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Lowrance iWay 250c

Jul
18
2006

The Lowrance iWay 250c is in a highly competitive segment of the auto GPS market… the entry level, pocketable devices. Every major GPS manufacturer has a model in this category, making price competition and feature comparisons fierce. So how does the iWay 250c stand up?

Features

Like most other devices at a similar price-point, the 250c doesn’t have a lot of the “bonus” features found in more expensive devices. Often this is just fine, as these are often features that don’t impact the navigational qualities of the device.

For example on the iWay 250c you won’t find Bluetooth hands free calling, you won’t find any traffic services included (nor optional), you won’t find an FM transmitter, nor text-to-speech. Aside from text-to-speech, none of those will make any difference in navigation.

So what do you get? The Lowrance 250c comes with a 3.5 inch touch screen display, pre-installed maps of the USA and Canada from NAVTEQ. The maps come on a 2 GB SD card. It technically meets my requirements for a slim and pocketable GPS device, but just barely and it is larger than other GPS devices in this class

There is a tiny bit of room (40 Mb) to store about one CD worth of MP3 music. The device can connect to your computer via USB, even to Macs. But since the update process for Mac users can require a trip to the terminal it is hardly worth calling it mac compatible. The MP3 player does a respectable job of playing music, but the speaker quality isn’t going to win any awards, especially at highway speeds.

GPS Signal Performance

So how well does the Lowrance iWay 250c perform? Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly from our 500 mile road test.

After leaving my house I needed to fill up the tank for the rest of the trip. When I got back in the car the GPS had lost satellite reception. I guess the 12 channel receiver just couldn’t hear any satellites from under the gas station canopy. I hoped this was an anomaly, and started along my route again. Luckily I was still close to home and knew where I was going because the GPS didn’t pickup a lock again for about three minutes. I was moving, which makes it more difficult to reacquire a signal, but I hoped for better performance.

Voice Prompts

The 250c did do a great job of alerting me to upcoming turns. In fact it would alert me at 3 miles out, again at 2 miles out, again at one mile out, again at 1/2 mile out, again at .2 miles out. While chatty GPS devices are helpful when you don’t know where you are going, that might have been a little too much, but we give it props for trying. On long legs it would even warn us sometimes as much as 50 miles in advance of a turn.

The quality of the voice prompts was acceptable, however it did say some odd things from time to time. For example it would say “RT 100″ by spelling out “R” and “T” rather than saying the word “route”. I knew what it was trying to say, but it still sounded funny.

The voice prompts were not always as smart as other devices in this class. For example other devices might hint at a “T” intersection by saying “at the end of the road turn left” or tell you the intersection is a rotary by saying “enter the rotary and take the second exit”. This device didn’t verbally tell me either of those things.

The voice prompts also sometimes conflicted with the turn indicator. Once while approaching an intersection the voice said “continue straight” while the turn indicator pointed to the right. (And I did need to turn to the right.)

A volume slider automatically appears whenever the device is speaking to you. This is a really nice feature as the most often time you might want to change the volume is just after it has spoken to you.

Mount

The suction mount worked okay, but it wasn’t fantastic. The “rubber neck” type arm wasn’t stiff enough to keep the unit from occasionally vibrating and the ball and socket connection at the end was too stiff to tilt or angle the device without needing two hands.

A big thumps up though for locating the power cord on the right side of the device rather than the bottom. This allows you to mount the 250c lower to the dash and makes it easier to disconnect.

Screen

The map display on the screen was quite blurry and the roads and other features all had jagged edges on them as if you took a low resolution photo and enlarged it too much. The resolution of the screen for horizontal text was fine, but the roads were all drawn with blurry jagged edges.

There are a ton of other geographic features such as trails, rivers, hills, etc drawn on the screen. In some cases it was difficult to tell what was a river and what was a road. But don’t worry, if you drive off the road and into a tidal river, bay, or the ocean, buoy markers are provided so you can stay in (or out) of the deeper channels.

I’m making fun of it a little there, but for some people this might be the perfect device. If you spend a good deal of time out in the water, and need a basic auto GPS along with basic marine capabilities, this might be a good choice due to the price and fact that much of both types of data are included.

The screen wasn’t the brightest in the class and you will need to make sure to turn the brightness all the way up during daylight hours. There isn’t any night mode other than to turn down the brightness of the display. However one nice feature is that you can just quickly tap the power button to dim the display.

Navigation

I went to enter my destination address in a rural town. After entering the state, it could not find the name of the town within that sate. It was as if the town didn’t exist. The town was a town I used to live in, so it wasn’t as though I misspelled it, that town just didn’t exist in the iWay 250c’s database.

Some might call it a “trick question”, but the GPS should have been able to find the town. In rural areas like those where I come from it is not uncommon for multiple towns to share one post office and thus one zip code. It looks like the database was loaded with one town name per zip-code. I was, however, able to find the street I was looking for by telling it to route to a nearby town. Still, no other GPS devices in this class from other manufacturers have the same problem finding addresses within that town.

