Garmin nuvi 265

Compact navigation but at the expense of screen size.

Garmin nuvi 265
  • Garmin nuvi 265
  • Garmin nuvi 265
  • Garmin nuvi 265
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5


  • Compact, easy to use, simple map screen, Where Am I help menu, Australian text-to-speech voices


  • Small display with low resolution, unorthodox address input method, sluggish start-up time, no FM transmitter, lack of punch in volume, safety alerts aren't preloaded

Bottom Line

If you can afford the extra cash do yourself a favour and get the widescreen nuvi 265W. The nuvi 265 is not a bad unit on the whole, though, and the simplicity does appeal.

Would you buy this?

Garmin's nuvi 265 offers the same features as its widescreen counterpart, the nuvi 265W, but it has a smaller and lower resolution display and a cheaper price point. This makes it a reasonable though not outstanding choice for those on a budget.

Like the entire range of Garmin units, the nuvi 265 is straightforward and quite bland in its design, but it is compact and slim. This also carries over to the window mount, which is small and easy to remove; this is handy if you want to use the unit in multiple vehicles. A power slide key is the only button on the unit, as operation focuses entirely on the touch screen. A microSD card slot allows extra maps or other data to be stored on the GPS. MicroSD slots are normally reserved for mobile phones; this is one of the only GPS units we’ve seen that uses microSD rather than regular SD cards. A regular mini-USB connection handles charging and synchronisation.

Garmin units are renowned for being easy to use. The interface of the nuvi 265 is simple, bright and effective. Menu items are accompanied by either large boxes with text or clearly labelled graphic icons. Unfortunately, the display isn’t great; it does a reasonable job but if you can afford the extra cash for the widescreen model, then we definitely recommend getting it instead. Not only will you get a larger display, you’ll also get a better resolution, resulting in crisper images.

The main menu is very straightforward, with large icons for Where To and View Map, in addition to smaller icons for volume and tools. Strangely, there is no icon for Bluetooth in the main menu. You'll have to delve into the settings menu to activate this feature.

The nuvi 265 can navigate to a specific address, a Point of Interest (POI), a recent location, a specific junction or your favourites. You can also directly input a specific GPS coordinate. The unit features Where Am I, a convenient menu that shows your exact latitude and longitude and the nearest junction. You can also quickly find the closest hospitals, police stations and petrol stations in case of emergency.

Navigating to an address is simple enough, though Garmin has stuck with an unusual search order. Searches are made in order of suburb, street number and then street name, instead of entering the street number after selecting the street.

The nuvi 265's maps aren't as detailed as their TomTom, Navman and Mio counterparts. Most people will appreciate the simplicity, but they won't appreciate the volume levels of this unit. Even at its highest setting, the speaker lacks the punch of many competing units. The lack of a built-in FM transmitter means there is no real way around this issue. Luckily, voice guidance is excellent. The nuvi 265 includes two Australian text-to-speech voices that pronounce most street names accurately.

The nuvi 265 comes preloaded with City Navigator Australia NT and includes more than 600,000 POIs. Safety alerts, such as speed and red light cameras, aren't preloaded onto the unit. However, they are available as a free download from Garmin's Web site. Garmin claims the alerts will be preloaded on new devices in the future. Bluetooth is included for hands-free calling. Once paired with your phone, you can browse your phonebook, read and send messages, use voice dialling and access your call history.

The nuvi 265 doesn't use the popular SiRF Star III GPS receiver; Garmin simply lists a receiver without providing further details. The unit's GPS performance is solid and rerouting times are in line with most other units. Unfortunately, it has a sluggish start-up time when you turn on the unit; this is an issue common with many Garmin models.

Garmin rounds out the package by offering a number of extras including a picture viewer, calculator, world clock and unit converter, but the nuvi 265 doesn't have an MP3 or video player. A traffic version of the 265 — the 265T — is available. This model provides a lifetime subscription to the SUNA Traffic Channel and a TMC antenna in the sales package.

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