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#289313 - 05/11/2006 17:49 Stop me before I buy this
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
I'm considering making this impulse buy. There's a CarToys within shouting distance of my house...

Since the Empeg's GPS software doesn't do automatic routing and re-routing, it's not very useful for me when I need to drive around traffic jams (something I'm now going to be doing daily). I'd love to have a toy like this for my daily commute.

So, quickly, before I run out and buy one of these today, does anyone here know of a better unit for that price?
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#289314 - 05/11/2006 18:01 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5677
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I wouldn't recommend that anyone buy a GPS nav unit without first comparing it in use to a TomTom One. In my opinion TomTom have the best interface and functionality.

That said, I haven't seen the Magellan unit in operation, but the TomTom is better than any other brand GPS nav unit I have seen.
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#289315 - 05/11/2006 18:04 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Hm. Not sure the TomTom One would be useful to me... ?
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#289316 - 05/11/2006 18:07 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5677
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
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#289317 - 05/11/2006 18:08 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
Phil.
pooh-bah

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2479
I second the TomTom units!

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#289318 - 05/11/2006 18:09 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5677
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Though looking at the reviews of the US version it looks like some people are unhappy that it uses Tele Atlas rather than NAVTEQ data.

http://www.gpsmagazine.com/2006/09/review_tomtom_one.html

Looks like the cheapest you can get the TomTom One for in the US is about $420.


Edited by andy (05/11/2006 18:13)
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#289319 - 05/11/2006 18:14 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
sein
old hand

Registered: 07/01/2005
Posts: 883
Loc: Sector ZZ9pZa
Quote:
TomTom is better than any other brand GPS nav unit I have seen.

Yes absolutely, the TomTom One v2 is excellent (edit: in the UK). Recommended it to a few people and they are all very happy with it.


Edited by sein (05/11/2006 18:24)
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#289320 - 05/11/2006 18:15 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5677
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Oh, and in case it helps, the TomTom is a Linux box...

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#289321 - 05/11/2006 18:19 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Hm. The fact that it uses SD cards is possibly a selling point. Plus the fact that it's all-of-North-America instead of just USA.

Of course, it's selling for $499, and I could also get a Garmin unit that did all-of-North-America for $499.

My CarToys says they'll beat any local competior's price. Wonder if I can find anyone selling it in Seattle for less than $499...
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#289322 - 05/11/2006 18:21 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: sein]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
Yes absolutely, the TomTom One v2 is excellent.

Hm, so far everyone recommending the TomTom is from England. As the review said, it's map data source is somewhat lacking for the USA. Hm....
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#289323 - 05/11/2006 18:26 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5677
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I just used it for a 2,000+ mile trip round the rest of Europe if that helps, though it probably doesn't.
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#289324 - 05/11/2006 18:29 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Here's a question about the TomTom.

I'm reading a review of the Magellan unit on that same web site that you linked to me. And it says this in its review:
Quote:
The final step is telling the Magellan how it should calculate the route. The unit offers 4 options to choose from:
* Shortest Time
* Shortest Distance
* Least Use of Freeways
* Most Use of Freeways
There's also an option to tell the RoadMate to avoid tolls.


Since one of my primary daily uses of a GPS will be to avoid freeway congestion, does the TomTom have a similar feature, allowing me to cut out freeways in my route?
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#289325 - 05/11/2006 18:38 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5677
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I can't answer the question definitely for the US version. On the EU version there are two ways of achieving this.

The first is that one of the journey types is "avoid freeways". The other way is to select "fastest" and then go into the route detail and tell it to avoid certain roads (or rather road segments).

That review isn't exactly the most through I have seen, there are any features that it doesn't cover.

One area where TomTom isn't so good is manuals (much like Apple), it tends to be a voyage of discovery to find all the smaller features...
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#289326 - 05/11/2006 18:43 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
msaeger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/09/2000
Posts: 3608
Loc: Minnetonka, MN
Stop don't do it

If you want routes around traffic jams during the work commute can't you just learn the alternate routes.
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#289327 - 05/11/2006 18:49 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: msaeger]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Well, I also want a new toy.
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#289328 - 05/11/2006 18:57 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: andy]
Archeon
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2504
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Quote:

That review isn't exactly the most through I have seen, there are any features that it doesn't cover.