Something else strange was that it rarely showed all of the roads on the map. It would display the road you were on, and other major roads, but wouldn’t show other roads as you passed them. This isn’t a big deal, but it can help instill confidence that the GPS really does know where you are going. However there are often times when you come to an intersection and while you are staying on the same named road, you need to make a turn. In many cases the intersection wasn’t drawn with enough details to make you turn to the correct road.

The standard navigation display has several fields such as distance to turn, time to turn, and a graphic turn indicator. These fields are highly customizable if you want to display something else there such as ‘time to destination’. I wish more GPS devices offered this level of customization.

There was also a great amount of detail displayed on the screen for surrounding features such as named corners, harbors, towns, etc). However sometimes there was a little too much labeled and it would cause the screen to get cluttered.

Most GPS devices will automatically zoom in on intersections as you get closer to them. The default Lowrance 250c setting is a little different. Instead it will switch to a fixed angle view of the intersection. It also doesn’t move the map with you through the intersection, rather it remains in a fixed view and your cursor moves up and down the screen showing your progress through the intersection. I like the unique approach, however in some cases it just made things more confusing, especially when the turn was 90° or more causing the map to no longer be “track up”.

Automatic recalculations worked fine, although the routing engine was a little bit slower than other devices.

Purchasing Advice

As mentioned at the top, this is a highly competitive segment of the auto GPS market targeted with the Lowrance iWay 250c. Unfortunately it falls short in many areas. It is larger than competitive devices, and the drawings on the screen are not nearly as clear as they should be. If you need a GPS device that has a little detail in marine maps plus use it for some auto navigation at a really attractive price… this might be a good match. Otherwise consider some of the other GPS devices in this class such as the Nuvi 350 or the TomTom ONE.

75 Responses


  1. I recently purchased a Lowrance 250C gps system and love it. I should have had this device a long time ago. I work as a State Constable and have been finding people wanted on arrest warrants, that I would not have found otherwise. Good for me / bad for them.

    Paul Smith - December 7th, 2006
  2. I just purchased the i250 it is perfoming admirably. this is my 3rd GPS unit I have had in a short period of time the over priced Garmin 350 failed to speak speech after the first couple of days, the next one I tried was the Nortech Navigator. This model was so much time consuming to get destination addresses plugged in and most improtantly it seems to have its own ways of getting you places that are neither faster nor shorter. If you map out a 1000 mile trip you can only preview the route for the first 300 miles then it says arriving at destination without listing any more routes; it gets lost often and if you take a detour it starts to “panic” by repeatadly telling to turn around …and UTurn even in middle of 3 lane Highways. Very nausiating model. The Iway250 has everything a person would ask for. but i beg to differ with GPS review it does have text and speech but it only speaks the name of Major and state Highways. For example it would say “in 0.5 miles take right on US Highway 18 East” it loads turns as fast as Garmin 350 did and I like the fact that you can select to diplay on the screen any information you wish such, odometer, time, distance of travel arrival time time of day. POI is huge …local schools, even soccer parks are listed ( great for a coach like me).
    mount is too stiff and clubersome but get a different mount for it is easy to overcome

    James T - May 9th, 2007
  3. I’m a noob but I love this thing. Since being a gadget junkie this works fine for me, and the ability to change the skins is great. Your are right about the missing streets and roads. It should have a night mode, but if the skin is rewriten that may fix the problem.

    OOTSAE - May 14th, 2007
  4. Well, I been using it for 2 weeks, it still amazes me! I found another feature that answers one of the questions someone had about unit not having a night mode!
    The unit actually does have a night mode here is how you get to it:
    While the unit is on, lightly tap the power button it dims one notch tap again and you get another reduction in brightness ( almost dark in daylight but very good at nite). When the unit is turned off and back on again, it will default back to original brightness. Try it you will love it.
    Keep throwing requests and I might just find a solutions!

    James T - May 16th, 2007
  5. James, the 250c doesn’t synthesize the speech commands it gives. All of the speech commands come from recordings rather than speech synthesis. Therefore for any road which does not have a number it will not announce the street name. I’m not suggesting this is a huge flaw, however it does not have text-to-speech.

    I also don’t consider dimming the display a “night mode”. Virtually every GPS device on the market has the ability to adjust the brightness of the display, however this isn’t really a night mode. Night modes use specific color patterns on the display which are colors known to interfere less with night vision than other colors.

    Tim - May 17th, 2007
  6. I find that the IWay 250C will mistakenly track to a frontage or side road which is at least 900ft from the main road. It will correct itself when the frontage road ceases to exist. This seems like a huge error considering 10 satelites were tracking at the time. I do not think this is a reception issue. I did not see this on a prior unit I had of the same model (250C). Also, it tracks about 100ft behind me, showing me in an intersection I have clearly passed.

    Myron - June 22nd, 2007
  7. I enjoy my iWay 250C for all the reasons described above. GPS devices are remarkable technology.

    I only wish iWay 250C was a little more accurate; mine seems to be “off” by 75 to 100 metres. This becomes a problem when highway ramps, leading in different directions, are on the same side of the highway but within 100 meters of one another. My device picks the first ramp and woe to me if the ramp is heading in the wrong direction.

