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Garmin nuvi 650 review


The Garmin nuvi 650 is Garmin's entry level unit in the 4.3" wide-screen 600 series.  The touch-screen nuvi 650 comes with pre-loaded maps of the U.S. and Canada, an MP3 player, and the ability to call out upcoming street names. So you'll get "turn left on North Main Street in 500 feet" rather than just "turn left in 500 feet." Live traffic coverage is available as an add-on.

Step up to the nuvi 660 to get an integrated traffic receiver, Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone use, along with an FM transmitter to stream music, directions and phone calls through your car stereo speakers. The nuvi 670 adds European maps to the 660's feature set, while the nuvi 680 adds MSN Direct services to the 660's features.

To compare other nuvi models, check out our Garmin nuvi comparison chart.

Compare prices on the Garmin nuvi 650

Before we hear from others, here's a snippet of Amazon's Garmin nuvi 650 review:

"With a gorgeous widescreen display, the Garmin nüvi 650 GPS Personal Travel Assistant is your answer to the call of adventure. A sleek navigator and a keen travel assistant, the nüvi 650 is preloaded with highly detailed City Navigator NT road maps for the entire United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. This map database features nearly six million points of interest (POIs), including hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, and attractions, and the data is provided by NAVTEQ, a world leader in premium-quality mapping."

More Garmin nuvi 650 reviews

I'll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some other...

Garmin nuvi 650 resources

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From the official Garmin nuvi 650 web page:

Get widescreen navigation at a price that won't break your budget with nüvi 650. This affordable Personal Travel Assistant comes with many of the popular features found in the nüvi 660 minus Bluetooth® wireless technology, an integrated traffic receiver and FM transmitter — perfect for everyday navigation.

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nüvi 650 features a super-bright 4.3" widescreen display for improved map viewing, POI lookup and MP3/audio book playback. This landscape display has white backlight and a touchscreen for easy use.

Navigate With Ease

nüvi 650 comes ready to go right out of the box with preloaded City Navigator® NT street maps, including a hefty points of interest (POIs) database with hotels, restaurants, fuel, ATMs and more. Simply touch the sunlight-readable color screen to enter a destination, and nüvi takes you there with 2D or 3D maps and turn-by-turn voice directions. It even announces the name of exits and streets so you never have to take your eyes off the road. In addition, nüvi 650 accepts custom points of interest, such as school zones and safety cameras and lets you set proximity alerts to warn you of upcoming POIs. The European version even includes a preloaded safety camera database containing locations of safety cameras for parts of Europe.

Go Beyond Navigation

Navigation is just the beginning. nüvi 650 includes many “must have” entertainment and travel tools including MP3 player, audio book player (subscription to Audible.com required), JPEG picture viewer, currency converters and more. It also comes with optional FM traffic alerts, Garmin Lock™ (an anti-theft feature) and configurable vehicle icons that let you select car-shaped graphics to show your location on the map. Optional software on plug-and-play SD cards for language  translation, detailed travel guide and  savings program allows you to customize your nüvi for your travel needs.

nüvi 650: It's a whole nü way to travel.

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Just bought the Nuvi 650 last week, and was diappointed to find that there are no street names for secondary roads in the Comox Valley outside the primary city groupings pretty much anywhere south of Capmbell River. This is a huge area of concern for me, & Garmin's response to the omission is that they have no data in the 2008 update.
Not good enough - coupled with the fact that the text-to speech option quit working on day three, will send this puppy back for refund. The idea is great, but the functionality doesn't seem to be ready yet.


Sorry to hear you've had a bad experience. I have two questions, just in case...Regarding street names, are you zoomed in all the way? And is the voice you have chosen labeled TTS (text-to-speech)?

Nuvi failed to list street names on the west side of streets as I was traveling south on several main north south streets in Burlington Ont. The streets were named ok on the east side. Some of these streets are over 100 years old!

The Nuvi also tries to take me 1 mile east and go north up a congested street to hook into a west highway route when it should direct me to turn East and then turn north up another main route to the east bound highway.

The Nuvi routes I have used are dead wrong. Yes they will get you there but will weave you through the city streets and congested traffic and ignore express ways.
To add insult when I am on the express highway against its wishes. it tries to direct me off the highway back to congested city streets.
The unit in my area will not name the streets on the west side as I travel south.

This is a fun toy but not an accurate tool.

If the streets are there, I'm assuming the routing issue is Garmin's fault, not NAVTEQ's.

Will it show west side streets if you zoom in more?


I'm not really sure, because I've never had my nuvi die (unlike other GPS units). And I do tend to spend time with it out of the car. So it must be pretty fast.

I just bought the Garmin Nuvi 650 from Costco for $299 before tax (about $337 total). The only others close to this price were the 200W and 250W (both priced at $249 and $299). This seemed like too good of a deal to skip. I did find the 660 at Amazon for $399 and thought about it briefly but didn't think the FM transmitter and Blue tooth capabilities were needed. What are your thoughts?


The 650 is a great unit. I'm not a big fan of Bluetooth for phone calls. I do use the FM transmitter a lot because I like the MP3 player. Of course, some people report that the transmitter is weak. You could always go with a line out if your stereo has a front panel input. It really just depends on what features you need.

I LOVE my Garmin-I saw a comment about how it only took them side roads...it depends on what setting--whether you want shortest or fastest route, etc.
I absolutely love it and am happy with it...BUT...is there a way to update it? The streets are all five years old--it doesn't have newer streets. Can I update it or would I have to buy another higher number Garmin?

Thanks for linking me! I added a few comments to add onto my review...


Hi All,

My Garmin 650 on connecting to my laptop thro USB shows a charging screen and does not show the map. When I connect it to the car 12V Charger it does the same thing. I have seen other Garmin models display the map while connected to the charger in the Car. I guess this must be a fault. Any ideas?


Are you using the charger that came with the 650?

Yes. It's the one that came with Garmin.


Then it sounds buggy to me. Call Garmin support. I'd love to hear the results of your conversation with them if you get a chance to post back here.

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