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UK/Europe use - Garmin or Tom Tom?

seanscot 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
I have been researching the forums for a couple of weeks now and am still as confused as ever. I would like to buy a sat nav for use in the car both here in the UK and occasionally in Italy (in the more remote areas of Tuscany (eg Garfagnana).

I am considering either Tom Tom One XL V2 Europe or either the Garmin 255W or 265W or 760T. My major concern is the accuracy/detail of the maps - especially in the more remote areas of the UK and Italy.

Can anyone offer any opinions either on the choice of sat nav or more especially on the map content?



  • dhn 336 Points
    While you may get excellent advice here, the fact remains that the majority of members on this board are North Americans and may not have as much experience using gps units in the UK and Italy.

    I'd like to suggest you go to this forum:

    register and ask the question there. It IS a UK based gps forum and will have many more users who will give you the information you need.
  • With narrow streets & numerous roundabouts in Europe, TomToms win over Garmins hand down.
    Garmins are notorious for slow reactivity. TomToms use Linux as O/S, much faster.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    Not necessarily true TomJ from what I read. The newer 7x5 are much faster, with a much quicker and smoother screen redraw than any of the TomTom's. There are also several areas in Europe where the quality of the Navteq maps exceeds TeleAtlas on the TomTom's, Mios, etc.
    Just as saying that Navteq maps are "hands down" better than Teleatlas in the US is no longer a true statement, making the same argument for TomTom/Teleatlas in Europe doesn't carry water anymore. If you're going to Italy for instance, I've been told by a reliable friend of mine(who has used then both) that Navteq is the one to follow.
  • TeleAtlas rocks in Italy!

    While I agree that overall they are equivalent in terms of map quality, TT still has the edge in handling roundabouts. Even with the latest v8.3 issues, TT never lags more than 10 feet and gives great verbal warnings in town.

    Finally, they are ALWAYS doing roadworks here and TT has the BEST alternate route/detour setup of them all, and you know I run 3 different units here.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    I don't know that even the roundabouts issue is valid anymore, at least not as applied to the newer 2x5's and 7x5's. With the vastly improved refresh on those units, I doubt position lag is any issue.
  • Thanks, I'll try posting there too. In the meantime the comments here are suggesting that there's not too much difference between Tom Tom and Garmin in relation to maps.

    Does geographical location (eg uk and italy) make a lot of difference in terms of satellite acquisition times?
  • Tim 1482 Points
    Does geographical location (eg uk and italy) make a lot of difference in terms of satellite acquisition times?
    None. GPS works equally well almost anywhere on the planet.
  • Thanks, I'll try posting there too. In the meantime the comments here are suggesting that there's not too much difference between Tom Tom and Garmin in relation to maps.

    Does geographical location (eg uk and italy) make a lot of difference in terms of satellite acquisition times?
    Agreed, but in Europe roadworks are CONSTANT. The superior rerouting/detouring ability of TT will put you in good stead! I cant emphasize this enough.
  • Infama, You are a clear afficionado of the TT I gather! I went into one of our local dealers this pm to try handling both the TT(ONE XL v2) and the Garmin (760) to get a feel for them.

    While they are similar in operation, the vertical slider zooming control at the RH of the screen was very difficult to control in the TT compared to using the + and - buttons on the Garmin. The guy in the store didn't know of any alternative. Is there one?
  • Those 2 devices are NOT equivalent. You compare mid range TT to high end Garmin.

    The 920 has a + and - zoom control as well!

    In any case, I also own a Garmin and an iPaq310, so...I do have an open mind.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    Yeah Infama. So do I. . . 8)

    When I was looking at the in-depth review here the 920 seems to have the same type of map zoom control as the ONE XL I saw this pm in the store.

    The image is under the paragraph about half way down the review headed RDS-TMC ( first set of four images , top right) headed Traffic Overview Map, M25 . The zoom ctrl is on the RH and is a vertical bar with slider. Am I looking in the wrong place? Sorry don't know how to include a screen dump here!
  • That is the browse map screen...not the Nav screen! The Nav screen has buttons.

    It is not a slider tap the level you need. If you try sliding it, it will cause problems. Works like google maps.
  • Thanks, I get the idea now.

    Thanks to you and all the others for the advice.
  • Most welcome buddy!
  • Tim 1482 Points
    I'm resurrecting a five year old thread. Funny how I googled "best maps for Italy, TomTom or Garmin" and came up with this thread. :) Of course these days we are talking about Google maps vs Navteq Maps vs TomTom maps. As near as I can tell for the little towns in Italy I'm looking at both TomTom and Navteq look pretty good, with Google far behind.