    As noted above, sometimes, it will say one thing but in text, command a different action.

    The iWay 250C differs in the amount of time to capture my position. When parked in open space, it locates me within 30 seconds; when I’m parked beside a building, it captures me within 2-3 minutes; if I decide to let it find me while I drive, 8-10 minutes.

    Still, I enjoy using my iWay 250C and recommend it.

    Marc - July 1st, 2007
  8. Well I find the Iway 250c excels in several key areas (good GUI’S, easy to set up etc…) however it certainly not the case for POI’s. I live in Canada and when I ask it to search for an airport using the quick search tab “Airport” it directs me to airports in the US about 90km+ away no mention of the two airports (one international)here within 16Km. I ask for attractions like a Casino and again it direct me to the US. If attempt to search for the airport by name it still send me to an airport with the same name in the US 1500Km! I have checked its mapping and it is accurate as others have mentioned and current (2years old). I have notified Lowrance in Canada but it seems that I am the only person who has noticed this? I have given them a few days to see what they can come up with, however if I do not hear anything from them I will return the unit and get a Garmin 330c or Tom Tom one.

    JP - August 30th, 2007
  9. I just ordered the iWay 250C. I have never owned a GPS before. There weren’t too many choices in this price range. Does anyone have any words of wisdom before I start using it? Thanks.

    Mike - September 13th, 2007
  10. Purchased one last week and I love it, most streets are in the map database, although finding n address can be clumsy at times.

    Jason - November 1st, 2007
  11. I have had this unit for about a year now. It does a fairly good job. I agree that it lags in location at times but all in all for the price it does a good job. I did find the upgrade process a little difficult but I eventually got through it. Like I said not a bad unit for the price.

    Stan E - December 2nd, 2007
  12. You can set the level of chattiness in the Sounds menu. I have had my 250c almost a year and still find it to be a great unit. I bought the Navionics Marine card and use it sailing in the San Francisco Area. The ease of use of the touch screen is much easier that the buttons on other GPSs. I also have a card for inland lakes that works well. The ability to zoom in for locating markers and depth areas impress some long time sailors on one of my voyages. It was so easy and accurate that I became the Navigator for a trip in a complex river race. The down sides of using it on the water are 1. it is not splash proof. 2. Speed and distance are not in nautical units. 3. The screen must be shaded in direct sunlight. Otherwise in nautical mode it does as much as most others with a clearer easier to read display especially for the price range..I got mine for [snip, see comment policy].

    Jack - December 27th, 2007
  13. This product was terrible and so was their tech support. Mine NEVER WORKED! Waste of money.

    bowdesnki - January 4th, 2008
  14. I love my iWay 250c EXCEPT for the fact that the maps are getting outdated, and there are no updates available from Lowrance. When I bought my iWay 250c (summer of 2007) the maps were already 1.25 years old . . . dated 1Q06. Now it is 1Q08 and there are still NO map updates!! Many new roads have gone-in around here, and some others were modified (traffic circles instead of intersections). I would really like a current set of maps . . . even if I have to pay some token amount (like $20).

    Jim B - February 18th, 2008
  15. Jim, just saw your comment on Map updates an concur. I have submitted no less then 75 “discrepancy reports” directly to Navteq since I bought it a year ago and not one has been resolved. The unit is great, but the Navteq maps are the weak point

    Larry - February 20th, 2008
  16. I’ve been using my iWay 250 for 5 months. When I turn it on it takes around 10 minutes to work. It will say searching for position. Initially I thought this problem was related to the tree cover near my house, but it happens everywhere. Is this unusual? What can be done?

    Mike - February 20th, 2008
  17. Mike, the 250c has a fairly week chipset. You might try these tips and see if they help.

    Tim - February 20th, 2008
  18. Larry:
    I agree . . . I’ve submitted several map errors to MapReporter.NavTeq.com . . . and, even now, as I type, I don’t see that ANY of them have been updated. You’d think that at locations near a major city (like Indianapolis) they could have someone go-out and re-map the sections I’ve reported. But, they probably just wait for Google Earth to provide a picture they can download . . . and I see Google Earth still doesn’t have fresh images of some of my reported areas (but some are!).

    Mike:
    The only time I’ve seen my 250c take a long time to “lock on” is in the house/garage, in a parking structure, or some other situation where there’s some sort of dense obstruction overhead. It does help to flip-up the antenna.

    Tim:
    You are correct . . . most of the other GPS units have a stronger (newer) receiver chip, and that was one of the things I wrestled-with when making my buying decision. But, I borrowed my boss’ 250c and it seemed to work OK-enough for me to justify the many-$$ savings over the other units. The thing that threw me over-the-top (i.e. going-with the 250c) was the user-programmability of the map overlay data AND that I could play MP3s while the unit navigated.

