TomTom -V- Garmin Review.

I had me first real experience with GPS while on a trip. I had the opportunity to take along both a TomTom ONE XL and a Garmin nĂ¼vi 265W. The TomTom was lent to me at the last moment, I had already planned to use the Garmin. Both are USB powered so I was able to use one cord for both devices plugged into a USB lighter plug attachment.

I started out the trip with the TomTom in my tank bag. There was no mount included with this version. It’s rounded back made the fit in the pouch of the tank bag a bit aquard. It’s touch screen was a little rough to use with gloves but honestly I didn’t think it would be very good to begin with. The keyboard was touch but it was not QWERTY so slowed me down. I didn’t have time to try any software so I was using on the fly route planning on the device.

The map interface to find destinations was klunky but it seemed pretty fast when calculating a route. The downfall was when trying to add onto the route or add a stop point. I didn’t find an easy way so I just used it for one section of the ride and reset the destination each time we stopped. Overall the routes it chose were close to the ones I had selected and once I turned it would recalculate to the route I was wanting. Although at one point I missed the turn I needed an the way it pointed me back took us on a dirt road that ran next to powerlines and was gravel and overgrown with weeds. So I’m not sure why it wanted to take me that way but I found a way around. I wanted go test the battery so I unplugged the power at the last planned stop. It lasted quite a few hours and into the evening as I tried to retrace my route without any luck. I was not all that impressed in the overall experience but I also hadn’t a chance to really learn how to use the device before I left.

The Garmin was pulled out at the hotel in the evening and I tested making a route to the classroom from the hotel. It’s interface was much smoother than what I had experienced with the TomTom. The Garmin is much slimmer, the back is flat but it’s one drawback was that the mini USB power plug was in the back so the cord didn’t fit well once it was put into the tank bag. After a couple of days pulling it in and out of the bag the cord broke. I was using it pretty much the reminder of the trip. I liked it that much over the TomTom.

Route planning was pretty smooth. It had a QWERTY keyboard which helped speed up the searches. I also liked that I could select a place on the large map and add it as a VIA point. So adding places we wanted to stop was pretty easy. I also found the option to show the way I had came. That helped a few times when we got turned around because I had missed a turn. I would forget to look down and miss turns here and there. But I can’t blame that on the device.

Tward the end of the trip I had both of them running in the tank bag pouch so I could compare the interfaces. The Garmin displayed the speed I was going but it lacked a clock and insted showed estimated arrival time unless on the main menu. TomTom had a clock and showed miles to go but was missing the speed. The Garmin was easier to see with it’s bold lines and font choice. But they both would change to a night mode about 8ish. The Garmins overall interface was easier on the eyes than the TomTom.

One thing I liked with the TomTom is one of the stock vehicle icons was a motorcycle. The Garmin you had to download it and I had not. So I was using a flying eagle instead.

Between the two devices I like the Garmin much better. It was more user friendly for someone who didn’t have time to read the manuals or have the software installed. That’s next, seeing what Mac software they offer and if I can pull off the route I did go. We shall see.

Well that’s it for this review. Now to give the devices back to their owners and start looking for which model of Garmin I want for myself.

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