Garmin nuvi 205, 205W, 255, 255W Vehicle GPS: REVIEW

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If you’re a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices — really good choices — in the top-rated nuvi line, Garmin’s not about to make your decision any easier. The 2×5 series, including the 205, 205W, 255 and 255W adds so many features to the 200 series that the term "entry level" just might not cut it any more. In fact, the 205/205W and 255/255W incorporate both higher-end features as well as features not even seen in some of their higher-end siblings. The result is a product that is marketed as an entry-level system, but in fact has a solid mid-level feature set, earning the 2×5 series even stronger marks than the popular 200 series.

Ratings Summary
Includes ratings for Garmin nuvi 200, 205, 250, 255, 260, 270
nuvi 205
Owner Reviews
nuvi 205W
Owner Reviews
nuvi 255
Owner Reviews
nuvi 255W
Owner Reviews
nuvi 200
Our Rating: 4 Stars

Note that the nuvi 205W and 255W are wide-body versions of the nuvi 205 and 255 respectively, but are otherwise identical.

The 2×5 series tucks numerous into the same sleek exterior of the 200 series, including a new and improved user interface for what we already considered the car GPS world’s simplest and most intuitive interface. Fortunately, the changes are truly enhancements, including the display of the posted speed limit for the road you’re traveling on (where available). While the 200 series did not provide traffic capability, even as an upgrade, the 2×5 series does, providing compatibility for both FM-TMC traffic and MSN Direct services, giving you a choice of services for real-time traffic monitoring. (Receivers sold separately and require a subscription.) MSN Direct provides traffic and weather updates, fuel prices, movie listings, local events info, and more. If saving money on gas is important to you, the MSN service provides both the ability to avoid traffic and find the least expensive fuel.

The Garmin nuvi 205, 255, 680, 780, 850 & 880 Provide Live Gas Price Updates via MSN Direct

The nuvi 2×5 series includes Garmin’s "Where Am I?" safety feature which helps you find the closest hospitals, police stations, fuel stations, nearest address and intersection. It also lets you see your exact latitude and longitude coordinates.

Borrowing a feature from its top-of-the-line 800 series, the 2×5 series includes the ability to send addresses to your GPS directly from Google Maps or Mapquest. Simply find a restaurant or other location you want to visit on Google Maps or Mapquest and specify "send to GPS" and the location will automatically transfer to your GPS when connected to your computer.

Add locations/addresses to your nuvi from Google maps or MapQuest

The 255 and 255W include text-to-speech capability which reads street names aloud, keeping your eyes on the road, not on the GPS. The 205 and 205W do not include text-to-speech.


Great value; includes many features found in more expensive models

Easy to use

"Where am I?" safety feature

205 and 205W lack text-to-speech

Shorter battery life than 200 series (4 hours versus 5)

Garmin calls it "HotFix™". Geeks call it "Satellite Ephemeris Data Prediction." Whatever you decide to call it, you’ll find it to be another key enhancement found in the 2×5 series. With HotFix, your GPS remembers (for up to 3 days) the orbital position of all satellites it is tracking when you turn it off, predicting where they should be when you next power it up, dramatically reducing the time it takes your GPS to fix your position and start navigating. they should be the next time you turn it on. This gives the device an idea of where it should look for satellites, and dramatically decreases the time it takes for your Garmin to get its position and start navigating. No more long waits at the curb until the GPS is ready.

The 2×5 series doubles the number of waypoints/favorites/locations you can store, from 500 to 1,000. It now uses a microSD card rather than a standard SD card. One change of note is that battery life has been shortened from 5 to 4 hours. We assume, however, that there is a plus side to this, namely a more powerful processer for faster route calculations. The downside of this speedier processer is that it has a greater thirst for electrons. The HotFix™ feature also drains a small amount of power while the unit is "off."

Like the 200 series, the 2×5 series is sleeker, thinner and sports a more modern look, aided by the lack of a fold-out antenna, now an internal patch antenna. Still distinguishing the 200 and 2×5 series from mid- and high-end nuvis is the fact that none of the models include the ability to play MP3 files or provide Bluetooth capability for hands-free telephone operation.

Like the 200 series , we believe the Garmin 2×5 series will find its niche among those seeking a solid entry-level offering that’s exceptionally easy to use. That being said, however, we note that the 2×5 series begins to blur the lines between entry- and mid-level, even including features found only in its top-end systems. If Bluetooth and an MP3/audiobook player aren’t important to you, the 2×5 series might just deliver the features you want in the most economical package. [Review Date: 23 July 2008 © 2008]

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Key Features at a Glance
nuvi 205
nuvi 205W
nuvi 255
nuvi 255W
Ready to Use Out of the Box?

U.S., Hawaii and Puerto Rico (no Alaska or Canada detail)

U.S., Hawaii and Puerto Rico (no Alaska or Canada detail)

North America (including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Canada)

North America (including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Canada)
Spoken, Turn-by-Turn Directions?
Text-to-Speech? (Announces Street Names)
Voice Recognition?
Multi-Destination Routing?

MP3/Audio Player?

Live Traffic/Weather?

Suitable for Offroad Use?
Limited map coverage
Limited map coverage
Limited map coverage
Limited map coverage
(internal battery)
Wide-Screen Display?

Other Features:
Photo viewer, “Where am I?” Safety Feature, travel features
Photo viewer, “Where am I?” Safety Feature, travel features
Photo viewer, “Where am I?” Safety Feature, travel features
Photo viewer, “Where am I?” Safety Feature, travel features



Additional Specifications
Weight 205, 255 Models: 5.2 ounces (147.42 g)

205W, 255W Models: 6.1 ounces (172.93 g)

Dimensions 205, 255 Models: 3.8"W x 2.8"H x .8"D (9.7 x 7.1 x 2 cm); 320 x 240 pixels; QVGA color antiglare TFT with white backlight

205W, 255W Models: 4.8"W x 2.9"H x .8"D (12.2 x 7.4 x 2.0 cm)

Screen 200, 250 Models: 2.8"W x 2.1"H (7.2 x 5.4 cm); 3.5" diag (8.9 cm)

200W, 250W Models: 3.81"W x 2.25"H (9.7 x 5.7 cm); 4.3" diag (10.9 cm); ; 480 x 272 pixels; WQVGA color TFT with white backlight

Chipset SiRF Star III with 20-channel all-in-view; WAAS
In the Box nüvi 200/200W/250/250W/260/260W/270, Preloaded City Navigator® NT (region depends on model), Vehicle power cable, Vehicle suction cup mount*, Dashboard disc, Quick start manual
Warranty One Year Limited Warranty

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