    Jim B - February 21st, 2008
  19. I have noticed that the elevation on my Iway 250C reads about 60 feet high. Is there a way that I can calibrate this unit in order for it to read the correct elevation? td

    Tom Duncan - March 1st, 2008
  20. The elevation cannot be calibrated, no. However the accuracy of elevation from GPS isn’t as accurate as horizontal accuracy and 60 feet is fairly close (for GPS).

    Tim - March 1st, 2008
  21. Are there any data updates for the Iway 250c?

    Tom Duncan - March 1st, 2008
  22. Just this last week I’d received an e-mail from Lowrance indicating that they would soon have a NavTeq update for the iWays . . . no details on whether they were going to charge $$ for this, or if it would be free. No details on how current the NavTeq info would be. I’d asked if there would be a way to preview the map info (i.e. see if some of our new local roads are actually IN the new map data) BEFORE I would need to spend any $ . . . still waiting for an answer.

    Jim B - March 3rd, 2008
  23. The map updates for the 250c are available from Lowrance. To get an update you need to call the Lowrance customer service # listed on their website. I have had my map updtate since Feb 29, 2008. Cost – $79.00

    Greg D - March 5th, 2008
  24. one way to help it (250c) find your position if you are in a hurry is to ask it to route where you are going, if it has not found you yet it will ask if you want it to simulate your route say yes then pause the sim. When you pass the position it is paused at it often finds you right away and turns off sim mode.
    Does anyone know if it will play movies in any format??

    Jerryd - March 7th, 2008
  25. I’m going to purchase an iway 250c, as I have borowed one to try out and like it.Question is how do I know if the unit in the store has the latest update map. I really dout that the clerk is going to know this. I don’t want an outdated card right from the start, that’s been sitting on the shelf.

    Jerry - March 9th, 2008
  26. Lowrance just sent me an e-mail indicating that they have just come-out with new (3Q07, so, already 3 to 6 months old) maps, and will sell them to current users for $55 (you send-back your memory card and they update it) or $75 (they send you a new memory card).

    If you want to make sure the unit you are buying in the store has the current maps, have the salesman fire-up a 250c and then:

    Options –> Page 3 –> Device Information

    At the bottom of the screen it tells you the vintage of the device’s map . . . mine tells me Q1-06 v1.1 . . . WAY old now . . .

    Jim B - March 9th, 2008
  27. Has anybody tried the marine map card on the 250c
    I see the 600c is auto and marine, but was told the 250c will also work for Lakes that I can take this out in the boat with me? I see the XOG also supports the navionics card, but can’t find out about the 250c. Now I’m seeing that the XOG and the 250c are the same price, so I guess I have an option…….

    Jerry - March 14th, 2008
  28. Works fine until you need a MAP UPDATE! From the moment you purchase this unit you will need to update the map to find newer streets in your area. This is where the lowrance product turns to GARBAGE! Tech support/customer support is terrible, I was on hold over 4 calls an average of 22 minutes per call before speaking with a person. If you want to update the map, it will cost you 75.00 plus shipping. You have to buy a new SD card from lowrance, and theres no guarantee that it wont have the exact same information as the one you have. The other option is 20.00 cheaper and it involvs sending the SD card in the unit to lowrance, waiting for them to reformat it and then wait to have it sent back to you. After almost a year of ownership the unit works fine, but service is terrible and the cost of paying for maps is too high, and you cant download updated maps. Their website is terrible and uninformative, you are never alerted as to when new map updates are available. You can update the operating system via the usb cable that comes with it, but not the maps. Stick with the garmin unit, or tom tom.

    Shawn - March 22nd, 2008
  29. $75-$100 is what most GPS companies charge for map updates.

    Tim - March 22nd, 2008
  30. I probably wouldn’t mind spending $55 (send-back original SD card, get reprogrammed, get it returned) to get the map updates IF I had some way to pre-check some of the mapping information to make sure the newly-added roads around here were actually IN this release. But, considering that even GoogleMaps and GoogleEarch (which uses the same NavTeq database as the iWays) still don’t show some of the new roads I’m interested in, I certainly doubt that the new iWay maps will either. IF Lowrance had some sort of map preview page, where you could type-in intersections and see the area (to confirm that your desired changes are IN the new maps), then I would take the plunge and upgrade. Right now it’s a pig-in-a-poke, and I’m not paying for probably non-improvements.

    I don’t know why there isn’t a $25 option wherein you can download the map from a secure server, and dump the map into the SD card yourself!?!? They’d have no material cost, nor special handling/shipping fees to pay for . . . just pure profit. For $25 I’d probably take-the-risk of getting a useless update . . but not $55 or $75!

    What some motivated code developer out there needs to do is come-out with an app that would let you edit the NavTeq map data yourself . . . delete and add roads by mouse-clicking the path on a map displayed on your screen . . or even better yet, by pulling-down GPS coords from GoogleMaps or GoogleEarth :-)

    If someone out there wanted to really WOW me, they’d hack the iWay code to add a “Learn new route” feature . . . so all you’d have to do is DRIVE the new road and have it entered into the database automatically. THAT I’d pay $55 for :-)

    Jim B - March 23rd, 2008
  31. I just received mine back for what was supposed to be a replacement, but they just updated the old one, it still will not let me set the time, I keep getting an error, “you must first aquire postition”, the manual doesnt tell how, anyone know?