Maybe this review can help. (and yes, I also have a ONE NE, and LOVE it!)
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#289329 - 05/11/2006 19:18 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: Archeon]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Again, lots of love for the TomTom from European customers. But the linked review of the unit really had bad things to say about its US mapping...
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#289330 - 05/11/2006 22:31 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Quote:
...and I could also get a Garmin unit that did all-of-North-America for $499.

Wrong! You can buy the Garmin C320 for under $300. Get a 1GB SD card and it can hold all of North America. It's speedy and cheap. I have one and it works great. My previous GPS units were all Garmins as well.

Garmin uses Navteq maps which are apparently better in the US than Tele Atlas (used by Tom Tom), but I have never been able to compare the two head-to-head.
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#289331 - 05/11/2006 22:55 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: robricc]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
I ended up getting the Magellan unit.

I brought a printout of the a bunch of internet prices on the thing, which ranged from 306.00 to a tad under $350.00. CarToys flat out said they don't pricematch internet sites (which is actually contrary to what their web site says) so I took my business down the street to Best Buy, who said they'd give it to me for $349.00 based on the Buy.com price. Which is impressive, considering that's 50 bucks off.

I played around with it a bit this afternoon, and am happy with the purchase. Some nice features, a decent user interface. Perfectly usable.
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#289332 - 05/11/2006 22:57 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: robricc]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Nice suggestion on the Garmin, by the way, but the C320 wouldn't fit my form factor. I wanted it to be about the size and shape of the Magellan 2000 or the Tom Tom One.
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#289333 - 06/11/2006 02:56 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
Ladmo
addict

Registered: 04/09/2004
Posts: 515
Well, I waited to add my two cents worth (no, you can't have change!), but I wanted to know if anyone else besides me has horror stories of CarToys installs or "The Install From Hell!! I posted such a story years ago, and I have not graced one of their shops since, and I have made many recommendations AGAINST them to many of my friends, including a fleet deal. Just goes to show you what a lousy tech, and a rep who is less that truthfull can do.
Tony, I hoep you did not let CT install it for you!

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#289334 - 06/11/2006 07:38 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: Ladmo]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Fortunately, the device isn't the type that needs an install per se. And even if it were, I would have done it myself.

As it stands, I'm trying to come up with a system of mounting it that's relatively stealth and that can be removed completely when I'm parked. (i.e., no visible mounting brackets indicating to thieves that I even own something that can be mounted.)

It actually comes with a suction cup mount which meets that specification, but that impinges on the windshield view. I'm messing with ideas for various points to put temporary thumbscrew connections.
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#289335 - 06/11/2006 12:53 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: tfabris]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
The one I have, the Garmin StreetPilot i2, I have suction-cupped to my windshield just to the left of my rear-view mirror. It doesn't block sight of anything and it a fairly convenient location to glance at it while driving. It does keep me from using my sun visor, though. Not a big deal for me since I use one about twice a year. Probably less of a deal for you living in the Pacific Northwest now.
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#289336 - 06/11/2006 17:21 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: wfaulk]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
I tried several different locations for the unit when suction cupped to the windshield, including near the rearview, and disliked all of them. Athought I might reconsider the arrangement if my current solution turns out to be bad in the long run...

My current solution (worked it out last night) is very unobtrusive in terms of mounting hardware, and uses one of the existing screws on the instrument cluster cowling as its mounting anchor. It worked out quite well for this morning's commute. Basically, the unit's screen sits at the top edge of my instrument cluster. It's just above the 1 o'clock position of my steering wheel, with just enough space between it and the wheel to allow comfortable hand-over turns without bumping. And it's close enough to my right hand when driving in 10-and-2 position that I can hit the touchscreen controls without taking my hand very far from the wheel at all. Line-of-sight-wise, it manages to be just visible above the wheel (maybe about 1cm is cut off of the lower left corner, but that's OK because that's a fairly large icon that doesn't need to be 100 percent visible to be readable), and sits just below the lower edge of my windshield. So I can actually look directly at it without taking my eyes very off the road. I can still see the car ahead of me in my vision even if I'm focusing directly on the thing. This works out well, because I would hate to get in an accident because of looking too far down at the GPS screen.

The bracket I'm mounting it with is not quite as pretty as I'd like it to be (but still prettier and more stealth than a suction cup mount), so I'll work on it some more and see what I come up with. Once I have it looking its best, I'll post some photos.
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#289337 - 06/11/2006 17:39 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: robricc]
Robotic
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/04/2005
Posts: 2026
Loc: Seattle transplant
Quote:
Wrong! You can buy the Garmin C320 for under $300. Get a 1GB SD card and it can hold all of North America.

