The Garmin Nuvi family of portable navigation devices (PNDs) is growing constantly, and the GPS manufacturer has added a new line called the Nuvi 2x5 series that focuses on providing high-end features for an affordable price. The flagship model of this line is the Garmin Nuvi 265WT, and it offers text-to-speech functionality, integrated Bluetooth, and free traffic service for life--all for a reasonable $349.99. On the road, the PND offers accurate driving directions and clear audible prompts, but there were some minor performance issues. Still, there are very few, if any, other GPS that provide such a value. If you want the most bang for your buck, the Garmin Nuvi 265WT fits the bill.
The Garmin Nuvi 265WT looks like the latest Nuvi models, which is a good thing since we like its slim and simple design. The unit measures 4.8 inches wide by 2.9 inches high by 0.8 inch deep and weighs 6.1 ounces. In addition to a compact size, the PND has a nice solid construction that makes it a nice travel companion and easy for multivehicle use.
The main attraction of the Nuvi 265WT is the spacious 4.3-inch WQVGA touch screen. It has a 480x272 pixel resolution, so maps and text look vibrant and clear. You can adjust the screen's brightness through the Settings menu and as with all the latest GPS, maps can switch automatically from day to night colors so you get the best viewing experience.
We've always liked Garmin devices for their easy-to-use interfaces, and the 265WT is no different. The main menu screen presents you with two clear choices: "Where to?" and "View Map." It also features large icons with clear identifications, so even when you get deeper into the menus and various functions, everything's pretty intuitive.
The touch screen was responsive to our commands, and the onscreen keyboard is available in QWERTY or ABC format. The keyboard is a bit on the smaller side, so users with larger fingers might have some problems. The good news is that it has predictive text, so it will automatically pull up possible search results as soon as you start inputting a couple of letters. We also like that the number keys are included all on the same keyboard, and you don't have to switch over a separate number screen.
As we mentioned earlier, the Nuvi 265WT is pretty simple and doesn't have many external controls. There's a single power/hold switch located on top of the system. The left spine holds an SD card slot, and a mini USB port is located on the back where you can connect the car charger. The only thing we'd like to see are some external volume controls. Though you can adjust the volume onscreen, some buttons on the outside for easy access would be nice.
The Garmin Nuvi 265WT comes packaged with a car charger with an integrated traffic receiver, a USB cable, a vehicle mount (windshield and dash), and reference material.
The Garmin Nuvi 265WT offers quite a number of features for the price. First, there's a new HotFix functionality that automatically calculates and stores important satellite information for faster satellite acquisition. The system comes preloaded with City Navigator NT street-level maps of North America and more than 6 million points of interest.
The POI database contains all the major categories (gas stations, lodging, ATMs, restaurants by cuisine type, and so forth) and more specialized interests, including golf courses, gyms, and nightclubs. On top of the preloaded entries, you can add custom POIs, such as safety cameras and school zones, and it's compatible with MSN Direct services. The latter allows you to get more location-specific information, such as movie times and weather, but it requires an additional receiver and subscription fee.
To start planning a trip, you can enter a specific address, choose a POI, or select a location from the Recently Found or Favorites list. The Nuvi 265WT supports multidestination trips, and you can add waypoints on the fly. You have your choice of three route preferences (faster time, shorter distance, or off-road) and three usage modes (automobile, bicycle, or pedestrian). You can avoid certain road types if you choose, such as toll roads and highways.