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3,058 of 3,073 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2008
I actually could not decide between the Garmin Nuvi 255w or the 750 model, so I decided to buy them both for comparison. I mounted them both to my car windshield and gave them various addresses to find together. I found that both models took the same routes and announced upcoming turns and street names at practically the same time. One thing I noticed about the 255w was that it was updating my position on the road more often, I'd say about 3 times as often as the 750. This made for smoother graphics on the 255w of the vehicle moving along displayed roads, where the 750's display was more of a "jerky" movement. I also found that the display on the 255w was a bit brighter, clearer, and more vivid than on the 750 in both daylight and at night. Another feature I like on the 255w is the graphic turn indicator in the upper left corner, which the 750 lacks. This is a small arrow which shows upcoming turns and the distance to that turn. It also show things like a fork in the road, (ie: a Y intersection), and which fork you will be taking. The 750 just displays text on the top line for upcoming turns without the arrow. It's just a little extra feature on the 255w which I happened to really like. The 255 also automatically adjusts the font size of displayed text so that even lengthy text will fit.
Another feature on the 255w is a display of the posted speed limit on the road which you are currently on right above your current displayed speed. I found myself not even looking at my car speedometer as I could easily see my current speed and the speed limit of my route at a glance. The 750 doesn't have this feature. I also like how they moved the zoom in (+) and zoom out (-) buttons on the 255w to the same side of the screen which makes it a bit easier. On the 750 the zoom buttons are on opposite sides of the screen.
Now there are some features on the 750 that the 255w does not have. The 750 can broadcast it's sound over your FM radio with the supplied cigarette lighter cable, and it has a headphone jack, which I found to be nice features. The 750 also has an MP3 player and an Audio-book player, which the 255w does not. Another really nice feature of the 750 is the car locater. This is a great feature if you are parking in a really big lot, such as at an amusement park or a fair. The 750 marks your location when you remove it from the car, then you take it with you and it remembers where you parked and takes you right back to your car. The 255w doesn't have the car locater.
I also thought the the voice prompts of the 750 where more pleasant sounding than the 255w's. The 750 sounds more like a real female voice, where the 255w sounds more robotic.
Another thing to consider was that I paid $50 less for the 750 and it came with the FM transmitter cable and a USB cord to connect it to your computer for updates and downloads.
My final decision was to keep the 255w and return the 750 because I really liked the graphic turn indicator and the posted speed limit and current speed indicators. I didn't find a need for the 750's MP3 player and Audio book player, but that is up to personal preference. Since the USB cable was not included with the 255w, I purchased it on this site for $10. I also intend to purchase the MSN direct cable when it is available in August 2008.
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520 of 529 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2008
If you spend much time driving in unfamiliar territory, especially if you rent cars in big cities, a good portable GPS makes an amazing difference. And the Garmin 255W is the best one I could find in the $250 - $350 range.

First this thing just plain works. I haven't had any issues with mine. It was easy to set up and figure out right out of the box, and it's easy to use. It never has had trouble getting sufficient signal unlike earlier and cheaper models.

I chose the 255W for several reasons: It uses some of the newest and best maps available. It has one of the more usable touch screens for entering destinations. It's fast to acquire satellites. And Garmin almost always comes out on top in reviews--especially in routing.

Ultimately, you buy a car GPS to get you from Point A to Point B as easily and efficiently as possible. And that's what the 255W does best. If you've ever had a "Brand X" GPS take you on some strange route that adds 20 minutes to your trip, has you turn the wrong way down a one way road, tell you to turn AFTER you've passed the street, frequently loses the satellite signal, or has old maps missing streets, you know how important this stuff is.

The 255W has a really clear display that's easy to see in any light. It's small enough to use on foot. The windshield mount works great and it's easy to toss in the glovebox when you park. It even tells you the speed limit on most roads. The "points of interest" feature works very well to find places to eat by type of cuisine, gas stations, etc.

The difference between the 255W and 205W is the 255 speaks street names and includes Alaska and Canada. The 205 and 205W will tell you to "turn right in 500 feet" which isn't as helpful or obvious as "turn right on Ivy Street in 500 feet". The "W" models are widescreen which makes entering destinations easier due to having a bigger "keyboard" and also lets you see more map area while driving.