    If anyone has recent experience with these various maps in Italy I'd love to hear about it.
  • gbjbany 0 Points
    I hope you havent been and come back by now - But i thought i would post my recent Garmin Experience in Italy, France and the UK.
    I have a Garmin 1490 LMT and i purchased the Europe maps

    First off - I would have been lost (pun intended) without my GPS - the $99 for the europe maps easily paid for itself.
    Good things - I used both in a car and walking around and it helped find our way back to our hotel when lost in Paris, and Monaco. It was great for finding ATM's close by for specifc banks (avoid atm fees) that i would nevr have found.
    We drove around in Devon and didnt have an issue with teh smaller streets/roads, indeed we found routes that the locals didnt know !
    Not so good things - When on the autostasse in Italy between Nice and florence, (around Genova) the number of Tunnels, made it almost unusable (no signal duh !) but we got through.
    Whilst travelling "over" surface streets on the autostrasse it would get confused and recalculate thinking we were off track.
    It seemed (could be the age of the gps ) to take for ever to acquire a satellite.
    Many of teh streets (roadworks were clsoed in Florence and i could not get the thing to calculate around them .

    Thats about it - like i said very useful but some limiattions
  • Landyman 81 Points
    Unfortunately, in my opinion neither are ideal. I bought my first GPSr in 1996, it was a Garmin GPS-75. Although not used for many years, it was still working in May 2012, when Garmin gave me £50 Cashback for a new Montana 650t - possibly the 'least worse' general purpose GPSr available today.

    The GPS-75 was replaced by an eMap and then a 2610. This series was probably the best series of GPSr produced by Garmin for road vehicle use. It had in the 2650 model, 'Dead Reckoning' which would solve the long tunnel problems mentioned by gbjbany.

    It had, I think, three voice warnings prior to a junction, giving the different distances to the turn - so ideal voice instructions. A pop-up window displayed the junction layout, with the approach always from the bottom. It did not rotate (track up).

    So verbal and visual instructions were perfect. Many postings suggest that all Nuvi models now only provide a single voice warning - the street name. I only know street names in areas I know, so useless in areas I don't know. In the UK, street names can only be seen (if one is lucky) after one has started the turn into a street. This causes the driver to be uncertain when approaching a junction, especially when there are a couple of turns very close together.

    Garmin UK telephone support advised me that the 765T was a replacement for my 2610, so I bought one. It could never be described as a replacement as so much was missing. This included the triple distance to turn warnings and the loss of the junction layout.

    The 765T replaces these most helpful details with a zooming map, so that the junction detail becomes visable. But as the map is continually zooming in, it's impossible to know ones distance to the turn.

    Often the zoom is too great, that the exit of the junction is then off the screen, leaving the driver with no assistance.

    OK folk will say that the visual picture of the approaching junction's lanes is better, but (on the 765T) it's on the screen for such a short time, that a passenger has to continually look at the screen, to actually seen this flash of display.

    So a better GPSr was required. Back in July 1998, I bought TomTom's 'Route Planner' software, when they traded under their own name - Palmtop. This ran on Psion battery powered computers and provided Europe wide route planning. With a Garmin plugged into a Psion, I had a quality moving map display on a 5.8" or 7.7" diameter screen. I continued using this software for many years and it was good, considering the technology of the time.

    So I decided to buy my first TomTom GPSr. It was a 'GO-7000 Truck, caravan & motorhome' - a top of the range product. It was a very poor GPSr. The faults included:-

    Out of date maps, although I had downloaded the latest maps prior to a 2 month trip to France. The maps on my Garmin 76CSx which were two year old CN Europe, were newer than the TT.

    The POI search on the TT was so bad that I had to search on the 76CSx and then type in the lat/long to the TT.

    Waypoint icons would not display on the TT, but some POIs did!

    The routing attempted to take me under low bridges that were lower than my vehicle height that I had entered into the TT.

    Back home in the UK and I later bought a Snooper motorhome GPSr. It's faults included 40 mph speed limit warnings on 70 mph motorways!

    At that point I decided that a small laptop would be better in providing a moving map display that would show waypoints (like on my 2610), which from internet sites, I get the impression that waypoint display is another feature now removed.

    The modern day GPSr would appear to be a device for getting from where one is to a known place by any route, using track-up zoomed in displays. Knowing the actual route used is no longer of interest and making waypoints on the move and finding them later is no longer of interest to the current users.

    OK now retired my interest is in travelling in a motorhome/RV, where the journey is more important than the destination, most of the time. I want to visit places marked as waypoints/POIs and discover places enroute to visit. I also want to keep a track log as I travel, so that I can look back over my journeys. There are many motorhome/RV/camping car owners with their numbers increasing. GPSr manufactures are even designing (or should I say - knocking together a generally feeble device) as they see a profit in that area of sales, yet why no decent products?
  • sussamb 829 Points
    Interesting post but I wonder whether you have actually tried a recent Garmin?

