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Garmin vs Tomtom

Just thinking about the inevitable day that my corrent Garmin dies and I might consider a Tomtom instead. Or replacing my wife's garmin whose days are very close to the end.

For a reasonably high end automobile model, are there significant differences in features?

On first look at the tomtom website the product specs page is nearly useless. No info on which or any models that allow shaping a route with multiple vias. Voice command in Garmin. For tomtom I see yes for "voice control" but some references suggest that only about controlling a smart phone. Do tomtoms have voice command like the garmins?
I see traffic appears to only be available by smart phone connection which is a serious negative.

Tried to download the user manuals but got a 404 error.

I never buy any significant piece of electronics without reading the detailed user manual first.


  • Boyd 1955 Points
    You might have a look at the TomTom Go Mobile app, there are Android and iOS versions. You can download lifetime maps of the whole world and permanently install them on your device. Lots of nice features and you can drive 50 miles per month for free to evaluate the app. They have an annual subscription model with a very reasonable cost ($25/year IIRC).
  • crazyfingers 106 Points
    Thanks but I'm one of those people who doesn't want to connect my phone to the GPS or use my phone instead of a dashtop GPS. I want a dedicated GPS on the dash.
  • dhn 330 Points
    Newer Tomtom models have computer voices that allow for voice control; i.e., various commands that you can use on the device.

    For what specific model were you trying to download the guide for?
  • crazyfingers 106 Points
    Not sure why I couldn't find the PDFs. Thanks. I have to say that Tomtom manuals may be slightly better than Garmin manuals but still lacking. It has more screen shot but it doesn't show how to use voice control to go to a saved place. It only says you can use it to find one but not actually go to it. Sounds stupid to question whether that's possible but I've been burned to many times on stupid omissions.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    Not sure where you're located. But Best Buy sells TomTom devices in the US and should have them on display in the store, so you could check them out in person (which is always preferable to reading about them online IMO). I think they also allow returns for a full refund within two weeks, so you could actually road test it (but be sure to personally confirm their return policy before purchasing).
  • alanb 429 Points
    It probably varies store to store, but last time I checked at my local Best Buy they had no TomTom's and only 2 or 3 Garmin Drive models. It is just another sign of the declining demand for stand alone PND's.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    alanb said:

    It probably varies store to store

    I would say so. ;) They definitely had a couple on display the last time I visited Best Buy. Just looked at 4 different Best Buy stores in my area online; one store had 3 different models in stock, two stores had 2 models in stock and the other had one in stock. It is easy to check this on Best Buy's site, you can set your home store then search for "TomTom" and click the "Pick up today" tab in the results. Change your store and repeat as needed.

    Of course, just because they have it in stock doesn't mean it will be on display... or that it will work. However, you could still buy it and return if you aren't happy.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    edited July 27
    FWIW, the store (Deptford NJ) that had 3 TomTom devices also has a Garmin DriveSmart 61, Drive 51, Drive 61, Drivesmart 51 and DriveAssist 51 in stock plus the goofy "Garmin Speak with Alexa" device.

    That is two more automotive devices than Garmin lists on their own website, so I'd say Best Buy is still a good option if you want a dedicated GPS unit. :)
  • crazyfingers 106 Points
    So will it be Garmin, Tomtom or some other company last standing making dedicated auto GPS? The current DriveSmart 61 has all I would want. I just wish they lasted like they used to. Long ago I gave my dad my old Nuvi 750. It still runs. Since then all my newer units have lasted a couple to few years and died.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    edited July 28
    I think there is little doubt that Garmin will be the "last man standing". Automotive GPS units are just one small part of their business. They are not likely to go away since they also manufacture very specialized devices for commercial airplanes and ships, in addition to all their outdoor, health and fitness products. Garmin's market cap is about $12 billion and TomTom is only $2 billion.

    That doesn't mean Garmin automotive devices will continue be a good value or a smart choice though and I think their numbers will continue to shrink. Looking at demographics will probably provide a clue as to what the future holds. Hate to say it, but IMO most participants in this and the other few remaining GPS forums are at least 60 or older (like me). 10 years from now, how many of us will still be driving?

    And if you believe what the pundits say (I'm skeptical), by then self-driving cars will be a major market factor. You won't need a GPS unit in one of those. ;)
  • Boyd 1955 Points

    The current DriveSmart 61 has all I would want.

    No it doesn't. You wrote: " I'm one of those people who doesn't want to connect my phone to the GPS". The DriveSmart 61 does not include a traffic receiver, you must connect it it to your phone to get traffic data. ;)
  • crazyfingers 106 Points
    edited July 28
    It didn't come with a traffic receiver but it's compatible with the traffic receiver that came with an older unit so I am receiving traffic over the air with my 61.
  • alanb 429 Points
    Well, I certainly fit into Boyd's identified demographic group! :) And i agree with his assessment. Garmin is not going away, but their automotive devices might be.
  • johnward 40 Points
    Actually at senior ages, driving is a heath issues. some can like me at 83 and some can't . I use old gps technology when needed. But of course I willingly let the younger folks drive my car. I do not work and drive about 12,500 miles a year. I rely on a nuvi 5000 , tomtom 910, and a garmin 850, all up to date except the tomtom. iam way past my sell by date.
  • Boyd 1955 Points
    Good for you John! I still have my Nuvi 5000 but don't use it anymore. My Grandmother was 97 when she died back in 2000. She lived by herself in the same little house in a small town and drove her 1962 Rambler right up until three days before she died. Never used a GPS though. :)
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