    Robert - March 27th, 2008
  32. Robert, sounds like it doesn’t have a GPS signal yet. You might want to check out these tips.

    Tim - March 28th, 2008
  33. Yes, for whatever reason, you need to get a satellite lock before you can set the clock. But, the iWay 250c satellite receiver chip is a whim and had problems “seeing” satellites when there are overhead obstructions, such as a roof (like that of your house or garage). Sitting in the car in my attached garage (with a 2nd-story living-space above) I can NOT acquire the satellites within fewer than 5 minutes, if at all. Inside the house I can usually get a lock within a few minutes.

    I would suggest . . . GO OUTSIDE . . . stand in the open . . . flip-up the top-mounted antenna so that it is parallel with the ground (i.e. so that the flat surface is pointing directly-upwards). You should get a lock in less than 30 seconds.

    FWIW . . . I’ve found that the 1st-ever lock of the system (i.e. after receiving from the manufacturer or after doing a firmware upgrade) is always MUCH worse than subsequent locks.

    Also, one of the “Options” pages you can configure it to NOT power-down the receiver when you turn-off the iWay . . . it puts the system in “StandBy” mode, which means that the receiver maintains lock with the satellites (so long as you don’t obstruct the antenna, say, but parking in a multi-level concrete-and-steel parking garage ;-) ) so when you power-up again you instantly have position. BUT . . . Warning Will Robinson . . . this will drain-down the internal battery in about 24 to 36 hours!!!

    Jim B - March 28th, 2008
  34. If you send-back original SD card to get it reprogrammed, does this mean you cannot use the GPS system during that time (does it have to have the SD card in it to work)?

    Rhonda - April 11th, 2008
  35. Correct, you can’t use the device without the SD card.

    Tim - April 11th, 2008
  36. This product is garbage. DO NOT BUY. The iway doesn’t always give accurate directions. You take a 50/50 chance of getting correct directions every time you plug it in. I repeat do not buy this piece of crap

    john - April 11th, 2008
  37. Despite the maps now getting a bit “old”, and the map updates being a bit pricey (and still not guaranteed to be “fresh”), and the fact that it takes a while to lock-onto satellites . . . I find it to be quite a nice unit [snip, see comment policy]. You get what you pay for, but, the iWay is still a very nice unit (for the price).

    Jim B - April 12th, 2008
  38. I used my iway250c for a variety of uses in the 2.5 mos. I’ve had it. My opinion is that it is the most underated gps on the market, and here’s why. Size for size, it has the most comprehensive map features available, like detailed roadmaps, limited topographic features, buoys for the boater s. It has basic systems adjustments right on the map screen, so you don’t have to go scrolling back. Features like 2D,3D, volume, cursor identification of roads, trails, lakes, rivers, swamps. It even has a trail marking feature, I have used my gps for auto, snowmobiling, biking, etc.
    I’ve just bought a new Magellan 3100 for a hundred bucks and it doesn’t come close to the iway
    I’ve researched and read the reviews, and tested many in the stores. If you want a pretty and a delicate gps to follow a pretty and delicate road in a pretty and delicate little car, than the Garmins, Magellans, Tom Toms, etc. (all overated for the money with limited features) are for you!

    Jim Bania - April 12th, 2008
  39. It seems the chat-group monitors got a little zealous in snipping my earlier comments . . . OK, I understand deleting the pricing and store info . . . but, you could have left-in the make/model of the unit I was making a comparison to :-)

    So, what I was attempting to say was that I recently bought a much-cheaper (about 1/2 the price of the iWay 250, about the same as Jim Bania’s Magellan 3100) GPS unit . . . a Nextar P3. Nice little unit, for the ultra-cheap price-point it represents. Good enough for my teen daughter to use to go here-and-there when she can’t borrow my iWay :-) BUT, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. The Nextar P3 is NOT as nice/useful/friendly as the iWay 250! The voice is tinny and somewhat hard to understand. The map SD card is 1/2 the GBs, and I see the reason they can do that is because they are missing a LOT of mapping data (lakes, rivers, streams, etc.). They have the usual “inverse video nightmode” (that I hate) that most GPS units have, and there is NO way to change the backlight brightness without totally exiting “Navigation” mode to get to the “Settings” screen.

    Yes, the iWay is a nice unit, especially for the price-point it represents. Yes, there are some quirky idiocyncracies that I wish Lowrance would change (and I’ve e-mailed my comments/suggestions to them, as should you!). Yes, I dislike the maps starting to be “aging” and needing updating (for a more reasonable price than 30-40% of the cost of a new unit). But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything short of a full in-dash large-screen GPS system.

