UPDATE: This model has been discontinued. For current recommendations, please refer to our auto GPS buyers guide.
Hands on with the Garmin nuvi 1200
The Garmin nüvi 1200 is the entry-level model in a line of Garmin GPS navigators introduced in 2009 (here is a list of more recent nuvi introductions). All of the units in the 1200, 1300 and 1400 series come with customizable data fields and the ability to utilize the pedestrian and mass transit features on Garmin’s CityXplorer maps. They also have text-to-speech, so you’ll hear “drive one-half mile, then turn left on Elm Street,” instead of just “drive one-half mile, then turn left.”
The nuvi 1200 has a 3.5” touch screen and maps of the U.S. with the exception of Alaska.
- Step up to the nuvi 1250 to get maps of all 50 states and Canada, as well as a speed limit display for many roads
- The nuvi 1300 has an almost identical feature set to that found on the nuvi 1200, albeit with a 4.3” wide-screen display
- Going the other direction, the Garmin nuvi 1100 has the same feature set as the 1200, minus text-to-speech, so you’ll hear “turn right in 1/4 mile” instead of “turn right on Oak Street in 1/4 mile”
- To see how the nuvi 1200 compares to other models, check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart
Garmin nuvi 1200 video
I’ve posted a short video, below, showing some of the nuvi 1200’s features:
This feature, added with the recent version 2.70 firmware upgrade, allows you to give feedback on points of interest (POIs). They can be rated and you can also report an error, removing them from your searches.
The nuvi 1200 can utilize the pedestrian / mass transit navigation features of these maps, as shown below. CityXplorer maps are priced at $9.99 to $14.99 per city; you can read more about them in my CityXplorer review.
More Garmin nuvi 1200 features
The following features were first introduced on other recent nuvi models. (Portions of the following text are from previous reviews.)
Custom data fields
The nuvi 12xx, 13xx and 14xx models allow you to customize the lower left data field on the map screen, a feature we first saw on the nuvi 7×5 series. Press this field to bring up the options listed below. When not navigating, the options are:
- Direction of travel (default)
- Time of day
When navigating, the options are as follows:
- Estimated time of arrival (default)
- Estimated time to destination
- Distance to destination
- Direction of travel
- Time of day
This feature adds a “less fuel” option to your routing choices and gives you fuel and mileage reports, estimated fuel cost for trips, and even a “driving challenge” to improve your fuel efficiency.
Here is a PDF version of the ecoRoute manual. ecoRoute is available for the nuvi 2×5, 7×5, 12xx and 13xx series.
Trip log display
Trip log display, or as I prefer to call it ;-), tracklog display, shows where you’ve been and can be downloaded to your computer. Tracklogs can be cleared and the feature disabled for those of you with something to hide! The tracklog is the thin blue line trailing behind the car / current position icon, as shown in the screen shot below.
Recent cities and streets
This feature was first seen on the nuvi 700 series. Tap the folder icon, as shown below, and a list of recent entries comes up. Much better than having to re-enter your hometown all the time!
Where am I?
This emergency location feature provides your exact latitude and longitude, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations and fuel stations.
Garmin nuvi 1200 pros
- Bright display
- Quick access to previously entered cities and street names
- Customizable fields on map screen
- Automatically powers on and off
- Compatible with CityXplorer maps’ enhanced pedestrian navigation features
Garmin nuvi 1200 cons
- Text-to-speech pronunciation seems weaker than with previously tested models
- No speed limit display
- Power lead must be plugged directly into unit (does not power the mount)
- When you search for a POI, the POI balloon obscures a significant portion of the map
- Does not include standard mini-USB cable to connect to PC
Conclusion and recommendations
The Garmin nuvi 1200 performed very well during my testing. I noticed no significant lags, routing errors, etc. The few negatives I see with it are addressed above. As with the entire nuvi series, I expect that most buyers will be quite happy with this unit.
More Garmin nuvi 1200 reviews
- Consumer-authored Garmin nuvi 1200 reviews are being posted at Amazon
- GpsPasSion has a nuvi 12xx, 13xx, 14xx review thread
- About.com gibes a 4-1/2 out of 5 star rarting in their Garmin nuvi 1200 review
I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…
Other Garmin nuvi 1200 resources
- A PDF version of the Garmin nuvi 1200 owners manual
- Want to see how the nuvi 1200 stacks up against other models? Check out this Garmin auto GPS comparison tool or my own Garmin nuvi comparison chart
- There is a dedicated Garmin nuvi message forum at GpsPasSion and another nuvi forum at GPS Review
- The official Garmin nuvi 1200 web page
- How to access archived nuvi trip logs
- Five more tips for nuvi newbies
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- Get a great deal on the Garmin nuvi 1200 North America City Navigator GPS at BeachCamera (the folks behind BuyDig.com)
- Buy the Nuvi 1200 GPS Navigation System at Abe’s of Maine
- Check out the deal on a Garmin nuvi 1200 GPS at REI.com, where satisfaction is guaranteed and members get 10% back on eligible purchases
- Get the Garmin nuvi 1200 for an amazing price on eBay