Sold Companhia Siderugica Nacional (SID)& DryShips (DRYS)

We sold out of Companhia Siderugica Nacional (SID) at $16.01 and DryShips (DRYS) at $8.96. Reports from the world economic forum in Davos gave ample evidence that global trade is not going to rebound anytime soon. Both these companies are aggressive positions in our portfolio that are dependent on global trade and so we decided to exit the positions with a combined gain of just under 1% of our total portfolio value. As part of exiting DryShips (DRYS) we bought back the covered calls we wrote previously – the premium on the Feb 15 calls had come down to just $0.20 following the announcement that they may breach debt terms. Following these transactions, our cash position has gone up to 12.5% of our total portfolio value.

Below is our updated portfolio:












































































StockBuy DateBuy PriceCurrent PriceCurrent % Of PortfolioUnrealized % ReturnYield as % of BOY Portfolio Value Plus Deposits
Altria (MO) Various16.6916.844.570.930.16
Philip Morris International (PM)1/4/200532.1938.757.9920.370.23
Kraft Foods (KFT)Various24.0329.285.3021.830.11
Pfizer (PFE)Various24.3715.126.84(37.95)0.33
ICICI Bank (IBN)5/18/2006 and 08/01/200825.2816.367.40(35.27)0.17
Taiwan Semi (TSM) – Call Value7/27/20068.717.506.78(13.77)0.24
Advantage Energy Fund (AAV)11/2/200611.224.251.92(62.14)0.22
Central Europe & Russia Fund (CEE)Various39.2314.684.65(62.58)1.85
Patni Computers (PTI)8/10/200720.855.482.48(73.74)0.03
Itron Inc. (ITRI)11/07/200785.0166.255.99(22.16)None
Anthracite (AHR)11/09/20077.971.670.76(79.05)0.35
ClickSoftware (CKSW)11/09/20074.612.141.94(53.58)None
Harvest Energy (HTE)11/28/200721.018.613.11(59.03)0.45
iRobot (IRBT)12/18/200718.657.542.73(59.22)None
LDK Solar (LDK)01/22/200830.4912.443.37(59.20)None
Aegon N.V. (AEG)04/28/200815.995.601.52(64.97)0.24
LM Ericsson (ERIC)
05/05/200811.83 7.505.43(36.59)0.20
TD Ameritrade (AMTD)05/21/200817.68 11.654.21(34.12)None
Trina Solar (TSL)06/06/08, 07/31/08, 01/23/09
24.78 7.853.55(68.40)None
Costco (COST)08/01/200862.28 46.454.20(24.42)0.03
Frontline Limited (FRO)10/06/200836.95 29.143.95(21.11)0.41
Cash














12.31









Total Portfolio



















(38.81)5.46


  • For Altria and Philip Morris International, assumed spin-off ratio of 30.83:69.17. Altria is yet to supply the cost-basis info
  • The yield column is current as of 11/21/2008.
  • For Taiwan Semi (TSM), we wrote Feb 7.5 covered calls on them on 01/05/2009.
  • For LM Ericsson Telephone Company (ERIC), we wrote Apr 7.5 covered calls on them on 01/21/2009.
And, below is the list of transactions done during the year:

























StockBuy DateBuy PriceSell DateSell Price% Gain (Loss)% Portfolio Return*
DryShips (DRYS) Various11.66 01/29/2008 8.96 (23.29) (1.42)
DryShips Feb 15 Calls (OOCBC) 01/29/20092.50 01/16/2008 0.20 922 0.58
Companhia Siderugica Nacional (SID) Various11.03 01/29/2008 16.01 44.86 1.73
Total 2009 Stock Transactions - Gain/(Loss) -----0.89
Income (Dividends, Interests, etc.) -----NC
Net Realized 2009 Gain/(Loss)-----0.89


  • % Gain/Loss Relative to Portfolio Value at Beginning of Year + Deposits
  • The table assumes realization of profits associated with selling options only after the option is exercised or expiry.

