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GPS – Hassle-free driving companion


GPS – Hassle-free driving companion

GPS, DRIVING in unfamiliar areas can be challenging. Chances are, you might get lost and waste time finding your way – unless you have the Garmin nuvi 255W GPS navigator.

At 12.2 centimetres by 7.4cm by 2cm, the palm-sized touch-screen device is designed to make driving hassle-free, and it’s simple to use, too. The rectangular screen is large and well-lit for the driver to easily see the map while driving.

The standard package comes with a GPS unit, a cradle for mounting on the car’s windscreen, and a vehicle power cable. The unit also has a built-in battery, which should last for about four hours. For extended battery usage, you can always plug the power cable into the car’s power outlet.

How it works

When the nuvi 255W is turned on, the maps will load in a few seconds, and a simple menu then appears on the main screen. There are basically six items on display – GPS satellite strength, battery status, “Where to” function, map, volume and tools.

Before you start, you may want to check out the tools function first, especially to set your current location. You also need to ensure that you are not in a covered area such as inside a building or garage, as this will block the satellite signal. A voice will prompt you if there is a signal.

By simply clicking the “Where am I” menu, the device will display your location in longitude and latitude format, the nearest intersection, and surrounding landmarks such as hospitals, police stations and petrol stations. This feature is handy especially when you are in an unfamiliar area and need to know your surrounding within a fivekilometre radius.

From point A to point B

The nuvi 255W is pre-loaded with the free Malsingmaps, which is one of the biggest GPS communities in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. It comes pre-installed with road maps for the three countries.

To move from one point to another, go to the main menu, click “Where to” and select your destination either by address, point of interest, recently found, favourites, intersection or simply browsing the map.

When you key in the address, do not type “Jalan” because the system will not recognise it. Just type the street name. If you need to search for a restaurant, school or bank, use the Point of Interest tool. Tap on the desired destination and press Go.

The device will draw up the best possible route marked in blue. Now you are ready to start your journey. The screen will automatically show the three-dimensional map, but you can change it to a 2-D version by tapping on it once.

The map is pretty accurate; you can actually see where you are while driving. But be careful if you are in a housing area with many small lanes and corners because the device may not be able to create a good route for you; it will keep recalculating the direction.

So, the device may not lead you through shortcuts, but that’s OK if you are not familiar with the area. Otherwise, the instructions given are correct, plus navigating the screen is a pleasure, easily from one menu to another.

You also can view your trip log, that is the route that you have taken, time and distance covered. The device even records the places you recently visited for easy navigation in the future.

It’s multi-lingual, too

The nuvi 255W comes in a variety of languages – American English, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Thai, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Hakka. So, this should make it attractive to Malaysian users.

What’s more, the words spoken by the device are so clear and sharp that you can opt not to look at its screen while driving. The Malay voice feature sounds a bit awkward, though, especially the way the sentences are structured.

For example, the device will say “In 500 metres, turn left” as “Dalam lima seratus meter, belok kiri”, or “Two point one kilometres, exit left” as “Dalam dua titik satu kilometer, belok kiri” instead of “Dalam dua perpuluhan satu kilometer…”.

I would say American English is the best voice option. It would be good if Garmin could improve the Bahasa Malaysia feature to woo the non-English-speaking community.

More features

The nuvi 255W also comes equipped with the junction view capability, which allows you to see the real image of a junction once you reach a certain place. At present, Garmin has 300 junction views for the Malaysia map.

The review model is said to be able to say the street name as you approach that street such as Jalan Maarof in Bangsar. Unfortunately, it couldn’t for this testing. After some research on the Internet, I found that the feature is currently available for only American and European street names. Let’s hope this feature will be made available for Malaysian road users since it will make driving using the GPS unit even easier.

Also, the device comes with a safety feature that automatically locks the map while your vehicle is moving.


The nuvi 255W is truly handy when driving in unfamiliar areas. It is simple enough to use and you can be rest assured of good guidance for your journey.
Product: nuvi 255W
Manufacturer: Garmin
Enquiries: Aeco Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd(03-92858062)
Price: RM1,150

Dimensions: 12.2cm by 7.4cm by 2cm
Weight: 173g
Display type: WQVGA colour TFT with white backlight
Display resolution: 480 by 272 pixels
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion
Pre-loaded maps: Malsingmaps
for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei
Data card slot: SD
Built-in memory: Internal solid state

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