Garmin Nuvi 215 review
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.