Sunday, March 18, 2012

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Garmin nuvi 260W review

Garmin_nuvi_260w_review

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

The Garmin nüvi 260W is a member of Garmin’s popular entry level nuvi 200 series. A 4.3″ wide screen version of the smaller nuvi 260, the 260W is identical to it in all other respects.  The 260 and 260W are the only two models in the first-generation 200 series to include text-to-speech, the ability to call out street names. That way you’ll get “turn left on Highway 128 in 200 feet”, rather than just “turn left in 200 feet.”

Related units

More Garmin nuvi 260W reviews

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

Other Garmin nuvi 260W 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.

Comments

  1. Don Sksggs says:

    I used my recenly purchased Garmin 260W on a 5000 mile trip through Florida and it was great. The best features were the recalculating, calling out turns two or more time before the turns and the brightnest of the display. I tried the Tom Tom and its didplay was not nearly as bright and clear as the Garmin.

  2. Updated the map page to use Google maps. You can now link right to Google maps and enter your address for directions, zoom in and out, use the terrain setting or satellite setting.

  3. Hallo, thank you for this informativ Blog.

  4. Help im in germany and cant get my device to work with my sd card says:

    I recently purchased my nuvi260w, and then purchased a seperate SD card. Im now in Germany and everytime i try and connect here in German it says no rads near starting point.

  5. Two things to do:
    Go into the Settings menu > Map > Map Info and make sure the local maps show up checked.
    Also, be sure to leave the unit out in the open and on for 30 minutes to rebuild the satellite almanac.

  6. Gerry Groves says:

    I just bought a Garmin Nuvi 260W. I have had a few problems in rural and remote areas. The Nuvi has actually provided mis- information in these locations. Are my expectations unrealistic, are there better map software given my interest in traveling to remote areas. In the big city it knows it way around fairly well, not always the most expedient route. During a recent trip the voice announcer called Memorial Drive which is abbreviated Memorial Dr, Memorial Doctor-good for a laugh. Given the present deficiencies I will not be landing my Boeing 747 with the Nuvi 260W.

  7. Check to see if you have the latest maps. I suspect that most GPS maps are worse in rural areas. I’ve certainly seen plenty of problems in such areas.

  8. Thanks for the link to the Quick Start Manual. My Nuvi 260W should arrive tomorrow and it’s nice to get to know it before then.

  9. omar baralt says:

    I BOUGHT A NEW NUVI 260W , WHEN I CONNECT TO MY COMPUTER AND MADE A REGISTRATION IN A GARMIN WEB SITE, I DONT KNOW I DID, BUT A LOST
    VOICE AND DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, NOW NUVI 260W CANT TALK AND ONLY USE ENGLISH LANGUGE. IM TRY TO RECOVERY THIS BUT GARMIN COMPANY SAID TO ME : THAT IS IMPOSIBLE THAT SITUATION, NOW HOW I CAN DO?
    DO YOU HAVE SOFTWARE ( VOICE AND LANGUGES )?
    PLAESE HELP ME, ITS MY NEW TOY AND I CANT USED.!!!!!!!
    THANKS A LOT
    OMAR BARALT LEON MD
    MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA
    OMARBARALT@GMAIL.COM

  10. omar baralt says:

    I BOUGHT A NEW NUVI 260W , WHEN I CONNECT TO MY COMPUTER AND MADE A REGISTRATION IN A GARMIN WEB SITE, I DONT KNOW I DID, BUT A LOST
    VOICE AND DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, NOW NUVI 260W CANT TALK AND ONLY USE ENGLISH LANGUGE. IM TRY TO RECOVERY THIS BUT GARMIN COMPANY SAID TO ME : THAT IS IMPOSIBLE THAT SITUATION, NOW HOW I CAN DO?
    DO YOU HAVE SOFTWARE ( VOICE AND LANGUGES )?
    PLAESE HELP ME, ITS MY NEW TOY AND I CANT USED.!!!!!!!
    THANKS A LOT
    OMAR BARALT LEON MD
    MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA
    OMARBARALT@GMAIL.COM

  11. omar baralt says:

    I BOUGHT A NEW NUVI 260W , WHEN I CONNECT TO MY COMPUTER AND MADE A REGISTRATION IN A GARMIN WEB SITE, I DONT KNOW I DID, BUT A LOST
    VOICE AND DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, NOW NUVI 260W CANT TALK AND ONLY USE ENGLISH LANGUGE. IM TRY TO RECOVERY THIS BUT GARMIN COMPANY SAID TO ME : THAT IS IMPOSIBLE THAT SITUATION, NOW HOW I CAN DO?
    DO YOU HAVE SOFTWARE ( VOICE AND LANGUGES )?
    PLAESE HELP ME, ITS MY NEW TOY AND I CANT USED.!!!!!!!
    THANKS A LOT
    OMAR BARALT LEON MD
    MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA
    OMARBARALT@GMAIL.COM

  12. omar baralt says:

    I BOUGHT A NEW NUVI 260W , WHEN I CONNECT TO MY COMPUTER AND MADE A REGISTRATION IN A GARMIN WEB SITE, I DONT KNOW I DID, BUT A LOST
    VOICE AND DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, NOW NUVI 260W CANT TALK AND ONLY USE ENGLISH LANGUGE. IM TRY TO RECOVERY THIS BUT GARMIN COMPANY SAID TO ME : THAT IS IMPOSIBLE THAT SITUATION, NOW HOW I CAN DO?
    DO YOU HAVE SOFTWARE ( VOICE AND LANGUGES )?
    PLAESE HELP ME, ITS MY NEW TOY AND I CANT USED.!!!!!!!
    THANKS A LOT
    OMAR BARALT LEON MD
    MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA
    OMARBARALT@GMAIL.COM

  13. I would update the firmware, including voices. If that doesn’t work, I’d call again. Chances are you’ll speak with a different support person.

  14. I have a Garmin 260W and have used it on my entire trip from Alaska through Canada and down the entire east coast and now presently in north Florida. This small compact machine is outstanding and has made my trip so very much easier . Thanks Garmin !

  15. I recieved the 260w as a gift (what a great gift idea, by the way) and love it… I am now ready to explore the world! lol, I do, however, have a 2 gig SD card, but am not exactly sure what the uses for it are on the nuvi, any help would be great

  16. Sande Morse says:

    Please help me with my decision. I need a gps but live in a mountainous region where satellite reception can be frustrating.So my primary concern is a gps that will find, hold, and lock the best under that type of condition. I like the interface of the Garmin 260W and it has the basics I’m looking for. However, the 255W seems to suggest better satellite power. Can anyone comment or has had experience with similar problems and their gps? Thank you very much.

  17. Having lived most of my post-GPS life in mountainous terrain, I doubt that you’ll have any problem with either unit, though the 260W is the first-generation model with an internal antenna; Garmin had much more experience with this by the time the 255W came around. BTW, the 255W has occasionally been priced lower than the 260W. Reception problems are worst in really, really tight and narrow canyons – big cities with tall buildings and slot canyons are the worst.
    Here are a couple of current deals on these units…
    http://bestgpsdeals.net/garmin-gps-sale/338/
    http://bestgpsdeals.net/five-days-five-deals-at-tigergps/350/

  18. I have tried the Magellan 4040,4050 & 4250 all of which I did not like very much. Both 4040 and 4050 were slow to recalculate my destination whenever I made an incorrect turn. The 4250 looks very but had similar problems with it. The 4050 blue tooth feature was a huge problem for me. Every time I would shut the unit off I would have to re pair the phone and sometimes it would not find it. I’ve also tried the Nav740 and that one really stunk. Everything that can go wrong it went wrong. Belive me. Finally I purchased the Garmin 260 and finally,one that I really like. The Garmin interface is neat and it is very quick to reroute you when you get lost. Only draw back is that you cannot get live traffic updates and no blue tooth.

  19. Between the Garmin Nuvi 255 and the Garmin Nuvi 260W which one would you guys choose? The 255W is a little out of my price range.

  20. I’d go for the 255 only if you have a lead foot, or if it’s important to maintain a record of your travels via the tracklog feature.
    Otherwise, my choice would be the 260W for the wide screen.

  21. Does the 260W offer multiple vehicle choices such as emergencey, truck, motorcycle? Have been unable to find this info.Thanks in advance.

  22. I just received my nuvi 260, and I cannot say I’m happy with it. It doesn’t find the local Pei Wei restaurant (once it found one 280 miles away, and the second time it found nothing), it didn’t find the closest Macy’s, and it cannot find the University of Texas at San Antonio.
    I’m ued to the Neverlost in Hertz rental cars, so maybe the Nuvi isn’t as good?

  23. Andrew — Yes it offers these for routing preferences. Car/Motorcycle is combined though.

  24. I just purchased the Garmin Nuvi 260W. I went to the site and registered it.
    Just as I was ready to check out the onscreen options etc…the unit will not stay on. It only comes with a car adapter. Do you think my problem is that it needs charging or is my unit defective? When I turn it on, it remains on for about 2 seconds where it shows the “Garmin” name, then I get a double quick beep and it goes black. Cannot even see the battery usage.
    When new, should it be remaining on? Does it need initial charging from the car, upon purchase?
    thank you

  25. Nuvi 260w won’t say street names????

  26. Go into the voice settings and choose a voice that says TTS (text-to-speech) next to it.

  27. i puchased a garmin nuvi 255 and i have been trying to charge it since i recieved it.Its not taking the charge.I have had it plugged in for 8 hours on and off and it still wont charge. It gets a little charge but before you can set it up it dies. Has anyone had a similar problem?