    On my 1490, which is a couple of years old now, there are numerous warnings before the turn, not just one. Yes it zooms in as you approach, but I can set the zoom and with it set the way I have it the junction never disappears off the screen. Additionally all nuvis have a track log, so you can always see where you've been up to the limit of the track log that can be stored before it starts to get overwritten.

    I'm so pleased with the way my 1490 works, and it's mainly used throughout the UK and France, with the occasional visit to Spain, that I'm hanging on to it as long as it continues to switch on!
  • Boyd 1999 Points
    On my 3790, the tracklog would only display if you zoomed way in. I mean WAY in, like maybe 500 feet. Made it pretty useless. I no longer have the 3790, so maybe it was changed in newer firmware. But I am reluctant to generalize about things such as tracklog and waypoint display, because it seems to be a constantly moving target on the Nuvi series.

    The newer models use a split screen for junction view with the map on one side (or vertically stacked in Portrait view). This seems a little more helpful than those full screen views on the older models. The person I gave my 3790 to thinks that the junction views may be its best feature (this is her first GPS).

    Waypoints along with their names are shown on the 3790 and (I think...) most of the new models. Older units, like the 1xx0 series, only show waypoint icons with no names.
  • Landyman 81 Points
    Interesting post but I wonder whether you have actually tried a recent Garmin?
    Yes, I bought a Montana 650t which is a good GPSr, but has a few weak points. I recently by accident lost all of my settings which had taken a long time to setup and I was still not close to getting it quite right. (Cleaning the screen while booting can wipe out all your settings.)
    I'm so pleased with the way my 1490 works, and it's mainly used throughout the UK and France, with the occasional visit to Spain, that I'm hanging on to it as long as it continues to switch on!
    I would have liked to hang on to my 2610, but it eventually failed.

    It's now getting difficult to know much about a new GPSr. I've been considering the new 'Nuvi 3598 Lifetime Maps & Digital Traffic Full Europe', but Garmin have now stopped providing a PDF User Manual. Although these only cover a fraction of what the GPSr does, it was a good starter. Maybe I should get a vehicle mount for my Montana - it's cheaper!

    A local on-line store has reviews by purchasers, who have to provide general personal categories like age. Interestingly the number of stars given is inversely proportional to age. I suspect that it's not so much age, but years of experience of GPSrs. i.e. those with experience of older models give less stars and new comers see only the eye-candy and give more stars!

    My 765T was claimed to have an older traffic system but I never had anything from it. In the vehicle power cable there is a 'soap-on-a-rope' with a wire antenna coming out with a couple of suction pads. Maybe I need a firmware update?

    Thanks for your comments.
  • sussamb 829 Points
    FYI manuals for all Garmin GPS are available on line in pdf format :wink:
  • Landyman 81 Points
    FYI manuals for all Garmin GPS are available on line in pdf format :wink:
    Not true for 'all'.

    Manuals for nüvi® 3598LMT-D, look here:-


    Only a 'Declaration of Conformity' - no user manual.

    Anywhere else I should look?
  • sussamb 829 Points
    Exactly the same ... Garmin manuals tend to cover a range of GPS, not every model within a range. See here
  • Landyman 81 Points
    Exactly the same ... Garmin manuals tend to cover a range of GPS, not every model within a range.
    Boyd wrote much the same. Both links were for a different model, but the model I mentioned did not show a user manual on it's page. So either no manual or an omission by Garmin.

    Anyway thanks to both.

    Academic at the moment as there is no stock for immediate sale!
  • sussamb 829 Points
    No. The link is for the 3507/3508 series ... that includes the 3598 you were talking about :wink:

    Why there isn't a direct link from the 3598 page only Garmin can say ... I suspect it's just an ommission :)
  • Boyd 1999 Points
    Garmin no longer makes manuals for a specific model like the 3598LMT-D. They make very general manuals that cover a whole series of devices. In this case, a single manual covers all nuvi's with model numbers beginning in 35 and ending with either 7 or 8, hence the 3507/3508 title.

    The manual in both my and sussamb's links is the correct one for the 3598LMT-D.

  • Regarding use (accuracy) in Europe:
    I own an older TT and a newish Garmin. (I actually have a preference for the TT, but the Garmin has newer features.)
    The only times I have experienced failures in route instruction has been in Italy. Neither device has ever given me wrong instructions elsewhere. Only in Italy!!

    Italy is a difficult country in which to drive - with or without a navigation device. But I certainly recommend having one in that country.
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