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Garmin Nuvi 205


Sometimes simple is better, and for that there is the Garmin Nuvi 205. The Nuvi 205 does include voice prompts, but does not include the coveted Text-to-Speech feature to speak street names. While it does not have a widescreen, the smaller size makes it easier to slip into a pocket or purse.

Despite the small package and price, the Nuvi 205 can be connected to live traffic systems with an optional traffic receiver. If you need maps of Canada, consider the Nuvi 255 instead as the 205 sold in the USA contains only maps of the contiguous United States.

161 Responses

  1. Does the Garmin 250W and 205 have same or different maps (version/year)? Please explain waypoints and optional traffic. If priced the same which is the better value?

    Randy - July 21st, 2008
  2. Randy, each device could come with different maps depending on when it was manufactured. Waypoints = number of favorites you can store. You can read about Traffic Services at that link.

    Tim - July 21st, 2008
  3. Do you have an opinion as to which Garmin system is the better value between the 250w and the 205 if priced the same?

    Randy - July 21st, 2008
  4. It depends. If you think you might want the traffic service down the road for example, the 205 supports it but the 250w doesn’t. Otherwise the 250w has the advantage of a widescreen and includes maps of Canada.

    Tim - July 21st, 2008
  5. I have a Nuvi 205 with US maps. I have relatives living in Canada and want to add Canadian maps. How do I go about that?

    Phil - August 2nd, 2008
  6. Phil, the easiest way is to purchase the Garmin Canada maps on SD card from Garmin, part number 010-10966-00.

    Tim - August 2nd, 2008
  7. I am thinking between these two. But the comparison did not show the CPU processor speed between Garmin Nuvi 205 and Tomtom 130.

    Hope you have this information.

    Thanks, Chung

    Chen Chung - August 2nd, 2008
  8. That isn’t information that the manufacturers typically list– and even if they did so it would be hard to use it in a comparison. With different amounts of memory, different operating systems, different programmers, different amounts of data, etc– it would make it difficult to get anything meaningful out of those specifications.

    Tim - August 2nd, 2008
  9. The reason why I am looking for the CPU processor
    speed; I am concerning the screen reflesh and route reload.

    Thanks, Chung

    Chung Chen - August 2nd, 2008
  10. I guess I’d disagree with the assumption that a faster processor would always lead to a faster screen refresh rate and routing speed. Just too many other factors involved to look at that one alone.

    Tim - August 2nd, 2008
  11. Thanks Tim,
    That’s what I was looking for. Every other search I did was coming up with the update DVD for North America 2009, although the prices are about the same. I’ll try to pick up a SD card copy before my next trip to BC.

    Phil - August 2nd, 2008
  12. Hi,
    I’m trying to decide between the Garmin 260 and the 205. The 205 seems to have more features, more waypoints, a “Where am I,” and other features the 260 doesn’t have. But the 260 has text-to-speech. How important is text-to-speech? How about the “Where am I” feature? Can I do the equivalent of a “where am I?” (find nearest hospitals, etc.) on the 260?


    Geoff - August 9th, 2008
  13. You can probably find the answers to those questions on our Text To Speech page and our Where am I? page.

    Tim - August 9th, 2008
  14. Does the Garmin Nuvi 205 announce Streets by name as you approach a turn? New to GPS and not sure what ‘text to speech’ means, but it seems the 205 does not have it according to the feature summary…

    David - August 11th, 2008
  15. David, see the Text to Speech link in the comment directly above your question.

    Tim - August 11th, 2008
  16. Which would be the best choice? They are all priced about the same, so that can be taken out of the equation. My research tends to say the 350, but I wanted to make sure.
    1. Refurbished Garmin nuvi 200W
    2. Refurbished Garmin nuvi 350
    3. Garmin nuvi 205
    4. Garmin nuvi 250W

    Kyle - August 13th, 2008
  17. They have different features so the “best” one might be different for different people. I’d take the 250w from that list.

    Tim - August 13th, 2008
  18. Just looking for a basic, inexpensive, entry level GPS system….Thanks.

