. It turns out Garmin knows us too well! The intuitive screen makes navigation easy, even with thick gloves on!

Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S review

And Garmin knows our motorcycle well too! With a digital fuel gauge, it estimates the miles we will cover before we run out of fuel and also promptly suggests when to refill the tank. Not only that, but the 396LMT-S also provides details about nearby gas stations. 

Garmin’s Adventure Routing feature allows you to choose from among the three sliders to find a route with hills, curves, and highways as per your preferred level of intensity. 

So, you can avoid boring highways and bring the adventurer in you to life with off-road, curvy roads and hills. The Active Lane Guidance system offers voice prompts with names of every road and other popular landmarks to make navigation simpler. 

It also displays brightly colored arrows on its screen to indicate further directions on the map. To make transitions easier, it also displays junctions and interchanges so you can conveniently plan ahead. 

It has a database of millions of Points of Interest made as per motorcycle riders to help locate services of gas stations, repair, and more. Foursquare’s points of interest can be accessed after you connect the device to your phone too. 

New and updated TripAdvisor offers ratings of various restaurants, hotels, and other places of attraction near the route you choose. Additionally, the Zumo Up Ahead feature suggests places of interest in your route even as you see the map for navigation! Now, isn’t that awesome? 

The service history log of the Garmin Zumo unit keeps track of all service dates, mileage, and any other maintenance services of your bike. 

To ensure maximum safety, the Zumo 396LMT-S alerts the rider in cases of dangerous turns, hills, accident-prone areas, schools, animal crossings, railroad crossings, etc. 

review of Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S GPS Guide

Moreover, it suggests periods of intervals between your rides to make sure that you don’t feel fatigued. It also sends out alerts for nearby red lights or when you’re about to drive the wrong way. 

Garmin’s built-in WiFi in this Zumo unit ensures that all maps and software are up-to-date and reliable. The built-in Automatic Incident Notification sends texts to contacts that you choose in case any incident occurs. 

For this, you will need to connect the Zumo with a compatible smartphone. For live traffic and weather information, you can link the 396LMT-S with the Smartphone Link App. It also enables a LiveTrack feature that lets your friends track your location in real-time. 

Because this GPS is Bluetooth compatible, you can make hands-free calls after you connect the unit with a compatible headset/helmet and a smartphone. 

Once you sync the device, you will also be able to control music and playlists directly so that you have a relaxing journey all along.

This means that you don’t have to stop in the middle of a hilly road just to pick up a call or change the annoying song that’s now playing through the headphones. You can pick up the call or change the song even with the gloves on while riding the motorcycle! 

If you want to have a fun adventure minus the toll roads and stickers, you can change your preferences in the navigation settings, thus avoiding any routes with tolls. 

Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S GPS Guide review

Custom Avoidances let you select and save streets to avoid; therefore, when the GPS navigates a course, it avoids those points you choose. Off-road navigation suggests a straight line route to the location by avoiding all roadways.

To make traveling more convenient, Garmin ensures that the GPS also suggests areas of parking and contains details regarding the type of parking, price, available spots, etc. 

Key Features

  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • 4.3″ display 
  • Weatherproof build
  • Resistant to fuel vapors, UV Rays and harsh weather



  • Foursquare’s database of points of interest
  • Garmin Adventure Routing
  • Built-in WiFi


  • The incident detection feature gets activated very often on its own and takes up more than half of the screen.

Our take on the product: We can’t seem to dislike any of Garmin’s products because they’re reliable and made of high-quality materials. 

This GPS guide from Garmin makes sure that your journey is convenient and the ride memorable. The 4.3″ large touchscreen is comfortable to be used even with gloves on; however, one disadvantage is that it is not bright enough under sunlight. 

We faced trouble trying to view the screen clearly, but when we adjusted it and placed it at an angle, the display was as good as ever. 

Important Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying a GPS Tracker

  • Size and Sensitivity of Screen: It will be challenging to read small texts or icons on a small screen while riding. It calls for a hazard! 

It is always better to go for large screens as you can easily read the text while you are driving without losing sight of the road. 

Additionally, the touchscreen display should be accessible even with gloves on. Most motorcycle riders wear gloves, and removing them each time you want to touch the screen makes it pointless. 

  • Durability: Well, all adventure lovers know how much the motorcycle trembles in off-road terrains or hilly regions. 

