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Garmin Nuvi 765T vs Google Navigation Beta (Droid)

garddog32 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
I had purchased a 765T about a year ago, but have not been happy with the routing. The 765T severely underestimates the travel time on local roads. (See http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/13967/x/p1/;start=0). The biggest reason I went with the 765T originally was to have real-time traffic so I knew the best route to my destination at that time. Unfortunately, since the local road routing is so awful, I never knew if the p* poor route I was given was because of traffic, or because basic crappy routing. So, I had been looking for a new connected GPS to replace it with. I probably would have gone with a TOMTOM, but the $9.99 per month fee seemed pretty steep. Then, I saw the ads for the new Motorola Droid with Google Navigation. Since I wanted a data phone eventually anyway, I thought this could be the ultimate solution. Obviously, I'm paying more than $10 a month, but considering all of the other benefits to being truly connected; I thought it was worth the money.

There are certainly pros and cons to both GPS systems. Google Navigation has some stunning features... but it is also missing some basic and advanced features that the 765T has. I'm going to try to lay out the differences of both. If you have a question or a comment, please let me know and I'll update the post. Here it goes IMO...

Maps / Navigation: Advantage Google

One of the best features of Google Navigation is that you always have up to date maps. Maps are downloaded to your phone every time you set up a route. No need to ever pay for a map update again!! The downside though is that if you don’t have data coverage where you are, the system cannot download your maps. 99% of the time, this should not be a problem since the system caches your route. But, if you are in an area without coverage for an extended period of time you could have an issue Google's routing is worlds better than the 765T. I have not yet seen a route on Google that will route you off a freeway too early. I have to give the nod to the Garmin in calculating time of arrival, assuming your route is mostly freeway. Google Navigation does not learn your driving style like the 765T, so the time of arrival is based on driving the speed limit.

When you first enter the route information on Google, it will tell you the estimated time in a popup. It also displays the time in the bottom left hand corner. For some reason, these times don't match. I assume it's a bug that will be fixed in the GA release. The Google map display is much more detailed. All cross streets are labeled. Parks, universities and other landmark names are labeled right on the screen. Verbal navigation on Google is much more verbose. Pretty much everything listed in a Google Maps direction search on the internet is spoken to you. I suppose this can be a bit annoying if you're traveling on a road that is part of 4 different highways since it will tell you about all 4. However, it is also very helpful when navigating a complex intersection. I recently was going to a place I had not been before, and Google Navigation actually told me to follow a sign that said "To St. Charles Street" or something like that. I wasn't going to drive on St. Charles Street, but Google knew the sign was there and I did need to follow the sign to get to the street I was going to end up on. Very cool.

POI's: Advantage Google

Here is where Google Navigation really shines. Since you are connected, you obviously have as up to date as possible POI information. Google also has a map feature called "layers" which allows you to see selected POI categories on the screen. This is a feature that is missing from the 765T. Google has voice activated navigation... and it really works!!! I use it all the time. Here's one example of things you can do with voice navigation. Let's say you are going to an event at a local museum. Before the event, you want to go out to dinner somewhere in the area. All you need to do is say "navigate to restaurant near???? museum". In a few seconds, you'll see a list of all restaurants near that museum. You can also just speak the address or name of business you want to go to, and it will automatically find the route and navigate you there. Google's voice activated searches is by far the best feature I've seen on a GPS.

Traffic: Advantage Garmin

Google Navigation does have real time traffic, just as the 765T. However, Google will not automatically reroute you if traffic is severe enough to make an alternate route quicker. Google Navigation will display a green/yellow/red light on the bottom left of the screen telling you how congested the traffic is. To reroute, you would have to touch the route info button. The system will then show you the two or three top routing options and the estimate travel time for each. You select the one you want and the system recalculates the route. I'm hopeful that Google will make automatic rerouting an option in an upcoming release. Otherwise, Garmin and other GPS devices will have a significant advantage when it comes to traffic. The traffic information detail and accuracy provided by Google seems to be on par with the 765T. I'm hoping in the future, Google will have more detailed traffic information... similar to the old Navigons.


