Pros Map updates slow to be incorporated.
Cons Power cable with Traffic receiver liable to fail, replacement expensive.
Summary The most significant problem I have had is with the combination power/traffic receiver cable. The mini-USB plug is right-angled, and does not stand up to repeated insertions. After 6 months of removing and inserting the plug (normal use, not abuse), the cable broke internally. As a result, it no longer powered the GPS. Replacements are more than $60, so I bought a non-Garmin USB power adaptor for around $15, and it works fine ever since. I now have a GPS without the traffic info, but I can live without it.
OK, the rest of my review:
I read some other reviews and, frankly, am very surprised. For one, I've navigated into and around St. Louis and the surrounding area, on I-55, I-255, I-70 and many other ordinary roads. My experience is entirely the opposite of that reported by another reviewer. I've never had any problems of that kind in the area.
Sure, I've identified places where the map does not correspond to the reality of the roads. That is not Garmin's fault but the mapping agency. On all but one case, the road was less than one year old and different than previously (Chattanooga/Nashville/Jackson TN, San Antonio TX, Kansas City KS). In one case, in "B.F.E.", the road had been blocked due to a minor landslide, but it was a "backwater" road that duplicated another major highway anyway.
In each case, the problem was not unreasonable and was simple to recover from. There's a standard report form for map errors anyway - which I took the opportunity to use each time.
I'm not a professional driver but, over a period of 18 months, I used the GPS to travel extensively and covered around 48,000 miles using it to navigate. During that time I never relied upon a map to supplement navigation (although I had one with me).
Any GPS is difficult to reprogram when actually driving, so I don't recommend it. It's far more safe to pull over and take a few minutes break anyway.
If, like me, you are prone to taking minor detours to take in a change of plans at short notice, you might find the voice a minor annoyance, continually reminding you to make a U-turn as soon as possible, etc., so you could be selective about the times you use the spoken announcements. Or you could download the free software and reprogram the voice.
Any GPS is only a navigational aid, never a substitute for the eyes and driving ability of the driver.
I do not rely entirely upon it to navigate my trip, but chiefly on what I see about me as I make my way, because I know that no GPS will tell me about the temporary roadworks just around the corner, or the broken down truck 200 yards in front.
I love the size of the screen. The level of detail can be selected, but is good. It's easy to save favorites and to choose destinations. It will quickly find alternate routes if you have to detour.
If you are traveling to a large number of different places, and likely to create many favorites, I recommend you hook the GPS up to your computer and use the free MapSource software to manage the trips and favorites while you are at home or in a motel, etc. The GPS is only as good as the maps, so take the opportunity to report any outdated mapping issues that you might find.
I can't repeat enough that it's not a co-pilot, but a navigational aid, with emphasis on the aid. Still rely on common sense and your own observations.
Driving is back to being fun and this GPS has helped. I wish I had one of these thirty years ago.
If I lost this GPS I would buy another Garmin, but one of the new ones with 3-d topographical maps and lifetime map updates. That's the most significant change from this model.
Pros street names, multiple voices to choose from
Cons delayed street name turning instructions
Summary I totally agree with jhacker, the GPS is fine but has some problems, i also got it on black friday, the sales man said that it as fm traffic enabled but didnt mention that it needs a $%&ing reciever.
now it shows traffic icon but does not give any good details.
Pros For the most part it was correct, got me to my destination.
Cons Took me right past a MAJOR exit, which cost me an additional 25 min. Also needed a service store, took me to some office building.
Summary I have used Garmin in the past and haven't been disappointed..until I bought this one for myself. I checked reviews on this product, which were great, so I chose this one. First time I used it I took an 8 hr trip of which took me through St. Louis, Mo. As you come into St. Louis it is 6 lanes across, with 2 major exits on the rt side. It is a pretty dangerous area. I was quite sure that I was suppose to take a certain exit but the GPS told me that it was a different exit a mile up the road. Then as I passed the exit it told me to take it on the rt. Problem was I had just passed it. It did re-route me but added about 25 min to my trip, and a few more highways. Then I needed to go to a O'Reilleys to get my windshield wiper fixed, it "said" it was w/in 1 mile, so we picked it. It took up about 7 miles out of our way and NOT to a O'Reilleys it took us to some office building. On our return home we were looking for a specific big chain restraunt to go to, checked the GPS and it said there wasn't one. As we look up, there was a highway sign showing upcoming restraunts, it was on there and was only about 1-1/2 miles away. I would return this product in a heartbeat but I threw the box away because I was so sure I would love it. So to sum it up this product is worthless, and I may just buy a new one..a TomTom next time of which I was very much against when I started the process of looking for a GPS.
Pros New 2010 North America Map Update as well as downloads for different vehicle icons and voices for the text to speech...Lifetime traffic updates...My wife said it navigated her past the toll booths in Dallas to her sons address perfectly.
Cons Didn't find our home address when determining longitude and latitide....will have to find a work around
Summary This is a great product for the price but if you can afford the additional 20 or so dollars....The Garmin 265WT is newer technology with regard to navigationI researched information gfiven to me by CNETreviews, Consumersearch.com, and BestBuy as well as Amazon reviews from consumers on the Garmin 205, 255, 255wt, and Tom Tom 340s. The final choices were the simpler Garmin 205 vs Garmin255wt. The Tom Tom 340s was having a software issue that required an easy work around if you know about it but messes up your map config styles if you update prior to the uninstall of the original map first.
Updated on Dec 20, 2009
Pros Spoken street names, larger screen size, free map updates for 60 days, traffic updates
Cons Sometimes turns are not announced well enough in advance, computer cable not included, traffic updates only in major markets
Summary I got this on Black Friday with a good discount. I bought the 255WT because of the lifetime traffic updates, spoken street names, and larger screen. Some friends recommended Garmin over the other brands due to ease-of-use. Personally, I go for features over ease, but this is mostly for my wife. I've only had one chance to use the traffic feature. While driving through Minnesota, the traffic updates began about 50 miles north of Minneapolis. The spoken street names are a definite improvement. The street names are announced accurately in most cases. The 'Where Am I' feature is immensely useful. For instance, if you're in an accident, you can pull up your exact coordinates to give to emergency personnel. It's great to be able to look up point of interest within the vicinity, as well. During a recent trip, I was able to pull up a list of restaurants in the local area. Unfortunately, in one instance it did not show all the area locations of one particular local chain.
There is one very annoying problem of the 255WT. Several times, the turns were not announced far enough in advance. I ended up passing up the turns because I could not move to the other lane soon enough. Also, I found some map inaccuracies. While driving to a restaurant, the Garmin said it was on the left when, in fact, it was actually on the right.
I have no idea why Garmin did not include a USB cable to connect to a computer. Luckily, the same cable that's used with many digital cameras and MP3 players can also be used for the 255WT. Garmin is nice enough to supply free map updates for 60 days after you first turn on your GPS. There's no use in having a new GPS with old maps. In fact, there was a 2 gigabyte map update available the day I purchased it.
Overall, I would recommend the 255WT despite some minor problems.