Sunday, March 18, 2012


Garmin nuvi 1250


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

The Garmin nüvi 1250 is a lower-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 of 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 1250 comes with pre-loaded maps of the US and Canada, and displays the speed limit for many roads.

Comparing the nuvi 1250 to similar models

Dropping down to the nuvi 1200, you’ll lose the speed limit display and maps of Alaska and Canada.

Going the other direction, the nüvi 1260T adds Bluetooth for hands free cell phone use and lifetime traffic. Another model to consider is the nuvi 1350, which duplicates the 1250’s feature set, adding Lane Assist and bumping the screen size to 4.3”.

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 1250

To see how the nuvi 1250 compares to other models, check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart.

Portions of the following are taken from my hands on review of the Garmin nuvi 1200, which includes this video showing some of the 12xx series features:

Here is a brief rundown of new features found on the 12xx, 13xx and 14xx series, but not on previous models:

POI feedback

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.


CityXplorer maps

The nuvi 1250 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 1250 features

The following features were first introduced on other recent nuvi models.

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)
  • Elevation
  • 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
  • Elevation
  • 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 1250 pros

  • Bright display
  • Text-to-speech
  • Speed limit display
  • Quick access to previously entered cities and street names
  • Customizable fields on map screen
  • Automatically powers on and off
  • ecoRoute
  • Compatible with CityXplorer maps’ enhanced pedestrian navigation features

Garmin nuvi 1250 cons

  • Text-to-speech pronunciation seems weaker than with previously tested models
  • 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 closely related nuvi 1200 performed very well when I reviewed it. I noticed no significant lags, routing errors, etc. The few negatives I saw with it are addressed above. As with the entire nuvi series, I expect that most buyers will be quite happy with this series.

More Garmin nuvi 1250 reviews

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

Other Garmin nuvi 1250 resources

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 1250 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.


  1. how can i replace the battery in my garmin 1250

  2. Rich Owings says:

    You don’t. Is it dead? If so, it will have to go back to Garmin. I’m betting there is a good chance it’s still under warranty since it’s such a new unit.

  3. Will a Micro SD programmed data card used in a Nuvi 1250 work in a Nuvi 255?

  4. pls let me know garmin 1250 input power… am planning to buy a ‘aa’ battery extender for it..

  5. How can I get update of the map, year(s) later?

  6. I prefer the TomTom device over this one though.

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