Help me buy a GPS for my wife

I’m looking to buy a decent, easy-to-use GPS for my wife’s car. She doesn’t need (and wouldn’t use) the high-end bells & whistles (Bluetooth, voice recognition, etc.) Just accurate directions, a decent POI database and easy menu navigation.

What do you have? Pros and cons?

I’d like to keep it under $300 if possible.


I really [del]like[/del] love my Garmin nüvi 750 that I bought last year.

The wide screen really makes a difference. Easy to use interface. I’d go on most of the day, but Amazon has plenty of accurate reviews and option comparisons.

ETA: This is probably standard for all makes and models, but the first annual map update is free, and currently $75 after that.

I have a Garmin Nuvi 360 (discontinued) I bought for a little over $200. It is great. I like it because it says the street names before I reach the turn. It always gets me where I want to go, and I’ve even geocached with it. It has tons of POIs (more than some of the other brands offered, IIRC) and you can add custom POIs or even download them from sites like POI Factory.

It does have bluetooth for handsfree phone calls, and while it isn’t the greatest sound quality, it comes in handy for times when I am in the car and the phone rings.

If you decide to buy a Garmin from Amazon and choose the 750, make sure you use Projammer’s link. If you do a search on Amazon for the 750, you will be amazed at the variations in price for it.

A most basic GPS is all one really needs. I have had good futune on the local Craigslist acquiring new in box Garmin Nuvi 200’s for less than $100, and they do all you will ever need.

The 200s (the cheaper older ones, I’m not sure about the new ones) don’t speak street names though. I switched to a non-TTS (text to speech) voice option once on mine and I hated it. “Turn left in 300 feet” isn’t as helpful as “turn left on Elm street in 300 feet.”

Thanks for all the information so far. One question, is there a big difference between Garmin and Tom Tom? They seem to be the two most popular brands. Is Garmin better? The only difference I’ve heard is that Tom Tom includes more in the box (AC adapter, etc.)

I purchased a Garmin recently, and I hae also used a TomTom. Both of them were the cheap ones.

FYI, right now if you go to you can get a TomTom 4.3" widescreen GPS for under 100 bucks.

OK, so they both get me where I need to go. Supopsedly, the Garmin has a larger POI database. It’s never foolproof, as some very common places that have been near my house for yeas and years are no in their POI. (Costco anyone? It has the one 10 miles away but not 5 miles away). The TomTom did a very nice job with directions as well, and if you have the address, it’s pretty moot.

The TomTom does tend to be smoother in my opinion, where the Garmin tends to move in a more tick-tick-tick fashion. And you can customize the lower end TomToms (different voices, etc) more than you can with the Garmins.
ETA: I purchased the Garmin based on its reputaion, before I had tried the TomTom. Knowing what I know now, I would probably lean toward the TomTom. Garmin supposedly has a better battery life, though (5 hours compared to 2 hours)

I liked the Garmin nuvi my father-in-law had before it was dropped and the screen broke. But, yeah, get one that speaks street names. I’m using my phone with Sprint service and turn-by-turn navigation as an alternative and having the street names spoken is a lot safer and easier to use.

I bought a cheap Garmin for myself and a mid-level one for my mother. The one for me works fine, but I have to agree that the more expensive ones are nicer. The one mentioned up thread looks nice and is in your range.

The Garmin nuvi 750 is ubercool, but beware that the power cord is a $200 replacement part (available for less on ebay, thank goodness). It is really an antenna for the traffic service (which is cool, but man I wish someone painted “expensive part” on that thing).

I just looked and the price has gone down about $25 from when I first posted. Now at 252.95.

I was unaware of that particular caveat. Thanks for the heads up.