TomTom vs Garmin GPS

Last year when we went to the UK for our holiday, my sister lent us her state of the art TomTom portable GPS car navigation device. The TomTom worked about half the time, except when there’s a cloud in the sky, rain or any heavenly obstruction the signal goes off so we were left to drive around using a combination of instinct and our rusty navigational skills with the A-Z Maps. Needless to say, this being the UK and there being plenty of clouds and rain, there was very little peace and harmony within our rented car during that trip, since neither Hubs nor I were ever scout or girl guide to equip ourselves with the necessary survival skills for this great moment of need.

From time to time the TomTom would take more than half an hour to search for a GPS signal, so Hubs told me that I needed to do a hard reboot. Of course there is no button saying Hard Reboot to make my life uncomplicated. A consult with our trusted friend Google was called for, who led us to some discussion forums on how to reboot, which you do by holding the power button until you see a diagnostic screen, then you do a quick tap-tap-tap half a second apart three times on the on-off button. I’m sure I could have worked that out within my lifetime but we were quite short of time and Hubs would not trust my wizardry with gadgets. I did the taptaptap several times during our journey from Bristol to Oxford. You can tell by the discussion trail that TomTom was giving a lot of grief to many users, so much so that one member offered to give the TomTom CEO a kick in the nuts if he should see him. Due to our consultation and urgent navigational needs, we ended up biting the bullet and paying the roaming charges to use Waze, which unfortunately sucks up the iPhone battery life very quickly.

This year, during our Australian adventure to Ballarat and the Great Ocean Road, we used the Garmin Nuvi 1450. It’s a basic device, but does its job well. We got to the Twelve Apostles from Melbourne up to Port Campbell and back without any trouble at all. The only time it got a bit confused was when we were looking for The Forge Pizzeria (great pizzas by the way!) on 1771 Sturt St in Ballarat, due to the no-left turn sign, Miss Garmin Sultry Voice got us into a loop so we had to use a combination of Waze, Google map and Garmin GPS to get there. To be fair neither Waze nor Google map could locate the address accurately.

Having a good GPS does make a difference. At least we did not need to test the strength of our marriage against any misdirections and driving misadventures in a foreign land this time around. And since I am relieved of map duty this year, I got to concentrate on what I do best – sleep and handing out the chocolates.;)

Happy driving, folks!


3 thoughts on “TomTom vs Garmin GPS

  1. Thanks for the info. My wife and I do a lot of state side and international traveling and I am looking to buy a mobile GPS unit for her this month and have not owned or searched for one in many years. Between the Tom Tom and Garmin I will be going with the Garmin now. Thanks for the info.

    • Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for dropping by. I’ve not used either of the GPS in the US, but Garmin would have been my preference based on my personal experience. It was not as fancy as the TomTom (we have to input the precise address in the Garmin, whereas the TomTom had more advanced search functions) and we must have been out of luck when we were using the latter in the UK. Many people seem quite happy with their TomTom. Having said that, I find that it is always helpful to check against Waze or Google map (both are apps we have on our iPhones). The GPS certainly took out all the worry when we were driving after dark in a foreign land! 🙂

      Good luck and all the best in your lovely wedding services!


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