Dry Bulk Shipping Companies & Baltic Dry Index (BDI) – Comparative Stock Analysis

Dry Bulk Shippers transport both major bulk (iron ore, coal, and grain) and minor bulk (steel products, fertilizers, cement, bauxite, sugar and scrap metal) cargo. Until about five years back, oil tanker companies were chiefs at the helm when it came to investment choices in publicly trading shipping companies in the US stock exchanges. Small Greek shipping companies and/or subsidiaries of global conglomerates controlled the dry-bulk shipping arena. That course altered as the emerging market story developed with China and India importing raw materials at an accelerating pace demonstrating double-digit growth. In the past few years, numerous shippers focused solely in the dry bulk market made their IPO (Initial Public Offering). The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) tracks the daily average prices to ship dry bulk materials. BDI was considered a “sleepy index” till the end of 2002 – during the prior twenty years that ended 2002 its index value stayed within a narrow band of between 800 and 1000. The demand growth resulted in this index showing extreme volatility during the last three years with the index fluctuating sharply between 650 and 12000.


A list of the major Dry Bulk Shipping IPOs follows:


CompanyIPO DateComments
DryShips (DRYS) 2/2005 Founded by Greek shipping tycoon George Economou.
Genco Trading and Shipping (GNK) 7/2005





Eagle Bulk Shipping (EGLE) 6/2005





Paragon Shipping (PRGN) 8/2007





TBS International (TBSI) 6/2005





Navios Maritime (NM) 12/2004 The first to enter the IPO market during the wave of IPOs beginning early 2005.
Diana Shipping (DSX) 03/2005





Excel Maritime Carriers (EXM) 05/1998 The first dry bulk shipping company to tap the US IPO market.
Euroseas Inc. (ESEA) 05/2006





OceanFreight Inc. (OCNF) 04/2007





FreeSeas Inc. (FREE) 12/2005





Safe Bulkers (SB) 05/2008 Safe Bulkers IPO timing was especially bad as the BDI capitulated immediately after their IPO.
Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (SBLK) 03/2006







Those companies early to IPO had a slight advantage – the opportunity to buy vessels required to conduct their business at favorable rates as the price increased at a 20% annual rate over the last three years. That situation has come to pass as the Baltic Dry Index capitulated with the rest of the world economy in the latter half of last year.

The financial structures of these companies are all over the map. Below is a summary:


CompanyMarket CapitalizationEnterprise ValueDebt to Equity RatioPrice Per ShareRevenueNet Income/Share (Trailing 12 months)Dividend YieldInside Ownership
DryShips (DRYS) 635M3.22B1.36014.601.10B846.29M5.1035%
Genco Trading and Shipping (GNK) 487M1.43B1.38615.47369.49M258.82M22.7020%
Eagle Bulk Shipping (EGLE) 300M1.02B1.4596.40161.07M68.80M27.902.74%
Paragon Shipping (PRGN) 154M478M1.2615.67166.08M69.98M29.8025%
TBS International (TBSI) 303M562M0.58410.15588.89M192.32MNone39%
Navios Maritime (NM) 362M999M0.9123.591.37B320.61M9.3029%
Diana Shipping (DSX) 898M1.07B0.21811.96311.94M203.73MNA24%
Excel Maritime Carriers (EXM) 323M1.84B1.1817.38567.82M318.59M194%
Euroseas Inc. (ESEA) 142M128M0.2134.66134.26M61.51M15.933%
OceanFreight Inc. (OCNF) 77M318M1.2284.67131.43M45.66M6621%
FreeSeas Inc. (FREE) 30M197M1.4651.4353.34M11.55M19.6028%
Safe Bulkers (SB) 332M842MNA6.10210.50M142.98M22None
Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (SBLK) 162M460M0.5862.89169.73M85.15M2437%

* Financials as of 01/15/2009 from Yahoo Finance.

The debt to equity ratio gives an indication of how much leverage the company has – lower that number, the less financial leverage thereby reducing the risk the company is taking. The top-3 risky companies by this measure are FreeSeas Inc. (FREE), Eagle Bulk Shipping (EGLE), and DryShips (DRYS). The least risky ones are Euroseas (ESEA), Diana Shipping (DSX), and TBS International (TBSI).

These companies enjoyed very high shipping rates as the Baltic Exchange Dry Index (BDI) accelerated in the beginning of the year and stayed high for the first 2-quarters. The BDI surrendered 90% since then laying bare the especially volatile nature of dry bulk shipping industry. The Revenue, Net Income, and Dividend fields in the spreadsheet reflect numbers that are lofty especially for companies that benefited from the spot market. Currently the BDI index is artificially low but a rapid return to 2008 levels is not expected in the near future, so exercise caution when valuing these companies based on the trailing 12-month earnings. Furthermore, the index driving the financial performance of these companies is very volatile making inaccurate any attempt on valuing these companies based solely on current financials.

