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Siu L's Garmin 250 Review

Siu, From Toronto, Canada, Shares His Experience With His New Garmin Nuvi 250

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Bought the nuvi 250 after reading your review and answers.

Excellent product design/manufacture: simple, clean, straight forward.

Put it into my 7-year old's hands. He had a nuvi of a time with it.

It's a far cry from fiddling with the buttons and dinky little joy-stick on my eTrex.

The nuvi series is mainly targeting the entry level car GPS market, but since the nuvi can do much more, I think Garmin should produce a more detail manual for GPS nuts like you and I. The included "set up and go" pamphlet is good but it just tell you that much!!

Other than an easier-to-use unit for driving, the reason I wanted a second GPS is to use it to play a hide-and-seek game. This is a kind of "human geocashing" game that I dream up: with 2 GPS's and a set of walki-talki's the hiding party radios their coordinates to the seeking party to search them out. This will make great family fun in the park for example. And that's why all my questions about Lat/Long in the nuvi 250.

Haven't give the nuvi a serious "test drive" yet but, after playing with it for a bit, my overall impression of it is good.

Only a couple of wishes:

1) Really miss that compass arrow on the map page.

Current nuvi 250 (Firmware ver. 3.50) No heading arrow ~:-(

Yes, you don't really 'need' it. But if you are going somewhere unfamiliar, that arrow gives you a comforting sense of going in the general right direction. And when using the map page off-road like my hide-and-seek game, it really helps in telling your heading in relation to other things around you.  The 'older?' nuvi 200's versions (see photo), the nuvi 300's and of course the eTrex have it. TomTom also missed this nice touch. Let's hope Garmin put it back in future firmware updates ~:-(

'Older' nuvi 200 series. Note the arrow on the left below the zoom out [-] and the slightly different layout.

When not navigating, the map screen shows Speed and Heading OK. But when navigating you need to touch the Arrival ETA to the "Trip Info. screen" to find out your heading. The small circle/bracket to the left of the Speed dial shows the heading in cardinal letters (N, S, E, W, NE ...).

2) Wish info. boxes in the map page and this Trip Info. page can be customised (come on now, Mr. Garmin, other than a military operation, who cares about Overall Avg. speed, Moving Avg speed, Moving time, Stop time ... when I reached that McDonald's for lunch!). For GPS nuts like us, really wish they can be changed like that of the eTrex. OK save that the eTrex is design for off-road out-door not the nuvi.

3) Wish the nuvi can be used when plugged into a computer. It will be charged alright but why not make it like the eTrex that whenever it is plugged-in it will then use that external power source (eTrex use regular or rechargeable AA size batteries and will not charge them). Then you can go to Setup, Interface page to switch it to appear as a USB mass storage to the computer.

Wonder how the nuvi knows when it is plug into a computer or being plug into the original Garmin car power lead. I'm not sure if the difference in output voltages of the different mini USB leads would tell the nuvi (I actually measured a few car USB power leads and computer USB ports. They are all pretty close to the standard 5 V).  I suspect Garmin uses one of the USB mini plug pin to give a signal to the nuvi to tell it is a Garmin lead (hmmm... another proprietary protection trick?) Anyway, it would be nice to find a way to beat this.

Thanks a lot for making a video to tell the world more about Lat/Long and Geocashing using the nuvi.

Unfortunately when I try to watch it with my computer it never went beyond a couple of minutes and will stuck where you just finish talking how to input Lat/Long to go to.  Wonder the problem is in the video or my computer?

No time to take the nuvi to a land mark to take a photo yet, but my boy was good enough with the nuvi already to use the screen capture feature to grab a snap shot of mid-town Toronto :

A cool night-out mid-town Toronto .

"What is this Screen Shot feature in the nuvi" the readers of your Web-page might ask. Of course, here goes another 'undocumented' nice feature of the nuvi:

Spanner -> Settings -> Display -> Screen Shot -> Enable

A little window pop-up with a camera symbol. Touch this pop-up on any screen will capture a shot (complete with a shutter sound!). The shots are then stored as bitmap files (*.bmp) in the internal memory folder /Garmin/scrn.

If you do not want to bother with the MapSource program in your computer, this could be a handy way to keep/show off your trip plan.

Excellent website, thanks. I bought NUVI 250 a week ago. I discovered street "not always found", but could be overcome this by putting in first part of name,eg. didn't fing ROPEMAKER STREET, so put in ROPE, and then scrolled down list until came to name required!! HELP/QUESTION: If you use SCREENSHOT, can you access pictures on screen and put them on PICTURE VIEWER, or do you have to access via computer??? Thanks Steve.

Just plug your 250 into your pc via a mini-usb cable, then look for the scrn folder via "my computer" and "Gamin Nuvi".

I was very happy with my new nuvi 250 until tonight I loaded a big mapset into the 2 GB SD Card.
This mapset is huge. It is built from the Garmin World Map plus maps from the Garmin TOPO Canada (a total of 5702 maps in a file of some 1.8 GB)

Yes, I wanted to test it's limit (I've tried smaller mapsets and it worked nicely).

When I start up the unit with this big mapset in the SD card, the unit took a 'long' time (may be 30 seconds)  to "loading maps . . .". Then a green progress bar pop-up and the green colour proceed to about half way then the unit suddenly turned itself off !!?
From this point on when I try to turn the unit on (with or without the SD Card), it just flash up the 'Garmin' logo briefly and gone.

Plugging in the car lead or a computer USB lead just bring up the same 'Garmin' logo only. I tried reset the unit (thumb hold on lower left screen and turn on), again just the 'Garmin' logo come on. I also try the reset button on the bottom of the unit a few times but it did nothing from the off or the 'Garmin' logo on states.

Is there any way to get the thing going again?

Or do I have to send it back?  ~:-(

Thanks for any advice.

Oh no! Before try anything please backup your sd card and the contents of the Garmin by copying EVERYTHING to your pc's hard-disc. Have you got a back-up of the Garmin in its original state, or at least the original maps? When you plug the Garmin into your pc can you "see" it and gain access to the files on the device and perhaps delete these extra ones? Have you tried the Garmin WebUpdater to see if that can update and turn your device on? Good luck!

I have backed up of everything (original nuvi 250 contents and SD Card). Unfortunately the computer COULD NOT see it when connected via a mini USB lead. And it did not show the normal charging figure (of the unit connected to a computer) neither? It just continually showed the 'Garmin' logo when connected.
I did not try the Garmin WebUpdater yet.
Since the computer cannot 'see' the unit, I doubt if that would help.

If your pc can't see it then it is a bigger problem. It may be worth turning it on and letting the battery go flat, in case it's stuck in some sort of software loop, then see what hapens. Beyond that, I don't know.

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