All in all this isn't the cheapest GPS in its class but it's one of the best. My only gripe is you need an expensive add-on to get live traffic data--something that's included with the Magellan Roadmate 1430 which is close to the same price. But the Garmin 255W is a better GPS in every other way.
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263 of 267 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2008
I received this GPS system about a week ago, and I haven't found one thing to complain about yet. The features are great, and all entirely user friendly. No need to read the manual, just plug it in and go! The Garmin Nuvi 255W connects to satellites extremely fast--So when I get in my car and turn it on, we're pretty much ready to go immediately. The new display posts speed limit signs of major roads flush left on the screen, which is a new feature that is also really helpful, if you're driving in an unfamiliar area. The widescreen display makes it possible to view the names of roads that you are passing on the screen--which makes it much easier to differentiate between which road to turn on when there are two streets on your right (not clearly labeled) that are only one house apart...which has happened to me twice... Also, the fact that the Garmin Nuvi 255W speaks street names is also helpful in times like these. In addition, another feature I find to be immensely helpful is how fast the Nuvi 255W recalculates your position if you do miss a turn. I love the detour feature, it saved me a ton of time when I heard there was an accident on the highway and took back roads that I would have never known existed! I would recommend the Garmin Nuvi 255W to anyone looking for a fast, reliable, and easy to use GPS system.
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128 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2008
I've never owned a GPS personally, but have had the occasional opportunity to use friends and family's GPS that comes with the cars, most notably the ones in Honda's CRV's... and have wanted one ever since.
After picking up the Nuvi 255w, I gotta say, this comes pretty darn close to the experience with the expensive factory-installed units... only smaller. In short, I can't think of much I don't like about it.
It picks up the satellites quickly (I've never noticed a lag), routes fast, has good animation (maybe 6-8 frames a second?), and is very, very accurate. The preloaded maps don't include some of the roads that have been built in our town in the last year (which is to be expected), but does include our street, which isn't even available on Google Maps yet. (Go figure) It's light, looks good and comes with everything you need EXCEPT the USB cable to hook it to the computer. If you don't have this, the only way to charge it is to use the cigarette lighter adapter that comes in the box. I just used the one that came with my digital camera, and it works fine. The screen is easily readable in the sun, and I love how it automatically dims to 20% at night.
One purpose this can be used for, which I never thought of before, is a portable yellow pages. Not only does it give you the address of the business, it also gives the phone number. Pretty cool. I didn't have the problems with the sounds of the voices like others have. They sound good to me... a little mechanical, but good.
The interface is a seller for me. Keep in mind that I don't really have much experience to compare it to, but it's obvious they've put some thought into it. The icons are a bit garish and cartoony, though... it's no iPhone.
The cons: The documentation sucks. Not that you really need it... the directions didn't tell me anything I didn't already know after fiddling with it for 10 minutes.
It doesn't ALWAYS speak the street names... most of the time, though.
Some of the voices are annoying. The British accent seems to talk in slow motion, but I think it's the easiest to understand.
I think they could work a little harder on the interface from a design standpoint. Nothing major, just a few tweaks here and there could really make it shine.
The Mac support is little lacking.

All in all, I'd buy another one in a heartbeat. It truly is a great value, and I have no regrets. My only advice to Garmin is to reduce the number of different models by more than half. It's a nightmare to try and make a confident decision with the sheer amount of choices and features that seem to make little sense as to why some are more expensive than others.
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1,016 of 1,090 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2008
I purchased the Nuvi for my Jeep Wrangler. I had a factory GPS unit in my Toyota 4Runner that I loved... the Nuvi 255W appealed due the size of the unit and one's ability to remove it from the car and carry it around as a hand held if walking city streets. It was also appealing because it offered 'elevation contours' at higher zoom levels so you got some feeling of the lay of the land rather than the flat depictions you get on a lot of automotive GPS units.

This review is heavily weighted text wise on the negative. That does not mean I think this is a bad unit... it is fine for around town and certainly a good unit to pick for your first GPS. I do have to say, that comparing it to my old GPS (factory unit in my 2004 4Runner), this unit is not as good. My old GPS has more useful mapping features and routes more reliably.

It is, however, good to be aware that no GPS is perfect and understanding going in where the quirks are with this one will lessen any frustration you might feel in finding them later.

