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New Garmin Nuvi 255 and 255W In Car UK & Europe or USA GPS Sat Nav PND Review (255T / 255wt)

This Is What A Budget Sat Nav Should Be - Comprehensive Maps and Text to Speech (US Version Only)

Garmin Nuvi 255w

(Note - we're waiting for clarification on the Text to Speech).

Clarification: The European version of the 255 does not have Text-to-speech.

Ok Mr. Garmin, what you got for us in 2008. What's this? An update to the hugely successful Nuvi 250 model? You've added text to speech and TMC compatibility? Let's take a look at the new Garmin Nuvi 255 and 255w. (255w above)

Now normally I'd review the 205 and 255 models together. The 205 has just maps of the country where you bought it, i.e. just the UK or USA , whereas the 255 has either all of Europe or North America , and last year that's where the differences ended. But this time Garmin have added text to speech to the Nuvi 255 and 255w (US Only)- an improvement upgrade definitely worth having.

In plain language the Garmin 255 or 255w (US Version Only) will speak out road names. Instead of saying "Turn left in 400 feet", these new models will say "turn right onto Smith Street ". This may seem like a small difference, but when you've been driving along and your GPS says "Turn Right in 200 feet" and there's two right turns coming up, you'll wish you'd gone for the 255 or 255w.

Common to all the 2x5 models this year, but an upgrade over last years Sat Navs is the TMC / MSN Direct compatibility. Simply by plugging in the optional aerial your GPS will pick up and decode congestion information, and guide you around any queues if you so wish. The TMC service is transmitted on the FM frequency, and is a free service in the UK , but a paid subscription in many other countries.

So, you've decided it's worth spending the extra on one of these models, which to go for, the normal sized Nuvi 255 or the widescreen Nuvi 255w. The smaller model saves a few pounds, and it does block less of your windscreen, plus it fits easier in your pocket or purse. The advantages of the 255w are more of the map is on display, and the keyboard is slightly bigger, which is great for those of us with fatter fingers. (Men).

The Garmin Nuvi range are known for their ease of use - just tap the screen, press the magnifying glass, then you can use Post-Code, address, recent destinations, or favourites that you can save in advance. For you Geocachers out there the GPS can take you to lat / long coordinates, or you can pick out a point using the map browser. Simple routing options are available with fastest or shortest route; you can choose to avoid major roads, unpaved roads, u-turns, etc. When Geocaching or on foot you can put the unit into off-road mode, so instead of following the roads you just get a line which you walk towards.

The Garmin Nuvi 255 and 255w have an expansion slot which you can use for more maps, or pop your digital cameras SD card into it and use the handy little image viewer. Other extras include a calculator, world clock, and a currency converter. One feature worth mentioning is the Garmin Lock facility - which adds a PIN number to the start-up routine of your GPS to secure your personal data. You also create a "secure location" so that if you forget your PIN, just go to that location and the device will unlock automatically.

New for this year is the ability to download Geotagged pictures from Panoramio, and use them to choose your destination instead of entering the address. So if you're going on holiday to France you can download pictures of the local tourist attractions and just go to them by selecting the images you like. Simple and easy, but now Garmin need to go the whole hog and install a digital camera on their units so we can easily created our own Geotagged pictures.

In the box we get the GPS Sat Nav itself, the car windscreen mount, a dash disc, simple instructions and the cigar lighter power lead. No USB lead or case is included. If you've already got a pc mini usb lead, say for your digital camera, then that's sorted, but please to buy a case to protect your delicate new purchase.

A faster processor for smoother map drawing, improved satellite lock times, and maps with shaded gradients round off a well deserved facelift for the 255 and 255w, so if you're in the market for an easy to use, bargain priced navigator for the whole of Europe or the whole of North America, you couldn't go far wrong with either the Garmin Nuvi 255 or Garmin Nuvi 255w.

Buy a Garmin Nuvi 255 From Amazon.co.uk

Comments / Questions:

I have the NA version of the 255W. It works great! I noticed in 3 vehicles I have driven that the 255W showed the speed 2 to 3mph slower than speedometer. Is there an adjustment or calibration on the 255? Also, does 255W have red-light camera detection capability? Thanks in advance. Leo.

You'll probably find that the Garmin is right, and the car's speedo's are actually reading a little fast - car manufacturers make them that way!

As far as red-light detection goes, you'd have to find a speed-camera database that includes red-light cameras.

Can I interface my nuvi 255W to a laptop whilst travelling in a vehicle, so that I can see a 'live' scrolling display on the laptop screen as well as/instead of just on the 255W unit screen? Daren.

Not that I know of.

i m living ireland,i want to do delivery,which garmin will be parfect for me?garmin 250 or 255 or another modle. aftab.

