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The Garmin Nuvi 260W Navigation Device has been my first experience with a touch screen navigation system. All in all I would have to say my Garmin use has been almost entirely positive, and if I were a teacher I would give the product an A-. The positives far outweigh the negatives, and I would certainly consider the Garmin a good buy.

Some of the many great POSITIVE features include:

1) Tons of pre-loaded street maps that include destinations by type.
-This is helpful if you find yourself in an unfamiliar area or if you are in search of a specific type of destination. The Garmin lets you search for destinations such as restaurants, (even down to type of cuisine: such as Italian, American, Chinese, etc.) hotels, gas stations, shopping, etc, with the touch of a screen. You can also punch in your destination's address, and 99.9% of the time the GPS will track it down and have you on your way in no time.

2) The large touch screen.
-The screen measures 4.3" across and has great color and resolution. This gives you a strong visual and makes it very convenient to navigate through all the neat features the Garmin has to offer by the touch of a screen.

3) The Precise, Spoken directions.
-This helps if you are in the car alone and need to concentrate on the road. Instead of having to try and focus on the road and the navigation screen, the Garmin gives you a verbal "heads up", followed by a confirmation. For example, the Garmin will tell you: "In point two miles, turn right on Smith Street". This allows you to find Smith Street with your eyes and make the turn effortlessly (in most cases). This is better than some other navigation systems I have seen that tell you to "turn right in 500 feet", which usually requires some degree of panic and stress.

4) The Battery Life/ Charger.
-Fully charged, the battery in the Garmin can last up to 5 hours. The car adapter (which you can plug into the cigarette lighter outlet) is very convenient, should your battery get low. There has never been an instance where i feared the battery going dead and being stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Some of the NEGATIVE features include:

1) The directions sometimes take a while to load.
-Sometimes (seemingly, mostly when you are in a hurry) the directions take more than a few minutes to load. This is tough because sometimes you need to be somewhere fast. It also seems that the Garmin has a tough time loading directions while on the move, in some cases.

2) Driving in congested areas (northern Virginia, New York City): WATCH OUT
-It is not yet safe to count on your Garmin for tough city driving. I fell asleep on the way to the east side of Manhattan, and my buddy who was driving ended up getting us lost in Brooklyn (not fun). There was also some difficulty in navigating through parts of Northern Virginia, especially around some of the larger shopping malls ( I ended up on 495, got lost for 30 minutes, and almost turned around and went home). When using your Garmin in heavy volume areas, use extreme caution.

3) The mounting hardware didn't work.
-The mounting hardware didnt stay stuck to my windshield, and I gave up on it pretty quick. The garmin kind of floats around my front two seats, sometimes making it difficult to find and a little inconvenient.

So there you have it. I think of myself as a little less patient than the "Average Joe", but i still think highly of this Garmin. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who travels, and I hope to see some of the small bugs worked out of it, because the product has the potential to be an A+.

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Comment by Tim Steele on March 26, 2008 at 11:25pm
For clarity the short was in the AC charger cord.
Comment by Tim Steele on March 26, 2008 at 11:24pm
Sean,
Thanks for the great summary on the Garmin Nuvi. I generally agree with all your points. One negative addition, less then 18 months after purchase it developed a short and had to be replaced.

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