    Jim B - April 13th, 2008
  40. And, yes, if you send-back your SD card to have it reprogrammed (maps updated), then NO, your system will not function. The iWay needs the SD card installed in order to function. But, this is not a concern for me since I replaced their totally-filled-up 2GB card with a 4GB card so that I could dump a bunch of MP3 music files onto it to keep me amused when I’m driving :-)

    For what it’s worth, I can vouch for using a Transcend 150X 4GB SD card in the iWay . . . I’ve heard of some people having problems with other makes of SD cards (especially if they are marked “SCHC”) in GPSs and portable music players . . . but the Transcend 150X SC card works fine.

    Just put the original SD card into an SD slot on your computer, copy-off the entire contents to your hard-drive (make a great back-up of your iWay maps :-) ), and then copy the files onto the new SD card. Store the old (tiny 2GB) SD card in a safe place and use the new (large 4GB) SD card in the iWay.

    BTW . . once you’ve cloned your map card, you can put your own stuff into folders:

    \Pictures Photos for the slide-show viewer
    \My Music MP3 music files

    Jim B - April 13th, 2008
  41. As for as the performance of the 250C, I have found it to be great. If you want a basic GPS with no extra’s, the 250C is the one to have. However, the new map update (QTR 3 ’07) is a real disappoinment.

    I have lived in my present house for three years and it is not listed on the update. There is a subdivision approx 1 mile from my home that was developed about five years ago and it is not on the new map. Also, I noticed that some info on the previous version is not on the update. When crossing the Mississippi River Bridge, the old map gave river buoy information, not included on the new update. When traveling over the Atchafalaya River Basin, there were lake names and other info listed on the old map, they are not on the new.

    Another issue is they condensed the updates on the 2GB card, and the mapping detail seems much smaller than the old. The update cannot be copied to a larger memory card to add photos and music etc. It seems NAVTEQ has installed something on the card to prevent copying. The older map version could be backed up and added to a larger Memory SD card.

    I have logged approx 5,000 miles since getting the update in February, and I have not seen any “update” info that is worth the $75.00 price.
    Heck, for a few dollars more you can get a new unit for a second vehicle. Moreover, the old map has marine/waterway info that the new one does not. The new map has “not so updated” info, and smaller map detail.

    Greg D - April 18th, 2008
  42. I have had my iway 250c for over a year, purchased in March of ’06.
    Overall, it is an ok unit for traveling but it does take you through some undesirable and seemingly ridiculous routes sometimes. We used it to go to the L.A. Zoo last weekend from our home approx 1 1/2 hrs drive. The iway 250c took us off of the 5 frwy about 7 miles before the actual zoo turnoff. We drove through some pretty bad parts of town on an industrial street before turning us into the Griffith Park area. The freeway was right there with a direct exit into the zoo road! Very frustrating! It might have been a shorter route by mileage, but time wise it took much longer by streets.

    I have also noticed that it does not acknowledge many gas stations when searching for the closest ones from the frwy while traveling. Updates should be available for purchase over the internet!

    Cheryl C. - April 20th, 2008
  43. Greg D:
    Thanx for the update on the “update” :-)
    Sounds like a definite “skip it” . . . pay more and get less?? Thanx, but no thanx.

    If they needed to scrunch-down things because they couldn’t fit everything into the already-packed 2GB card (IMHO the iWay should have come with a 4GB card to begin with, so you’d have room for your music and pix), then they should offer yet another option for upgrading . . . you send-in a 4GB card and they put-on the 2+ GB of map stuff and leave you with at least 1GB free for music.

    Guess I’ll stop recommending this unit to my friends now . . .

    Jim B - April 21st, 2008
  44. I have the 250 and was driving down the road the other day when the screen went out. I could still hear the directions but I could not see anything. Now when I turn the unit on the top of the screen tries to work but just flickers and the bottom stays black. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Chris - May 11th, 2008
  45. Chris, I would send it to Lowrance for repair.
    They may repair it under wty.
    Usually a 7 business day turnaround.

    Greg - May 11th, 2008
  46. I have had an Iway 250c for almost 2 years now. I LOVE it! I tried 9 other GPS units and not one of them offered the ability to overlay your data onto the screen. Nor did any of them allow me to conveniently manage my VIA destinations. For the price range, it is a good unit with more features than other Garmin Nuvi’s. The Iway 250C has more of a user friendly layout then do the Garmins.

    I’d recommend the Iway 250c to anyone who wants more convenient features.

    Suzanne - May 21st, 2008
  47. I purchased a Lowrance iWay 250c in April, 2007. I took it on a trip to N.C. last summer, but it has never worked. It will not acquire satellites. Also, it does not offer GPS Status under Options menu, rather it lists Navigation Mode for Auto/Boat/Airplane. Wasted of $150.00. Any ideas on how to get this thing to work???

    Mike - May 26th, 2008
  48. Mike, when the unit is brand new, it sometimes can take up to 30 min to acquire and lock a signal. Lowrance suggest you be motionless during this process.
    There is not an GPS status “option”. However, if you go to the main menu(Map-Music-Find-Options in a 4 square and w/ pictures and gauge page located at the bottom) there are signal bars at the top left of the screen(left of the the battery indicator). If you touch the signal bars, it will open up the GPS status. This operation is not detailed in the user guide.
    Hope this helps

    Greg - May 26th, 2008
  49. Mike & Greg,
    I have had my iWay 250c for about a year. It also takes upwards of 20 minutes to find a signal. I recently started ejecting the memory card and pushing it back in. This speeds things up. I am also not happy w/ the performance. I guess when you buy cheap you get cheap.