The following discussion looks at valuing these companies based on the value of assets. Below is a spreadsheet that summarizes the assets (owned fleet):


CompanyFleet DetailsTotal Capacity in dwtAverage AgeProjected Fleet Value*Comments
DryShips (DRYS) 7 Capesize, 29 Panamax, 2 Supramax~3.1M Tonnes~7 years2.95BAlso have substantial additional assets from Ocean Rig ASA acquisition.
Genco Trading and Shipping (GNK) 5 Capesize, 6 Panamax, 3 Supramax, 6 Handymax, and 8 Handysize~2.02M Tonnes~6 years1.90B





Eagle Bulk Shipping (EGLE) 17 Supramax and 7 Handymax.~1.02M Tonnes~7 years1.20BThe capacity is expected to reach 3M tones by 2012 – Specializes in the Supramax category.
Paragon Shipping (PRGN) 7 Panamax drybulk carriers, 3 Handymax drybulk carriers, and 2 Supramax drybulk carrier~0.75M Tonnes~8 years830M





TBS International (TBSI) 24 multipurpose tweendeckers, 23 handymax1.40M Tonnes~21 years590MAlso offers certain port services & associated logistics as value added services.
Navios Maritime (NM) 11 Ultra Handymax, 6 Panamax, and 1 Product Handysize.1.06M Tonnes~6 years1.24BAlso has a large fleet of long-term chartered-in vessels (some have purchase options), terminal operations, and certain other value added services.
Diana Shipping (DSX) 13 Panamax and 6 Capesize.2.01M Tonnes~5 years1.85B





Excel Maritime Carriers (EXM) 5 Capesize, 14 Kamsarmax, 21 Panamax, 2 Supramax, and 6 Handymax3.9M Tonnes~8 years3.90B





Euroseas Inc. (ESEA) 2 Panamax, 8 Handysize, 3 Intermediate, and 2 feeders0.56M Tonnes~17 years156MRoughly half the fleet is used for Container shipments.
OceanFreight Inc. (OCNF) 8 Panamax and 1 Capesize0.75M Tonnes~12 years630MAlso has a tanker fleet with a total of 0.44M dwt.
FreeSeas Inc. (FREE) 6 Handysize, 3 Handymax0.27M Tonnes~13 years235M





Safe Bulkers (SB) 5 Panamax, 4 Post-Panamax, and 3 Kamsarmax0.98M Tonnes~3 years1.25BThe capacity is expected to double by 2010.
Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (SBLK) 8 Supramax and 4 Capesize1.1M Tonnes~9 years820M






* See fleet valuation details below.

It is hard to place a value on the ships owned by different companies. The selling prices differ depending on the Baltic Dry Index value, the age and type of vessel, tonnage, and other factors. We used the following formula to come up with the projected value in the above spreadsheet:
  • Panamax, Handysize, Handymax, Kamsarmax, etc Vessel Valuation: The going-rate for new Panamax vessels in the mid-2008 timeframe was $1350 per dwt (dead weight tonnes). Also assumed is a depreciation of $30 per year for the first 10 years followed by $60 per year for the following years.
  • Capesize Vessel Valuation: The going-rate for new Capesize vessels in the mid-2008 timeframe was $750 per dwt. Assumed is a depreciation of $20 for the first 10 years followed by $40 for the following years.
Given the formula is based on selling prices realized for ships in the mid-2008 timeframe; it is reasonable to assume that these prices are in the high-end of the valuation spectrum. Even so, the combination of Market Cap, Enterprise Value, and Projected Fleet Value should give a good indication of the valuation of these companies. Below is a look at that combination and the “Enterprise Value as a percentage of fleet value”:


CompanyMarket CapEnterprise ValueProjected Fleet ValueEnterprise Value as a Percentage of Fleet Value
DryShips (DRYS) 635M3.22B2.95B68*
Genco Trading and Shipping (GNK) 487M1.43B1.90B75
Eagle Bulk Shipping (EGLE) 300M1.02B1.20B85
Paragon Shipping (PRGN) 154M478M830M58
TBS International (TBSI) 303M562M590M95
Navios Maritime (NM) 362M999M1.24B81
Diana Shipping (DSX) 898M1.07B1.85B58
Excel Maritime Carriers (EXM) 323M1.84B3.90B47
Euroseas Inc. (ESEA) 142M128M156M82
OceanFreight Inc. (OCNF) 77M318M630M50
FreeSeas Inc. (FREE) 30M197M235M84
Safe Bulkers (SB) 332M842M1.25B67
Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (SBLK) 162M460M820M56

*The percentage figure is after taking out the $1.2B DryShips paid for the Ocean Rig ASA acquisition.

