Over the past few years, larger screens have been the trend for dashboard GPS devices. Devices with a 4.3in screen have almost completely replaced devices with 3.5in screens. Still, some people might prefer a smaller-screen device. And, often, but not always, the smaller screens could mean a cheaper price. Such is the case with the Garmin Nuvi 1260T.

If you're familiar with Garmin's product numbering scheme, you'll know that the 'T' in the Garmin Nuvi 1260T's product name means lifetime traffic alerts are included, and the '6' means that it has a Bluetooth phone interface. That pretty much describes the major features of the 1260T. It's a GPS unit with a 3.5in screen, and Garmin's standard 'where to' and 'view map' main menu.

So what are the major differences between the Garmin Nuvi 1260T device and the Garmin Nuvi 1350T, which features a standard 4.3in screen?

Other than screen size, there are just a couple: First, the Garmin Nuvi 1260T has a Bluetooth interface that's not included on the 1350T. For some, the lack of a Bluetooth phone interface could be a deal-breaker.

The other major difference is that the Garmin Nuvi 1260T lacks Garmin's Lane Assist, a feature that guides you to the correct lane for highway manoeuvres. For me, that's a deal-breaker. Lane assist, particularly in areas with complex road interchanges, is almost as important a safety feature as text-to-speech. T

he other minor difference is that the Garmin Nuvi 1260T lacks the option of a qwerty keyboard - only an ABC keyboard is available. That's mostly due to the smaller screen size (the corresponding 200 series product, the Garmin Nuvi 265T, another a 3.5in device, also lacks a qwerty keyboard).

Like the 1350T, the Garmin Nuvi 1260T sports Garmin's newer, slimmer case design. It's almost a full quarter-inch thinner than the corresponding 200 series. It also shares the 1350T's other unique Garmin features such as ecoRoute that tracks fuel usage and provides a fuel-efficient routing option as well as travel tools that include a world clock, a currency converter, a Jpeg photo viewer, a calculator and a measurement converter.

As with other Bluetooth-enabled Garmin devices I've tested, my Droid X paired easily with the Garmin Nuvi 1260T. Like other budget-priced Nuvis, however, the 1260T does not read contacts from your phone book.

Next page: Our expert verdict >>

See also:

Garmin Nuvi 1350T review

Garmin nuvi 3790T review

Garmin Asus A10 review

Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: satnavs and GPS

Garmin Nuvi 1260T: Specs

  • 3.5in (320x240) QVGA colour TFT screen
  • Bluetooth
  • voice prompts using internal speaker
  • speed limit indicator
  • custom points of interest
  • world clock
  • currency converter
  • calculator
  • picture viewer
  • 93x75x16mm
  • 113g
  • 3.5in (320x240) QVGA colour TFT screen
  • Bluetooth
  • voice prompts using internal speaker
  • speed limit indicator
  • custom points of interest
  • world clock
  • currency converter
  • calculator
  • picture viewer
  • 93x75x16mm
  • 113g

OUR VERDICT

If you're looking specifically for a 3.5in navigation device with a Bluetooth phone interface, the Garmin Nuvi 1260T is a good choice. If, however, Bluetooth isn't your main focus, there are better-value alternatives available elsewhere. Shop carefully for the features you want, and you could turn up a real bargain.

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