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nüvi versus TomTom

Your opinions?

(In particular... how do the GUIs compare? I'm very used to the TomTom and think it is clean and simple, which I prefer)

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Not used a TomTom. We have a Nüvi 770 and it's UI is annoying at best and it frequently mispronounces road names (like it has both Expy and Expwy for expressway but it only pronounces Expy properly and then there's calling MA-770 in Malaga Spain "Massachusetts 770" but not calling CA-101 in California, USA "California 101"). Garmins web site also only works properly with IE. I called them on this and they said "we only accept IE because the security settings on other browsers are too high". Suggestions that they revise this policy were not well received. They'd have to be significantly better in something I cared about a lot for me to buy a Nüvi again.

I suggest you look at the Magellan as well. Our last one, my memory says the only thing that really annoyed us was the mounting bracket.

I'd be driving route 770 a lot if it connected Mass and Malaga. Especially in winter.

"I heard it's snowing again tonight, Ted."

"Ok. I'll be working from Castillo Sohail tomorrow. I'll bring you back some Fanta Limon."

I don't own either, but I've been researching them and toying with them in stores quite a lot. The nuvi and the tomtom are the two I'm trying to decide between. I thought the nuvi's GUI, menus, and graphics were significantly cleaner than the tomtom's. However, the nuvi seems to lack many features I think I'd use. Most importantly (to me), while the tomtom has an abundance of rerouting features, the nuvi has a single button called "detour". There are no other options; I guess you just have to hope it does the right thing in your particular situation. What tomtom features do you use besides purely going from where you are to point X?

I've loved the nuvi UI since I used a friend of mine's back when they looked like mini-TVs. I used a nuvi 350 for a long time though the power switch broke just about when I got a 3G iPhone. The iPhone's mapping software is pretty bad and I don't have the maps when I'm out of cell coverage, but it hasn't been a big issue lately.

I tried playing around with TomTom units at a store a few times, but it seemed overly complicated and difficult to figure out. I find it interesting that TomTom users think the opposite. I actually can't see how it could be much easier. Touch and drag, and everything is clear buttons that say exactly what you're doing. The name pronunciation can be bad, but that wasn't ever a big deal for me. Guess I'm too used to text-to-speech.

Regarding the detour button, I found that 99.5% of the time the routes the nuvi found were more efficient than Google's (at the time) and the detour button worked quite well. You can set them to route away from freeways and stuff like that, or route shortest distance instead of best time. It's not like drag and drop route selection on Google Maps but if I know the area well enough to do that on the fly, I don't really need a GPS.

I don't know what your previous commenter is saying about the web site only working with IE. I used it with Firefox on my Mac regularly. Unless this is a new thing, I don't know what they're talking about.

One other thing that I loved about the nuvi was that it would take pretty much any Garmin maps. The nuvi's officially don't support their topo maps, but if you load them onto the device they'll work perfectly. The one downside is the program you use to do this was PC-only at the time (not sure if it still is) and was *very* slow. I had a 4GB SD card but couldn't get the program to generate a 4GB map file. It would take 20+ hours to generate 2GB or so, and anything bigger it would crap out on. This may very well be fixed by now.

Anyway, my experience with Garmin and the nuvi line has been almost spotless. A few bumps, but really only when I was trying to do non-standard stuff. And a lot of the non-standard stuff worked surprisingly well.

Try filing a bug or using the feedback forms on their site.

About half of their site works properly in browsers other than IE. Unfortunately, not some of the more important parts.

If you've used a GPS that has the ability to give you the route list and exclude routes, then only having a detour button is a little annoying.

Actually, that's something that did annoy us on the Magellan, if you exclude a road from a route and then you tell it to exclude another road, it goes back to the previous one (i.e. it doesn't remember the list of roads you've excluded).

I've only used the nuvi, but I remember researching and choosing it over the tomtom. I didn't try them both though. I find the garmin to be pretty intuitive. The only problem I've had is spelling a street name wrong in a large city and having difficulty finding it.

I find the TomTom GUI better, but the Garmin hardware better. In the end, I went with a TomTom because it was my first GPS and I wanted to see if I'd use it, and then I'd spend the $$ for the Garmin.

That, and the Eddie Izzard voice pack is only available for the TomTom (off Eddie's site, best 5 euro I ever spent).

However, it can take up to 2 minutes for my TomTom to get a signal when I first turn it on, which is really a pain.

I haven't used a TomTom, and yes, I realize the appeal of that name for someone with your name (and mine). I have had a nüvi 360 for 15 months now. I'm still in total love with it. Yes, it mispronounces street names, but I've gotten used to that and other quirks. My favorite mispronunciation is when she says "turn left on freeway doctor west" meaning Freeway Drive West. When a NAVIGATING device encounters a ROAD with the name DR in it, isn't it more likely to be a DRIVE than a DOCTOR? Well, I got my laughs, so I'm not really angry about it.

My friend's TomTom tells her to turn left or right but it doesn't give the name of the street. Do all TomToms have that deficiency? I wouldn't like that.

I had to pay $60 or $70 to update my maps recently. I guess I can't complain.

As I said, I'm still in love. This thing works far better than I would have expected it to. I now operate it with the sound off. I know how to glance at it quickly and make my turns. I can even do it on an unfamiliar route while talking to people.

My nüvi has an mp3 player, a sound output jack so I can hook up the audio to my car stereo. The directions interrupt the music, so it's not pleasant to use both navigation and mp3 at once. But it can be handy to let the directions be shouted over the stereo.

It also has a picture viewer which is mysteriously slow. It's so slow that it's unusable.

I can look up a business on it and have it dial for me.

It has bluetooth so I can dial with it, and answer calls, but the voice activation seems a bit spotty. That might be my phone's fault. This is the one thing that is unreliable. Some days it's great. Other days, it's useless. When a call comes in, it displays the name of the caller.

I like the way it deals with me missing a turn. She just says, "recalculating" rather than something like, "You idiot, why didn't you turn when I told you to?" I wish people were as forgiving as she is.


I've got a nuvi and really dig it. My co-worker had an older tomtom and loved it, but he recently got a new one and likes it significantly less.

My Nuvi got me around the back roads of Ireland, and while it occasionally mispronounces things, it generally gets me around.

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