The “Enterprise Value as a percentage of Fleet Value” measure is well below 100 for all the companies. Though this provides a good cushion it has to be tallied against the fact that in a depressed rate environment, disposing off assets at anywhere close to the fleet values above is not a trouble-free task. The best three companies by this measure are Excel Maritime (EXM), Ocean Freight (OCNF), and Star Bulk Carriers Corporation (SBLK). This measure however ignores several risk factors that affect company valuation and investment decision:
  1. Average charter duration – the more the duration lesser the risk.
  2. “Management cartels” with conflicts of interests is a general problem with this industry. Shareholders should be agile over the percentage management ownership stake – as this percentage increases, the associated risk goes lower.
  3. Counter-party contract risk: Diversification level of charter portfolio reduces the risk. Customer’s credit-worthiness and contract details are other associated risk factors that are intricated to gauge.
  4. Rate fluctuations across vessel categories: Based on tonnage, Panamax-Capesize rates should roughly be 1:2. But, because of supply-demand factors, now it is at 1:4. The type of vessels a company owns is a risk factor and diversifying across the categories may be the only way to reduce this risk.
Overall, the best defensive options to invest in the group are Diana Shipping (DSX) and Ocean Freight (OCNF). Diana Shipping has an appealing combination of very low debt, newer ships, and long-term customer contracts. OceanFreight (OCNF) has higher debt but the tanker fleet offers some protection against the vagaries of the BDI index. For an aggressive position, Excel Maritime (EXM) and DryShips (DRYS) are both excellent options. Excel Maritime is the biggest player and has the longest operating history. But, they have sizeable debt and roughly 25% exposure to the spot market. DryShips deftly managed to take advantage of the spot-market early on and still managed to shift focus to long-term charter contracts just as the rates came down. DryShips has high debt level and 40% exposure to the spot market.

On a parting note, the shipping industry has several other categories that may also be worthwhile investments. Some investment options to consider are:
  • Frontline & Nordic American Tanker Ship (oil tankers),
  • Seaspan & Danaos (Containers), and
  • Ship Finance Limited (SFL) – Leasing.
Disclosure and comments on DryShips:

We purchased DryShips (DRYS) on 10/09/2008 at $19.25 and doubled down on 11/20/2008 at $4.08. Further, we wrote Feb 15 covered calls against half our position on 01/16/2009.

DryShips just scuttled huge expansion plans by canceling an agreement to purchase newer capesize ships in exchange for shares worth close to $700M. Also, they were not able to purchase $400M worth of newer Panamax vessels because of financing difficulty. Even so, the latter agreement has a silver lining - DryShips has an option to purchase them before the end of 2009 for $160M. Any expansion should allow positioning themselves as the biggest players in the space. Also, they plan to divest the Ocean Rig ASA assets to shareholders of DryShips through an IPO. These can turn out to be immense positives if and when the market turns around. On the other hand, in an extended downturn one can see the company having trouble making debt payments. This can result in them having to dispose off assets at fire sale prices – a tough scenario for shareholders…

Related Posts:

1. Quick Take on Frontline Limited (FRO).

Last Updated: 10/2011.

Garmin Nüvi GPS - Review & Best Value Feature/Price Comparison

After a couple of years with the Garmin StreetPilot C320, we upgraded to a new Garmin Nüvi GPS, the Nüvi 270. Our upgrade was prompted primarily by the fact that the Nüvi 270 has European maps in addition to the US and Canada maps. This review focusing on Garmin's Nüvi GPS line is similar to the comparative review of the Garmin Streetpilot series GPS we did a while back.

Garmin GPS map upgrades costs $99.99 and $149.99 for the North American and European maps respectively, making Garmin Nüvi 27x GPS models a great deal.


