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Customer Review

on September 27, 2008
My son, who does not drive, wanted a GPS because most of his friends, who DO drive, don't have one. He thinks of it, along with some gas money, as his contribution to the trip. Since it was dad's money paying for it, I decided to give him my nuvi 260 so that I could get a 255 with its ability to make use of traffic information. (I've just ordered the receiver and will report on that aspect later.)

I'm not quite sure how to review a GPS. The 255 makes the fourth GPS in out family. The others are the Garmin nuvi 200, 260, 260w. Since there are so many makes and models on the market and few people will own multiple GPSs, the most helpful information would be areas in which a particular unit was found to be lacking. I've never found any of these units to be lacking. Other than the well reported difficulties they sometimes have locating satellites (the 255 seems a bit better in this regard), there's nothing about the Garmins that would make me want to try a different brand.

People debate about the 255's voices. Many prefer the 260's voices. My wife is one of them. I find the 255's voices similar to the 260's, except that I miss Emily. She and I have grown close over the months we've been together, but, alas, she was unable to make the jump to the 255. The format of the voice files must have changed. The .vpm files on the 260 are 10+kb, where those on the 255 are about 2kb and Emily was not offered as a download. So, Emily is no more. She was not included on the 255 and I could not get the voice file from the 260 to work on the 255.

I find pluses and minuses to the new interface. I'm not fond of the speed function because it takes up a lot of real estate and isn't reliable. I traveled Route 119 from Route 2 in Acton, MA, to Route 495 in Littleton, a main drag. The speed limit varies from a high of 50 to a low of 25, but the 255 showed a constant 45, so I would not rely on the 255 to warn me of speed traps.

I DO like the new distance and direction of turn indicator. It's convenient seeing the arrow indicating the direction of the turn right next to the distance indicator.

I do NOT like the new way the keypad changes from upper to lower case after the first character of a name is entered.

I WISH there were an option for a QWERTY keyboard layout.

I WISH Garmin would allow zip code entry in addition to City and State.

About 30 seconds after the 260's on/off switch is placed in the lock position, the screen dims and the voice goes silent. This is a very convenient way to silence the unit when traveling a well known road and bringing it back with a minimum of fuss when needed. On the 255, the screen goes dim, but the voice is no longer silent. It's necessary to go through menus to make the unit quiet. This means that there is no longer an easy way to silence the 255 since pressing menus is too dangerous to attempt when the car is moving.

But the quibbles are minor. They're not enough to make me remove a star.

Garmin makes a fine, accurate unit. I've stopped all but the most cursory glances at maps prior to making trips. I'm happy to let the unit send me on its merry way. (There's a movie here where someone figures out how to reprogram GPSs, luring victims into out of the way places. "Dear, are you sure the way to the mall is through the cemetary?") Just last night it showed me a new way to a place I'd been visiting for years and never used the GPS to guide me because I knew the way there. (Ah, so *that's* where that road goes!)

Now, if only I could figure a way to get Emily back...

Added in edit: Another thing I REALLY LIKE about the 255 over the 260...
When you're driving down the road, the title bar of the 260 will often say something like "Continuing on Route nnn". On that same stretch of road, the title bar of the 255 will have the name of the next turn/exit/route. That is, once you're where you're supposed to be, the 255 immediately displays the name of the next road.
59 helpful votes
60 helpful votes
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