The Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS

I recently bought a Garmin Nüvi 255W GPS. It’s a pretty impressive unit – it almost reminds me of a Mac in it’s ease of use. I’ve already used it a bit, and plan to do some testing with it over the next few days. I’ll sum things up with a few pros and cons:


  • Very easy to use – particularly I think anyone who’s never owned a GPS will learn it very quickly. You don’t need a manual (which is good since there’s no manual included anyway – you have to get it online).
  • No noticeable slowdowns. Does take a couple seconds to calculate a LONG route (a 2000km route for example), but short routes are calculated pretty near instantly.
  • Text-to-speech. This is pretty nice, and it’s a shame it’s not a standard on all GPS’s. Really, it’s a lot safer than having to look at and monitor the GPS. It gives you advance warning when a turn is coming up, after you make the turn it verbally tells you when the next one is, and… well really it’s like having a co-pilot in the car guiding you.
  • Very simple and well designed map layout – from the little “roadsign” in the top left to the color-coded roads, it’s really well done which is funny because there isn’t really a lot of information really presented on the map screen – it’s very iPod-ish in that less is more.
  • 60 days to take advantage of your free map download. This is twice as long as TomTom’s 30-day, although your 60 days starts the moment you turn the GPS on for the first time.
  • 2GB included storage space, 1/3 of which is free. There’s also an SD expansion slot on the GPS. Not that it’s likely I’ll fill it up anytime soon, but it’s nice to have extra space in case it’s needed in the future.
  • Full US/Canada maps. This should be something all GPS’s have, although the Canadian version of the 205 only has the northern US states (I believe the US version has all of the US, but none of Canada). Luckily the 255W has all of it.


  • No mini-USB cable. You have to buy it separately.
  • Fewer in-depth options than the TomTom. The offered options are certainly adequate for my needs, but it would be nice to have a few more for the rare times I may want them.
  • Poor software integration. Everything is scattered throughout Garmin’s site, and you need up to 2 software downloads to perform updates, and yet another to add points of interest. It’s all cluttered and really pales in comparison to TomTom’s all-in-one software solution. There also isn’t really a lot offered anyway aside from a lot of vehicle icons.

For more information (and a full-fledged review) on the Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS, I suggest heading to none other than…. !  At the moment it’s a little sparse but much has been written and will be added to the site in the near future.