When Nokia recently announced the launch of an updated version of Ovi Maps that offers free walking and driving navigation to users of Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones, it’s fair to say that some of the guys at Garmin and TomTom might have been a tad peeved at the prospect of a new buck in town trying to steal their business, indeed stock prices at both companies took a minor hit when the announcement was made last week.
However, a Garmin spokeswoman hit back almost instantly, saying that the company is “already innovating” and noted that it offers similar free services, including on its Nüvifone line. If Nokia are to make a dent in the market though, it will most likely be at the entry level side of things, but a glance through reviews of two popular entry level Garmin models – the Nüvi 200W and Nüvi 205 – reveal that for reliability and functionality, a trusted name in a trusted format may still be the choice for many when it comes to navigation on a budget.
Speaking with the kind of manner that only a motor journalist can, we loved Jonathan Bray’s take on the 200W – at Trusted-Reviews – saying, “In the world of Mr Men, the 200W is definitely Mr Cool.” You can almost see the suit jacket and jeans from here can’t you.
Continued Bray: “The 200W makes a good first impression. It’s slim and light and the screen bezel is kept to a minimum, which means more room for maps while keeping the profile of the 4.3in widescreen in your windscreen to a minimum.” Wait for it though, “Switch it on, however, and Mr Cool is replaced by Mr Clever.”
Claiming that TomTom are often regarded as having the edge for ease of use, Bray said that this model may have them beaten, due in the main to the simple menu navigation possible with this model. On a slightly more downbeat note though, GPSTrackLog.com does however note that “There are (of course) some things missing from the 200 series that you’ll get with more advanced Nüvis — an MP3 player, the option of adding live traffic info, and the ability to call out upcoming street names… If you want that, a good choice might be the Nüvi 350 or the Nüvi 260, though neither of those are wide-screen models.”
Moving on to the the Nüvi 205, another GPS model for someone not looking to spend over the odds for functionality that they most likely won’t need, it found some fans over at LaptopMag.co.uk. Upon its release they noted the 205 “provides basic, reliable navigation at an aggressive price”.
The 205 offers a 3.5-inch screen, coming with a ball-joint window mount that’s easy to store, and it’s dressed in a flat black casing that feels “sturdy, if not elegant”. Notes the review from Troy Dreier, “The only external control is the power switch. The microSD Card slot can be used to store photos to view on the device, as well as additional maps and custom POI databases.
Elsewhere, he adds, “Entering addresses is simple and quick, although the nüvi 205 doesn’t offer a spell-assist feature like the Navigon 2000S (which shows only the letters you might need). The database holds more than 6 million POIs, which is good for a budget model.”
DigitalVersus.com meanwhile made the point that, with this model, “Garmin made a new effort compared to the previous program by adding supplementary visual indications. We now find the permanent display of the street name you are on, the distance and direction of the next change in direction, arrival time and your current speed. It’s even possible to zoom in on the next change in direction.”
A glowing Associated Content review meanwhile says that the 205 is “Lightweight and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the Nüvi 205 weighs in at just over five ounces, standing 2.9 inches high with a 3.9 inch width.”
It continued, “If you’re worried about the need to constantly replace batteries, fear not. You can charge your Nüvi 205 while in the car, as it is outfitted with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Upon purchase, the device will come standard with an in-car charger designed to feed on power directly from your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. Unplugged, the Nüvi 205 is capable of operating independently for roughly up to four hours.”
They add that this model boasts a “QVGA colour antiglare touch screen, which includes an embedded white backlight, allowing for further visual clarity in the dark”.
Basic they both may be, but both the Nüvi 200W (€99) and 205 (€85) are from the ‘does what it says on the tin’ school of thinking. Jumping the gun and grabbing something with a million and one different elements to the specs – or indeed some nascent Nokia models – may be tempting but for the majority of road users out there models such as this will bring exactly what they need and cause few headaches when on the road.