    Mike - May 27th, 2008
  50. The iWay has an older (cheaper) receiver chip, and it therefore takes longer than current-vintage (and more expensive) models . . . so, yes, when you buy cheap you get cheap :-O

    Usually my only problem getting a lock is if the car is in my garage or inside a parking structure (or under the canopy at a gas station). When it is out in the open (i.e. there is nothing large/steel overhead) it finds the satellites in under 30 seconds. In my garage (1st floor of a 2-story house) the thing will not find the birds.

    BUT, I have had ONE serious occurance of it not getting a good “lock” when out-in-the-open . . . walking the streets of downtown Nashville (TN) . . . trying to get back to the hotel after dinner at the Hard Rock. It took well over 5 minutes to get a fix . . . this in open-air (not inside a car) with the antenna flipped-up and me holding it so the antenna’s surface was pointing straight-up. Don’t know what was up that night . . . but it got me miffed since I only vaguely knew the way back to the hotel (since I had relied on it to get me to the restaurant, I figured it could find our way back to the hotel).

    Jim B - May 27th, 2008
  51. Jim B!! Did you mean to say that the Transcend 150x 4GB SD card worked, or the Transcend 150x 4GB SDHC card worked? I didn’t know which one to buy today, as I can’t return it once I’ve made the purchase. The ‘HC’ card is A LOT cheaper, for some reason.

    Jon - June 8th, 2008
  52. NOT the “HC” . . . I’ve heard of lots of compatibility problems with “HC”, not just with the iWays, but other gadgets too.

    The one I have is:
    Transcend 4GB Secure Digital (SD) Flash Card Model TS4GSD150

    I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say where I got it (due to censor rules), but, use PriceGrabber with this part#, or just go to:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820163159

    I was going to get another one for my new digital camera, but, I found I could buy 4 2GB cards for the same price. Other than price, this is a nice card.

    Jim B - June 9th, 2008
  53. I have had my 250c for well over a year and have no real complaints. I wish it had truck routes, low overpasses and the such, but that would take a lot of extra programming. I have tried a couple of other low price units and overall, this one is best. It does have trouble finding some addresses, even when the street is in it’s database. One thing that would be nice is a shortest distance vs. quickest time option. I also agree that a $25 map download would be ok. Maybe even a $35 for those with larger SD cards that would like more info such as marine fuel or truckstops.
    For the money, it’s a good buy.

    William - June 22nd, 2008
  54. I loved it for the last year and a half until it started sending me off to side streets then back onto the main road. The other day in an unfamilar area it sent me into a gang area and instead of getting me lost it almost got me killed. In my frustration I destroyed it. I made my next stop at en electronices store to pick up the Tom Tom XL-S. While looking through the options and price I found the Iway had a lot to offer for the money and I wish my I didn’t loose control and break it. I may even consider replacing it since I have now seen the price drop almost a hundred dollars since my purchase.

    RON - June 24th, 2008
  55. Ron, I’ll trade you an iWay 250c for the XL-S. :)

    Tim - June 25th, 2008
  56. Ugh. My Transcend 4GB SD card died in my 250c while I was driving through Michigan. I only had it a week or two; I hope I can exchange it. The unit won’t even turn on when the card is in place, and can’t be recognized on my PC. Anybody else have this (expensive) problem?

    Jon - July 17th, 2008
  57. Bummer . . . my Transcend 4GB SD (not SDHC!) is working fine . . . for over a year now. Must have gotten a “dud” . . . return to wherever you bought it for a new one.

    Jim B - July 19th, 2008
  58. Been using my iWay 250c for about a year now. As I previously posted it takes about 10-20 minutes to get going. Recently the vehicle cord stopped working. Has this happened to anyone else. What should I do? Also if I have the lat/lon for my destination how can I enter them into the iWay? Thanks.

    Mike - July 19th, 2008
  59. I have been trying to get info from Lowrance on mapping SD card updating, but as most of you have said they are not very good a customer support. It does seem that it is not worth the 75 dollars for what they are offering at this time, so thanks for your very useful info. I’ll put the money in my gas tank on my vacation.

    Mike Hoger - August 14th, 2008
  60. I have a Nortech E-GPS010 . . . It stopped giving voice prompts. I have already checked the volume control, mute,etc. Any ideas?

    Ed Lane - August 30th, 2008
  61. >>>I have an Iway 250 and the unit will not work with the supplied card in it .If I turn it on without the card it will power up but when I install the card it locks up and then powers down . What are my options?