    Kyle - August 13th, 2008
  19. Does nuvi 205 show the mph your vehicle is traveling? thanks

    Michael - August 13th, 2008
  20. Michael, not on the map display, no. Although you can switch screens and find it on another view.

    Tim - August 13th, 2008
  21. Tim, the 205 DOES have the speed of the vehicle in mph displayed on the map page at the lower left, even when navigating to a waypoint. IMHO, this was a major improvement of the 205 vs the older 200.

    Mark - August 14th, 2008
  22. I wouldn’t think showing the speed of your car on your GPS would be very important if you have a working speedometer. Is there another advantage to that feature I’m not thinking of?

    Geoff - August 15th, 2008
    • Well Geoff, I find that with my 205 listing the speed limit on the map is quite handy when you consider that sometimes you may be unsure as to what the speed limit is for that area, or when you were passing the speed limit sign so was a big rig so you didn’t quite catch what it was…And it is also handy when you have a speed limit that declines. So having the speed limit listed with the map can be of great advantage.

      LeNaye - January 28th, 2010
  23. How do I update the map in my Nuvi 205?

    Dan - August 15th, 2008
  24. Dan, register your device at my.garmin.com and it will tell you what updates are available and what price you qualify for.

    Tim - August 18th, 2008
  25. i have garmin 205 and would like to know if i can install anything to get traffic and weather updates? thanks.

    oliver - August 19th, 2008
  26. Garmin has announced a traffic receiver for the 2×5 series devices, but it is not yet available. Supposedly it should be available in the next couple of weeks.

    Tim - August 19th, 2008
  27. My new 205 pops up a small speed limit sign if I’m exceeding the posted speed limit on Interstates..pretty handy reminder. Not quite a radar detector, but maybe can avoid a surprise!

    Elmer Dahl - August 27th, 2008
  28. Hi, I have a garmin 205 and I want to add the maps of israel, but there are non by garmin, so my question is can I convert the maps of a mio gps on sd card to the garmin 205?

    Fadi - August 29th, 2008
  29. Fred, you can’t.

    Tim - August 29th, 2008
  30. Hi, I am trying to decide between the Garmin nuvi 205 and the Garmin nuvi 250. Which is the newer model and the better buy?

    Stephanie - September 1st, 2008
  31. The 205 is newer, can be connected to optional traffic services, and has a few other small new features. The 250 is slightly older, but includes maps of Canada in addition to the USA and has a slightly longer battery life.

    Tim - September 1st, 2008
  32. Just purchased, but found roads and freeways missing in the Phoneix,Maricopa area. How do you get updates? Can you send e-mail messages when updates are ready to buy?

    Derricl - September 5th, 2008
  33. Nuvi 200-205 skimpiest instructions ever, limited to a quick start “manual” which doesn’t cover half the details, even what the SD card can and can’t handle. Also, looking for work-arounds to allow deleting single entries, as in favorites.

    jack - September 5th, 2008
  34. Derricl – You can register your device at my.garmin.com and they will tell you if there are updates available.

    jack – The vast majority of people will never need to use a SD card. You can delete a favorite by selecting it and instead of hitting ‘Go’ you can edit/delete it.

    Tim - September 6th, 2008
  35. The nĂ¼vi 205 is definitely an improvement over the older 200 and has loads of extras. I switched from the 200 to the 205 simply because of it’s newer interface(turn arrows, speed display, etc), faster processor(333mhz), hotfix(faster satellite acquisition), where am i function, and lastly much brighter and crsiper display screen. I must say I’m really impressed with the 205 and would highly recommend it to any new GPS user.

    Ramanesh - September 10th, 2008
  36. I have bought the 255W but the “speed limit” sign does not come up. I have 2009 maps. Do I need to update something else, or is this not available in Canada?

    Mitch - September 16th, 2008
  37. I have the Garmin nuvi 205 & I keep reading about it having a text to speech feature but I can’t seem to find it on my device. Does it even exist on it?