A flimsy GPS guide will be prone to damage soon enough, so always remember to buy those navigation systems that are weatherproof, UV-resistant, and robust. 

A waterproof GPS guide is highly recommended because come on; nothing matches a long trip in the rain! 

  • Mount: If you own multiple vehicles, you do not want to purchase a separate navigation system for the other vehicle. Go for those GPS trackers that have a universal mount to use the same tracker in all other vehicles. This will save money and make more sense. 
  • Anti-glare Properties: If you want to view the screen clearly under the sunlight, make sure that the screen does not create glares. 

It becomes vital to consider anti-glare properties, especially when you have sensitive eyes and a smaller screen. You won’t be able to see what the screen displays, thus, distracting you from the ride completely. 

  • Points of Interests: POI are all those popular locations that become crucial during a ride. For, e.g., hospitals, service stations, gas stations, airports, restaurants, etc. 

An excellent guide will suggest all places of interest or other necessary locations closest to you. This way, if you want to eat or use the washroom during the ride, you can rely on the GPS to suggest the nearest place. 

  • Map Options: Go for those GPS guides that include the maps to all the places that you wish to travel. Most manufacturers keep updating the maps as new places keep opening up. 

A few of the GPS guides have LM after their name, suggesting that you get lifetime access to free maps. Hooray!

  • Bluetooth Compatibility: When the GPS guide has Bluetooth compatibility, it can easily connect to your mobile phone, Bluetooth-enabled headphone, etc. 

This makes it easy for you to attend hands-free calls and control the music. I mean, do you want to abruptly stop amidst your ride just to hear your boss rant? Hands-free calling allows you to continue your call as you enjoy the ride! 


  • Is Zumo 396 waterproof?

    Yes, the Zumo 396LMT-S is waterproof. In fact, it matches the IPX7, meaning that it can survive incidental exposure to 1m water for close to 30 minutes! u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAdditionally, the body of this GPS by Garmin is sturdy and weatherproof altogether, so you can still go on your adventure on a rainy morning! It can even withstand UV rays, dirt, and other materials to make the unit durable and clean.

  • How do I reset my Garmin Zumo 396?

    It is pretty simple to reset the Zumo 396LMT-S in case it starts malfunctioning. You simply have to long-press the power key for more than eight seconds.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eGamin’s website suggests users hold the power key for 12 seconds to reset the device. The user manual of Garmin GPS models is simply perfect and makes riding convenient.

  • How do I charge my Garmin 396?

    To charge the 396LMT-S, connect it to vehicle power, or you connect it to a power adapter. For more information regarding the device, its specifications, and maintenance, visit the Garmin website.

Final Thought

Garmin never fails to impress the users with new and innovative designs in each of its products. A GPS guide is an asset that will take you places (quite literally). Garmin’s Zumo 396LMT-S offers all that you, an adventure freak, could ask for. 

Foursquare’s database of points of interest and TripAdvisor’s ratings on restaurants and other similar places make your trip even better. It gives you alerts when you run low on fuel and also suggests the list of gas stations near you. 

It recommends interval periods during long rides to ensure that you do not feel fatigued. Who knew GPS could be caring? 

Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S has a 4.3″ touchscreen display that is convenient to use with thick riding gloves still on. The rugged design of the Zumo is road-tested and weatherproof. 

Thanks to this robust build, the case is resistant to dust, UV rays, and other harmful materials. Additionally, it matches the IPX7 standard, so the Zumo 396LMT-S can withstand water of 1m for up to 30 long minutes. 

With built-in WiFi, Zumo automatically updates itself once connected. The LMT-S, in its name, stands for lifetime map updates and traffic with the Smartphone Link app. It will also allow your friends to see the real-time location of your rides. 

Bluetooth compatibility lets you connect the 396LMT-S with your phone and headset/helmet, so you can make and receive calls hands-free. This means, answering your boss’ call on an adventure has never been this easy. 

Imagine no more abrupt stops or taking off gloves and helmets only to answer a call. It also lets you control the music streaming via your phone. 

Garmin Zumo 396LMT-S keeps getting better! The incident detection feature sends text message alerts with your location to the contacts that you’ve chosen in case there is an incident. 

It sends out alerts to you regarding railroad crossing, nearby schools, animal crossings, etc., to ensure that you have nothing but a safe, fun ride!