    Larry - September 16th, 2008
  62. Anyone know if just copying the map sd card’s contents onto a different card would let the unit work with either card? I purchased a used 250c but it didn’t come with the SD card! I would be willing to pay for a used/copied map card, thanks, let me know:

    Paddy - October 20th, 2008
  63. I bought my I-250 through Airmiles. I have used it for about 2 years across central Alberta and down to N.M, , Arizona, Las Vegas and back. I would say it’s as another poster already said- 50/50. But lately it’s really getting confused. Just going to London Drugs in Sherwood park it was telling me to turn stay left and had me going down the Yellowhead when the London drugs store was clearly straight up ahead and it did really goofy things in Arizona as well. Although it functions quite well in the cities. All in all I considered it a starter unit. It has performed good enough over the time I’ve had it to consider it – doesn’t owe me. I wish it was easier to update/cheaper too. Would I buy GPS form Lowrance again? NO!

    Paul - November 7th, 2008
  64. I have had my iway 250 for over 3 years and have not had a problem yet. My only complaint is the mapping data. Any suggestions for updating the maps?

    Dale - November 9th, 2008
  65. I have a Iway 250c and am very happy with it, Does anyone know if it can be used at sea to store long and lat #’s for fishing, Also to get you back home should you go out several miles in the gulf.? I have to assume that it has the capabibity.

    Robert - November 23rd, 2008
  66. I like the iWay 250c. It is a little slow aquiring a signal sometimes however if you turn it on flip up the antenna 5-10 min before you depature you will be in good shape otherwise…
    I do have one complaint though, I was driving to Savannah, Ga to pick my brother from the airport and the iWay took me right into the ghetto. I thought hmm where’s the plane gonna land. Anyway other than that and needing an update I am good to go. Heading to Savannah next week, wish me luck.

    Rob - December 21st, 2008
  67. I’ve been very happy with my 250c until I needed map updates. This should be any easy thing to do, but Lowrance simply isn’t interested in providing good customer service. They shouldn’t be in the automotive GPS business if they aren’t going to provide reasonably priced map updates. I tried the Navteq site, but they don’t even have Lowrance listed as a supported manufacturer. My advice is to stay away from any Lowrance automotive GPS.

    Steve - April 7th, 2009
    • I have had my IWAY250C sence they came out. The trouble is When I travellately I always find my position in middle of now-where. When it does find me, it will sometimes tell me to make a u-turn. I have tried to update the software, but there is now new software for my unit. On our last vacation I stoped and purched a TomTom XL. It got us back home without a problem. I went to their web site and downloaded the newest software at no cost. TomTom updates their software every four months at a cost of $9.95. I do hope that Lowrance updates the software for the IWAY250C because over all it is a good unit.

      Jim - October 2nd, 2009
  68. I need to update my iway250c but can not find the way to get it done can you tell me how to get it done

    walter shaw - May 25th, 2009
    • I checked into updates and itseemed to be $75.., no gaurantee if the updates apply to your end of the world either so beware. I’ve had my i250 for a couple of 3 years or so and it’s been great even without the new updates. It’s simple and it was cheap. Placing the optional antenna on the roof of my truck sped up the locating problem. Now it’s only just slghtly behind. Optional antenna is $20.

      Mr. Palmtree - May 31st, 2009
  69. I purchased an iway 250C. My 12 volt recharger cord has been switch wit mine and the one left for me don’t fit my GPS. can you help me in finding one to buy for my iWay 250 C. send infor to my email pheanis@live.com.
    Thank you,

    Pheanis (574) 536-8950

    Pheanis Wickey - July 20th, 2009
  70. The 250 when choosing routes there is a slider to choose interstates and another for toll roads. I wish it had one for shortest or fastest routes. Is there another way to to do this. It will send you way out of the way to meet then slider criteria.

    Mike - August 24th, 2009
  71. I am unhappy with the Iway 250C and would like to sell it. Any suggestions?

    CONNIE - November 20th, 2009
  72. My husband purchased an Iway 250 a couple of years ago because he was a long haul truck driver. The problems he has encounters are as follows…….
    1) taking him down a road that ends up in a lake, and then he has to backup the road with a 53′ trailer on, because there is no where for him to turn around.
    2) Not locating addresses when correctly imputted into it.
    3) Not having information to let him know what roads are truck and trailer permitted. ie – low bridges, weight restictions, etc.
    4) Not having updateable maps.

    Is there ANY GPS company out there that makes a unit just for truckers and that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?
    thanks, Dee

    Dee - March 7th, 2011
  73. Hi there…i’ve been using mine since it was offered on Airmiles about 4 years now. Mine does the same as yours.., down none existant roads etc. But, for the most part it’s usable for the way i need. That being said, according to the Truckers channel on XM radio there are truckers GPS. How good they are is the question, one trucker called in a while back and said of all the ones he used the Magellan was the most accurate. I would suggest calling in to the Truckers channel and get an update as to what the truckers are using currently or drop in the web site the host of the program has set up. there is a forum there and if search GPS in the forum all kinds of threads are there. I’m sorry i can’t give more info. just my 2 pennies as i listen to the channel every nite i think it’s ROADDOG TRUCKING ch 152 on my XM ..sirius could be another channel. hope this helps

    Paul - March 7th, 2011



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