Garmin Nuvi 215 review

13 Feb 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT


The Nuvi 215 is one of Garmin's cheapest satnavs.

It includes UK maps only and has a 3½in screen with a standard aspect aspect. Although Bluetooth is available for hooking up to a mobile phone, there's no FM transmitter to route audio via your car stereo. We tested the model without traffic updates, but there is a 215T version available that includes RDS-TMC reception, for £20 extra.

Despite its price, the Nuvi 215 has the same finely honed interface as its more expensive siblings. It has a clear choice of map colours and the excellent trip meter facility. The POIs are handily divided into icon categories, so you can quickly find petrol stations, cash points and parking nearby. Sadly, the map display hasn't been enhanced with lane guidance or a 3D model system.

The audio player provided in the higher-end models isn't available here, and there is no foreign-language guide, but you do get a picture viewer, calculator and unit converter. The Where Am I? tool provides information about your current location. It also gives quick access to a few useful POI categories, including hospitals, police stations, and fuel - plus the telephone number of the AA, which won't be so handy if you joined the RAC instead.

A safety camera database comes preloaded, with clear warnings popping up as you approach a detector. Updates cost £39 per year. You can also allow navigation via off-road as well as shortest and fastest routes, and calculate bike or pedestrian routes instead of automotive ones. However, you don't get the handy screen cradle included with top-end Garmin devices. Instead, the power connection must be hooked up separately.

Although Garmin's interface and map display design is excellent, the Nuvi 215 simply isn't cheap enough in this company. Navigon's 1210 may not be quite as refined, but with full European maps for £12 less it's much better value. If you're after a UK maps-only bargain, Navman's S30 is cheaper still.


Price £110
Rating ***


Navigation software Garmin 4.5
Map data Navteq
Countries covered UK and Ireland
Traffic information Optional TMC
Toll road warning yes
Roadblock avoidance yes
Speed camera alerts yes


Type standalone satnav
Viewable size 3.5in
Native resolution 320x240
Memory card support microSD
Memory card included 0MB
GPS receiver SiRFstarIII
Accessories Car charger, windscreen mount, USB cable
Extras Picture Viewer, World Clock, Calculator, Unit Coverter
Size 97x71x20mm
Weight 147g

Buying Information

Price £110


GPS London route calculation test 7s
GPS UK route calculation test 15s