уторак, 18. јануар 2011.

New GPS test ratings: Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series and TomTom XL 350, XXL 550, Go 2405TM, Go 2505TM

December 9, 2010

New GPS test ratings: Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series and TomTom XL 350, XXL 550, Go 2405TM, Go 2505TM

Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series
'Tis the season to test GPS devices, and we have just posted ratings on several new units from Garmin and TomTom. This group includes the latest, greatest flagship models from the sales leaders, as well as retests of recent TomTom devices that received significant software updates. (Watch our GPS buying guide video.)

The Garmin Nuvi 3700 series feature a sleek, iPhone-inspired design with a metal bezel, glass capacitive display, portrait or landscape display modes, and touch-screen shortcuts. The device itself is slender at just 9 millimeters thick, making it quite pocket-friendly for a widescreen unit. Like the available Magellan and TomTom mounts for the iPhone, the Nuvi 3700 mount includes a second speaker to improve sound.
We tested the Nuvi 3750, Nuvi 3760T, and Nuvi 3790T. The core features build on established Garmin offerings, with reality view, lane assist, "Where am I?", speed limit indicator, pedestrian mode, and ecoRoute to provide the most fuel-efficient route. The premium Nuvi 3790T boasts voice recognition, lifetime traffic, and three-dimensional buildings.
This is an impressive product range, with simple controls, ultra-crisp display, and modern packaging. But, these new devices aren't cheap.
TomTom Go 2405 TM
From TomTom, we revisited the XL 350, XL 350T, XXL 550, and XXL 550T. As you may recall from our original test, we weren't impressed. In fact, they initially scored unusually low for TomTom devices due to an over-simplification of the menu, making common functions difficult to access and eliminating some frequently used routing options and other controls typically found on higher-scoring TomTom devices, such as multi-destination routing and directions list. Shortly after posting our ratings, TomTom announced a software update was made available. Owners are able to use TomTom Home (free download) to install the updated operating system. TomTom advises that updated devices have been on retail shelves since mid-October.

In our retest, we found that these devices improved. Updates to the route summary screen, change route feature, brightness settings option, display preferences option, and updated volume control menu are all welcomed. One thing not changed, of course, is that the displays wash out in bright sunlight. Overall, this range of products provides many of the common features that drivers want in affordable packages, but they rank just midpack.

The story is a bit different for the new TomTom Go 2405TM and Go 2505TM. These are the slickest navigators that we have tested from TomTom. Large, clear displays with glass capacitive touchscreen wrapped in a slender car impress before even hitting the road. Best of all, they use a new click-and-lock magnetic mount that allows the device to be removed with one hand. It is about the simplest mount on the market to use and it holds on better than the frustrating folding circle-clip on recent TomToms.

These new Go navigators have voice recognition for hands-free control and Bluetooth connectivity that invites hands-free calling. Traditional TomTom features such as spoken street names, reality view, lane guidance, and Help Me! are included.

In TomTom parlance, the "TM" in the product names denotes lifetime traffic and map updates. The real-time traffic data supplements historic traffic data to enable informed route planning, then continuous routing to adjust for changing conditions. The included maps cover the United States, Canada, and Mexico, with quarterly updates available. The devices are preloaded with seven million points of interest, spread across 60 categories.

In an interesting strategy to rush these newcomers to market for the holiday season, the Go 2405TM and Go 2505TM are initially only available online. Brick-and-mortar sales will start early next year.

Latest GPS Ratings
Our most-recent ratings update:
  • Garmin Nuvi 3750
  • Garmin Nuvi 3760T
  • Garmin Nuvi 3790T
  • TomTom Go 2505TM
  • TomTom Go 2405TM
  • TomTom XL 350
  • TomTom XL 350T
  • TomTom XXL 550
  • TomTom XXL 550T
Whether shopping for yourself, or for a gift, this holiday season, be sure to check the ratings and features. There are many GPS navigators available, with a wide range of prices. The dynamic GPS Selector enables online subscribers to sort and filter our ratings of over 100 devices by the factors that matter most to create custom lists of the best-suited models, or you can dive in to review our GPS Team's recommendations by category.

Jeff Bartlett

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