Saturday, June 27, 2009

Garmin nuvi 265WT

I bought an automotive GPS unit a couple days ago <masculine>so my girlfriend won’t get lost</masculine>. Specifically I got a Garmin nuvi 265WT. This thing is very nice.

The mounting is a mechanical suction cup with a arm featuring a ball on the end. The ball goes into a socket on the device holding clip. The suction cup has a great grip on my windshield (and kitchen counter) and the ball and socket is easy enough to move without being loose. Once I figured out that you put the GPS into the clip bottom-first I found that it’s easy to pop in and out.

It took about five minutes for it to initially get its bearings (nyuck, nyuck) sitting on an outside table on a cloudless day. Once it figured out where it was it’s been solid for location.

The navigation is easy to use and with the preloaded maps it only makes you type until there are only a few possible cities, streets, etc for you to choose from. It allows you to save locations and one location can be saved as “home”. When you go to select a destination there’s a great big “Go Home” button that makes it easy to get to your most common destination.

I found the turn by turn with street names to be excellent. After you make a turn it tells you how far a head you need to do something and what you need to do. When you’re almost there it lets you know and again when you’re there. The former seems to give you enough time to get into the proper lane. When I was on the freeway approaching my exit it spoke more frequently but not often enough to become annoying. It did pronounce La Jolla (Lah Hoya) as Lay Jollah but since it was the American English voice and not Spanish it’s understandable.

Wonder of wonders it came with a USB cable. I plugged it in and went to the website to see what was available. They had a simple to use tool to get system updates and a tool to download additional vehicle models and voices. The vehicle model is the image of your vehicle drawn on the street. According to our GPS we are actually driving a tank and not a Matrix. This is useless, but fun. I was surprised to find that in addition to the SD card reader the thing has 2GB of built-in flash. Most of this is taken up with software and maps but there was like 600MB free. That’s a lot of room for saved routes and waypoints.

Another feature of this is built-in bluetooth speakerphone-ness. After a little fiddling I had it paired with my girlfriends nV2. I could use the speakerphone to access the nV2’s built in voice dialing. Very nice. The speaker quality wasn’t outstanding but it was easy to understand the other person and when I was outside the car on my iPhone handset I though the nuvi’s microphone pickup was very good.

I haven’t used it a ton yet but so far I feel like I definitely go my money’s worth. I would recommend this to anyone interested in an in-car GPS, especially if they have a bluetooth enabled phone.

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