Garmin nuvi 1250 GPS unit

Provided you can live with the smaller display size and the lack of lane guidance, the nuvi 1250 provides an excellent navigational experience for its price.

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Garmin nuvi 1250
  • Garmin nuvi 1250
  • Garmin nuvi 1250
  • Garmin nuvi 1250
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5


  • Compact size, good navigation experience, fast, ecoRoute function


  • Small screen, no lane guidance, can't change default keyboard layout

Bottom Line

Provided you don't require any advanced features and can live with a small display, Garmin's nuvi 1250 GPS unit offers an excellent navigation experience.

Would you buy this?

The nuvi 1250 is Garmin's cheapest in-car GPS unit. It's very similar to the nuvi 1260, but lacks Bluetooth hands-free capabilities. Provided you can live with the small display and the lack of lane guidance, the nuvi 1250 provides an excellent navigational experience for its price.

The Garmin nuvi 1250 is a tiny GPS unit. Garmin claims it is 25 per cent slimmer than the devices in the previous nuvi range. It follows a similar design pattern to other nuvi models, with a matte black bezel surrounding the screen, silver edging and a soft plastic back. It feels reasonably well built despite its small frame.

Garmin is known for simply yet effective user interfaces and the nuvi 1250 is no different. Though the small screen does detract from the overall user experience in various instances — for example the squashed keyboard for input — the size of the display doesn't affect most menu items and the touch screen is responsive. Unfortunately, you can't change the default ABC keyboard layout.

Garmin's map display lacks a little detail compared to its rivals, although it is clear and easy to read. Two boxes in each corner display a variety of time- and speed-related information. There is no option to show extra information — probably because the display can't fit any additional information on the already small map screen.

The maps are provided by Whereis and are preloaded with safety alerts including fixed speed cameras and red light camera alerts. The safety warnings trigger an audible alert and voice warning, but the notification on the map screen is a tad too small. In our tests we didn't experience too many performance issues, although the maps did miss a few 'No right turn' warnings. The maps generally provide the fastest route to your destination available, though the nuvi 1250 (like most GPS units) has a tendency to favour main roads rather than suggesting the more complicated but faster back street routes. The nuvi 1250 has maps of Australia and New Zealand preloaded.

The Garmin nuvi 1250 is one of the fastest GPS units we've reviewed. From browsing the menu, to obtaining and maintaining a GPS signal and rerouting when you take a wrong turn on a route, the nuvi 1250 is fast and didn't suffer any slowdown during our tests.

A feature missing from the smaller, less advanced nuvi models is lane assistance. While it's primarily designed to assist with motorway and freeway exits, the feature improves the overall navigational experience — especially as motorways are a common source of confusion for a newbie visiting an unfamiliar city. The Garmin nuvi 1250 also doesn't include a subscription to the SUNA Traffic Channel, but this can be purchased separately.

Garmin's "ecoRoute" feature (available on all its new nuvi GPS units) can display a fuel report and choose an economical route for your journey. At the start of your journey enter the cost of fuel and your car’s rated fuel economy into the ecoRoute calculator, and the nuvi 1250 will provide a report detailing the cost of the fuel used (measured in litres per km), your carbon footprint, as well as your average fuel economy based on your trips. When in use, ecoRoute will also preview your route before it begins by displaying the total fuel cost — this information is calculated based on the fuel price, type and fuel economy entered into the vehicle profile menu. Under the fuel list you can select unleaded, diesel and ethanol options although an interesting omission is premium unleaded fuel.

ecoRoute also offers a driving challenge feature that tests your driving habits, in particular your ability to smoothly accelerate and decelerate. For business users, a mileage report will be helpful for keeping a record for business expense and tax purposes.

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