Comparison:

Following are explanations of the most useful features of the Garmin Nüvi GPSs:
  1. Routing Options: Faster Time, Shorter Distance, Offroad, and multi-point functionality.
  2. Hands Free Calling (Blue Tooth) and Wireless Voice Prompts: Wireless technology along with built-in microphone, speaker, and software make it possible to use the GPS instead of your cell phone allowing for hands free calling.
  3. POI and Custom POI: Points of Interest database along with ability to add new ones.
  4. Multi-Mode: switches modes to drive, hike, bike or boat.
  5. Antitheft: Garmin Antilock allows a 4-digit pin or a pre-determined location as a prerequisite to unlock.
  6. Voice Recognition with Steering wheel mounted Remote Control.
  7. MSN Direct Content: A $49.95/year (or $129.99 one-time – no guarantees after Jan, 10 2014, not transferable to another device) FM radio based digital service from Microsoft that provides transfer of MSN content (Traffic Reports, Weather, Gas Prices, local events, news, etc) to your GPS device. Coverage is limited to metropolitan areas. MSN Direct for Windows Mobile that can also connect though cellular and Wi-Fi connections may be a better alternative, should you have another device (cellphone, PDA, etc.) with those capabilities.
  8. Where am I? – Allows finding the closest hospitals, police stations, fuel stations, nearest address/intersection, and your exact latitude and longitude coordinates.
  9. Where’s my car? - Marks your position when you remove it from the windshield mount and allows navigation with nüvi on foot back to your vehicle – ideal for crowded parking lots.
  10. Widescreen: 4.3” screen as compared to 3.5” standard.
  11. Internet integration: photo navigation using geo-coded photos from a photo-site, geo-coded camera, etc and sending addresses from google maps, mapquest, etc.
  12. Dead Reckoning (Assisted Satellite Navigation) – Estimates locations when it can’t receive signals from a satellite. Accuracy drops as time after GPS signal drop-off increases.
Miscellaneous features of Garmin Nüvi GPS models that can be useful to a subset of the customers follow:
  1. Geocaching: A worldwide game that involves hiding and seeking “treasures” called geocaches. Support for geocaching basically allows downloading exact location of geocaches and having the ability to then provide directions.
  2. Motorcycle Friendly: These features include waterproof design, motorcycle console that includes a fuel gauge indicator, motorcycle mount, and a glove-friendly touch-screen.
  3. Mp3 player, Audio Book Player, Picture Viewer, World Travel Clock, Currency and Converter, Calculator, etc.
  4. MicroSD card slot: store extra maps, travel guides, photos or MP3s.
  5. Vehicle Icon Customization: Personalize the vehicle in the map.
Features common to all Garmin Nüvi GPS models include:
  1. Display – 3.5” touch-sensitive QVGA color antiglare TFT with white backlight.
  2. Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.
  3. Built-in solid-state memory with preloaded maps (options vary by model – see below) along with the ability to add maps.
  4. Waypoints/Favorites/Location – At least 500.
  5. SD or microSD card slot for additional storage.
  6. Base map and 3-D map view.
  7. Voice prompts.
  8. Routing options (faster time, shorter distance, off-road), Route Avoidance (avoid highways, tolls), and Rerouting (fast off-route and detour calculation).
  9. Custom POIs – ability to add new points of interest into the POI built-in database.
  10. Anti-theft (Garmin Lock).
  11. Miscellaneous features such as world travel clock, currency & unit converter, calculator, picture viewer, and car-icon selection (Garmin Garage).
Feature Release History:

The Garmin Garmin Nüvi 2x0 series was followed by a set of 2x5 Nüvi models in 2007 and included the following new features:
  1. Free real-time traffic updates from Navteq (for the life of the device on select models) - Receiver included on models 265T and above.
  2. Screen Lock Feature.
  3. Predictive technology that provides faster satellite lock,
  4. A redesigned screen with more information, terrain maps, and an exciting new photo navigation feature.
  5. USB interface to Google maps or Mapquest.
The Screen Lock Feature was targeted for pedestrian mode and as such the use was limited. Preventing accidental touches would be a great feature to add as the screen is very sensitive and it is easy for drivers to touch on unintended portions accidentally - a feature that avoids this is something GPS manufacturers are yet to provide.