    Jennifer - September 30th, 2008
    • my unit has the option showing text to speech on it

      david - February 17th, 2009
  38. The Nuvi 205 does not have text to speech.

    Tim - September 30th, 2008
  39. I would like to know if there is or someone have the maps of israel for the nuvi 205.

    Fadi - September 30th, 2008
  40. Garmin 205 vs Garmin 205W?

    Which one would do you recommend?

    205w (widescreen) is wider.
    205 is cheaper by $50 or so.
    Which is more ideal for a bmw 3 series car?

    Rick - October 8th, 2008
  41. You can read about Widescreen models and what changes.

    Tim - October 8th, 2008
  42. Nuvi 205 has new updates, version 4.40.
    “Added bluetooth support.”

    Is the 205 integrated with a bluetooth? I doubt that..

    Futra - October 10th, 2008
  43. Hi I am currently debating b/w the Garmin 350 and the Garmin 205. (Currently about the same price). The 205 is a newer model with the HotFx (How helpful do you think that is?) If it came down to it, which GPS do you think is better overall. Thanks!

    Kevin - October 13th, 2008
  44. I’d go with the 205 over the 350 unless you need maps of Canada.

    Tim - October 13th, 2008
  45. Hi Tim, thanks for the quick response. I had one more quick thing I wanted to run by you. As far as the Garmin 205, 250, and 255 is concern, what are some of the main differences? I know the 250/255 has North America maps and the 255 has Text-to-Speech. Other then that, is there anything else different that you make you choose and buy one preferably over the other? Thanks a lot for you help.

    Kevin - October 13th, 2008
  46. The 255 and 205 are a newer generation (2×5) than the 250. They have a few small subtle improvements such as a next turn arrow that I really enjoy. They also have the ability to connect to optional traffic service should you decide you want that down the road. The 250 is a fine device, just a few months older than the other models.

    Tim - October 13th, 2008
  47. Hi I was wondering if you can help me. I am currently debating between two models, the 205 and the 260. I saw that the 205 has the hotfix and the next turn arrow while the 260 has the North America map and text to speech. If both were equally priced, which unit you think is a better deal?

    Son - October 13th, 2008

    RON - November 7th, 2008
  49. Ron, see comments #12 and 13 for the primary differences.

    Tim - November 7th, 2008
  50. What is the best Garmin unit for the price and ease of use. Not sure what I need, will not be traveling to Canada, but want one with good directions

    Carolyn - November 10th, 2008
  51. Carolyn, this 205 might be a good pick for you.

    Tim - November 10th, 2008
  52. I have the oppurtunity to get the 205 but will be travelling to Canada. What is the cost to upgrade the unit to include Canada?

    Jaron - November 14th, 2008
  53. Jaron, Garmin part number 010-10966-00 is an SD card for Canada, $60.

    Tim - November 15th, 2008
  54. Does the sd card load to the unit or do you constatly have to have the sd card in the unit to have the Canada maps? I noticed there is a dvd as well. Will that load to unit?

    jaron - November 15th, 2008
  55. You can just leave the SD card in the device. You can purchase the DVD as well, but there isn’t likely enough room in the internal memory for both map sets at one time.

    Tim - November 15th, 2008
  56. hi, i’m looking for a gps so i dont get lost in the forest again!!! really dont need it for on highways, so which product would you recommend

    colleen - November 17th, 2008
  57. I’m looking at getting either the Garmin 260 (3.5LCD) or Garmin 205W (4.3LCD) I can’t decide which would be better for my husband… 260 has text to speech and the 205 has a wider easier to read screen. Which do you think is better? I really want both fixtures but that cost way more.

    Missy - November 24th, 2008
  58. Missy, I’d take Text To Speech before a Widescreen— so I’d go with the 260.

    Tim - November 24th, 2008
  59. I have a Nuvi 205. Why do searches take a long time?

    James - November 24th, 2008
  60. Sorry if this was alreay asked. I read the nuvi 200 GPS feature can’t be turned off, so you can’t calculate directions from a point other than where you’re at. Does the 205 have this ability (example: while at airport calculate from hotel to a meeting)?