The good - it's a cute little unit, simple, easy to operate, easy to install and does... as promised... update and reroute much _more_ quickly than my other GPS (no, I don't know the manufacturer Toyota uses). Have to give Garmin kuddos on that it's pretty awesome in comparison to other units I've tried. Actually real impressed with that. The batteries last a good long time. I haven't actually measured the time, but a guess says that it's close to the 4 hours spec'd.

The bad - My unit only displays elevation contours at zoom levels of 20 miles or higher. Basically, that's a completely useless feature albeit slightly interesting. I had understood that one could view the elevation contours at zoom levels of 5 miles or higher, later read 8 miles or higher - both of which are close to useless but OK... better than not having it at all. Involved in a conversation with Garmin product support at the moment on that. I'm not clear whether my unit is operating correctly or not. The positive, Garmin product support is responsive.

UPDATE ON THIS - It finally turned out that to see the elevation contours at lower zoom levels (you can see them at zoom levels as low as 2 miles) you have to reduce the amount of detail displayed. Go into Tools-Settings-Map-Map Detail and set the level down (it is set to 'more' by default') to normal, less or least and you will start to see the contours at lower zoom levels. This is a fault with their included (and web) documentation.

The text-to-speech (TTS), not so good. It's very tinny sounding... I've got the unit set to American English - Samantha. I can understand it in my 4Runner. I have difficulty understanding it in my Jeep Wrangler (hard top) which is clearly noisier. My understanding is that Garmin really compressed the voice in this unit, far more than in previous units... and yeah, it sounds like it. I like my older unit better - better voice quality and it simply tells you how far to the next turn and what direction to turn.

The TTS is quirky, not really ready for prime time yet. It seems to do well with English sounding street names like 'Questhaven'... does NOT do well with Spanish based street names (which if you live in So Cal as I do, is an issue). San Elijo is pronounced 'san' 'eli-joe' as a simple example. Via de la Valle is both 'SR 6 Via-de-lane-val' (I listened intently, it did pronounce 'la' as lane... then it occurred to me there must be some translation of an abbreviation for lane, which is truly odd but OK I could see that makes some vague sense in software programming land) and then, surprisingly, the actual correct Spanish pronunciation when I got off on the exit. Apparently the street was in the database twice? Who knows!? A programming 'feature'. A street called Olivenhain was pronouced 'O-lee-ven-tian' (it's actually pronounced 'O-lee-van-hain'. The TTS is definitely seeming more of a toy/curiosity to me than a "can't be without it" feature. I'd not be buying a unit thinking this was an critical part of the decision but it's nice.

The routing I am still evaluating - in general, the unit seems to route well and quickly. It does, however, do odd things that I have not encountered in the same areas with my older unit (I've been using them simultaneously to test the Garmin unit)... as I was driving out of my driveway after having set a destination it said 'turn right on (my street) to street y'. The problem was that street y didn't connect to my street, it wasn't even in the same town. So yeah, not sure what was up with that. When I routed to a different destination I knew I needed to take street a, turn right to street b, and turn right on street c. The unit told me 'take street a .3 miles and turn right on street c'. It completely lost the intermediate street, which BTW, does show on its map and which has to be taken (streets a and c do not connect). I live in a _very_ urban area, near the 5 fwy in north county San Diego. There are NO new streets in this area, all has been established for over 10 years. My older unit, with probably a 2003 map database in it, does not make these errors in this area. So, not thrilled with the routing. It's definitely making mistakes in this area it shouldn't be making.

There are quite a few features present in my 4Runner's now 4-5 year old GPS system that are not present in the unit. I deeply miss the 'route overview' feature, the Garmin unit does not have that. This allows you to easily review the route the unit set up to a set destination. With the Nuvi, you have to take your finger and scroll to see where it is going to take you. It also does not offer an option to view the route as a series of turn by turn directions. I use that quite a bit and miss it here. Lastly, it does not allow you to put in a series of destinations. My older unit allows you to keep adding destinations to the route. Not here, you get one. Then you can add another after you get there. I also miss the display of how far you have yet to go on your route. My old unit counts this down for you and provides an estimate of ETA on the map display. Not present here.

The menu system is a bit too deep for my tastes. I have to hit too many buttons to get back to the map display when, for example, I am entering POIs. I can do that in one step in the 4Runner unit.

