While driving, you can avoid reading confusing street signs and directions by using a GPS device. If you don't want to waste your time and energy in searching a new address, you can use a GPS device. A GPS (global positioning system) unit presents detailed maps and reads out turn-by-turn driving directions, to help you navigate confidently. TomTom and Garmin are the biggest rivals in the GPS market. Magellan, Mio, Nextar are some other popular GPS brands. Comparing various brands and finally choosing the right GPS device is a difficult task. Here is some important information which will make some general points related to TomTom vs. Garmin vs. Magellan, more clear.
Popular GPS Brands
After browsing GPS reviews, you must have noticed that first time buyers are advised to buy a Garmin GPS device as it is more user-friendly and requires minimum learning or memorization. More than 50% of the world GPS market is captured by Garmin and it is the biggest selling brand of 2010. Along with the GPS units for cars, Garmin's GPS units for walking or hiking are also very popular; as TomTom doesn't make standalone units in this category.
There are GPS devices made for golfing, for example, Garmin's new Approach G3 hand-held golfing GPS device. Garmin is more popular in the US while TomTom is more popular in Europe. TomTom makes good GPS software for smartphones, so if you have a smartphone, TomTom is the best. NAVTEQ mapping data is used by Garmin GPS units while Tele Atlas data is used by TomTom. Recently, Magellan has switched over to Tele Atlas. NAVTEQ data is more accurate and complete in North America, while Tele Atlas is more precise and complete in Europe.
Garmin Nuvi Models
If you are buying a GPS for the first time, you can choose from various Garmin Nüvi models. Some models are available for less than $100. It is just impossible to describe all the available models. Some units have maps of 49 states while some include maps of the US and Canada. Some have screens 3.5", while some have 4.3" and Nüvi 1450 has 5" wide screen. Most of the models do not include MP3 player but Nüvi 755T, 765 T and 775 T do have MP3 players.
All Nüvi models speak street names. Some models provide multi-destination routing, lifetime traffic, speed limit display, lane assist, etc. Some models have maps of the US, Canada and Mexico. So you are expected to choose a model according to your needs. Nüvi 3790T (award-winning design) is less than 9 mm thick. It comes with 4.3" diagonal multi-touch display. Features like JPEG picture viewer, world travel clock with time zones, "Where Am I?" emergency locator, currency converter, measurement converter, calculator, etc., make it very attractive and useful. Here follows the description of a popular Magellan model.
Magellan RoadMate 1700
Drivers of large vehicles may like to use specially designed GPS units, for example, Magellan's RoadMate 1700. It comes with optional CoPilot software and provides an extra-large 7-inch WVGA full-color display. Some of the special and optional features include reversing (video) camera jack, highway lane assist, multi-destination routing and route optimization which helps minimize time, fuel and money (increases profitability). Heavy duty extension mount to bring the navigator closer (particularly in a large cabin) is optional.
You can enjoy instant access to your favorite places (bookmarked places). You can also include your favorite café or restaurant in the 'OneTouch' favorites menu. The unit provides maps of the 50 states in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, speaks street names, comes with mini USB 2.0, a micro secure digital card, and the AAA Tour Book which provides detailed information about places to visit, stay overnight, enjoy, dine, and save. All these features make Magellan RoadMate 1700 an ideal GPS unit for SUVs, family vacations in the RV (recreational vehicle) or even commercial heavy-duty truck drivers. The unit informs you about slowed down traffic or traffic jam; and suggests the quickest detour too.
You can easily find out nearest gas stations, restaurants, ATMs, coffee shops, and much more; as you are provided with 6 million points of interest (POI). The specially designed multi-surface mounting pad (adhesive disk) can be fixed on the vinyl dashboards safely. The unit is available online and in many retail stores for about $200. You can also get a windshield mount and cradle, cigarette lighter adapter, protective pouch, USB data cable with the unit. So if you are planning for a family vacation, Magellan RoadMate 1700 can be the perfect choice. It can be the best GPS for the money.
TomTom XL can be your choice if you want to avoid traffic jams. TomTom One XL (comes with a bluetooth) plans your route according to the live traffic information while guiding you around excessive traffic. TomTom GO 630 can be referred to as a feature rich device. You can choose from a range of voices which are available for free! It speaks street names which is very convenient for the driver. It comes with a 4.3" touch screen and millions of POI. 'IQ Routes Technology' used in this model ensures minimum time to reach your destination.
It thus offers you the most fuel-efficient routing. It comes with the U.S. and Canada maps, but if you come across some different objects on the ground which are not according to the maps provided, you can submit your information and the changes will be made accordingly after approval. Lane guidance, photo realistic images, early enough instructions, one month latest map guarantee, information regarding local emergency service, local police, fire services and hospitals, make this unit one of the best GPS units. It is available for less than $250.
You must have noticed that every model comes with different features. Even if you ask "which is better, TomTom or Garmin or Magellan" to those who have already used the units of all these brands, you won't be able to arrive at a single final conclusion. A TomTom GPS will be better than a Garmin or a Magellan in certain cases; while in other situations, a Garmin model may turn out to be the best. It is difficult to establish facts regarding the similarity or the difference between TomTom, Garmin and Magellan.
I think, while buying a GPS, you should focus on the most critical components of a GPS unit, 'the routing engine' and 'map accuracy'. You can then compare the units of various brands within your price range, after deciding which features you really need to have in the unit. Do not forget to take into consideration the consumer reviews of each unit before making the final decision.