engineers and developers gauge the "lifespan" of a product generally by how long it takes for a component to fail over an average period of time = mean time between failures (MTBF) it could be any component - the lcd screen, the circuit board, or the on/off switch for example. manufacturers know this as part of the design and manufacturing process. an average length of time is taken from factoring the major components of a device and is usually depicted as the number of hours before failure or cycles - on/off.
for gps, one manufacturer lists mean time between failures (MTBF) to be no less than 10 000 hours and mean lifetime no less than 10 years.
What this means practically, is that short of any user abuse or acts of God, your garmin will likely last for a good while before encountering a hardware failure, which validates what others previously posted on this thread and garmin's current quality control. You made a good choice; the lifetime freebie is a bonus.
I just bought a Garmin 265t gps. I read that i could buy updates to the map until the units life span is over. Just wondering if I have bought a short life span gps? Is there anyway of finding out?
Yeah...there are no wearing stuff in GPS device, just battery. So if your display is not too scratched, i.e. you can still see what is displayed, you can use it till either GPS satellites and technology itself will be sent to the "history trash" or you become not satisfied with functioning your device. Even with completely dead battery I'm sure you can use it, just power it from cigarette lighter as usually.
I got my Nuvi 350 for father's day last year. In the Florida heat inside the car a lot of times and it is going strong. I love it and it should last a long time. Unless of course I drop it or some other physical problem does it in.
I have a Garmin III plus that is still working fine. I have had it since late 1997 or early 1998 and I still love it. The outdated base road map and lack of advanced features made it obsolete for use other than on my mountain bike or quad while using the USGS topo maps. Would also work for my boat (when I had one) with the waterways and lights map info loaded. So as long as the base map is up to date and you don't need more bells and whistles it could be good for a very long time.