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Best gps for you: Garmin or Tomtom?

Tests to determine the best gps
By Germain Malenfant

In this article I will compare the GPSes company: Garmin vs Tomtom. I will do it objectively. To do this, I will compare several criteria that will decide between them and to choose the best for you.

First criterion: is the database of addresses complete? To decide between the two companies, I chose 18 addresses on websites of real estate brokers. In this way, I have chosen houses (homes) that have been built recently and this way, i can know if the maps are regularly updated : Garmin (Navteq) and TomTom (TeleAtlas). These tests were performed on GPS with City Navigator 2010 (Garmin) and north_america_2gb v810.1907 (TomTom). Here are the results:

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24 rue Vallières
City: St-Andre-Avellin
Year built: 2005
Tomtom: no
Garmin: yes

266 des paysans
City: Gatineau
Year built: 1986
Garmin: yes
Tomtom: yes

92 Rang thomas
City: Notre-Dame de la Paix
Year built: 1993
tomtom: no
Garmin: yes

25 Rue De L'Automne
Hull
Year built: 2003
Tomtom: yes
Garmin: yes

12 Rue Paul
Val-des-Monts
Year built: 2002
Tomtom: yes
Garmin: yes

1500, rue Notre-Dame
Montebello
Year built: 2002
Garmin knows street name(1 / 2 point)
Tomtom: knows street name(1 / 2 point)

2, des forgerons
St-Luc
Year built: 2002
Tomtom: yes
Garmin: yes

2300 Rue Alfred Pellan
Terrebone
Year built: 2001
Garmin: yes
Tomtom: yes

1372 rue Lafontaine
Ste-Dorothée
Year built: 2001
Tomtom: no
Garmin: yes

129 Place du Chevalier
Vaudreuil-Dorion
Year built: 2001
Tomtom: yes
Garmin: yes

14816 Rue Jean-Simon
Mirabel
Year built: 2000
Garmin: yes
Tomtom: no

1025 Rue Auguste Descarries
Boucherville
Year built: 2000
Garmin: yes
Tomtom: no

155 Avenue Genivon
St-Zotique
Year built: 1999
Garmin: yes
Tomtom: yes

682, De Limoges
St-Nicolas
Year built: 2003
Garmin: yes
Tomtom: yes

575 rue de la rivière
Ste-Catherine-de-Hatley
Year built: 2003
Garmin yes
Tomtom not

21 Rue Gauthier
L'avenir
Year built: 2004
Tomtom: yes
Garmin: yes

1500 Rue Pierre-de-Lune
Drummondville
Year built: 2004
Tomtom: yes
Garmin: no

542rue du géranium
Granby
Year built: 2004
Garmin: no
Tomtom: no

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TomTom: 10 1 / 2

Garmin: 15 1 / 2

 

Garmin easily won the first race (at least in Quebec).

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Second criterion: the quality of the voice that tells you the direction to follow. The two companies will guide you very well on the road: it warns you in advance of a turn, voice tells you to keep the right or left. Tomtom alerts you when approaching a school.

Tomtom is better in its synthesis of street names with the voices: much better and understandable to my ears that the tts voices (text to speech) from garmin. The voices must be downloaded with Tomtom Home. Garmin has a rather robotic voice. In this second category, I give the point to Tomtom.

Third criterion: the features. Tomtom has two great design features, Garmin should be jealous: path planning and map corrections by users.

In planning, you can specify to avoid roadblocks to go through a specific street and avoid part of route. Superb for delivery drivers, heavy vehicles, etc ... Garmin offer route planning but you just can specify the addresses you want to go, nothing more ..

TomTom also allows the correction card, you can block (cul-de-sac) or unblock a street, reverse the direction of traffic, changing the street name, change turn restrictions, change the speed limit, add missing points of interet and report other errors.

Garmin offers more features: viewing topographic maps on all models of the nuvi series. Garmin also offer truck drivers specific GPS (specifying width, height trailers and +), gps with the option to have the msn service ( weather, film schedule, cost of fuel), others with the XM radio service. There are even GPS with the list of metro stations and buses (series 1000).

A negative for tomtom: Bluetooth compatibility. Before buying a tomtom gps bluetooth compliant, make sure that your cell phone is compatible with it. Indeed, tomtom go only supports some models of phones. See the list of official cellular compatible with tomtom. Even some models announced are not compatible. No problem there with Garmin. If you think buying a tomtom to take advantage of services such as weather or buddy (to see where your friends are), check for compatibility though few phones can provide their internet connection via bluetooth. If you really want a tomtom with connected services, opt for a TomTom GO Live 740/750/940/950 (these are available in Europe only). They have a sim card and have their own connection to the Internet.

Garmin wins the third point.

For the maps, here's the availability for tomtom

North America
French Antilles
Argentina
Brazil
Canada and Alaska
Chile
Mexico
Southern Africa
South Africa
Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DE_AT_CH)
Austria, Switzerland (DE_AT_CH) and Eastern Europe
Alpes most major roads of Western Europe
Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg)
Map of Western and Central Europe
Central Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
Southern Europe
Western Europe
Western and Central Europe
Eastern Europe
France
Greece
Italy
Morocco
Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar)
Poland
Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal)
UK and Ireland
Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden)
Turkey
Mauritius
Australia
Hong Kong
Malaysia and Singapore
New Zealand
Singapore

Maps availability for Garmin

Great Britain and Ireland
Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden
Germany
France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg
Italy, Austria, Sweden and Liechtenstein
Spain and Portugal
Czech Republic
Greece
The Eastern Europe
North America (Canada and USA)
Mexico
The Middle East (Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Oman)
Singapore and Malaysia
Australia
The South-East Asia
China
Brazil
New Zealand
South Africa
Mexico
Southeast Asia
China
Russia
India

 

The amount of available maps is very similar. Garmin offers China, Russia and India which does not seem available from Tomtom. Garmin also has a distinct advantage over the map because the openstreetmap maps can be converted and transferred to your garmin. You can also put topographic maps on your nuvi. There are a lot more detail at different zoom levels than Tomtom. They are countless manufacturers of maps for garmin; there's only teleatlas for tomtom. Garmin wins this round.

Who wins? I think if you are a European driver, do not hesitate: choose TomTom. If you are American, choose Garmin unless you absolutely need the advanced route planning. Do not forget: Tomtom (and TeleAtlas maps) are not very complete for America ... Other criteria you may be able to take into account : the categories of points of interest among these manufacturers and the simplicity (garmin is much simpler because the number of options on the screen is rather limited)

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