Comparison of 4 GPS Systems requested.
January 29, 2006 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Need your assistance in comparing 4 vehicle GPS systems before purchasing one of them. Units include Garmin Streetpilot C340, C330, Magellan RoadMap 360, and TomTom Go 700. Pl provide feed back on screen size and ease of viewing while driving, anti-glare sceen, backlight at night for viewing, ease of use. Your pro and cons would be appreciated. If you have a unit not mentioned but believe it is better than those listed above, let me know. Leaving soon on a trip and your responses would be appreciated ASAP. Thank you.
posted by Scanner to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I don't own any, but a TomTom model is the only GPS navigation system I've ever heard the Top Gear TV show team say anything complimentary about.
posted by krisjohn at 1:58 PM on January 29, 2006

I would not recommend this for day to day use but if you have a laptop and you want a cheap alternative for long trips or something then you can use Microsoft Streets & trips 2006 which can be purchased with a GPS unit. I got mine for maybe $115 at Best Buy but I’m sure there are better deals online. You’d also need to buy an adaptor to power your laptop. You can use the software to find hotels, landmarks, etc or just enter in an address. I can’t imagine that it is an easy to use as the units you mentioned but it does have a backlight and will give verbal directions.
posted by hokie409 at 2:42 PM on January 29, 2006

I have an earlier version of the Garmin Streetpilot. 310?, 320? It's been wonderful.
Works like a champ, and has survived several drops of around 3 to 4 feet onto the pavement.
Easy to use. I bought it the day before a cross-county drive. Didn't have the change to play with it before pulling onto the interstate. My wife and I figured everything out with a few minutes fiddling around. Used it to look ahead in our route to find hotel rooms and restaurants. Only 136 miles to the next Steak 'n Shake!

Glare can be a problem on bright days. Mostly this isn't a big deal since you mostly rely on the audio directions anyway.
Screen is not visible at all with polarized sunglasses.
Suction cup that attaches device to windshield not the greatest unless your windshield is clean. Unless you lick it first. But then your windshield is covered with what looks like dozens of hickies.
Satellite reception takes a while when you first turn it on. Usually about 30 seconds, but that can feel like a long time when you're just sitting in your car waiting to go.
Reception can have trouble in cities. I've only had problems in downtown Manhattan, but if you're planning on using this mostly in a city, it would get annoying.

I haven't had a panicky "I'm lost" call from my wife in 6 months.
posted by Eddie Mars at 3:04 PM on January 29, 2006

I've heard bad things about the Tom Tom from friends. I bought a Streetpilot C330 myself and I love it. It's portable enough while maintaining a decent screensize, I haven't had glare problems and it's easy to use. It switches to "night mode" automatically after a certain time. Route calculation is fast but a downside is that it doesn't save routes (it always has to calculate them). The only problem with reception I had was coming out of a parking garage in downtown Toronto. For some reason even after I came out it wouldn't get the signal until I cycled the power. I've never had problems like that since though. From what I can tell the differences between the 330 and 340 don't justify the increased price but I've never actually used a 340 so your opinion may differ.
posted by saraswati at 4:33 PM on January 29, 2006

i have a Tom Tom and love it. bought it last summer before a big road trip, it is very easy to use and worked very well.

+ glare is sometimes a slight issue. i can't imagine it not being one though. the sTOMp sTOMp glare thing helps a lot though
+ the onscreen keypad can be a little hard to type on. i suppose if you don't type while driving it would be easier though!
+ it lost signal in downtown chicago sometimes. i believe the new GPS chips will handle urban canyons better though.

+ great voices, LOUD speaker. i tried a couple other (Garmin and Magellan) units in stores but could not always hear them well enough that i would know to turn when the music was going.
+ good size screen and overall size. it does not take up much of my window, just enough.
+ very fast, usually. occasionally i will have to wait a minute for it to get a signal, but 95% of the time it is instantaneous.

if i were to do it again i would buy the Tom Tom still, but i might wait for the newer GPS chips to be out. they may be now, i have not looked.
posted by annoyance at 7:11 AM on January 30, 2006

I love Tom Tom. I started out hating it. The only thing that is not so good about Tom Tom is that when you use it as your phone, it picks up a lot of road noise so your conversations are usually noisy.
posted by FergieBelle at 2:36 PM on January 30, 2006

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