Garmin nuvi 250
- Sleek and slim design, user-friendly interface, reasonable performance
- Lack of included accessories, small display
The nuvi 250 is a solid unit and commands a lower price than the 250W, despite possessing the same features.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Garmin's entry-level unit has the same features as its widescreen brother, and differs only in a smaller sized display. The nuvi 250 retains the sleek, ultra-slim design and user-friendly interface that Garmin is well known for and the price tag is considerably lower than the nuvi 250W despite the same features list.
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If you are new to GPS units, then the nuvi 250 should certainly be up your alley. Garmin units are well renowned for their ease of use, and this unit is no different. The user interface is simple, bright and extremely effective. Menu items are accompanied by either large boxes with clear text, or graphic icons. The 3.5in display is a little on the small side, but it does the job. We would have liked it to be a bit brighter though and sunlight glare on a bright summer day can make it difficult to see.
The nuvi 250 filters street names by suburb, reducing the list to a manageable number. Unfortunately, searches must be made in order of suburb, street number and then street name -- the street number would be better positioned as an option after you select the street.
The main menu is very simple, with icons for 'Where To' and 'View Map', as well as volume adjustment and settings. The nuvi 250 can navigate to a specific address, a Point of Interest (POI), a recent location and your favourites, and you can even directly input a specific GPS coordinate.
Interestingly, the nuvi 250 doesn't use the popular SiRF Star III GPS receiver found in almost every unit on the Australian market. Instead, Garmin just lists a "new high-sensitivity GPS receiver" without providing further details. We didn't notice an improvement or a decrease in performance though -- the unit falls into line with most other Garmin units we've tested, that is, slightly sluggish but generally reasonable. Re-routing times are average but our main complaint is reserved for the sluggish start-up time when you turn on the unit.
Voice commands are reasonable, if not outstanding, but there is no text-to-speech. Annoyingly, when editing voice settings (English only has two options, American or British), you aren't able to listen to a sample before selecting it. Volume levels are excellent, though the lack of an external volume control means you have to move away from the map display to adjust the volume.
Safety POI's including red light camera, speed camera and school zone warnings aren't preloaded onto the nuvi 250, but you can obtain them using the custom POI feature. Garmin's POI Loader software allows you to download the input files onto the unit, but the nuvi 250 also allows you to add your own for further flexibility.
The nuvi 250 maps are simple and easy to read, though they do lack a bit of detail when compared to competitor offerings. Regular settings -- 3D or 2D view, a trip computer and options for fastest or shortest routes are all included. There is also a picture viewer, calculator, currency and unit converters as well as a world clock.
The design falls into line with most other Garmin units -- sleek and compact. A highlight is the window mount. It's easily detachable and is quite small, so taking it from car to car isn't a hassle. An SD card slot allows extra maps or other data, and a regular mini-USB connection handles charging and synchronising.
Battery life is rated at up to five hours, which is reasonable but not outstanding. The sales package is quite bare, as Garmin only includes an in-car charger -- both an AC charger and USB cable have to be purchased separately.
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