An Unexpected Opportunity to test drive another GPS
Garmen Street Pilot 550
Recently I found myself in a quandary. I was drivingÂ to Canada from the Midwest, when I realized I’d forgotten to pack my Garmen Street Pilot 550 GPS before leaving Florida. Since gettingÂ my GPS from my parked truck in Florida was impossible I went to planÂ B. Plan B was purchasing another GPS to use on the trip and then gift it to my boyfriend Rob.Â Having purchased my Garmen GPSÂ online the day after Thanksgiving I wasn’t really excited toÂ outlay another big chunk of cash for another model just for the trip. My original GPS cost approximately $350 on sale. Prices have dropped since then, I found the same modelÂ tonight on Amazon for $265 plus shipping.
I opted to purchase a less expensive model for the last minute forgot to pack it senerio. I choose a Tom Tom. This GPS cost me $149 plus tax. I have to say that it was pretty simple to operate. Now that is probablyÂ because I was already very familiar with the process of using a GPS. That said,Â the Tom Tom did have some very annoying qualities and they took me some time to figure out and dispense with.
Â First off the Tom Tom screenÂ doesn’t have a menu button, which my Garmen has, point to Garmen. The Tom Tom screen just has touch sensitive areas that you have to touch and learn to reach different screens. This is highly annoying. Second issue with the Tom Tom wasÂ theÂ preset safety beep that goes off every timeÂ you are going above the speed limit. I kid you not, it sounds exactly like the seat belt sign on an airplane. Trust me when I say you don’t want to hear that for seven hours in the car every single time you go above the speed limit. Most annoying of all, I didn’t figure out what the beep was until the end of theÂ trip! Once I figured it outÂ I was able to easily disable it, point to Garmen that my Street Pilot 550 doesn’t seem to have this annoying feature.
One point for the Tom Tom was the fact that I could select an alternate route. If the Tom Tom calculated my route and I scrolled through the screens and found it taking me ways I didn’t like I could click on alternate route and it would give me another option. If my Garmen Street Pilot 550 has this feature I haven’t found it. The Tom Tom did have the same basic option of zooming in on your route and zooming out to see a longer version of the current travel route. One other thing I really liked about the Tom Tom was the large arrow that tells you which way you will be turning. It is clear and easy to read while driving, point to Tom Tom. Another really nice feature of the Tom Tom was the fact that it gave meÂ a continuous update of how many miles I had to go until my next turn and it gave me my driving speed, point to Tom Tom.
My Garmen does give me my driving speed and the miles to my next turn but I have to access them through an additional screen.Â My Garmen also gives me some cool features such as average speed and trip miles.Â I’m uncertain if the Tom Tom offers these, having only used it for a single trip. Another annoying issue with the Tom Tom is the highly sensitive screen, if you touch it in any way you are suddenly whisked to a different screen you didn’t even want, point to Garmen that this doesn’t happen.
Overall the Tom Tom is a good basic model, but it doesn’t offer many of the cooler features that Garmen models offer. My personal favorite is the voice option. I have my Garmen set to a sexy Australian male voice. My friend Tammy commented he sounds so personable you expect him to say I’ll have some shrimp on the barbie when you arrive! The Tom Tom does have voice options as well, but for many of the more special voice choices, such as Irish, you have to visit the Tom Tom site and download the voice. This I found to be annoying, another point to Garmen. I personally prefer my Garmen Street Pilot. The very easy to use menu features and the simplicity of operation make it a breeze for me. Both models offer restaurant, gas station, and tourist information searches; which is a real blessing when traveling. Having owned a GPS for the last seven months I seriously wonder what made me wait so long to purchase one!
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