Wow- that's a great price. Occasionally they come up at Fry's for $300 and I've had my eye on them. Every time I get lost in a SF I wish I had one with me.
What's the deal with the maps? Where does one download them from and what do they cost?
The C320 might be a nice Christmas gift for my mom, now that I think about it.
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#289338 - 06/11/2006 18:16 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: Robotic]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4909
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
The maps come on the DVD-ROM that comes with the unit. The C320 comes with a 128MB card, but you can add anything up to 2GB. A 1GB SD card is enough to hold the entire mapset including 50 USA states, Canada and I think some of Mexico.

Just load-up the maps once for your mom and she will never have to plug it in to a computer again.
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#289339 - 06/11/2006 20:11 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: robricc]
Robotic
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/04/2005
Posts: 2026
Loc: Seattle transplant
Nice!
Thanks, Rob.
I threw the C320 in my cart at Amazon this morning (thinking I'd come back and read more later). Glad I did because between then and now the price has increased $6. Weird.

I haven't done much looking/reading yet, but I found this GPS forum to be (at first glance) a good stop:
http://gpsinformation.info/forum/

Also, the Garmin site is informative, complete with firmware updates:
http://www.garmin.com/products/sp320/

The price is the real deal clincher here. A friend of mine has an $800 zippie-doodle Garmin, but I'm not into spending that kind of money for a navigator. The C320 has been out for two years now, and I think that should point to an adequately satisfied user base.
I like how simple the interface seems to be.
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#289340 - 08/11/2006 00:38 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: Ladmo]
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
To chime in as an American Tom Tom user, I love the Tom Tom Navigator 5 I've used interfaced with a Palm Treo 650. The very useful phone is the screen, speaker, and storage for the tiny bluetooth GPS. Could use it walking around a city as much as avoiding traffic on a 12 lane highway.

Only problem, old Treo 650 can only use one bluetooth device at once. GPS or headset, that's it. The new Cingular Treo 680(p) (and their 750w?) support multiple Bluetooth devices. Finally, that makes the Tom Tom Navigator 5 just about perfect.
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#289341 - 15/11/2006 00:22 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: Robotic]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
I've had the c320 for about 5 months now (purchased it for my wife, but I use it a lot) and love it! She was using it the day I plugged it in with only about 30 seconds of instructions from me (she's not too tech savy). I purchased it BECAUSE it didn't have a built-in hard drive. With the SD card, you can updated waypoints or maps without uninstalling the unit. Also, the SDCard won't die on you like a hard drive AND you get better battery life. On top of that, you actually get a copy of the City Select maps with the c320 which Garmin lets you install on one additional unit. If you get the higher end version with the hard drive, you don't get the DVD.

$274.99 with free shipping

I always thought that battery life was an odd seller point since it's always plugged into a power source, but it came in handy recently when we switched vehicles to do a little real estate shopping. I just sat in the back seat of my brother-in-law's Jeep and told them where to go.

I just wish there were more fun voices for it!


Edited by SE_Sport_Driver (15/11/2006 02:02)
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#289342 - 15/11/2006 04:24 Re: Stop me before I buy this [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
Robotic
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/04/2005
Posts: 2026
Loc: Seattle transplant
My c320 arrived today!
I put in a 2GB SD card and loaded up ALL of the North America map info onto it - that took the better part of 2 hours.
Did some basic configurations in the setup menus and then let it try to tell me how to drive home. It recalculated a couple of times (I drove my normal commute route) and once thought I was on a parallel side road (due to recent changes in the main street's layout). Other than that it was really fun.
This independent review says the screen backlighting is a problem in daylight (not bright enough), but compared to others in that price range there isn't much room for complaint. It's certainly bright enough in the evening hours.
Another complaint is the lack of verbal announcement of the intersection names. Meh- I can afford a glance down to read the name.
My housemate was going out to dinner so I tossed it to him (well, not really) with about a minute of introduction. He had no problems and ran it for both legs of his journey. Now he's thinking about getting one.
Truly a marvel- and a great price.
Of course, next year a navigator GPS will be the size of a wristwatch, cost $50, and be compatible with the OS in my flying car... but for today the c320 is a cool widget.
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