Lane Assist: Advantage ????

Google Navigation does not have lane assist. However it does have arguably a better feature. One of the map layers is satellite view. Using this layer will superimpose actual satellite pictures of the map. So, you can actually see a photo of the interchange you're coming up on. It won't tell you what lane to be in, but you can see from the picture what you need to do. I think the addition of the lane assist box that shows up in the upper left corner of the Garmin screen would be warranted.


Miscellaneous features: Advantage Garmin

There are a number of basic and some more advanced features that Google does not have. Some of these are significant, but it all depends on how you use your GPS.

Speed limit indicator: Google does not display the speed limit of the road you are currently traveling on.

ETA: Google's only option is to show you the number of minutes until arrival. There is no option to display the time of arrival.

Speed: Google does not display your current speed.

Favorites: This is a big one. There is no way within the application to save favorite destinations. The work around is to save a shortcut on your home page and enter the address information, or save the information for the destination in the phone's contact list. There is no way to have the application automatically save your current destination.

Multiple destinations: Currently you can only enter one destination. If you have multiple destinations, you have to enter them one at a time, as you arrive. There is a "next destination" button that is displayed after you arrive, but if you press it you are just taken to the screen where you enter your route info for the next stop.

Parked Car, save current location: I have not found a good way to store where you last parked your car, or save your current location.

Transit directions: Here's one where Google wins, you can get transit directions, which basically tell you what bus to take from your closest bus stop and when it will arrive. Kind of cool if you are in a strange city and are traveling by bus. I don't think the 765T has this info.

Voice Quality: You cannot select different navigation voices on Google, and the voice is very computer sounding compared to the 765T. However, it is more than clear and loud enough to understand.

In summary, Google Navigation has a long ways to go to be a complete GPS replacement unit that will satisfy the intermediate to advanced user. However, for basic routing and POI searches Google is the winner. For me, it was just good enough to be able to get rid of my 765T completely. I do miss many of the 765T features though. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they add many of these in time.

Comments

  • Tim 1480 Points
    In almost all areas I've tested it in, the Google map quality, Google route quality, and Google ETA's are positively terrible compared to both Navteq and Tele Atlas.
  • In almost all areas I've tested it in, the Google map quality, Google route quality, and Google ETA's are positively terrible compared to both Navteq and Tele Atlas.
    In my comparison to the 765T in actual driving conditions, Google wins by a mile. I do agree with the ETA though... for me Google over estimates the drive time (it doesn't take as long to get there as Google says it does). As long are you are not driving on a bunch of city streets, the 765T ETA is much more accurate.

    But for me, it's more about getting there the fastest. Google wins hands down.
  • Ric01 0 Points
    Thanks garddog32 for taking the time to comprehensively list down the pros and cons for us. Quick questions if you don't mind my asking regarding the Google phone as I haven't had chance to touch or kick the tires of the Google phone in my area:-

    1) Do you find the screen brightness of the Google phone sufficient when driving facing the bright sun
    2) Do you think the screen size of the google phone is easier or harder for a bi-focal 40+ or 50+ year old to read compared to 4.3" regular GPS
    3) If you use your google phone GPS application daily - how much more do you think the monthly data usage you will have to fork out per month? Are you on an unlimited data plan. I understand the google phone has no on-board maps, it has to download every bit and bytes of map data in real time each time you use the GPS application
    4) Can you access Europe Maps from the google phone?
    Thanks
  • Thanks garddog32 for taking the time to comprehensively list down the pros and cons for us. Quick questions if you don't mind my asking regarding the Google phone as I haven't had chance to touch or kick the tires of the Google phone in my area:-

    1) Do you find the screen brightness of the Google phone sufficient when driving facing the bright sun
    2) Do you think the screen size of the google phone is easier or harder for a bi-focal 40+ or 50+ year old to read compared to 4.3" regular GPS
    3) If you use your google phone GPS application daily - how much more do you think the monthly data usage you will have to fork out per month? Are you on an unlimited data plan. I understand the google phone has no on-board maps, it has to download every bit and bytes of map data in real time each time you use the GPS application
    4) Can you access Europe Maps from the google phone?
    Thanks
    1) I have not had any issues with brightness. I would say the screen is plenty bright enough.