The 'finger scrolling' is not overly responsive and yes, it does better if you use your fingernail rather than fingertip. I didn't mind that too much, but you might wonder initially if the unit does scroll the map... yes, it does... try with your fingernail. The zoom up/down buttons are kinda in a bad spot. I find that if I want to scroll sideways that I hit them accidentally quite a bit.

You will read complaints about the lack of a USB cable with the unit. Personally, I didn't view that as an issue. Garmin uses a standard connector and the cables for both my (Sony and Canon) digital cameras worked fine as did the one for my ScanDisk MP3 player. I'm fine not having an extra identical cable.

The documentation is light and I received a manual for a 205W series unit with the 255W. Yeah, OK they're similar but nevertheless it's a bit disconcerting at first. I'm sure Garmin was in a hurry to ship the new units.

So... all in all... it's not bad, but there are definitely things to be aware of. I don't hate it, I'm not in love with it either. I wish Garmin would spend more time giving us the rich mapping features instead of integrating stuff that IMHO isn't useful and does run up the cost of the unit - like Bluetooth for your phone (the placement of the unit for this is all wrong, you want your Bluetooth close to your head and your GPS at eye level on your dash), audio books (we have MP3 player jacks in our stereos now guys, you cannot compete with the sound quality) etc. I get the photo navigation (but how many of you will use that? it's a curiousity for most of us), traffic and content updates (but I won't use that either since I'd use it rarely and don't want to pay a monthly fee for it). Those are navigation related, the other stuff is redundant and Garmin cannot provide as good a solution as the vendors that specialize in these areas.

For anyone that is researching GPS units, I highly recommend spending some serious time on [...] It's a very informative site and the forums are active.
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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2008
The 255W does everything advertised, and does it well. My only gripes are the lack of certain features that could have been implemented easily at virtually no cost, like MP3/Audiobook capability. That, and that the documentation is barely adequate.

But as far as the primary GPS functionality is concerned, this is one excellent piece of hardware. The revised chipset allows the GPS to make satellite connections quickly. The speech synthesis is more than satisfactory.

I would strongly urge those considering this product to purchase the "Garmin Portable Friction Dashboard Mount." This will not only make it trivial to move the unit between two or more cars, but the lack of a window-mounted suction cup means no tell-tale ring-shaped mark to alert potential thieves to the fact you may have a rather nice piece of electronics in the car.

If I could give this unit 4.5 stars, I would.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2008
I want to start out by saying that I spend about 2 weeks going back and forth between products, the manufacturers make it so hard to make a choice with so many products on the market. I was leaning more towards the Nuvi 650 that my boss has, I was 100% sure this was the right one for me. This all changed when I saw the Nuvi 255W and well I changed my mind real quick. I saw it had newer software than the 650 and with the Where am I? feature I was sold on it. I was buying this for my wife as she travels a lot for her job. Enough of why I bought it, let's get into the features.

The device works as advertised and gets you from point A to point B, yeah there might be times that it won't recognize the road you are on this happens on rural roads, and and newer roads though once you get on the highlighted route it works like a champ.

The text to speech is great for not having to look down at the screen endangering yourself and others on the road and after the voice updates the Garmin put out for the 255W the scratchiness and robotic sounding voice became crisp and very audible.

The widescreen is a plus and I highly recommend it, even though it has the wide screen you can stick it in your back pocket which can be conveniently used for walking directions. The screen is very bright and easy to see with direct sunlight and at night time. It is very user friendly and for the basic features it does not require the manual. I also like the option of going from a qwerty keyboard to a standard keyboard. Acquiring satellites is very fast though if you are moving while the acquisition is taking place it will take a little longer to acquire a satellite and of course on a overcast day you may experience difficulty acquiring a signal though understandable. I would say that 90% of the time it acquires a satellite within the first 2 minutes or less, the other 10% is due to the above events.

The points of interest feature is great and on top of already uploaded points of interest there are thousands more that can be downloaded making the 255W a great tool for traveling in unknown territories, there are some great websites for points of interest on the Garmin website or by doing a Google search. The POI loader software is great for loading the custom POIs you get and or create.

