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Garmin nuvi® 1200

Portable navigator

4 Reviews

Item # 150N1200

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Our take on the Garmin nuvi® 1200

Garmin's budget-friendly nüvi 1200 portable navigator puts big-league guidance in a small package. You get a 3.5" color touchscreen, 6 million searchable points of interest, and maps of the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Text-to-speech voice prompts announce actual road names for upcoming turns, an invaluable help in complicated junctions with several streets in close proximity. Garmin's ecoRoute™ feature calculates the most fuel-efficient route and tracks fuel usage, saving you gas and money.


Check out Garmin's video for more info.

Garmin's budget-friendly nüvi 1200 portable navigator puts big-league guidance in a small package. You get a 3.5" color touchscreen, 6 million searchable points of interest, and maps of the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Text-to-speech voice prompts announce actual road names for upcoming turns, an invaluable help in complicated junctions with several streets in close proximity. Garmin's ecoRoute™ feature calculates the most fuel-efficient route and tracks fuel usage, saving you gas and money.

The nüvi 1200 includes a world travel clock with time zones, currency and measurement converters, a calculator, and more of Garmin's trademark travel extras. A built-in digital picture viewer lets you enjoy your vacation photos on the 3.5" screen — just slip your personal microSD™ memory cards into the microSD card slot. You can also purchase SD cards from Garmin with travel guides and coupons to aid you on your journeys.

Stay safe with Garmin
The nüvi 1200's "Where Am I" emergency locator provides your exact location instantly, displaying nearby emergency services if you need aid. Garmin's security feature prevents unauthorized people from accessing your itinerary or personal information.

Product Highlights:

  • portable GPS navigator
  • suction-cup windshield mount
  • JPEG picture viewer
  • car power adapter and built-in rechargeable battery with 4 hours of life
Navigation features:
  • 3.5" (320 x 240 pixels) display with touchscreen control
  • 6 million points of interest
  • preloaded with maps for the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico
  • voice prompts announce road names over the built-in speaker
  • allows custom points of interest
  • ecoRoute calculates a more fuel-efficient route
  • built-in travel kit including world clock, currency and measurement converters, calculator, and more
  • security feature allows you to disable most functions with a user-entered password
  • multi-destination routing: allows 1 stopping point
  • transport modes: auto, pedestrian
  • microSD card slot
Other features and specs:

Works perfectly and simple to use while driving. no errors even with detours

shius36, Hampton va

What's in the Box:

  • Portable GPS navigation receiver
  • Suction-cup mounting bracket
  • Mounting cradle
  • Cigarette lighter adapter with attached 69" cable (5V/1A)
  • Quick Start manual
  • Accessory Guide
  • Important Safety and Product Information
  • Free dash disk offer

Garmin nuvi® 1200 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(4 Reviews)

better than expected

shius36 from Hampton va on 8/20/2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Works perfectly and simple to use while driving. no errors even with detours



Works Great

Jim P. from Virginia Beach, VA on 4/20/2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

As soon as I received the unit, I upgraded the software (numaps). I used it on a long trip to NJ and it worked like a charm. Very good at finding local addresses. Would highly recommend.



Garmin nuvi® 1200

Wayne from Lone Jack Mo. on 1/28/2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very well pleased with the product, it worked as expected, arrived in a timely fashion, was all we thought it would be. Have heartily endorsed to friends and neighbors.



Nuvi 1200 good upgrade to Old Tomtom One 3E

Bruce from USA on 6/27/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Pros: Size, text-to-speech, SD mapcard, ease-of-use, bright display, great windshield mount, great performance, accurate maps (so far), good speaker Cons: No prepare route, limited alternative route, no USB-to-miniUSB cable Smaller size(fits in pocket) & text-to-speech, along with SD mapcard option were my reasons for purchase. I've had the Nuvi 1200 for 3 days & adjustment from Tomtom to Nuvi think has been relatively painless. The suction cup mount is a definite upgrade . Also auto day/night mode is nice. Satellite performance seems better. The map screen is bright & sharp. The only things I miss (and/or could not find) was the ability to plan a trip when you were not at that location (Tomtom has a "Prepare Route" option that allows you to specify the departure point) & the ability to easily avoid a road when you start out (Tomtom has a "Find Alternative" option which allow 6 options such as "Avoid Roadblock", "Travel Via", "Calculate Alternative", etc.). Nuvi does have a "Detour" option that shows its alternatives to a selected route but they can only be selected, not tweeked by the user. While it is not a big deal it seems like for the current price that the Nuvi could include a USB-to-miniUSB cable.




Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Maps Built-in
Map Coverage USA (48 + HI), PR, USVI
Points of Interest 6,000,000
Multiple Destination Routing No
Screen Size 3.5"
Widescreen No
Bluetooth Capable No
Photo Viewer Yes
Digital Audio Playback No
Text To Speech Yes
Voice Control No
Traffic Information No
Dynamic Content Services Optional MSN Direct
Removable Memory Type microSD card
Battery Life 3 hours
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Overview: The nuvi 1200 is a portable GPS navigator and entry-level personal travel assistant that provides automatic routing, turn-by-turn voice directions, and touch screen control. In addition to these navigation features, the nuvi 1200 can display JPEG photos.

Navigation Features
Traffic Information
Picture Viewer
Power Requirements
Mounting Options
Computer Requirements

Navigation Features

Map Software: The nuvi 1200 comes loaded with City Navigator Lower 48 States NT 2010 software, which contains mapping detail of the lower 48 United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The maps feature nearly 6-million points of interest (POIs), such as hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs and attractions.

microSD Memory Slot: The nuvi 1200 has a microSD memory slot for additional map data from optional microSD memory cards. The unit can also display photo images from a microSD memory card.

Antenna: The unit has a built-in antenna in its top panel. In order to obtain an optimal signal, the unit must have a clear, unobstructed view of the sky. It the unit is mounted in a vehicle with a coated windshield or an in-screen heating system, there may be difficulty in obtaining a good signal.

Touch Screen Display: The unit features a bright, 3.5" (diagonal) LCD with touch screen controls. The display has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, with an aspect ratio of 4:3 and 64,000 colors. The screen has a manual brightness adjustment.

Information Pages: The information provided by the nuvi 1200 is found on various display screens called pages. The pages give you the following information:

  • Map:
    • Indicates real-time moving map illustrating your current position and intended route
    • Shows map scale and geographic details such as lakes, rivers, highways and towns
    • Allows you to zoom, pan, and point using the touch screen controls
    • When you are following a route, your arrival time is displayed in the lower left corner, your current speed is shown in the lower right corner.
    • When you are simply driving while viewing the Map page (not following a route), your speed is shown in the lower right corner, the direction you are driving is shown in the lower left corner
  • Trip Information:
    • Shows current compass heading while moving
    • Indicates current speed, maximum speed, arrival time, distance and time to next turn
    • Calculates driving time, stopped time and total time
    • Displays overall distance traveled (odometer) and distance to your final destination
  • Current Route:
    • Displays a list of turn-by-turn instructions for your entire route as well as arrival information
    • Shows direction of each turn and distance
  • Next Turn:
    • Shows the next turn on the map and the distance and time left before you reach the turn

Where Am I? The "Where Am I?" feature gives you instant access to important information in case of an emergency. When you select "Where Am I?" from the menu, you get the coordinates (including elevation) of your current position, plus the nearest address and intersections. There are also buttons to help you locate the nearest hospitals, police stations, gas stations, and roadside assistance. You can also save the location for future reference.

Where To? During navigation, you can search for places by pressing "Menu", then "Where To?" You can select an Address, Go Home, Points of Interest, Recently Found, Favorites, Extras, Intersections, Cities, Browse Map, and Coordinates. You can also access Spell Name for direct entry of your new destination, or browse the map. You can search for locations near your present location (default), or select a different city, your current route, or your destination.

Custom Points of Interest: The nuvi 1200 will accept custom points of interest (POI) databases, available from various companies on the Internet. Some custom POI databases contain alert information for points such as safety cameras and school zones, and the unit can notify you as you approach one of these points. To download custom POIs, you will need the Garmin POI Loader software, available on Garmin's website.

Map Orientation: You can select one of three map orientation displays:

  • 2D Track Up: two-dimensional map that constantly displays the route from top to bottom on the screen
  • 2D North Up: two-dimensional map that constantly displays North at the top of the screen
  • 3D Track Up: three-dimensional map that constantly displays the route from top to bottom on the screen

Screen Color Mode: You can select one of three color modes for the display screen:

  • Daytime: has a lighter, brighter background
  • Nighttime: has a black background, easier to see at night
  • Auto: display automatically switches between daytime and nighttime at sunrise and sunset

Vehicle Icons: The default on-screen icon representing your vehicle is a blue sports car. In the menu, you can select a blue 4WD pickup truck, a blue compact car, a blue 3D arrow, a pair of boots, a large bird, or a rolling beach ball. You can also download other vehicle icons from the "Garmin Garage" website.

Usage Modes: The nuvi 1200 can be used in any of three usage modes: automotive, pedestrian, and bicycle.

