At a Glance
- Includes lifetime traffic service
- Lots of extras, like hands-free calling
- 3.5-inch screen seems small
This midrange GPS device packs in the features, but its 3.5-inch screen feels small.
The Garmin Nuvi 265T packs a lot of features into a very small case: Like some other models reviewed recently, this GPS unit delivers lifetime traffic service, hands-free calling with Bluetooth, a hefty points-of-interest database, and more. Unfortunately, the Nuvi 265T’s 3.5-inch screen is a bit small for taking advantage of all it has to offer.
When you turn on the Nuvi 265T, you’re faced with two options: “Where to?” and “View Map.” This makes it easy to get up and running–even if you’ve never used a GPS product before. All of the screens are attractive, and I found accessing most of the options on this device simple.
The routes that the Nuvi 265T delivered in my driving tests were decent to very good; they were comparable to those I got from the TomTom One 130 S and the Navigon 2200T. None of these devices, though, delivered routes that were as fast or as convenient as those offered by the Magellan Maestro 4350 and the TomTom GO 930. Still, the Nuvi 265T always got me where I was going, even if it didn’t find the fastest route.
One advantage that the Nuvi did have over the Navigon and the TomTom One was its accurate estimates of travel time; when the One and the Nuvi mapped out the same route for me, the One told me it would take only 24 minutes to drive, while the Nuvi more accurately estimated it at 36 minutes. The Navigon estimated the same route at 32 minutes, more in line with the Nuvi.
The inclusion of lifetime traffic service is a definite bonus on this unit, as traffic incidents are factored into your routes. When I attempted to drive into Boston when a Red Sox playoff game was about to start, the Nuvi 265T wisely warned me about the traffic and suggested an alternate route.
The free traffic service does come at something of a price, though: You may see occasional advertisements on the 265T. According to Garmin, NAVTEQ–the provider of the traffic service–controls the ads. The ads are for businesses that appear along your route, and are small and–for the most part–unobtrusive. I noticed a tiny icon advertising Walgreens pop up when I was about to pass a Walgreens store, for example. It was clearly marked as an advertisement, and while it stood out from the other points-of-interest displayed, it wasn’t invasive. Garmin says the ads appear only after you’ve typed in a destination and begun navigation; the device won’t suggest a new route based on where businesses that advertise are located.
The points-of-interest database is extensive and easy to navigate. It was able to direct me to Fort Independence, a park in Boston, and to a local wholesale club, both of which the TomTom One was unable to find. (The TomTom GO 930, however, found both of these locations.)
Among the high-end features bundled in this Nuvi but omitted from the less-expensive TomTom One and Navigon are: hands-free calling (when paired with a Bluetooth cell phone), a photo viewer, a currency converter, and the ability to download and navigate to Google Panoramio pictures. It’s also compatible with MSN Direct, which delivers local information, such as weather, gas prices, and movie times to the unit. Getting this service, however, requires the purchase of both a receiver ($120) and a subscription.
The unit itself is small and slim, and will easily fit in your pocket if you want to take it with you. I do wish its screen was bigger; more screen real estate would allow you to really see all that the 265T has to offer. (Garmin does offer a model, the 265WT, with a 4.3-inch screen; it lists for $350.)
The Nuvi 265T lists for $300, but you can find it for about $275 online. That’s a reasonable price for a full-featured GPS–especially when you factor in the lifetime traffic service.