In conclusion, I am very pleased with my purchase and so far very happy with direction our Nuvi is taking us on the road. If you are looking for a simple wide screen GPS the Nuvi 255W is the right choice.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2009
Garmin's nuvi 255W (widescreen) is a handy little device that provides excellent value, but more importantly spot on directions.

First thing's first: Why the widescreen over the standard size? Well, for starters, it is larger and perhaps a bit easier to see. But let me expand just a bit...when it comes to gadgets and technology, I'm a design freak. For example, I don't want the smallest, most compact mobile telephone on the market becase they simply aren't user friendly. I have no need for a cute phone. I have a need for a phone that I can locate in my pocket with buttons large enough to accomodate my fingers and an ear piece and microphone that are spaced in a way that makes me feel like I'm on a telephone, not talking to air through a straw.

We've become a society that seems to prefer the widescreen format for lots of things, mainly televisions and computer monitors. Well then, the Widescreen of the Garmin255 seems to fit the bill, so to speak. It just seems to make sense to have widescreen technology on a mapping device. It's a more comfortable view. And after all, think about this: is your rearview mirror not the original "widescreen" accessory in the automotive world?

Windshield mounting is easy, although I note that lots of cars now have these interestingly angled windshields that are further away from the driver than is sometimes comfortable for GPS operation. While I recommend that you refrain from entering a directions request while driving your car, I note that some of the more impressive features of this GPS are literally one touch away, and so mounting the device close enough to you to activite a one touch feature would seem to be relatively important. No one has perfected a system for what to do with the cords hanging from everywhere, but it's not really that much of a bother. Garmin's have batteries that charge, but I prefer to operate mine on corded power.

With it's text to speech delivery, mounting is unnecessary. But leaving it on the seat next to you is likely to cause a few double takes because as comfortable as you think you're going to be just listening for directions, the fact remains that the graphics will attract your eyeballs like a moth to a flame. So be careful about such operation.

SECURITY: I recommend that each and every time you get out of your car, you disconnect not JUST the Garmin BUT ALSO the mounting device. GPS are one of the most stolen items on the planet. A thief passing by is more likely to smash and grab if he can see the GPS still hanging there on your windshield, or suspects that it's right there on the seat or under that jacket because you left the mounting bracket up there. Yes, this is a pain, but with a little carrying case, this Garmin will fit in your purse, a backpack, briefcase, coat pocket, etc. It's a little big for the back pocket a la the George Costanza wallet (for your Seinfeld fans). But the name of the game for thieves is speed. If they don't see it readily available, they tend to just move on to the next car.

Accuracy: I've found the directions in major metropolitan areas to be excellent. We've had a few issues in more remote locations. I'm not sure I understand exactly how to correct such things as Garmin is not Wikipedia, per se... but for the most part, we find that the Garmin software provides accurate directions, whereever we intend to go.

I also find that the Garmin gives more than ample warning about upcoming turns. Likewise the top navigation bar indicates whether the next move will be right or left, and this helps you determine whether you might need to switch lanes.

I do want to point out that Garmins, like Tom Toms and every other GPS sometimes have the propensity to announce something obvious to you.... for instance, in Florida, we were told of an upcoming "turn" on I-4. There was no "turn" on I-4, it just stays I-4... but there was a major exit and the Garmin appeared to want to make sure we didn't drift off the interstate onto a road to goodness knows where. This isn't really a flaw, but something you may experience with the Garmin, or frankly any other GPS.

I like have multiple speaker dialect options. I frequently use Australian female because she sounds somewhat like Nicole Kidman, and what better way to be told where to go than by a pleasant looking Academy Award winning actress. But to each his or her own. I note that a competitor is coming out with a Homer Simpson version of the GPS voices. This, folks, is where we're headed. While I doubt Homer will read every street name, etc... it's going to lead to multiple versions of these things.... Looney Tunes, Disney, etc.

I, for one, would love to see additional dialects, perhaps even regional ones for the GPS, just for the entertainment value. Can you imagine being told to turn left down yonder by a Larry the Cable Guy GPS accent? At the risk of offending - I see a world of opportunity for more fun dialects. But, then again, I enjoy the slapstick aspects of life. I'm certain that eventually, my wife would insist I put it on something normal. But, a man can dream.

One of my favorite features on the Garmin 255W is the odometer screen that will allow you to track all sorts of data about your long car trip. With a reset button, you can track your max speed, moving time, stopped time, average speed total for the trip, average moving speed, etc. It tells you on the main screen your estimated time of arrival which will change depending upon your stops and speed. This function is not accurate if you don't leave it in battery mode say, when you stop at the Cracker Barrell for lunch and to play one of those trangle games with the tees.

We have found the estimated arrival function to be absolutely spot on. Additionally, I find the data in the odometer screen to be fasscinating. Remember when your dad used to announce upon arrival at your grandmother's house at Thanksgiving that you all made it in 7 hours and 21 minutes? Well, you can one up him now by not only announcing the time, but the average speed as well, and you have documented proof of the reason you were delayed for precisely 7.3 minutes (because you know how had to stop AGAIN to use the restroom).

Another screen at the touch of the button will show you the turn by turn directions coming up so that you can plan even better, especially in areas that you have just enough familiarity to be considered dangerous.

I like how the Garmin 255W doesn't make you type in complete directions when it isn't necessary. If you know the house number is 455 and you start typing Peachtree.... it knows that there is only a 455 on Peachtree Way, and it automatically rules out Road, Street, Boulevard, etc. Or, it gives you a touchscreen choice of the only possibilities that there are.

I wish that the GPS had a remote control that allowed you to change screens without having to lean forward while driving, or better yet, responded to voice commands. Until then, the single touch works fine, but be careful.

The only other annoyance of any time is that if you deviate from your route and don't indicate that you are detouring, you get to hear the Garmin repeatedly chastize you because it has to recalulate your directions. On the positive side, once you tell it where you want to go, it's tries it's darndest to make sure you get there and it doesn't really want you to get off the beaten path. Nevertheless, it can be annoying to need gas and be told 16 times, "RECALCULATING." Some dialects sound more harsh than others. My only solace is that I doubt I'll tire of Nicole Kidman telling me she's recalculating. On second thought, even that would be annoying.

So, why get a GPS at all? I know, I know, I too used to tell people that with Mapquest and Google Maps, I didn't need a GPS. And truth be told, I can't think of too many people that NEED GPS. But...

1. It saves time. No more firing up the computer, going to the site, printing the directions.

2. It saves paper.

3. It provides immediate alternatives if the route from the online map program was inaccurate or blocked by an obstacle.

4. It speaks the directions so that you don't have to keep looking down at a piece of paper.

5. It allows for detours with directions on how to get back.

6. You can save favorites in it so that you can immediately navigate to places you frequent, no matter what direction you're coming from.

7. Saves mobile phone minutes, because you don't have to call and ask for directions.

At a more reasonable $110.00 the Garmin 255W offers excellent value and truly makes driving around a little bit easier. I highly recommend.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2008
Overall the Nuvi 255W is a great GPS unit. The unit takes very quickly locks on to satellite signals, tracks very well and when you miss a turn or do something unexpected, recalculates a new route very quickly. I recently took it on a trip from Michigan to Washington, DC and it proved to be extremely useful. There are some quirks that I elaborate on below.

Good points: Hotfix (TM) to lock on to satellite signals works well. Tracking is excellent and without noticable lag. Likewise, it quickly notices that you're off track and recalculates a route quickly. Display is excellent - the layout of information on the screen is very good showing upcoming turns at the top, your speed, the local speed limit and the estimated time of arrival at the bottom. The automatic zoom in and out of the map works well too. I never came across a situation where I felt that the map showed too little (zoomed in too close). On I-76 in PA, I travelled through a mile long tunnel and it tracked me perfectly even though it obviously could not get satellite signals inside the tunnel. There is a sharp turn left just out of the tunnel (going east) and it had no trouble locating me at the turn so soon after I got out. Very commendable.

Not so good points: The quality of the voice (for announcing street names) leaves a bit to be desired. It is robotic as many people have commented and the pronunciation isn't great. It took me a while to recognize the word "ramp". I first assumed it was some Australian term! (I used the Aussie gal to do the announcements - I found her voice the least annoying). But as I got used to it, it ceased to bother me and I could recognize all she said.

