I love my Garmin Nuvi! It is simple, elegant, easy to use, helpful, and effective. The roads in Seattle are laid out far differently from what I was used to in Texas, and this makes navigating them a breeze. When we're on trips, it finds us food quick & easy along our route. No more need to print out maps or get directions to places with this little fella on board (or write down my unique Driving Direction Syntax). I don't use it all the time, just when going somewhere new, but that happens often enough. It is slim, lightweight, has an internal rechargeable battery so it's portable and comes with a nice simple car mount and charger. And maybe best of all, the user interface is surprisingly simple, elegant, and effective.
In my opinion, when it comes to GPS less is more. The Garmin Nuvi 200 series doesn’t have near as many features as other brands (like TomTom, Magellan, etc) such as Bluetooth integration, automatic map updates, a real fast processor, etc. But what it does have is it just works, is reliable, super easy to use, and looks nice with a streamlined workflow. Think Apple iPod vs <insert complicated MP3 player here>, one is simple and stylish, the other, well, you get the point.
Nuvi Series Comparisons
I've personally tried and evaluated the 200, 200W, 260, 270, 350, and 710.
Update (8/9/08): Amazon.com has a handy comparison chart of the nuvi series.
Here are my notes on the various Garmin nuvi models:
Garmin vs Other Brands
Here's my Pro/Con list of why to get a Garmin Nuvi 200 series GPS vs other Garmins or other brands (TomTom, Navigon, Asus, Magellan, etc)
Get a Case
I'd also recommend getting this $25 case. It does a good job protecting the unit. I take my Nuvi down from it's windshield mount when I'm not using it to prevent vandalism. Having the case right under my dashboard to slip the Nuvi into (I leave it unzipped) not only protects it and keeps it clean, but also prevents prowling eyes from noticing I have a GPS unit in my car.
New 2x5 Series Just Released
Garmin just released a new line of 2x5 series models. The 205 model looks particularly promising. The new software looks nice. It may be worth trying one of these new units out.
Don't be stupid!
Never yield using your own brain over to the luring mindlessness of following your GPS unit. Case in point, a bus driver in Seattle blindingly followed a GPS route under a bridge that was far too small for the bus and copped the roof off (Seattle PI article). Or like my cousin who travels for his job and "lives by his Nuvi 200". While out shopping when visiting his parents in Houston, he hit the 'Go Home' button and drove almost an hour before realizing he was headed back to his pad in Dallas instead of back to his parent's place in Houston. <lol>
One lesson I've learned is wherever you go, use your best judgement with turns, streets, etc. If another street looks better, take it. It's fun to try other routes than just what the GPS says, and it'll always reroute and put you back on course if need be.
There are many other good reviews out there, including: