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Too Many Choices - Garmin Nuvis vs. TomTom 910

muzikfreec 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
I've spent the last day or two doing research trying to figure out which GPS unit I want to spend my Christmas bonus on. I found this site pretty early on, and while it's been helpful, it's probably also added to my confusion.

I've pretty much narrowed my search to either the TomTom 910 or one of the Garmin Nuvi models (350, 360, or 660). I'm trying to keep the cost to under $800, and from the prices I've seen that shouldn't be a problem with any of these 4 so long as I'm willing to buy online and wait a few days to receive it.

My primary hope is to have a navigation unit that can be used in either mine or my wife's car. If we could pull it out and take it with us, that's an added bonus because we also like geocaching. We've already got a handheld Garmin unit that we use for that, but being able to navigate close to a set of coordinates before switching to the handheld unit for off-road would be nice. Along these lines, I'm wondering how well these units support entry of latitude and longitude coordinates.

  • Using latitude and longitude coordinates, how does the navigation work? Will each unit take you as close as possible on roads (as I'm hoping)?

  • I've read that the Nuvi 350 used to have the ability to enter coordinates directly into the unit, but this was removed with a firmware update. Which units actually allow entry of coordinates?

  • Even if the unit doesn't allow entry of coordinates, can the companion software be used to create your own POIs with the latitude and longitude?

  • Also, Geocaching.com allows download of waypoints in several formats including .loc and .gpx. Can these waypoints be added as POIs on any of these units?

  • What is the companion software for these units like? I've only used MapSource with my Garmin handheld and it's a little clunky and slow.

  • Is the Bluetooth functionality really worth it? If I go with a Nuvi, I'm wondering if the 360 or 660 is really worth it...

  • A part of me wants to give the TomTom a shot because they seem like the underdog (maybe that's just my incorrect perception) and because they've just announced new map updates. Should this be a consideration?

It's a lot of questions, but if I'm going to shell out this kind of money I want to be sure I'm getting what I want.

Thanks for your help!

Comments

  • Tim 1480 Points
    For portability, the Nuvi series is nice. The small size makes it easier to move from vehicle to vehicle or keep in a big pocket. The TomTom 910 is much larger.

    Yes, when navigating to a set of coordinates it will take you as close as possible. I've seen this work in a non optimal situation (the closest road to the cache doesn't have physical access to the cache where another road further away from the cache is where you access the cache from.)

    I had not heard about the firmware update removing the ability for the 350 to navigate to a set of coordinates. That functionality is written into the manual for the 660 so I can't imagine they would ever take it out of that device.

    The POI Loader software (info here) can take files in CSV or GPX format. I haven't tried doing anything with the files from geocaching.com, but in theory it should work since they are GPX files.

    Bluetooth is nice if you have a compatible phone, talk frequently in the vehicle, and don't already have another hands-free type system. Otherwise there isn't much use.

    There are lots of people who have bashed the TomTom 910, but I consider it a fantastic device. It is much larger than the Nuvi series, but it also has lots of storage space for MP3 music, etc and has a nifty feature for iPod integration.
  • Has anyone recieved the recently announced TomTom map updates yet to know if some of the inaccuracies have been improved? Does the update include new POIs as well?
  • Tim 1480 Points
    There are 410,000 miles of new roads, six million new addresses, better details of road limitations such as one way streets, signposts, and restricted turns, and 500,000 new POIs.
  • Tim:

    I have decided to order the TT 910 because of screen size and the remote. One of the dealers advertised in this forum is Buydig.com. They offer a rebate and ask the buyer to download a rebate form which is to be sent to GiveGive in Nigara Falls for redemption.

    Should I ask TT first if that is legit or does it suffice that Buydig.com is not included as one of the dealers whose sales are NOT qualified, such as WalMart, Radio Shack, etc.? Or is the offer trustworthy since the tomtom logo is displayed on the rerbate form?

    The offer expires on Jan. 6, so I need to make up my mind.

    Thanks!
  • Tim 1480 Points
    I can tell you that the rebate itself is legit. TomTom notified me directly about it. There are some retailers as you noted that are offering the rebate, but offering it as an "instant" rebate.... Meaning the price you pay includes the rebate and you don't need to send the form in. I'm not sure if buydig is one of those retailers offering the "instant" rebate or not.
  • Thank you, Tim,

    I e-mailed TT - partly to check on their response time - but haven't heard anything yet. Well, they mean "business days...".

    I have already printed out the rebate form which has to be sent to GiveGive (sic) once I have a UPC code and invoice from Buydig.com.

    I was mindful of the rules on purchasing costs but people can go to thse sellers and find out. The rebate offer ends tomorrow, January 6.
  • Tim: Thank you for your remarks of Dec. 31 on the quality of the 910. Oddly enough, I saw this model incorporated into an electronic cockpit panel for new cars. It was touted as being removable, but no other info was given..

    I received mine yesterday from Buydig. Have bought from them before and can highly recommend them.

    After downloading the installation CD to the device, it automatically did a lengthy upgrade of 10 MBs. The printed manual says nothing on how to use the computer for downloading other stuff etc. The on-line pdf files mention that computer downloads are another good feature of the 910 but not a word on how that's accomplished.

