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which brand is the best

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Showing 151-161 of 161 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2009 10:20:13 AM PDT
T. Dooley says:
I'd like to thank you for the non biased remarks about all of the major brands. Very informative!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2009 8:01:05 PM PDT
M. D. Herren says:
I have used a Gps for about 3 years. I have a Magellan Roadmate 760. The maps got old so rather spring for an update, I bought a Garmin street pilot C340. That was a big mistake. The Garmin had the newest maps but it was terrible on routing( only choices were shortest distance or fastest time. I tried it out locally and it constant wanted to route me through the hood in Memphis. Went back to My Roadmate. About 4 weeks ago I bought a refurb Magellan Maestro 3250 2007 maps but it was a bargain at $89.99 it has voice command(limited and can require repeat of commands sometimes) but it has blue tooth, AAA, announces turns by street name and one touch location. Also give you altitude. $ ways of routing shortest distance, quickest time, most use of freeways, least use of freeways and also allows you to avoid toll roads. maps for the Magellan and Garmin are made by same company. Hertz rental cars use Magellan. So my choice Magellan. Amazon has a fantastic price on a New 4250

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 6:46:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2009 6:46:53 AM PDT
Grumpy Tech says:
After using a TomTom for over a year I would NOT recommend it. I would get a Garmin. In fact I am planning on getting a Garmin 760(discontinued but still available) or newer model next month.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 11:52:41 AM PDT
FWIW I think Garmin 'wins' because of intuitive interface. Features are just features but if you can't get to/enter information what's the use of any unit. I sold gps units for a while in Sharper Image a few years ago and Garmin was easier to learn and Garmins didn't come back.

My personal use is limited. I asked around 12-13 years ago when I was getting ready to purchase and was steered to Garmin - a Color Street Pilot unit with much the same interface as today. I still have it but there has been such advances that I just want to try a new one. The 378, although a couple of years old, is at the top of my list so I can use it on my boat but it is being challenged by the Nuvi 500 & 550 models (newer and touch-screen but *apparently* lacking the easy waypoint-dropping feature of my venerable StreetPilot. (I'm checking on this.)

A couple of years ago I disregarded by own advice and bought an integrated gps-audio-video unit from a stereo manufacturer for my MK IV Supra when I rebuilt it. Having a 'Double-DIN' sized touch screen is pretty cool and the stereo sounds great but the unit is mounted at the bottom of the 'center column' of the instrument panel just an inch above the transmission hump (and behind the shift lever). Not having it on or near the top of the dash makes it hard to view when driving.

I'm comfortable with the integrated unit now mainly because I don't enter data underway and expressly rely on the voice instructions (street names and distances are announced) to get me to an address. The system has auto-zoom but it's basically useless to me. If I want information about a POI I have to pull off the road to look it up. One nice feature is the steering wheel-mounted wireless remote - mandatory even for simple tasks like changing stereo bands/stations. Interior noise makes voice commands unpredictable.

A single use button to drop a waypoint is missing from this integrated unit and for me this feature is 'mandatory' because I sometimes travel on roads that aren't shown on the map updates - say when I am following 'popcorn' home but need to have a record of the trip to follow when I return sometime later. My Color Street Pilot has this feature and drops serial numbered waypoints with a simple two-button push as I slow for the turns. I later label them in English. I'll avoid buying a GPS w/o an easy-to-use 'drop-a-waypoint' feature because maps aren't updated very well regardless of what the manufacturers tell you. Sometimes the street is there but the numbers have been reassigned and the update doesn't pick it up for 10 years.

Summary: Garmin for better user interface; Single use to get it to the dash top if possible; Easy drop-a-waypoint feature. Largest screen you can afford that won't block your driving. FM Transmitter or a good speaker to hear the voice instructions.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 9:00:55 AM PDT
I agree that a Garmin is easy to use and I love my Nuvi 255W but my Navigon 2000S beats the Garmin badly when it comes to navigation instructions. The reality view, lane assist and advanced TTS has made it nearly impossible to miss a turn whereas my Garmin can leave me guessing at a complicated intersection.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 5:20:36 PM PDT
And you can always buy a Road Atlas for 5 bucks.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2009 5:11:21 PM PDT
Warren stated:

My usual recommendation for someone who's never owned a gps is go with Garmin.