    Faith - November 26th, 2008
  61. I know you can do that on the 200, and I believe the 205 as well using this tip: Offset Starting Locations.

    Tim - November 26th, 2008
  62. I was wondering if you could tell me the main differences between the Nuvi series 200 and 205W besides the widescreen difference?

    Lianne - November 27th, 2008
  63. The 2×5 series devices can be connected to traffic receivers for live traffic reporting, have an updated user interface, and a nice next turn arrow that is handy to have.

    Tim - November 29th, 2008
  64. I am trying to decide between the Garmin 200 & Garmin 205 for my daughter’s birthday. The 200 was about $20 less (both great prices on black friday), but I am wondering if the 205 is worth the extra $20. I saw a review where they did not like the 205 text header showing next road (rather than current road). I don’t want to confuse my 18 year old and get her lost, so wondering which you would recommend? Thanks!

    Laurie - December 1st, 2008
  65. Laurie, for $20 more I would go with the 205. There are some nice subtle changes in the newer model.

    Tim - December 1st, 2008
  66. Your info indicates that 205 does *not* have text-to-speech, but Garmin’s site says the 205 *has* AND turn-by-turn VOICE directions.What am *I* missing here?

    Bob - December 2nd, 2008
    • my new garmin has no voice

      david - February 17th, 2009
      • Is a voice selected? Are you driving an active route where it would be speaking? Is the volume up?

        Tim - February 18th, 2009
  67. Bob, see our article on Text To Speech for a detailed explanation. The 205 has voice prompts, but no text-to-speech.

    Tim - December 2nd, 2008
  68. Tim, I ditto James’s question (#59) re: why it takes my nuvi 205 (serial # 1C0174514) so long to acquire satellites (~10-15 min). I live in downtown Norfolk, VA and the buildings around are just 2-3 stories high with clear, unobstructed view of the clear sky. Another question, through MapQuest, we are able to send the waypoints (addresses) to the 205 as well as the routes via their “send to GPS” feature, but I don’t see anywhere in the menu where I can pull up the route I sent to the 205. The waypoints are their in “Favorites” as expected. Any idea where I find the route? Thanks!

    Sir - December 2nd, 2008
  69. Sir, see Acquiring Satellites. The 205 doesn’t accept routes, you can only send waypoints/addresses.

    Tim - December 2nd, 2008
  70. Thanks, Tim, but I have another question re: satellites. Since I didn’t do this extra 30-minute “almana-ing” when I first turned it on, could I/should I still do that now? I’ve tried resetting the unit, but it doesn’t have the same satellite acquisition screen as when brand new and turned on for the first time. Thanks again.

    Sir - December 2nd, 2008
  71. You can still do that now… anytime the GPS doesn’t appear to get a signal as fast as it should just leave it with a clear sky view for 30 minutes or so.

    Tim - December 2nd, 2008
  72. Garmin nuvi 205 or the tomtom 125 which would you buy for first time user..

    Charles Carden - December 3rd, 2008
  73. I’m looking at the Garmin 205. In an earlier post(aug.’08) you mentioned that Garmin would be making trffic updates for the model. Has this happened yet? Is there extra software that need to be purchased?

    Brian - December 6th, 2008
  74. The traffic receiver has been available for a couple of months now. It is an optional accessory.

    Tim - December 6th, 2008
  75. Does this GPS device display your speed (mph) at all times, even while on a navigation route or just driving?

    Erik - December 6th, 2008
  76. I just bought a garmin nuvi 205, it is excellent for my needs, but I have one problem, the power cord does not fit my car’s lighter. It is too long I have seen other people talking about this issue, but have yet to find a solution. Does anyone have any ideas?

    Doug - December 6th, 2008
  77. Geoff, the advantage of displaying your speed is to any backseat drivers in your car. I know my wife loves to use it as grounds to nag at me whenever I’m more than 2 mph over the legal limit.