The long-term success of the Nüvi line prompted Garmin to release a set of models in the 1xx0-series under the same Nüvi brand in 2009. These models included the following new features:
  1. Lower Form Factor (25% thinner than 2x5 models).
  2. Pedestrian Navigation through CityXplorer maps ($9.99 or up per city download required).
  3. ecoRoute suggests fuel-efficient routes.
  4. Public transit mode allows you to navigate using buses, tramway, metro, and suburban rail systems.
These features on aiding the company's attempt at projecting themselves as a "Green" company as opposed to features to enhance the customer experience. The pedestrian navigation feature can be useful but the cost is prohibitive. The public transit mode has limited use given the sad state of public transportation in most of the US cities.

Garmin released three new models in April 2010 - Nüvi 3750, 3760T, and 3790t. The major new feature introduced with this line is the nüRoute technology which offers trafficTrends (downloads trend data to do predictive analysis) and myTrends. They also have the newly designed glass capacitive multi-touchscreen with better brightness, clarity, and sensitiveness. The Nüvi 3760T adds Lifetime Traffic and Hands Free Calling to the base feature set in the Nüvi 3750 while the Nüvi 3790t also adds 3D terrain and buildings view.

Garmin released a set of models in the new Nüvi 2300 line, a new Nüvi 1695 model and a few other new models in the Nüvi 2200 line in the latter half of 2010. The LM, LT, and LMT in select models in this release feature Lifetime Maps, Lifetime Traffic, and Lifetime Maps & Traffic respectively. These features are quite useful and valuable - they used to be sold on subscription basis previously.

Garmin launched the Nuvi 2400 line with a 5-inch screen and ultra-slim design in January 2011.

Below is our Comparison Spreadsheet:


ProductThumbnailFeaturesList PriceBest PriceComments
Garmin Nüvi 205Speaker, Maps preloaded (US 48, Hawaii, Peurto Rico, NO Canada, or Alaska), 4.3" widescreen display, 1000 waypoints, microSD, Free lifetime Navteq traffic updates and MSN Direct Compatibility, Screen Lock, USB to Google/Navteq maps, Where am I?, and Photo Navigation, 4 hour battery.$189.99$90.54The pricing makes this a good deal.









































Garmin Nüvi 205WFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 205 PLUS widescreen display – 4.3”.$229.99$99.99
























































Garmin Nüvi 255Preloaded Maps (US 48, Hawaii, Peurto Rico, Canada, and Alaska), 1000 waypoints, microSD card slot, speaks street names, FM traffic and MSN Direct compatibility, Where am I?, Photo Navigation MINUS battery life is 4 hours.$249.99$92.60The pricing makes this a good deal.










































Garmin Nüvi 255WFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 255 PLUS widescreen display – 4.3”$279.99$119.99
























































Garmin Nüvi 265TGarmin Nüvi 255 PLUS Hands free calling (Bluetooth), FM Traffic Receiver Included.$299.99$99Excellent Value.
Garmin Nüvi 265WTGarmin Nüvi 265T PLUS 4.3 inch display, SD card slot instead of MicroSD card slot, keyboard selection$349.99$157.86


































Garmin Nüvi 275TGarmin Nüvi 265T PLUS European Maps$329.99$213.04Hands free calling (Bluetooth) and European maps for a slight premium over 270 makes this an excellent deal.
Garmin Nüvi 500Preloaded Maps (US, Canada) user-replaceable rechargeable lithium ion battery, up to 8 hours battery life, waterproof, maps (lower 48 states + topology maps), 1000 waypoints, 10 routes, microSD card slot, multi-route, FM traffic and MSN Direct compatibility, Multimode, Where am I?, photo navigation, motorcycle, and geo-cache friendly.$399.99$217.49The 500-series are specialized models suitable for multi-mode: drive, hike, bike or boat.
Garmin Nüvi 550Features of Garmin Nüvi 500 PLUS maps of the whole of US and Canada and NO topology maps.$399.99$259Discontinued.
Garmin Nüvi 755T1000 waypoints, 10 routes, SD, Speaks street names, lane assist, auto sort, 3D view, FM Traffic, Where am I?, Where is my car?, photo navigation, players, connectivity, NO hands free calling (Bluetooth).$499.99$349.99



















Garmin Nüvi 775TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 765T PLUS European maps.$799.99$225










