Tricky, as the maps for Ireland on all GPS's has traditionally been disapointing, so i'd say ask around your colleagues to see what they're using.

is there a truck route available for a garmin nuvi 255 ? if so how can i find it .? Candi.

No specific truck routes, but you can get low-bridge info for the UK, not sure about USA though.

Can you update maps to include new streets, road extensions and new roundabouts?

I have just purchased a GARMIN 260. It is very good to use, all though some newer streets are not shown. Paul.

Report errors on the Garmin Map Error Page, and they should include them in the next map update, which is usually every couple of years (and you have to pay for it).

i am thinking of buying the 255 wt,  , is it compatible with windows vista? Eve,

The unit is, but I'm not sure about the software - anybody else using Vista with Garmin?

Another really cool feature of the 255w is that you can do a map search on Mapquest...find the exact address you want...and then click the "send to" button at the top to send the info to your GPS unit (plugged in by usb, of course).  This is helpful, as I have found my unit has trouble finding addresses such as FM roads, etc. Jennifer.

Great tip!

I am considering the 255W for USA.  How will I download any updated maps such for like 2010?

will I have to get their CD package for USA?

I have a garmin 205W and have had lots of problems downloading 2009 update.  Will I have probglems with 255W? Richard.

Although Garmin allow you to download these huge update files every couple of years, you're much safer buying the DVD update from Amazon or a similair retailer.

If you're in Europe it may be tricky getting hold of the USA update maps on DVD, so if thats the case then I'm afraid you will have to download the updates.

How does the Nuvi 255WT work in many current cars with athermic windscreens? My recent Navman iCN 530 needs an external aerial plug-in to get a decent signal. It's got to be worse without, surely? Secondly, does it have 'avoid areas'? So if I want to avoid a road, or a town, or a level crossing, can I just mark the area I want to avoid on the screen. It's very fiddly on the Navman, but at least it can be done. Essential! Sean.

The latest GPS recievers are incredibly sensitive, so often work in cars with heated or treated windscreens. If you're not sure though, try one at Halfords before you part with any cash.

The Nuvi 200's are simple, basic Sat Navs, so don't have the ability to avoid specific areas. You can do a "via" route to force it to take a certain route, but thats it.

Can you tell me what the difference is between a 255W and a 255WT? And when were they launched? Stu.

The WT come with a RDS TMC aerial for traffic info. I think they came out the beginning of the Summer, '08.

Hi I am considering buying one of these but really would like the text to speech function for street names.  I notice on the Garmin web site the 260W has this.  Any idea when this is coming out?

By the way great site, excellent info.  Keep up the good work. Samuel.

Cheers. Soon!

Hello , is it true to say that speed now appears on the front map page whilst moving ( 255 )? I am trying to way up whether the 255 is worth the £ 30 premium over the 250 ? Thanks Jim.

Depends where you're buying. If you're getting a 255 USA version, great, because it'll have text to speech, meaning that it will read out road names.

If you're in Europe, stick with a bargain 250, because the European version doesn't get text to speech!

Do you know if the 255W for UK does actually have the hardware to do TTS, and whether Garmin may actually re-enable TTS for UK via a software update some time?
Have Garmin actually said /why/ European doesnt do voice street naming?  An american street name and and UK street name arent that disimilar. Unless its just cynical strategy to make you buy the next model up (is 760 is the next model up that gets TTS?)
Its a bit annoying, as 255WT was my #1 choice, and now I'm looking at a TomTom 520 instead, and I just prefer the way that the 255 looks and works.
Thanks. Nick.

I have no idea, its incomprehensible to me.

Great Site!! I Have just purchased a nuvi 255wt, it's really great. As I tow a caravan is there a way I can set the nuvi to a max speed of 60 mph? John.

Er... no.

Hi did you find out if the european 255w features  voice street names.
As i have just bought one thinking it did.

Garmin now say that the European version of the 255 does not use text to speech! Crazy!

Does the UK provided 255w speak road names or is it still just turn right in 500yds. The Garmin website does not include this feature in the European version. Peter.

Its a bit confusing. The description says it does, the spec says it doesn't. I'll contact Garmin and see what I can come up with.

If I purchase this item in the US, can I download maps of Ireland to it? Dana.

You'd need to buy the City Navigator NT Europe 2008 - but it may be worth getting a Nuvi 270 / 275 instead, that would have the maps of USA and Europe already installed.

hi do you know if the camara detector facility can be turned off while in countries like spain where they are illegal ? also can external arial be fitted ?
thanks. Paul.

Go into the settings, proximity points, then untick the safety camera box. No socket for aerial.

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