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.
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."
- 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.
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.
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.
Though it’s not a feature that I find useful, you can download Google™ Panoramio™ pictures via Garmin Connect™ Photos and navigate to them.
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.
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
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
- Consumer-authored Garmin nuvi 255WT reviews have been posted at Amazon
- Technical Itch reviews the European version of the 255WT
- More consumer reviews of the nuvi 255WT have been posted at BestBuy.com
I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…
Other Garmin nuvi 255WT resources
- Confused about so many models and choices? Use this Garmin nuvi comparison tool or check out my own Garmin nuvi comparison chart
- There is a dedicated Garmin nuvi message forum at GpsPasSion
- And another nuvi forum at GPS Review
- Five tips for nuvi newbies
Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 255WT at these merchants:
- Check the current Garmin nüvi 255WT price at Amazon
- Get a great deal on the BestBuy.com Re-Direct Link at BestBuy.com
- Check out our GPS deals site for current specials and rebates on a wide range of GPS receivers