Garmin Vs. TomTom

Buying a standalone GPS might be considered as a risk by some. But for the ones who like to/have to travel a lot, it is still the preferred piece of equipment to buy.
Almost everybody has a smartphone now, and with it comes an array of apps and maps that help you get around. The best part is, most of them are free! But consider this: do they give you turn-by-turn navigation, constantly updated traffic in HD, or regular map updates? Or how about the facts that the map gets minimized every time you get a call, or that you lose the map altogether when you're out of coverage area.

These are some of the reasons why the top GPS sellers are still alive. Although they already made their foray into the apps market, their standalone products are definitely worth a look.

With that, let's get to the topic at hand. We have the two best companies that make GPS products - TomTom and Garmin. Both have been at it for a long time already, and both seem to have an equal amount of followers.

In the end, the thing that matters more is your mindset and how you can work with the technology you bought. We'll start with a comparison of their offerings - the Garmin Nüvi 3590LMT and the TomTom GO 2535 TM WTE.


Garmin Nüvi 3590LMTTomTom GO 2535 TM WTE
Cost
$399$260
Display
5 inches, LCD color5 inches, WVGA color TFT
Dimensions
0.5 x 5.4 x 3.4 inches0.7 x 5.6 x 3.5 inches
Weight
8 ounces9.3 ounces
Average Battery Life
4 hours3 hours
Mounting
Powdered Magnetic MountMagnetic Windshield Mount
Information Displayed
Less info displayed at a go, more user-friendly and concise.More info displayed in a double-line format. Takes a little getting used to, but can be efficient.
Re-routing Abilities
Efficient re-routing based on traffic updates in both urban and rural areas.Slightly inferior re-routing in rural areas.
Traffic Updates
HD traffic available in select parts of the world. Fast and precise. Rare instances of incorrect traffic reports.HD traffic available in select parts of the world. Major issues when this unit was released. MyTomTom updates seem to have addressed these problems.
POIs (Availability)
Readily available. Can easily change between POIs.Easily re-routes through any new POI that you enter.
Map Updates
Free lifetime map and traffic updatesFree lifetime map and traffic updates
Map Sharing
No feature to share maps and POIs.Free map changes and new POIs from within the TomTom community.
Issues Found
Traffic update problems in certain areas. Clumsy mounting may fall off the windshield Steeper learning curve to use the device. Reports of looping updates, where the device accepts an update, completes it and starts over again.

Smartphone Apps

With sales getting badly hit by the deluge of smartphone maps, both Garmin and TomTom considered coming up with GPS apps for both the Android and the iOS.
  • The Garmin StreetPilot is available on the iOS for $49.99 and for $29.99 for the Windows phones.
  • TomTom is also available on both OS at around $50.
  • Both apps are heavy in size and price, compared to the other GPS apps. TomTom is the preferred app, with Garmin coming up with faster updates.
Tips for Buying a GPS

Here are some suggestions for buying your new GPS.
  • Thinner and lighter GPS units often come for higher prices.
  • You should ask yourself whether you want something that's user-friendly or packed with many features to keep learning about.
  • You should decide whether you want a GPS that provides loads of information together, making you sift through it to get what you want, or a model which provides less information presented in a way that makes it much quicker to find what you're looking for.
  • If you want new or additional features, you will have to choose an appropriate model accordingly. You can have features like currency conversion, photo view, automatic re-route, fast/short route, trip distance, trip timer, avoid highways, avoid toll roads, etc. in almost all popular GPS.
Finer Points

All in all, both products are pretty much the same, except for a few minor differences. If you're the type to keep tinkering with your map settings, or if you're trying to get POIs from other travelers all the time, then you can go for TomTom. If you're more concerned with city-travel and just want a straightforward answer to where the nearest Starbucks is, then you can go for Garmin.

Both brands have a friendly community that can help you out with any problems you have. Customer service seems equally helpful on both sides. That's why you should go for the device that feels better in your hands/on your car. Most sellers have a return period, so you can try each GPS and return the one you don't like.
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