    2) Screen size is smaller than the 4.3". I would say that a 4.3" screen is noticeably easier to read.

    3) Not daily, but weekly for sure. I have an unlimited data plan. Last month I used 1.1GB of data, but I do a lot of web surfing too. I would recommend an unlimited plan.

    4) Not sure, I'll do some research.
  • Ric01 0 Points
    Thanks garddog32.

    Is the navigation map on the Google phone presented in portrait or landscape orientation... what I am interested to find out if the google phone has automatic orientation....saw somebody's iphone video the other day that when you rotate the iphone in portrait or landscape orientation, the content will follow accordingly without the need to tilt your head to view it.

    Thanks
  • Thanks garddog32.

    Is the navigation map on the Google phone presented in portrait or landscape orientation... what I am interested to find out if the google phone has automatic orientation....saw somebody's iphone video the other day that when you rotate the iphone in portrait or landscape orientation, the content will follow accordingly without the need to tilt your head to view it.

    Thanks
    It will auto rotate to either portrait or landscape.
  • 1) Do you find the screen brightness of the Google phone sufficient when driving facing the bright sun
    2) Do you think the screen size of the google phone is easier or harder for a bi-focal 40+ or 50+ year old to read compared to 4.3" regular GPS
    3) If you use your google phone GPS application daily - how much more do you think the monthly data usage you will have to fork out per month? Are you on an unlimited data plan. I understand the google phone has no on-board maps, it has to download every bit and bytes of map data in real time each time you use the GPS application
    4) Can you access Europe Maps from the google phone?
    Thanks
    I used both Google maps on a Blackberry and my GO930 in Europe last Fall. Here's my $0.02.

    1) I think this is a function of the phone you use. The Blackberry I was using was OK.
    2) For me (a bi-focal 50+er), the Blackberry was much more difficult to see while actually driving.
    3) Not sure about this one, as it was a company-provided phone.
    4) Yep. It worked fine in Germany and Italy. I suspect it will work anywhere you get a connection.

    I compared looking for POIs with both my GO930 and Google maps. Amazingly enough, a few things were easier to find with my GO930, I guess because of the way it was labeled matched what I thought. However, having a satellite view was REALLY helpful. I really liked being able to zoom in and check out areas I had not been to before.

    For actually driving, my GO930 was much easier to follow. It has a bigger screen. I have a mount for it so I can place it where I can view it, I had to place the Blackberry on the console between the seats. Also, sometimes the screen saver function would black out the screen. Other times the map would stay in view. I never figured out why it worked some times and not others. The GO930 touch screen interface is easier than the Blackberry's thumbwheel (this may not be an issue on other phones where you have a touch screen). My GO930 ETAs are almost always within 2 minutes of actual travel time. I found the Google map ETAs overly conservative. The GO930 will automatically reroute you if you (intentionally or otherwise) go off course. Google maps does not update the route.

    I ended up using the Google maps as just that, a map; and I used the GO930 for auto navigation. If you can afford it, having both is the way to go.
  • Just as a clarification... my review is for Google Navigation, not Google maps. Google Navigation is currently only available on Android 2.X phones.
  • Tim 1480 Points
    True, but the quality of the overall navigation experience is going to largely be determined by the quality of the underlying maps. So bad navigation software plus the best maps or great navigation software plus terrible maps will both result in a poor overall experience.
  • In summary, Google Navigation has a long ways to go to be a complete GPS replacement unit that will satisfy the intermediate to advanced user.
    interesting, and thanks for the review validated some of my speculation
    True, but the quality of the overall navigation experience is going to largely be determined by the quality of the underlying maps. So bad navigation software plus the best maps or great navigation software plus terrible maps will both result in a poor overall experience.
    ... or ok navigation software plus ok maps, goes w/o saying ... completely agree

    So is it safe to say that it'll take a few years for Google to get to the level of precision of maps, routing, and user experience we've come to expect from tier 1 GPS devices?