I noticed several mistakes in the POI list - for example it did not list the Mobil station nearest my house but listed a party store as being a gas station (about 1/2 mile from the Mobil). I could not locate any of the Smithsonian Institution Museums in the list - a very glaring omission. In fact when I tried to locate museums near Washington, DC, it would not identify Washington, DC at all. It listed several Washingtons all around the country but not in the District of Columbia. I could not even locate the District of Columbia when doing this. It was annoying. Strangely it found a Smithsonian Institution somewhere in Virginia (No, not the Udvar- Hazy center though it located that as well) - I did not follow up.
It would not let me locate a commuter store in Herndon/Reston, Virginia that was closest to my hotel. When I tried to use the street adress it would not accept the Building # (12530 Sunrise Valley Drive, Herndon, VA 20171 ). It was listed in the POI database but at the wrong address.
When I tried to go to Safeway located at 413 Elden Street, Herndon from the Vienna station parking lot, it chose a route that while direct had me make a U-turn to get into the store parking lot. That would have been OK except that the road did not have a left-turn lane at that point and so making a U-turn would have been dangerous. Even stranger, when it asked me to make a U-turn, the symbol indicated a U-turn to the right! but the store was on the left side (as it knew). That confused the heck out of me the first time. I traveled the route again the next day just to make sure that I wasn't reading it wrong and it did it again. However on other occasions, it did correctly show a U-turn as being a turn to the left (all those were legal U-turns). All of this was a little disconcerting.

The 255w does feature a compass - but not a good one. In the map view, if you touch the display button to the left of the "Menu" button (bottom center), it brings up a display that features some stats about your trip and includes a compass of sorts. It gives your heading not in terms of degres but only in terms of one of eight directions (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW). This is not as useful as the heading in degrees.So it you're into Geocacheing as I am, this might be a bit irritating but it is usable.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2008
I purchased this model and brand after extensive research both here and on several different sites. I'm the type that loves to study anything before I buy it :) This is my first GPS so maybe I am not as particular as others may be.

I decided on it because it was rated very highly as a basic model that did everything I wanted but was simple to operate. During my research I read both positive and negative comments. The positives were correct and very few of the negatives were present. It is extremly easy to operate. If you have any problems you can go to the Garmin site and download a detailed operating manual or you can call Garmin customer service and they are very helpful and knowledgable and they speak English. If you would like additional tips on operating it just type the model number and Garmin in Google and you will find thousands of forums and sites that can tell you how to get the unit to do many things that Garmin doesn't mention.

Some of the negatives that were mentioned that I did not find to be true were that you can't understand the voice (not true); it doesn't tell you of an upcoming turn soon enough(not true, it tells you at least two tenths of a mile before your turn and then again when you are at the turn); it doesn't respond guickly if you get off route (not true it usually tells you immediately even if you pull of into a gas station just off the road); the volume level isn't load enough (not true I have it set at 80% and can hear it fine); it wants to route you off the route (not true, I have used it out in the country and in big cities and it never has); it doesn't tell you which side of the road your destination is on (not true it has told me every time) The possible list could go on and on but I think you get the idea. It is my opinion that many reviewers are way to critical and try to find something that is wrong or not as good as another manufacturers unit.

It is true that it doesn't have blue tooth and doesn't tell you of traffic backups. However, there are very few cities that have the system set up to be able to do this and for this function to work you have to have your radio set to a station that isn't in use which means you can't listen to the radio. It is also true that you can't preprogram multiple stops before you depart. However, you can create them and save them in your favorites section and them just click on them as you need them.

I have used it several times and it hasn't failed me yet. As an example I own some property down in Kentucky in the mountains that is way off the main road on a dead in gravel road. The unit took me to it without a hitch. I also used it to find a state park down there is also way off the main road and it never missed a beat (This place was so hard to find that the park sold tee shirts that said I servived the drive to Breaks State Park)

If you decide to buy this unit or another one I would recommend that you buy it either from Amazon or a local store. I first bought it from another site that was cheaper by $25 and they told me that I needed to buy a memory card to download map updates... not true. They took my order and said they had them in stock but the next day I received an email telling me that the unit was backordered. Another big name site did the same thing and told me that I would have to pay Garmin to update to the latest maps... not true, Garmin gives you the latest maps download for free.

So, the bottom line is that if you are looking for a basic unit that does almost everything that the other unis do that will get to where you want to go then I would recommend this unit.
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