Route Preferences: When calculating a route, you can select the following preferences: faster time, shorter distance, less fuel, or off road.

ecoRoute: The ecoRoute feature calculates your vehicle's fuel economy, carbon footprint, and the fuel price of navigating to a destination. It also offers tools for improving fuel efficiency. Through ecoRoute's Fuel report and Mileage Report, you can track fuel usage and gas mileage during each trip. There is also a driving challenge to help you maximize your fuel economy by scoring your driving habits.

Avoidances: You can program the unit to avoid certain things that may be undesirable on your route. Examples of things that can be avoided include U-Turns, Highways, Toll Roads, Carpool Lanes, Unpaved Roads, and Ferries.

Waypoints: You can manually mark and name any map position as a waypoint for later recall. Up to 1000 waypoints can be saved into memory.

Indoor Use: When indoors, you can activate the built-in simulator and practice using the unit. This turns off the GPS receiver so it's not searching for satellites.

Tools: The nuvi 1200 offers several tools you can use as you travel:

  • World Clock: The world clock allows you to display the current time for four locations throughout the world. You can also display a map of the world showing which portions are in daylight and which are in darkness.
  • Currency Converter: This feature allows you to update the currency rates manually so you are always using the most current information.
  • Unit Converter: You can convert area, distance, speed, temperature, volume, and weight.
  • Calculator: The calculator allows you to perform simple arithmetic.

Garmin Lock: Garmin Lock is an anti-theft feature. You can set a 4-digit PIN and a security location (such as your home or office). Every time the nuvi 1200 is powered on, you must enter the PIN, or drive to your security location.

Traffic Information

FM Traffic Ready: The nuvi 1200 can receive traffic information broadcast over the FM Radio Data System (RDS), when connected to an optional Garmin GTM 35 FM TMC (Traffic Message Channel) receiver (available from Garmin). The GTM 35 comes with a lifetime subscription to the Traffic Message Channel. Traffic data is available in nearly 50 metropolitan areas in the continental US. When you are in a coverage area, the traffic delays are rated by severity with color-coded icons. If you encounter severe traffic along your route, the unit will automatically recalculate the route for you to avoid traffic delays.

MSN Direct: MSN Direct is an optional service that sends traffic reports, gas prices and more to your navigation device through an FM signal. MSN Direct is available in 100 of the largest cities across the United States. Using the optional MSN Direct receiver (available from Garmin) and a limited free trial service to MSN Direct, you can check the weather, avoid traffic backups, compare local gas prices and check movie times and locations when you travel with the nuvi 1200. The MSN Direct receiver is integrated with a plug-and-play cigarette lighter adapter, making it easy to connect to the unit when traveling. It can take several hours to receive all the content to your nuvi 1200 the first time you use it or after you have traveled long distances and after you have not used the nuvi 1200 and MSN Direct Receiver for several days. There is a non-user replaceable rechargeable battery in the MSN Direct Receiver that allows it to receive and store updates for several days, even when not connected to external power.

Note: After your limited free trial, you can extend your service with an annual payment or one-time payment. MSN Direct service will be available only until January 1, 2012.

Picture Viewer

Picture Viewer: The nuvi 1200 can display photo images (JPEG files). The image files must be stored on an optional microSD memory card or transferred to the internal memory.

Photo Navigation: The Panoramio ( website provides photographs that include location information called geotags. These photos can be downloaded into the nuvi 1200 or microSD memory card, and the unit can route you to the location.

Power Requirements

Rechargeable Battery: The nuvi 1200 operates on your vehicle's battery using the included 12-volt cigarette lighter power adapter, the built-in Lithium-Ion batteries, or household current using an optional AC adapter. The Lithium-Ion batteries provide up to 3 hours of use after a 4-hour charge. Stored data, such as waypoints or unit settings, are not lost when the unit is disconnected from a power source.

Mounting Options

Mounting: The unit should be securely installed when used in a vehicle. The unit comes with a mounting bracket that includes a suction cup. The suction cup can be used to mount the unit to the windshield. Once the nuvi 1200 is mounted, it can be adjusted on the ball-and-socket bracket for best visibility. The unit must be installed where it has a relatively unobstructed view of the sky.

Computer Requirements

Internal Memory: The nuvi 1200 comes with an internal memory for storage of supplemental maps and photos. When the unit is connected to your computer, the nuvi 1200 is recognized as a USB Mass Storage device.

Interface Capability: This unit can be connected to a PC via USB cable (not included). This USB 2.0 full speed interface allows you to download additional map information to the unit's flash memory. The unit has a standard Mini-USB Version 2.0 jack.


Our Product Research Team

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