    ... since it's being offered as "free", it'll never be a core competency ... just sorta good across the board, BUT maybe just enough to rock the industry :shock:
  • Tim 1480 Points
    So is it safe to say that it'll take a few years for Google to get to the level of precision of maps, routing, and user experience we've come to expect from tier 1 GPS devices?
    I think they are going to have a challenge with mapping. They are already turning down map corrections due to their inability to verify them. If the change can't be verified from their office through aerial imagery or streetview imagery, the change gets rejected.

    Their maps will be sufficient in urban areas, but I don't see them reaching the data quality of Tele Atlas or Navteq any day soon. Their maps in more rural areas are dismal, with no obvious strategy for fixing those areas.
  • Tim 1480 Points
    GPStracklog just posted a review of Google Maps Navigation: Google Maps Navigation review
  • I can't speak for the quality of maps that Google uses. All I can comment on is how the unit as performed for me. So far, I have not had any issues finding routes/roads where I need to go.

    However, the routing software that Google is using is far superior to the 765T... which is the main reason I got rid of that unit and am now using Google Navigation exclusively.
  • However, the routing software that Google is using is far superior to the 765T...
    I'd be interested in some examples. Thx!
  • Sorry, I don't have my 765T anymore. However, if you check the link to the topic in my OP, you'll see numerous examples (some posted by me) of routing issues. I have tested my posted routes with Google Nav, and the routes are much better. For example, the route from Milwaukee to Chicago that the 765T uses has you taking Hwy 41... which would probably add 30 minutes to your drive. Google Nav has you taking I94 all the way in... which is optimal.
  • i was a bit unclear garddog32, i am more interested in superior routing examples of Google Nav ... or are you saying that compared to the routing quirks of the 765T, Google Nav is better? are there other observations related to routing? these really interest me

    and since you brought it to my attention, i'll have to do some simulations on my wife's new 1690 this evening ... our old 350 never routed us on Hwy 41, and we've driven the Milwauikee/Chicago cooridor no less than 30 times in the last 5 years

    also if you wouldn't mind, simulate the routing from Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay, WI ... does Google Nav show/take the new 57 hwy? does it go thru Brussels or around Brussels? Thx!
  • ... ok, so our 1690 routes down 41, and i'm second guessing my dramatic comment re: 350 nuvi due to our typical destination not being directly downtown Chicago which i just simulated on the 1690 ... this is a bit crazy, but given speed limits and the disregard for traffic lights, i could see the routing logic taking shortest distance similar time (when disregarding traffic lights) ... needs some IQ routing :roll:

    'nuf of that ... back to Google Nav routing
  • i was a bit unclear garddog32, i am more interested in superior routing examples of Google Nav ... or are you saying that compared to the routing quirks of the 765T, Google Nav is better? are there other observations related to routing? these really interest me

    and since you brought it to my attention, i'll have to do some simulations on my wife's new 1690 this evening ... our old 350 never routed us on Hwy 41, and we've driven the Milwauikee/Chicago cooridor no less than 30 times in the last 5 years

    also if you wouldn't mind, simulate the routing from Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay, WI ... does Google Nav show/take the new 57 hwy? does it go thru Brussels or around Brussels? Thx!
    What I meant to say in my review is that Google Nav is superior to the 765T routing in general. I think you found what I mean by your comments in the next post. I cannot say that Google is superior to other systems for routing... just the 765T. There are other models identified in the linked thread as well.

    Google Nav has you taking Hwy 57 all to way to SB. It goes around Brussels.
  • Google Nav has you taking Hwy 57 all to way to SB. It goes around Brussels.
    thanks! new 57's been done for over a year ... i submitted the change in early 2008 ... and Navteq's version 2010.30 is the first release that shows/routes new 57 properly ... a plus for server based maps.
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