    • Same problem, Mine will no longer charge with the car charger. So I’ve been using my phone charger which, no matter how long I charge it, will only stay on for about one minute.
      Makes me realize how attached I am.
      ALso can’t use it while its charging.
      Very frustrating. help.

  28. Sounds unusual to me. I’d either exchange it if it’s local and easy to do or call Garmin. I’m assuming you had it plugged into the car charger. I don’t believe it will charge off the mini-USB connected to a computer.

  29. any way to temporarily eliminate the point of interest icons on the 260w map? Not much of a bother in the rural areas , but when in New York City so many appear that I can not make out the streets or route. thanks

  30. First try changing the Map Detail settings. If that doesn’t work, try zooming out a little.

  31. I really like my new 260W, but I’d like the British English voice. I’m only offered American English – how do I get the British? Do I have to buy the Europe maps? If so, can I use it in the US and still get the British voice. Silly request I know, but I’ll bet there is a way.

  32. Go to Tools > Settings > Language > Voice. Make sure you choose one labeled TTS (text-to-speech).

  33. Is there anyway I can charge my 260W at home (not in the car)?

  34. Yes, with the mini-USB connector, though it will take longer than with the car charger. You can also buy an AC charger.

  35. How do u know if the GARMIN 260W is fully charged?

  36. There is a battery level indicator on the main menu.

  37. Thanks for help on British voice. Perfect. Another question… I backpack a lot in the Sierra (Yosemite area). Can you recommend some maps for that? Where is the best place to get them? Do they come on a memory card? How about eBay or should I stick with reputable vendor?

  38. You have a number of options, but remember that your unit has a short battery life, isn’t ruggedized and has no compass screen. You might want to pick up a handheld unit. Onto the maps…
    The Garmin 1:24,000 scale series comes on a micro-SD card…
    https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=27610&pvID=28987
    The 1:100,000 scale Topo US 2008 is not “locked” to one unit, so buying on eBay should be okay.
    There are free maps too…
    http://gpstracklog.com/2007/12/free-maps-for-y.html
    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/state/ca
    Trail data “may” be better on the free maps, or (with a handheld) you can search the Web and load specific trails ahead of trips.

  39. Thanks! I’ll check out the free trail maps and consider a handheld – maybe it isn’t worth taking my Garmin up there “just for the fun of it.” JA

  40. I recently bought a Nuvi 200w. I heard excellent reports about the Nuvi. I have now used it for about a month and I hate it. It has gotten me lost twice and takes me on the most illogical routes imaginable. I don’t understand why it is working so badly. Is it possible to reimage the device?

  41. First of all, check the settings and make sure you have the unit set for car and for fastest route (or whatever your preference is). Are you using it in an area you are familiar with? It often won’t choose your known shortcuts, etc. But they usually work great in areas you aren’t familiar with. They can still mess you up, but it’s usually on the order of once or twice in 100 trips.

  42. My Nuvi 260w stop powering up when the car started. Light on the adapter was on but screen wasn’t coming on. Took it to Best Buy
    they hooked it up and it wouldn’t power up. Got a new and on the way home(it was working)stopped for an errand. It wouldn’t power up again when I started the car. Pulled the adapter out and push the tip in a couple times and hit start again and it came on. What do think is going on?

  43. Have you tried powering other devices in your car? Is the charger loose in the cigarette lighter receptacle? It sure does sound like it might be on your end. Is there any gunk down in the lighter that would cause the tip of the adapter to stick?

  44. Rob Ryan says:

    I have just bought a new 265WT but the Garmin website refuses to connect to it to be able to register it and download stuff, even though it shows up on the computer in Windows Explorer. I have tried several times to reload the Communications Plugin, but it just doesn’t work! Does anyone have any ideas? Cheers.

  45. My family has the 260w GPS. We would like to leave it plugged while using it in the car. My parents were informed that it is possible to do this however it has not worked. We are using our cellphone charger (we were also told that this should work as well). Do we need a different adapter or is the GPS not supposed to work while plugged in?

    • Rich Owings says:

      A cell phone charger may or may not work, but it could damage the unit. All nuvis come with a Garmin car charger, which is what you should be using. It is designed to be used while operating the nuvi.

  46. My 2 day old Nuvi 260W consistantly takes me 8 to 10 houses away from what I put in! Imake 30 to 40 stops a day on my utility route and it leads me at least a tenth of a mile off 9 times out of 10. Even after updating th’ software like the tech said! ANY IDEAS????????

  47. Rich Owings says:

    I’ve heard of lots of GPS problems, but nothing like that. I’d run Garmin’s Web Updater a couple of times to see if it picks up a GPS chipset firmware upgrade. If that doesn’t work, I’d go back to Garmin support or return the unit.

  48. my 260w voice prompts a turn but does not tell me the name of the street?

  49. Rich Owings says:

    Under Tools > Settings > Language, choose a Voice that uses text-to-speech. I don’t have a 2×0 series unit here, but it will probably say something like TTS or Computerized next to the proper voice.

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