Sunday, March 18, 2012

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Garmin nuvi 255WT

Garmin nuvi 255W

UPDATE: The nuvi 2×5 series has been officially discontinued. For current recommendations, see our auto GPS buyers guide.

The Garmin nüvi 255WT is one of Garmin’s entry level navigators and, as part of the nuvi 2×5 series, it’s loaded with features previously unavailable in the nuvi line or found only in high-end models. More about that in a moment; first the basics.

This model is basically the 255W bundled with a lifetime traffic receiver. It’s not even listed as an official model on Garmin’s website, although it’s widely available.

The 255WT sports a 4.3" wide touch screen (hence the "W") and includes pre-loaded maps of the U.S. and Canada. It also has text-to-speech, so you’ll hear "drive one-half mile, then turn left on Oak Street." instead of just "drive one-half mile, then turn left."

Related units

  • Step up to the Garmin nuvi 265WT to add Bluetooth for hands free calling
  • Going the other direction, drop down to the nuvi 255W and you’ll get the 255WT’s feature, minus live traffic
  • To see how the nuvi 255WT compares to other models, check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart

I’ve been very impressed with the nuvi 2×5 series. The 255WT is the nicest model in the series, which I dubbed the best entry-level GPS on the market in my hands-on review of the nuvi 205W. The next portion of this review is adapted from there.

Advanced features found on the Garmin nuvi 255WT

None of the features below are found on this unit’s predecessor, the Garmin nuvi 250W.

Redesigned map screen

New to the map screen are the direction of and distance to next turn indicator in the upper left corner of the screen, which when pressed brings up a detailed turn preview as the unit speaks the next turn instructions. Moving this to the upper left freed up the bottom left data field which now shows your current speed. You can see all this in the screen shot below.

Nuvi_205w_map_screen

Speed limit

Speed limit icons display the speed limit for many roads, as shown above. I really like the proximity of this to the current speed display.

Trip log display

Trip log, or as I prefer to call it ;-), tracklog display, can show 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, in the screen shot above.

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.

Nuvi_205w_recent_entries

Nuvi_205w_recent_cities

Where am I?

This emergency location feature provides your exact latitude and longitude coordinates, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations and fuel stations.

Nuvi_205w_where_am_i

Photo navigation

Though it’s not a feature that I find useful, you can download Google™ Panoramio™ pictures via Garmin Connect™ Photos and navigate to them.

Terrain modeling

The nuvi 2×5 series includes a built-in digital elevation model, allowing you to visualize the surrounding terrain, as shown below. Unfortunately, this only works in 2–D mode when zoomed out to at least 8 miles. The result is a nice piece of eye-candy, as shown below, but one that you are unlikely to really use.

Nuvi_205w_terrain

Garmin nuvi 255WT pros

  • High-end features (see above) at an entry-level price
  • Lifetime traffic
  • Fast startup and satellite lock
  • The speaker is quite loud; I had no trouble hearing it under any circumstances
  • The ability to delete individual Favorites using the "My Data" feature
  • In addition to the above, you get a quality product and intuitive interface, as we’ve come to expect from Garmin

Garmin nuvi 255WT cons

  • The power cord is not integrated into the mount, so you have to attach the power cord each time you mount the device

Recommendation

The Garmin nuvi 255WT is a joy to use. I recommend it, or any other member of the nuvi 2×5 series, without hesitation. Garmin has set a new standard with this product line; the nuvi 2×5 series is the best entry level GPS on the market.

More Garmin nuvi 255WT reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…

Other Garmin nuvi 255WT resources


Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 255WT at these merchants:


About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. I have this unit, and it is very reliable. Traffic isn’t where it needs to be yet, but it’s better to have than nothing. Lane assist is practically useless.

  2. Hello,
    I just got the 255wt. When i choose my destination, I would like for it to show me the plan for the route before i start to drive. So far , i haven’t seen that.

  3. Hello again,
    thanks for your reply. I’ve been testing out my new garmin 255wt. I like it so far, except for when i went to our downtown area. It lost reception due to being in a parking ramp, and after that it couldn’t get back on track. It wanted to take us in circles, and not the straightforward way of getting home. What i like about this gps is that it’s easy to use and the easy to see screen. The only thing missing is the advanced lane feature which i really want. Can you suggest a gps similar to the garmin 255 wt but without all the fancy features. I don’t want to pay extra for features i won’t use (like bluetooth etc). thanks again

  4. Hi
    Here’s something i would like to know..When going from model to model on gps’s…for example garmin 255 to garmin 1350 or tom tom 350 to tom tom 1505 (new)…are you necessarily getting any change in quality of attaining satellite signals (getting you better map info so the gps doesn’t give bad directions)…or are you just getting different features/extras while getting same basic mapping process from model to model?
    I appreciate your reply

    • Recent auto units like the ones you mentioned will differ little in terms of satellite acquisition capabilities. The basemap may be significantly different between TomTom and Garnmin, since they use different map providers. But generally speaking, the main difference is bells and whistles.

  5. Lynn Crosbie says:

    Just got a new nuvi 2595 GPS. We took it out for a ‘test drive’ as we are planning a big road trip soon. Just wondering why it doesn’t say “re-directing” when you change course, or maybe it does and I just haven’t found out how to get it to say that. I know some people don’t want that but I find it useful to know if I’ve gone off the chosen route and this way I don’t know because it just changes course and doesn’t say anything.

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