Sunday, March 18, 2012


Garmin nuvi 260 review


UPDATE: This model has been discontinued. For current recommendations, please refer to our auto GPS buyers guide.

The Garmin nuvi 260 is the nicest of Garmin’s budget-line nuvi 200 series. This is a basic, no frills unit, but it has Garmin’s intuitive interface and something the other 200 series units don’t have — the ability to call out street names. That way you’ll get “drive one-half mile, then turn left on Oak Street,” instead of just “drive one-half mile, then turn left.” Other than that, it’s identical to the nuvi 250. Both units have a 3.5″ color touch screen, six million points of interest (POIs), and preloaded maps of the U.S. and Canada. The nuvi 260W has the same feature set as the 260, but adds a wider, 4.3″ screen.

UPDATE: A newer model, the nuvi 255, offers these features and more.

The nuvi 260W has the same feature set as the 260, but adds a wider, 4.3″ screen.

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 260

If you want more bells and whistles, check out the nuvi 350, which adds an MP3 player and a live traffic option. There are many models in the nuvi line; to help you sort through the differences, check out our Garmin nuvi comparison chart.

More Garmin nuvi 260 reviews

Other Garmin nuvi 260 resources

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About Rich Owings

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


  1. Garmin Nuvi 650 Portable Automotive Gps System

    Oregon Scientific Garmin Automotive Mount for Nuvi 660 (010-10823-02): Electronics. List Price: $699

  2. Hi,
    I just got a Nuvi 260 based on glowing reviews about Garmin from almost every GPS web site. To be honest I am not impressed with Garmin.
    Before going for the 260 I used a TomTom One 3rd Ed. and a Navigon 2100. The TT was the only one without Text-To-Speech. The 260 cost about $100 more than the other two. After just a short time with the 260 here are my initial issues with it:
    1. I haven’t found a way to show the POI’s on the map. Maybe I missed it so let me know. The TT and the Navigon showed the POI’s you selected (i.e. food, gas, etc) on the map as you drove. The Navigon would display a small Mobil, Shell, McDonalds, or Burger King sign on the appropriate side of the road you were on. Way cool! The TT showed a small, crossed knife and fork.
    2. With 4+ million POI’s the Garmin does not have my church or my son’s private school. Both of which have been around for years. The TT and the Navigon with less POI’s had both. Go figure.
    3. Even with “Most Detail” selected on the Garmin the Navigon and TT had more detailed and accurate map displays. Such as the numerous canals and small lakes that are everywhere here in south Florida.
    4. I found the menus and sub-menus to be less intuitive than I was led to believe by the almost universal Garmin love on the internet.
    I’m going to keep testing it, but I’m also going to try to get my hands on some other units such as Mio, TT, and Magellan. As much as I thought the Navigon 2100 was not intuitive I kind of wish I hadn’t returned it. It had the most “wow” factor of all that I have seen.
    More later…

  3. Tom,
    Thanks for chiming in with that. I think TomTom offers the most features in an intuitive package. Mio is good, and may offer the most flexibility, but the buttons are a little small and it’s not the most intuitive setup. If Navigon makes some improvements, their next generation units could be great.

  4. Tom Frazer says:

    I’m back with a question. What is the difference between the Nuvi 260 and 350 with regard to what can be displayed on the unit? Can you have it show the POI’s while driving? I found the 350 at Circuit City for $30 more so is it worth it? I know it’s “older” with an antenna, but what can it do that the 260 can’t?
    Thanks for any help.

  5. Tom,
    I don’t think you can display POIs (except maybe custom POIs) on the map on any nuvi. The 350 adds an MP3 player and accepts a traffic receiver (purchased separately).

  6. Ches111 from here.
    Here are few more reviews you may link to as well. I hope you find them a good read. I was trying to be very thorough.
    Stay tuned!! We have more to come on the new Rhinos too.

  7. Ches111,
    Thanks for letting me know about the new reviews. I’ll link to them when I update reviews next week. Regarding the Rinos, I hope you review the 520HCx since no one has reviewed that one yet, AFAIK. Please drop me a line anytime you post a new GPS review.

  8. Just a heads up that we have a mini review of the Garmin 520HCx up and ready for readers.
    This is just a “First Impressions” and “Whats in the box?” for now but I will post more information when I get more time with the devices.

  9. Thanks Ches. Looking forward to seeing the full review.

  10. Elaine Dietz says:

    I have not had good luck with either the garmin 260 or the tom tom. I repurchashed the garmin 260 again from Best Buy because I thought it was defective or not programed by the guy right. It doesn’t give correct directions and I have it set on fastest route. Could it be that I should use shortest route? I just want to find a GPS that works. The restaurants that I have seen in my neighborhood are limited to only a few. I made a not to try to find the Navigon 2100. The problem is also that you feel like you have to prove that the unit does not work when you take it back. Any feedback would help.

    • I have been using Garmin 260W for almost 7 months now. For last few times, it is acting weired. Example, it says to take right on XX road and when i turn right, it says recalculating. This is happening again and again. I bought this unit from costco and planning to return it if they take it since it is under waranty. Anybody having same issue?

      • Rich Owings says:

        You could try updating the firmware or doing a hard reset, but if Costco will swap it out for another, I’d be tempted to do that. You might even get a newer model!

  11. Elaine,
    What do you mean “it doesn’t give correct directions?” All the time or just for one or two routes? No GPS will know all the local shortcuts. Nor will it have all the local restaurants, though it should have most that have been there for several years.


  13. I just bought a Garmin 260W and I can’t figure out how to get the spoken street names (it has the option)? Also, it gives me directions to turn or keep left or right with a SECONDS notice. Is that normal? What is the point in a GPS?

  14. Go into the voice settings and choose a voice that says TTS (text-to-speech) next to it.
    Your nuvi will call out turns twice — once well ahead of the turn and another immediately before it.

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