Garmin Nüvi 785TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 765T PLUS MSN Direct Receiver$699.99$289.95
























































Garmin Nüvi 855speaks street names, widescreen (4.3") display, 10 routes, multi-route sort, FM traffic and MSN Direct compatibility, Where am I?, Garmin Locate, MP3 and audio book player, keyboard layout selection, FM transmitter, audio jack, removable rechargeable lithium-ion battery, microSD card slot, dual speakers, speech recognition, photo navigation, remote control, 4-hour battery life, Voice activated navigation with lane assist.$499.99$132.30Excellent Value.
Garmin Nüvi 885TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 855 PLUS Hands free calling (Bluetooth), MSN Direct Receiver.$599.99$297.47






















Garmin Nüvi 1200Features of Garmin Nüvi 205 PLUS Speaks street names, Lower Form Factor, Pedestrian Navigation CityXplorer compatible, Fuel Efficient routes, Public Transit Mode.$199.99$112.07Good Value.
Garmin Nüvi 1250Features of Garmin Nüvi 1200 PLUS Speed Limits Display.$249.99$91.94















Garmin Nüvi 1260TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 1250 PLUS Hands Free Calling (Bluetooth) & FM Traffic Receiver Included.$299.99$139.74Excellent Value.
Garmin Nüvi 1300Features of Garmin Nüvi 1200 PLUS 4.3" display, keyboard layout flexibility.$249.99$120.33


















Garmin Nüvi 1350Features of Garmin Nüvi 1250 PLUS 4.3" display, keyboard layout flexibility, Lane Assist.$299.99$151.71




















Garmin Nüvi 1350TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 1350 PLUS FM Traffic Receiver Included.$349.99$161.94




















Garmin Nüvi 1370TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 1350T PLUS European Maps, Hands Free Calling (Bluetooth).$449.99$199




















Garmin Nüvi 1390TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 1350T PLUS Junction View (Lane Assist enhancement), Hands Free Calling (Bluetooth).$399.99$190.54




















Garmin Nüvi 1450Features of Garmin Nüvi 1350 PLUS 5.0" inch screen, multi-destination routing.$214.99$181.41




















Garmin Nüvi 1450TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 1450 PLUS Lifetime Traffic.$319.99$284.56




















Garmin Nüvi 1490TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 1450T PLUS Bluetooth Handsfree Calling.$279.99$217.37




















Garmin Nüvi 1690Features of Garmin Nüvi 1390T PLUS nuLink NAVTEQ Traffic (2 years free) Service.$449.99$187
Garmin Nüvi 1695Features of Garmin Nüvi 1690 PLUS 5-inch screen, Voice Prompts, Speaks street names, Lane Assist, trafficTrends, myTrends, Auto sort and re-route,Bluetooth, nuLink, Where am I?, Garming Locate,World Clock.$449.99$379.99
Garmin Nüvi 2200Features of Garmin Nüvi 1695 MINUS Lane Assist, traffic trends, auto sort multiple, Bluetooth, nuLink!, World clock. 3.5-inch screen.Maps are lower 49 plus Puerto Rico.$129.99$115
Garmin Nüvi 2250Features of Garmin Nüvi 2200 PLUS Lane Assist, US, Canada, Mexico Map.$139.99$131.46Garmin Nuvi 2250LT version has lifetime traffic for ~$20 more which is a great value!
Garmin Nüvi 2300Features of Garmin Nüvi 2200 PLUS 4.3-inch screen.$159.99$142.99Garmin Nuvi 2300LM has lifetime maps for around $40 more.
Garmin Nüvi 2350Features of Garmin Nüvi 2300 PLUS Lane Assist, Traffic Trends.$169.99$146.98Garmin Nuvi 2350LT has lifetime traffic for around $30 more and Garmin Nuvi 2350 LMT has both lifetime traffic and lifetime maps for $55 more.
Garmin Nüvi 2360LTFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 2350 PLUS Lifetime traffic, Handsfree calling, Voice Activated Navigation, 3D Terrain, Dual Orientation.$239.99$219.99Garmin Nuvi 2360LMT has lifetime maps for $40 more. Garmin Nuvi 2370LT has Europe maps for $40 more.
Garmin Nüvi 3750Features of Garmin Nüvi 1690 PLUS NO Hands Free Calling (Bluetooth), nuRoute trafficTrends & myTrends.$349.99$309.03




