    Otherwise, I own the 205 and I absolutely love it. It’s the perfect blend of simplicity and functionality. It’s extremely easy to use but also very handy and well thought out.

    Merv - December 8th, 2008
  78. how many language have garmin nuvi 205?

    angel - December 9th, 2008
  79. I just bought nuvi 205 at a good price, but am now considering the Nextar Q4 with text to speech and bigger screen for the same price. I can’t find much about Nextar, any comments between the two brands/models?

    Faith - December 10th, 2008
  80. Faith, keep the Nuvi.

    Tim - December 10th, 2008
  81. I bought my Nuvi 205 in July ’08, and many streets/restaurants/etc… aren’t found on it. I can’t seem to get these updated (no updates at the website). Help please.

    rob - December 12th, 2008
  82. Rob, mapping unfortunately takes much longer than most people imagine– sometimes a couple of years or more before new roads appear. Also, not all known POIs get included on GPS devices. Typically only 5-25% of all known POIs get included.

    Tim - December 14th, 2008
  83. What is the cost of adding a traffic receiver to the nuvi 205? As opposed to acquiring traffic information with the 350? I’m trying to decide if the 350’s text-to-speech is worth trading for thee 205’s enhanced access to traffic information.

    john - December 15th, 2008
  84. Hi, I was wondering if anyone else had this small problem. When putting in addresses or my home address, the house/checkered flag icons are never in the right spot- they’re always about half a block away from where it really is.

    Also I had my first problem acquiring satellite the other day. Took about 5 minutes for the map to work. Is this going to be a common occurrence?

    Valeri - December 29th, 2008
    • For street numbering to be off by about a block isn’t uncommon, and is actually “pretty close” as far as the mapping data goes. Sometimes street numbers can be a thousand or so feet from where they “should” be.

      Satellite signal speed should typically be faster than that– if conditions warrant. Things like nearby buildings, the number of satellites currently visible, and the length of time your device has been turned on can all impact acquisition speed.

      Tim - December 29th, 2008
  85. The Garmin 205 mentions in its very skimpy instructions that there is a “voice prompt”. How do I get it to work? I don’t seem to have any audio. Am I missing a needed part to get audio?

    Geri - December 30th, 2008
    • Do you have the volume turned up? Do you have a voice selected? I assume that you actually set a destination to create a route and were following along driving in the car? (Otherwise there wouldn’t be any voice prompt.)

      Tim - December 30th, 2008
  86. Hi all.

    I’m interested in purchasing a bare bones GPS system that will allow me to input about 10 stops via a Mac (with software like Garmin’s Road Trip), have the software suggest the best route and upload it into a GPS system. Will I be able to this with the Garmin 205? If not does anyone have any suggestions?

    I’m new to GPS systems and seem to be confused between waypoints, POI and routes so I’m not quite sure what I should be looking for when I look through features.

    Marlon - December 31st, 2008
  87. I have a Magellan 4250, but recently, I worked with a co-worker who had a Garmin 205. I liked the fact that his GPS showed what street we were currently traveling on and it also displayed the posted speed limit. Are there any widescreen Garmin models that also have this feature?

    joe - January 8th, 2009
    • All of the 2x5w models should have that.

      Tim - January 8th, 2009
  88. My friend has a garmin 200 and gets hotels and resturants, my garmin 205 dosen’t. It gets hospitals and gas stations and police.

    Steve - January 8th, 2009
    • Your 205 will have that as well, in the Points of Interest section.

      Tim - January 9th, 2009
  89. Hello!
    I am looking at purchasing a GPS. I am thinking that the 205 will be best, but trying to decide between it and 250.
    Only problem is, we are in military and just got orders for Okinawa Japan and want to make sure it will work over there.
    Any suggestions?
    Thank you!

    Mary - January 30th, 2009
    • If you don’t need maps of Canada, then the 205 might be a better buy than the 250 as the 205 contains only maps of the USA. Either GPS will “work” in Japan, however it does not have maps of Japan. I haven’t seen any available.

