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Garmin Nuvi 205W review: Garmin Nuvi 205W

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MSRP: $229.99
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The Good The Garmin Nuvi 205W features a large touch screen and an easy to understand interface. Start-up, destination entry, and trip routing/rerouting times are slightly faster than the competition. "Where am I?" feature is very useful for emergencies.

The Bad The Nuvi 205W's feature set is rather limited. Mounting cradle is bulkier than competing models and not very portable.

The Bottom Line As entry-level GPS navigators go, the Garmin Nuvi 205W is still one of the best choices available for users who want speedy performance without breaking the bank.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 8

Review Sections

When most people think GPS device, the first name that pops into mind is Garmin Nuvi. Garmin's Nuvi 200 line of navigators was an excellent blend of ease of use and value. The new Nuvi 2x5 line of GPS navigation devices seeks to build on that reputation with a few new features, while still keeping the price relatively low. The Garmin Nuvi 205W is one of two entry-level models in the 2x5 line, and features only the most basic navigation features.

The standout feature in this new model is a new "Where am I?" option that can come in handy during an emergency; but mostly the 205W represents a significant performance boost over the older Nuvis. Buyers who like what they see in the Nuvi 205W can choose to step down to the 205, which features a smaller screen, to save a few bucks, or up to the 255W, which adds text-to-speech to the feature set.

The Nuvi 205W's chassis will be immediately familiar to anyone who has ever used a Garmin PND. The GPS measures 4.8 inches by 2.9 inches by 0.8 inch and features a color touch screen that takes up almost the entirety of the front panel. The screen measures 4.3 inches diagonally and displays full-color imagery at a WQVGA resolution of 480x272 pixels.

Along the top edge of the device is the power/lock slider. Pushing this slider toward the power icon powers the device on or off. Moving the slider toward the lock icon will lock the touch screen. The left edge of the unit houses an SD card slot, while the back panel is home to the speaker and Mini-USB charging/connecting port.

The unit ships with a 12-volt power cable, a suction cup windshield mount and cradle, an adhesive disk for dashboard mounting, and a quick start manual. The cradle features a good amount of articulation from its ball jointed neck and better adhesion than the TomTom EasyPort mount. However, the Garmin's mount is much bulkier than the TomTom's, and less portable.

After powering on the Garmin, the user is taken first to the Nuvi's main menu screen. Two large options are displayed for "Where to?" and "View map." Along the bottom edge are smaller icons for volume, tools, and--if a destination has been chosen--stop or detour route.

Choosing "Where to?" takes users to the destination entry screen where they are given the choice between entering an address, searching points of entry, browsing stored favorites, etc.

The Nuvi's interface is a bit more primary than the competition from TomTom, but at the same time, is slightly easier to navigate and understand.

The Nuvi 205W and its smaller sibling, the 205, are Garmin's entry-level models in the Nuvi 2x5 line, and predictably the units are not feature-packed powerhouses. However, the Nuvi 205W has a few tricks.

The device comes preloaded with City Navigator NT map data for the contiguous U.S., Canada, or one European region, depending on where the unit was purchased. (Our tester was loaded with maps for the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.) For major roads and highways, the Garmin displays a speed limit icon as a warning for drivers approaching or exceeding the limit.

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