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November 8, 2008

Garmin nuvi 265WT Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3.5 of 5
Buy this GPS from Amazon

Verdict: Heavy on Features, Light on Your Wallet

Garmin nuvi 265WT Review

Garmin's nuvi 265WT improves the nuvi 200-series by adding free lifetime traffic, Bluetooth for hands-free calling, GPS HotFix for faster position acquisition, terrain maps, and an improved map screen.

Sure, the hardware isn't as deluxe as the more expensive nuvi 7x5 series, but if you're on a budget and want solid basic navigation with text-to-speech, traffic, a widescreen, and Bluetooth, it's hard to beat the nuvi 265WT.

Table of Contents

  1. Meet Garmin's nuvi 2x5 Models
  2. Specifications
  3. What's in the Box? Unboxing
  4. Mounting the nuvi 265WT in the Car
  5. Navigating With The nuvi 265WT
  6. Finding An Address
  7. Finding A Restaurant
  8. Setting the Home Address
  9. Favorites
  10. Traffic
  11. MSN Direct Traffic vs. FM TMC
  12. Navigating to A Set of Coordinates
  13. Walking to A Destination in Pedestrian Mode
  14. Canceling A Route
  15. Where Am I? / Saving Your Current Location
  16. GPS Reception Performance
  17. Screen Readability
  18. Speaker Volume & Quality
  19. Bluetooth & Hands Free Calling
  20. Nuvi 2x5 vs 7x5
  21. Pros
  22. Cons
  23. Conclusion

1. Meet Garmin's nuvi 2x5 Models

Aggressively priced, Garmin's new 2x5 nuvis offer more features per dollar than any previous Garmin GPS. New to the 2x5 series are:

  • HotFix GPS technology for faster startup times (the GPS stores long term ephemeris prediction information, and is therefore able to find satellites much more quickly than GPS units without this technology)
  • Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Basemap - shows 3D shaded topographic terrain (when viewing the map in 2D mode)
  • Faster map drawing speeds compared to previous nuvi 200 models
  • Improved map screen now shows speed limit and upcoming turn indicator
  • Photo navigation - lets you navigate to geocoded photos
  • Support for adding an optional GDB 55 MSN Direct receiver
  • Automatic Time Zone Transition

As of this writing, Garmin offers seven different nuvi 2x5 models. Here's a chart that explains the differences between the models:

nuvi 205 nuvi 205W nuvi 255 nuvi 255W nuvi 265T nuvi 265WT nuvi 275T
Screen Size 3.5" 4.3" 3.5" 4.3" 3.5" 4.3" 3.5"
Text-to-Speech No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pre-Loaded Lower 48 States Maps Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pre-Loaded Canada & Alaska Maps No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pre-Loaded Europe Maps No No No No No No Yes
FM Traffic Included No No No No Yes Yes Yes
MSN Direct Add-on Add-on Add-on Add-on Add-on Add-on Add-on
Bluetooth No No No No Yes Yes Yes
Retail Price $199.99 $249.99 $249.99 $299.99 $299.99 $349.99 $399.99

2. Specifications

Physical & Performance:

Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 4.8"W x 2.9"H x .8"D (12.2 x 7.4 x 2.0 cm)
Display size, WxH: 3.81"W x 2.25"H (9.7 x 5.7 cm); 4.3" diag (10.9 cm)
Display resolution, WxH: 480 x 272 pixels
Display type: QVGA color antiglare TFT with white backlight
Weight: 5.2 ounces (147.42 g)
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery life: Up to 4 hours
Waterproof: No
High-sensitivity receiver: Yes
RoHS version available: Yes

Maps & Memory:

Basemap: Yes
Preloaded maps: Yes (United States, Canada & Puerto Rico)
Ability to add maps: Yes
Built-in memory: Internal solid state
Accepts data cards: SD card (not included)
Waypoints: 1000
Routes: 0


Voice prompts (e.g. "Turn right in 500 ft."): Yes (internal speaker)
Speaks street names (e.g. "Turn right ON ELM STREET in 500 ft.") : Yes
3D map view: Yes
Auto sort multiple destinations (provides most direct route): No
Auto re-route (fast off-route and detour recalculation): Yes
Choice of route setup (faster time, shorter distance, off road): Yes
Route avoidance (avoid highways, tolls etc.): Yes
Custom POIs (ability to add additional points of interest): Yes
Hands-free calling with Bluetooth® wireless technology: No
FM traffic compatible: Yes
XM Navtraffic (includes basic weather) & Radio for U.S. compatible: No
MSN Direct for U.S. compatible: Yes
Where Am I? feature (find closest hospitals, police & gas stations, nearest address & intersection): Yes
MP3 player: No
Audio book player: No
Picture viewer: Yes
Configurable vehicle icons (select car-shaped icons for map navigation): Yes
World travel clock, currency & measurement converter, calculator: Yes
Touchscreen: Yes
Remote control: No
FM transmitter: No
Headphone jack/audio line-out: No
Dead reckoning: No
Qwerty or ABC keyboard (choose keyboard layout): Yes
Garmin Lock™ (anti-theft feature): Yes
Motorcycle-friendly: No

3. What's in the Box? Unboxing

Garmin nuvi 265WT, Retail Box
Figure 1: Garmin nuvi 265WT, Retail Box

Everything That's Included in the Box
Figure 2: Everything That's Included in the Box

The nuvi 265WT includes the following items in the box:

  • nuvi 265WT
  • FM traffic receiver with vehicle power cable (with free lifetime traffic)
  • Vehicle suction cup mount
  • Dashboard disc
  • USB cable
  • Quick start manual

Garmin nuvi 265WT, Front
Figure 3: Garmin nuvi 265WT, Front

The nuvi 265WT's 4.3-inch WQVGA (480 x 272 Pixels) is framed by a thin black case. A microphone is located to the right of the display. Except for the on/off slider on the top of the device, there are no physical controls on the nuvi 265WT. All controls are performed via the touchscreen interface.

Like other recent nuvis, the 265WT retains the same basic shape and size found on other 200 and 700 series models. Although, there are a few physical differences worth pointing out: