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TomTom Vs Garmin

Updated on September 28, 2011

TomTom vs Garmin

Two of the most popular brands of GPS devices are TomTom and Garmin. Both have multiple models that are mobile and can be used inside or outside of your vehicle. GPS technology has expanded over the last several years to include mobile devices for cars and motorcycles, software for mobile devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and Pocket PCs.

GPS is more than just knowing where you are and where you are headed. Now you can receive real time traffic alerts, listen to your favorite MP3s and use Bluetooth to integrate information to and from your mobile phone including calls and voice read text messages. Even if you know your way around the area, GPS units can instantly locate airports, restaurants, hospitals and other points of interest with directions on how to get there from your present location.

When traveling in an unfamiliar area a GPS unit performs as a safety device. Car trouble or a flat tire in unfamiliar territory can cause you to doubt your immediate safety. If you find yourself in this situation a GPS device can aid in locating help or mobile repair services along with addresses and phone numbers.

Multiple routes can be accessed. Avoid toll roads, choose the scenic route instead of the quickest one.

TomTom is a global company based overseas. They are manufactured by a Dutch company and their customer service is located in Amsterdam. TomTom offers multiple stand alone units and they also offer software for other mobile devices,

Most all units have bright clear touchscreen displays and clear sounding speakers. They have adequate amounts of internal storage space as well as expansion slots for SD cards. Fast CPUs respond quickly to your demands. They are easily updated via a USB port.

Garmin's original founders were Gary Burrell and Min H. Kao. Although one was from the US and one was from Taiwan they joined together to form a company that both felt was the future of Navigation - GPS technology.

Garmin International, Inc., headquarters for the parent company, Garmin Ltd, is located in Olathe, Kansas. Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Cayman Islands. The primary production facility, Garmin (Asia) Corp., is located in Taiwan.

Garmin has a wide variety of GPS units. They began with the GPS 100 which was a $2500 unit designed for marine use, Garmin then produced a hand held GPS unit that was popular with the military. Next Garmin introduced the wrist worn GPS devices for runners called the (Forerunner) and the Foretrex which is popular with hikers, off-road bikers and sailboat racers.


Prices for either the TomTom or Garmin units start at around $200 and go up to over $600. The more these units progress the more features are included. They are actually becoming as much a personal assistant and they are GPS units. They are now small enough to be carried in your pocket or purse and can be used inside or outside of the vehicle. The voice integration is a real safety feature as is the Bluetooth handsfree ability for your cell phone.

Users have reported that the stand alone GPS units are more user friendly than many built in units that are found in vehicles. Many users also like to the option of moving the units between cars.

Garmin Nuvi 880 test drive

The TomTom ONE XL Portable Extra-wide Screen GPS Navigation System is a mid priced unit with high end features.

  • The widescreen display is a generous 4.3 inches of touchscreen delight that provides a wide screen version of maps.
  • Optional real-time traffic reports
  • Maps that include all 50 states and Canada
  • Turn-by-turn voice directions
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • Compass mode
  • Anti glare screen
  • Included windshield mount
  • Withstands temperatures of 14 degrees to 131 degrees Fahrenheit

One of their most popular units is the Garmin StreetPilot series. One of the mid-priced Garmin GPS units is the Nuvi 360 Pocket Vehicle GPS Navigator with Maps for North America.

  • 2D or 3D views
  • Maps for all 50 US states, Puerto Rico and Canada
  • Turn-by-turn directions with street names
  • Real time traffic and weather
  • 2.8 in touchscreen (can be viewed in daylight)
  • Translator
  • Picture album
  • Audio book player
  • Travel alarm
  • Currency converter
  • Included suction dash mount

TomTom Speed Camera Warning


Personally I think that the stand alone units would be very useful when shopping in an unfamiliar city. When you are in a maze of tall buildings it is often difficult to get your bearings. The newer models have less trouble reading the sky even in this situation. The POI (point of interest) feature should point you in the right direction. Another experience that I've had is jogging in a neighborhood that most houses and streets look alike. While visiting family overnight and going for a morning run I was totally turn around. There were no good landmarks that I could remember. One of these GPS units would have got me back to the house sooner.

Read more of my GPS hubs:

Garmin Nuvi GPS Sorted by Features

TomTom Features List

Garmin Nuvi 705 Series with Lane Assist

Garmin Nuvi 850 and 880

Garmin Nuvi 1390T

Garmin Nuvi GPS Garage Sale Navigation

Garmin Nuvi GPS Open House Navigation

GPS Navigation Garmin StreetPilot c330 vs 340

Garmin StreetPilot 7500 GPS – XM and Remote Control

Garmin Forerunner 205 vs 305

Garmin GPS Forerunner with Foot Pod vs Nike Sport Kit

Garmin GPS Bicycle Fitness Edge 305 vs Edge 705

Disclosure: I may earn affiliate income if you make a purchase from this Hub


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