    Their support site is one devil of a maze to paw through before one gets to where queries can be sent to them - which I did - but it will be a week before they answer.

    Can you give me a hint on how this is done? I assume most brands/models have a way of using the computer for additional maps etc., thus the manner of transfer from the PC should be pretty universal.

    BTW: The 910 has a remote plus the large screen. We're iced in and I haven't taken it for a spin yet but a thaw is on the way and I'm anxious to try out my new toy.
  • Tim 1480 Points
    Are you using the TomTom Home application? That is the easiest place for map updates, "extras" are installed, etc.
  • I must admit that shortly after starting this thread, I went out and bought the TomTom 910. I really wanted to be able to try out a unit without being stuck with it, but everywhere I could find charges a restocking fee of at least 15% to return one of these units. Well I finally found an exception with the same price as other stores - Radio Shack. Yeah, I was surprised, too, but I asked the same question at least three times and got the same answer every time.

    Anyway, I've been using the 910 off and on for the last two weeks and I must say my reactions are mixed. The interface is pretty nice and I like the ability to do route planning and multiple via points. Route recalculation is pretty quick and I'd agree with it's decisions most of the time. The text to speech does a pretty good job and the volume is plenty loud enough. Directions seem very timely - I tried to act as if I was totally dependent on the unit and I still got where I needed to go. I tried the bluetooth hands free calling and it seemed to work fairly well, although I did get a bad echo the second time I tried.

    However, I do have some complaints or at the very least some things I don't understand about the unit. It's a little heavier than I expected, and I'm realizing more and more that I don't really need all of the extra space the hard drive offers (which adds to the weight). I'm already able to connect my iPod to my car stereo for mp3s, and I'm not really interested in viewing photos while I drive(?). The suction cup mount held on fine, but there was a very noticeable bounce that made some of the small text on the screen hard to read for me.

    I will say that I agree with birdy that the TomTom Home software is a little bit confusing. I'm disappointed that I can't see anyway to add custom POIs. This is something that seems really simple to me, yet the only way I could reproduce this would be to create additional favorites - a list that would get really unwieldy once it got longer than 10 items or so (especially if you can't search favorites?). Even adding favorites or planning routes ahead of time on the computer wouldn't have much advantage because the only way to do that as far as I can tell is to use the My GO 910 feature where the interface mimics that of what's actually on the unit. How does that save you any time? It also seemed to me that I could go to their web store through the application and purchase the latest maps, but there was no mention of the free update deal (I'm guessing this is because it's only offered if you buy the actual CD).

    So I'm kind of on the fence. I have been able to try a friend's Nuvi 350 several months ago, so I do have a little bit to compare to. Right now I guess I'm leaning slightly toward returning the 910 and picking up a Nuvi 660. However, this is due mostly to the frustrations listed above. If anyone knows something I don't about some of these issues, please share. I'm particularly interested in loading custom POIs. I found a site that mentioned dropping files directly onto the unit, but I didn't have any luck with that (not to mention it's may not be very handy for creating your own).
  • Tim 1480 Points
    The method of adding custom POIs will differ based on what format the POIs you want to add are currently in. For example you might have downloaded the POIs in a TomTom format. Or you might have a CSV file that you need to convert into the TomTom format, etc.
  • The method of adding custom POIs will differ based on what format the POIs you want to add are currently in. For example you might have downloaded the POIs in a TomTom format. Or you might have a CSV file that you need to convert into the TomTom format, etc.
    I guess that's part of my point...I could find no indication of what the TomTom format consists of, nor how to do any type of conversion to get to that format.
  • Tim 1480 Points
    I could find no indication of what the TomTom format consists of
    TomTom's format is called OV2. As far as I know that type is supported on all devices. The technical details for that data format are here. That page references the TomTom Navigator product, but the OV2 format is consistent across the GO line.
  • duenay 0 Points
    Didn't want to start a new thread since these 2 are the subject of my question.Based on my research in this informative forum,I narrowed my choice down to these 2.If some one has a better recommendation I would love to hear it.
    I like the size of the Nuvi but I didn't see where it has multi direction feature.As a real estate appraiser this is a BIG feature.I could punch in 5 address's and it would route me .If this feature is available,I think I would buy it.I also like the bluetooth compatibility of both units and screen size.So my priorities are Multilocation,bluetooth and screen size.Would you say TomTom 910 is my best bet?
  • Tim 1480 Points
    So my priorities are Multilocation,bluetooth and screen size.Would you say TomTom 910 is my best bet?
    Yes, based on your multilocation requirements.
  • duenay 0 Points
    Thank you very much for your prompt reply.
  • muzikfreec:

    Have you decided to keep your TT 910?

    I am still struggling with the issues you discussed on Jan. 17. Cannot use TT Home to pre-plan an itinerary with waysides. The software is so unresponsive that I have tried a 1000 mile bike path simply to force a motor route I consider best rather than fastest or shortest.

    If you wish, plse. contact me at <micasa2@peoplepc.com>
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