A couple of weeks ago, ConsumerSearch editor-in-chief Christine Frietchen predicted that Black Friday would bring deals on some entry-level GPS units such as the Garmin nuvi 205 and TomTom 130. She was right. Sears' Black Friday ad has been leaked online, and both portable GPS devices are listed, though the pricing on these older, bare-bones models isn't quite as low as she envisioned they might be. In fact, despite attractive pricing, the models offered are hard to get terribly excited over.
The Garmin nuvi 205 earns doorbuster status and a price of $89.95. (As with all Black Friday leaks, bear in mind that neither the items listed nor their prices have been officially confirmed.) Garmin portable GPS units dominate the list of best-reviewed models in our most recent update, though due largely to its age and lack of text-to-speech, the 205 is relegated to runner-up status in our latest report. We list the nuvi 205's strengths and weaknesses as follows:
The leaked Sears flyer (which could change between now and Black Friday) advertises the Nuvi 205's doorbuster price as a savings of $70 over its regular price of $159.99, but if you shop around online, you can find the nuvi 205 for between $115 and $120 at other big online retailers already. While a savings of $20 to $25 is still nothing to sneeze at, it's probably not enough to keep us from hitting the snooze button the morning after Thanksgiving, especially for an entry-level GPS. That said, out of the selection of Black Friday sale-priced GPS at Sears, the nuvi 205 is probably the one to buy; simply because as the sole Garmin, it's likely the best of the bunch from a usability standpoint, even though it lacks some features offered in of the other Black Friday auto GPS receivers at Sears. Additionally, it gets very positive reviews (an average of four stars out of five) from owners posting to Amazon.com.
The other doorbuster auto GPS deal at Sears is reportedly the Magellan Roadmate 1440, which the leaked document says will be priced at $119.99. It's got a 4.3-inch widescreen and text-to-speech, among other features, and the doorbuster price represents a good savings over the regular Sears retail price of $199.99, as well as the $165 to $170 you'll pay it for at other online retailers. In general, however, our research found that experts usually pass over Magellan portable GPS receivers when they hand out recommendations, favoring comparable models from Garmin and TomTom instead.
Non-doorbuster GPS deals
If you elect to sleep in, there are three other advertised non-doorbuster specials that'll run all day at Sears the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. According to the leaked ad, theTomTom One 130 will be marked down to $79.99, a savings of $50 over Sears' normal price of $129.99 (the latter number is fairly representative of what you'll find the 130 for at other retailers). Like the Garmin nuvi 205, the TomTom One 130 has a small screen and doesn't support text-to-speech. Experts say that Garmin's interface is easier to use than TomTom's, but if you miss out on the Garmin nuvi 205 doorbuster special, the TomTom One 130 is still a solid alternative at just 80 bucks.
Another TomTom, the XL 325S, is shown with a sale price of $99 ($100 off the regular price). The XL 325S isn't currently listed on Sears.com, though. We did some comparisons on the TomTom website, and it XL 325S appears to simply be the TomTom XL 330S with only a map of the U.S. preloaded (the 330 includes maps of the U.S. and Canada). In terms of functionality, look at it as a basic TomTom model like the 130, only with text-to-speech and a 4.3-inch widescreen display. That's probably enough to make it a better call that the final Black Friday GPS deal at Sears, the $89.99 Magellan Roadmate 1220, another entry-level GPS featuring text-to-speech, but just a 3.5-inch display.
You can do more research on portable automotive GPS units by checking out our latest report.