Thanks Warren, I needed that bit of info.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 8:51:57 PM PST
dsRussell, you covered it fairly well. There is no "best". Customer service-wise, I've found Garmin to be tops, followed by TomTom, Navigon then Magellan. But most users will never need them, so I wouldn't make that my top concern. Instead go to Radio Shack and look at the Navigons, hard to find anywhere else. Then Best Buy to check out Garmin, Tomtom and Magellan. Ignore whether you get any satellite lock inside the store. For any number of reasons, you may not, and it's not intended for use indoor anyway. Instead pay attention to how easily you can use the PND (personal navigation device), how easy it is to see at a glance. In general, as dsRussell said, Garmin has been the easiest to use right out of the box, very intuitive. TomTom's don't really have more features (some different ones), but the information displayed on the screen is more customizable, with quite a few more menu options, some useful and others not so much. Mapshare is not as useful as TomTom leads you to believe, and yes you still have to buy maps. Both Navigon's and Magellans are just as customizable as TomTom's, and Navigon's will take about as much time, if not more, to really understand. Magellan is a little more straight-forward. But with Navigon and Maggie (owned by Mio/Mitac now) you get a lot of features for the price. I would avoid any other brands you come across since device updates and maps will probably be few and far between (with the possible exception of Telenav if you happen to see one). As far as cost after the sale, both Garmin and Navigon offer free traffic and very good map subscriptions, making them very economical to keep up to date. TomTom's have the highest map prices of any of the portable gps manufacturers, no map subscription available, and traffic is a paid yearly subscription. Magellans's map and traffic prices are less than TomTom's, but still not cheap. My usual recommendation for someone who's never owned a gps is go with Garmin. You'll spend a lot less time frustrated by features and operation. Once you've got some experience with them, you'll understand more what the usefullness of some features are and make it easier to find your next device in a couple of years, whether Garmin or someone else. But I'd certainly consider TomTom and Navigon along with Garmin. I might give Magellan another few months to sort out the new ownership and their model line.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 2:29:27 PM PST
Mystic says:
I think the 885 would be an excellent choice. I just used a Navigon 2200t along side a Nuvi 265wt for a few weeks and would recommend a Nuvi anyday. The navigon had a horrible UI, and graphics that made it almost impossible to see street names. The 265wt was super easy to navigate through the menus, and the map graphics were easy to see while glancing at them while driving.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 12:09:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2009 12:15:36 PM PST
dsrussell says:
Best brand? Wow, that's a loaded question (and impossible to answer). Since there are far more Garmin owners than any other brand in the U.S. (especially on Amazon, it appears), a poll wouldn't do much good (except to hear a lot of "buy Garmin"). Each manufacturer brings something to the table and each GPS has its own set of quirks.

For instance, TomTom has map share and IQ routes, and is extremely customizable. Magellan has some nice features and has AAA guides. Navigon has the most complete lane assist (one long-time Garmin user thought the Navigon 8100 blew his Nuvi 765t out of the water). Garmin is the easiest to interface with. And on and on. I don't know too many people who have 3 or 4 GPS units from different manufacturers, except for perhaps Warren Merrill (hopefully, he will see this thread and give his comments).

As far as Voice Recognition, I've heard that Garmin has one of the better voice recognition interfaces in the market (check the review at -- a pro-Garmin site, but it has several movies about this feature).

Check each site's accepted phone list as far as Bluetooth is concerned. Many people have had problems (not only on Garmin units). Also, go visit a place where you can look and listen (and "talk") to them (some manufacturers, such as Garmin, don't exactly put in a high quality speaker).

Initial post: Mar 3, 2009 8:47:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2009 9:07:06 AM PST
I would like to know from long time users which brand is the best to buy. I would like to have the bluetooth connectivity but most of the topics I see do not support the palm centro (my mobile phone). Are there any that do support this bluetooth connection?

I would also like to have one with voice recognition, but want to know how good the recognition is...does it understand you or do you have to keep repeating yourself several times?

I am leaning towards the garmin 885 (because of bluetooth
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Discussion in:  GPS forum
Participants:  80
Total posts:  161
Initial post:  Mar 3, 2009
Latest post:  Jun 3, 2012

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