Garmin Nüvi 3760TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 3750 PLUS Hands Free Calling (Bluetooth), Lifetime Traffic with nuRoute trafficTrends & myTrends.$419.99$389.99




















Garmin Nüvi 3790TFeatures of Garmin Nüvi 3760T PLUS 3D Terrain & Building View, Voice Command.$449.99$432.69




















Garmin Nüvi 5000Preloaded Maps (US, Canada), 10 routes, multi-route sort, FM traffic and MSN Direct compatibility, Where am I?, Garmin Locate, MP3 and audio book player, keyboard layout selection, FM transmitter, audio jack, speaks street names, super-widescreen – 5.3” and auto dimming, 3000 waypoints, dual speakers, photo navigation MINUS requires external power supply – no internal battery, Where’s my car? (Garmin Locate), World travel clock, currency & unit converter, calculator$499.99$199.97Specialized model designed for RV and truck drivers.

  • XM Navtraffic and Radio for US compatibility:
  • Garmin Nüvi 200, 200w, 250w, 260, 260w, 270, 350, 360, 370, 650, 660, 670, 680, 750, 760, 770, 780, and 850 are 2007 or prior models. Sites such as Walmart.com & Amazon.com sometimes have closeout deals on these. They are good deals if priced below $80.
  • *Better prices may be available through Internet deals periodically.
  • Garmin Nüvi GPS models 265 and up are compatible with MSN Direct subscription-based Service.
A note on pricing:

It is amazing how technology and competition can collectively condense cost of ownership over time. Merely five years ago, car manufacturers were touting GPS as a premium upgrade averaging around $3000 and there were instances when “GPS subscription” was marketed as a service. The detrimental side effect of this strategy was that a sizeable portion of the American consumers’ not technologically savvy implicitly assumed GPS devices required subscription. The perception of GPS “subscription” is marketing at its worst. National retailers recently recognizing this gap in reality among consumers have highlighted “No subscription” in their advertising materials. The average price of GPSs declined steadily over the years – two years back the Garmin C320 price was $280 – which was at the time, the low-end of the Garmin GPS line. In this day and age, a respectable budget GPS with 2009 maps for about $100 is a given. GPS manufacturers are spared infrastructure costs as they all share government satellite signals that enable them to identify the exact location and displays direction by using an algorithm employing map data.

Garmin Nüvi nuMaps Guarantee:

nuMaps guarantee introduced on August 2008 is a valuable benefit Garmin added to the Nuvi line. It allows for a free map update, if one exists within the initial 60 days of using the device – online registration is required to avail this benefit ($10 shipping applies if you opt for DVD instead of download). Anyone whose first use of Garmin Nüvi is on August 17th 2008 or later qualifies. The download is upwards of 2 GB, even with a DSL connection it takes a few hours to download. The guarantee is enforced as follows:
  • Registration is a pre-requisite and for a successful registration a USB connection from the device to your computer is required,
  • Garmin stores the date of first satellite acquisition in the device,
  • While registering, that information is used to determine how many days if any remain for nuMaps guarantee.
Registration also updates the OS. Checks are performed on the device based on the serial number and the map updates eligible under the nuMaps guarantee are automatically determined.

Garmin Nüvi nuMaps Lifetime:

Garmin introduced this lifetime (device) map-update program in January 2009. The introductory pricing for North American updates was $119.99. The pricing has since come down to $89.99. In September 2010, Garmin announced a set of new models (LM & LMT models in the new 2200 & 2300 series) with this feature built-in for a slight premium over the regular models. 

Summary & Recommendation:

The Garmin Nüvi line has several excellent models at good value if you are in the market for a GPS. Below are our recommendations:
  1. Best Overall Value: Garmin Nüvi 2250LT (US, Canada, and Mexico).
  2. Best Values Among Budget Models: Garmin Nüvi GPS model 265T (US and Canada maps) and Garmin Nüvi GPS model 275T (US, Canada, and European maps).
  3.  

      Related Posts:
      1. GPS Review - Garmin StreetPilot C series (C310, C320, C330, C340, C510, C530, C550, C580).
      2. Garmin Nüvi GPS - Review & Best Value (250, 270, 760, 770) Feature/Price Comparison.

       Last Updated: 02/2011.


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