      Tim - January 30th, 2009
  90. Does the Garmin 205 have batteries and can it work right out of the box without being plugged into the car. I was going to try to experiment with it before putting it in the car. My daughter has one and says hers came on right out of the box. Maybe something is wrong with mine or I am not tuning it on right.

    janice - February 15th, 2009
    • Janice, it does have batteries but sometimes when shipped they have a charge, sometimes they don’t.

      Tim - February 17th, 2009
      • Thank you, I plugged it into the car and it worked great. I haven’t tried it since I took it out of the car yet, but I am sure that you are right. It probably just needed a charge.


        Janice - February 18th, 2009
  91. Hi, I have a Garmin 250 and I was wondering if the speed limit sign will show on the unit so you can see how fast you are going and if you are going faster than the speed limit. I know this is something that the Tom Tom has but I do not see it on my unit. However, I have only the EU maps currently and have it set up to run on KMH. When I am back in the states I will put the US Maps SD card in and run on MPH. Any info you can provide will be helpful!


    Scott - March 2nd, 2009
  92. Nuvi 205 newbie here… can additional voices be installed/downloaded? I’ve checked the Garmin website and could only find 2 in the \Garmin Garage\ section – \Elfred\ and \Dr. Nightmare\. Are there alternatives sources for voices?

    Conrad - March 6th, 2009
  93. Hi! I’m trying to buy a new GPS, but I really cant decide on the models. Right now I’m looking at either the Nuvi 205, or the TomTom one 103s. Please help! Thanks!

    Ford - April 19th, 2009
  94. Wanted to know how do I go about getting or seeing the coordinates one of my FAVOURITES?

    Kobus Botha - May 5th, 2009
  95. I am looking at buying a GPS. Considering the Nuvi 200 at [deleted, see comment policy], the Nuvi 205 at [snip], & the Nuvi 255 at [snip] (on sale). Which one gives the best bang for the buck?

    Jeff - May 19th, 2009
  96. Which has better features, the Nextar Q4 or the Garmin 205

    Claudio - May 28th, 2009
    • Claudio, I’d go with the Garmin 205.

      Tim - June 1st, 2009
  97. On the advertisements for the 205, they claim that you can set the POI setting for schools & the new traffic monitors… Is this an optional feature that has to be purchased or can it be programmed into the GPS ?? In Sept, of 2008 I left a comment on a 205w. This is the 2nd 205 that I am buying this is a good unit…

    Bob - June 2nd, 2009
  98. hi,
    has anyone thought of using this type of gps device on a motorcycle?
    i really don’t want to spend the EXTRA money for the zumo model made for motorcycles.
    i don’t need a lot of bells and whistles on the device, just the basics like POIs which will guide me to nearby gas stations and places to eat.the ability to save street/roads i want to revisit is also a feature i’m interested in having.
    i see that there is a bicycle holder available for the 205 and i curious to know if it will keep the device in place while on th road.
    any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    jose - July 24th, 2009
    • Was wondering the same thing. I had attached the suction cup device to the plexiglass windshield of my bike….and was unable to pull it away without releasing the suction, so I believe that it’ll hold ok. The clamp the device snaps into is another concern, though. Dunno how readable the screen is in direct sunlight, either.
      For the difference in price between the nuvi and the zumo, I’m gonna probably give it a go. As long as it doesn’t get wet (rain), I think it may be ok.

      howlinowl - September 5th, 2009
  99. My daughter received a Garmin 205 for her b’day and needs to be able to switch to a view of the entire route as she travels for her job because she sometimes needs to change destination – is there a way to see the whole route if needed and be able to return to the section you are traveling?

    Lois - August 2nd, 2009
  100. Recently I was using my Garmin Nuvi 205W for geocaching. Apparently I hit some buttons/screen taps because when I removed it from my pocket, displayed was a graph of number of satellites acquired and respective signal strengths. How can I get back to this screen?

    Bill - August 13th, 2009
    • tap (and hold for a few seconds) on the little satellite icon near the top left corner of the main menu.

      Tim - August 13th, 2009

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