Sunday, March 18, 2012


Garmin nuvi 285WT

Garmin nuvi 285WT review

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

NOTE: MSN Direct is ceasing operations on January 1, 2012.

The Garmin nüvi 285WTis one of the second-generation models in the nuvi 2×5 series, which I dubbed the “best entry level GPS on the market.” This series offers more mid-line features though; in addition to everything that made the 2×5 series a hit, the 285WT adds MSN Direct services and Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone use. It includes pre-loaded maps of the U.S. and Canada, has a 4.3″ wide touch-screen and comes with 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.”

The similarly appointed nuvi 265WT has lifetime NAVTEQ traffic instead of MSN Direct; otherwise it is identical to the 285WT.

Step down to the nuvi 265T, and you’ll sacrifice the wide screen for a 3.5″ model. The nuvi 275T also has a 3.5″ screen, but includes maps of Europe in addition to the U.S. and Canada.

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 285WT

Portions of the following were taken from my nuvi 265WT review.

Other nuvi 285WT features of note

As I mentioned earlier, the nuvi 285WT has all the great features already found on the first generation nuvi 2×5 series. These include:

  • A redesigned map screen that provides a third data field showing your current speed (screen shot below)


  • Speed limit display (the number of roads with this coverage seems to be increasing dramatically too)
  • Tracklog display to show where you’ve been (can be disabled and/or erased); this is the thin blue line in the image above
  • A “Where am I” safety feature that gives your current location, nearest address, nearest intersection, along with quick access to POIs for the nearest hospitals, police stations and gas stations (screenshot below)


  • Recently searched for cities and streets can be accessed from search screens (screen shots below)



  • While 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 is a nice piece of eye candy, though it only works in 2–D mode when zoomed out to at least 5 miles (see screenshot below)


More Garmin nuvi 285WT reviews

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

Other Garmin nuvi 285WT resources

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 285WT 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. HI Rich,

    I am unable to decide between 285wt and 255w. 285 is cheaper now than 255 maybe because MSN Direct is being discontinued in jan 2012. But It has bluetooth in addition to the features of 255w. And I am not interested in the live traffic feature.

    Can you help me decide on one?

  2. There’s no big reason not to go with the 285. You’ll get all the 255W’s features with it. You might also want to search for the 265W or 265WT. It’s also worth checking prices on the nuvi 1300 or 1350.

  3. Mike Kahn says:

    Just got a nuvi 285wt for my wife. Very nice! Easy to use, took a while to update maps, get icons, etc, but that’s a one-time (rare) thing. Question: She had/has an old ique 3600 and wondering of way to transfer waypoints? Have started looking into Even Lund’s pdtogpx and then using mapsource? So far pdtogpx does not like the fields/format of the csv file exported from Palm Desktop, so can’t convert to gpx yet. Does Garmin have anything to facilitate these transfers? Would be a big help.

    Thanks for the forum. Very helpful.


  4. Hmm, well this will let you transfer from MapSource to the IQue, but it doesn’t sound like it will work the other way…

    I think you’re on the right track massaging the .csv file. This is an old post on custom POIs, but there may be something in there that helps…

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