I just bought a Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS, so of course I was eager to play with the GPS unit and map my next trip to my daughter's place. Up to this point, I've been using Mapquest to chart my routes, so I was curious to see how the Garmin Nuvi would compare.
Out of the box, the Garmin Nuvi 255W GPSunit needs to be charged up before it will work, and the only charging cable that came with the GPS unit fits into the 12V power outlet in the car dashboard. The AC power adapter and USB cable are sold separately, but I was able to use the USB cable from my digital camera to plug the Garmin Nuvi 255Winto my laptop and charge up the 4 hour lithium ion battery while I got some other work done.
Once it's charged up, the Garmin Nuvi 255W GPSis fairly easy to figure out. To map the route for my daughter's apartment and put that into my favorites folder, I had to first spell out part of the state. Ma automatically gave me the choice between Maine, Maryland and Massachussetts so that I didn't have to spell out the entire state. This automatic fill-in has some pros and cons, which I found out later when I tried to spell the street of Strathmore Hall. The Garmin Nuvi only let me tap out S-T-R before naming every street in North Bethesda that began with Str, none of which happened to be Strathmore Hall.
And this is where I discovered the limitations of the Garmin Nuvi 255W. My daughter lives in a gated community of private apartment complexes, and Strathmore Hall Rd is the name given to her particular parking lot area, which the Garmin Nuvidoes not recognize as being a named road regardless of what the printed road sign and the mailman says. Fortunately, I already knew the main highway exit and state route intersection in DC which would lead me to the correct apartment complex side roads, and I could find her apartment from there. The Garmin Nuvilet me zoom in on this particular intersection on the United States map that I couldn't remember the name of for the life of me, although I recognized the I-270 spur and Tuckerman Ln when the Garmin Nuvispelled it out for me on the map. And the very end of Tuckerman Ln is now in my favorite routes folder. In this respect, Mapquest has been able to recognize Strathmore Hall Rd and provide a map to that exact apartment location whereas the Garmin Nuvi 255W GPSdoes not.
For fun, I took the Garmin Nuvi 255W GPSout for a quick road test and I searched for my favorite nearby gas station using "Points of Interest" since I didn't know the exact address. Points of Interest listed every nearby gas station in order of their distance from my current location, and I had no idea that there were so many different gas stations nearby. I selected the gas station that I wanted, and the female voice told me when to turn right or left, and how many miles to the next intersection, prompting me again to turn just before I got there. But this particular gas station happens to be located deep within a giant shopping plaza parking lot near the grocery store. Although the Garmin Nuvi 255Wcould direct me to the nearest intersection to the gas station, what the GPS unit said would be directly on my right was actually on my right and another 3 blocks south at the other end of the parking lot, and not visible from the intersection.
The Garmin Nuvi 255W GPShas very good satellite reception, and I was able to receive map updates and voice directions even when I put the GPS unit into the cup holder near the floorboards, a place that never fails to shut out my daughter's weaker GPS unit. The suction cup mount sticks firmly to my windshield and it's not coming off easily, so I would recommend making sure that's where you want to mount your Garmin Nuvibefore pressing the suction cup lever. There's no subscription fee to use the Garmin Nuvi 255W GPSunit, which is a definite plus in my opinion. One of the features that I really like is that I can map several different "via" waypoints before reaching the final destination, which is going to come in handy locally for garage sale hopping, and become a real tourist treasure when I'm travelling. In spite of its limitations, the Garmin Nuvi 255Wmakes me feel a lot more secure that I'll always be able to find my way home no matter how lost I've managed to get myself on the road, and for that, it's worth the price.