I have been using various GPS units since 2000 and recently I was looking for a new unit for the car and after trying a few of the newer models, it left me wondering what the heck these manufacturers are thinking. Bear with me while I try to explain.
I was at The Sourcecc one day and they had the Mio520 on display and on sale. I played with it for a while and finally decided to buy one. I was immediately impressed with the device. I installed it into my car and was impressed by the build quality. It was well designed and tough but I found the bracket to hold it in my car was quite flimsy. I didn't like how the cigarette adapter plugged into the GPS as it made it a bit frustrating to connect it each time I put the GPS into the car. I found it easy to upgrade the unit to the latest firmware and update the cameras and such. I absolutely love the display on the MIO. IMHO, it blows away all the competition and I hope that all GPS units in the future have this type of display. It was easy to differentiate things on the screen and also follow the planned route. I did not, however like the fact that when using the voice that announced the street names, that the unit would frequently pause while I was driving, as if the processor was overloaded and could not keep up. It got so annoying that I would sometimes miss my turn while waiting for the voice to tell me to turn. The 520 also can play videos, show pictures and play MP3 files and has Bluetooth.
I returned the Mio and picked up a Magellan Crossover. Sorry to all you Magellan fans out there, but I could not wait to return this unit. The built quality was good, but I found the interface to be rather “old” and not very nice. I also found that turning the “reset” switch to power on the unit seemed rather odd. The display was rough, but it was fast and did speak the street names which I really liked. I took it for a drive and was immediately unimpressed, especially when I was more than 1km from my intended route and the GPS would not recalculate. I returned this unit the very next day and picked up a TomTom One XL.
I found the TomTom to be the nearest thing to what I was looking for. As with all the other units, the first thing I did was to update the Firmware, which in the case of the TomTom made a huge difference. I loved that the One XL was easy to use, had lots of features that were designed for driving and was well built. I hated the display though. Why does a Tomtom shift all around when your at a dead stop? I found the graphics to be very blocky, light years behind the Mio. I liked the Mapshare feature which allows you to make corrections to the maps right in the GPS itself, but it was very limited. It would allow you to enter a street that was not on the map, but only if that street was a straight line. In my area, there are some parts of a new highway that are not on any of the GPS units and I was hoping to use the TomTom to correct this, but alas, it is not able to. I was very disappointed in the Plus services from Tomtom. They advertise this service as being so great to have updated safety cameras, traffic information etc, but none of them are available in Canada. I returned this unit as well.
After having tried all these units and having used a Garmin Streetpilot C330 at work for a year or so, it made me wonder. What are these manufacturers thinking? Why would they add an MP3 player, Video Player, Bluetooth, IPOD control, etc etc etc to these units when they are not needed for trying to find my way to my destination? Why can't they concentrate on things like better maps? More accurate POI's? Gas prices displayed when looking for gas, times to take rest breaks and such? It makes me feel that these guys are going in the complete opposite deirection to what we need.
What do you guys think? Do you find it necessary to have all these extras in your GPS receiver? What things would you like to see?