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TomTom One XL GB / Regional / Europe vs Garmin Nuvi 200w / 250w Satellite Navigation

Budget Widescreen Sat Navs Put To The Test In Our Comparison Review

One Vl vs Nuvi 200w

If you're looking for an entry level widescreen Sat Nav, chances are you've considered the Garmin 200w series or the TomTom One XL series, as they are both at similar price points and have comparable features.

The budget Garmin Widescreen models come in two flavours, the 200w, which has pre-loaded maps of the UK and Eire, and the Nuvi 250w, which has preloaded maps of the UK AND Europe.

The budget TomTom Widescreen models come in the One GB XL (or regional) that has maps of GB and Ireland , or the TomTom One XL Europe that has maps of GB and Europe .

In both cases the hardware is the same it's just the pre-loaded maps that are different, so in this review we'll be comparing the Nuvi 200w series and the One XL devices, to see which one is the right one for you.

In fact you could also apply any of these views to the ordinary Nuvi 200 / 250 and TomTom One GB / Europe .

Right, let's start with whether you want a GB or an European version. Easy if you want a GB Sat Nav, but if you want a European Satellite Navigator there are differences between Garmin and Tomtom. The TomTom includes maps of Western Europe, whereas the Garmin's also include large parts of Eastern Europe too.

Next let's look at the user interface, or how easy it is to use either the Garmin or the TomTom. The days of clunky systems is gone, both these units are very easy to use. Both have touch screens, operated by finger, not stylus, and both have full Post Code look-up for the UK . To get started with the TomTom One XL, just tap the screen, then press "navigate to", then you can choose an address, Post Code. City-centre, one of thousands of POI's, recents or favorites. It's all pretty much the same on the Garmin, so there is nothing to choose between the two in terms of ease of use.

Where these two Sat Nav's do differ is when you want more than just "a to b" navigation. The Tom Tom offers route planning and advanced previewing of routes - with the ability to pick out specific roads in order to avoid them. Let me give you an example. If you're on the south coast and enter a northern destination, say Newcastle , you can select to find an alternative route, "avoid part of route" then browse a list of the roads you'll be traveling on. Simply select the road you which to avoid, say the M25, and the TomTom will plan an alternative route. Very simple and very powerful. The Garmin doesn't have such advanced route planning features, you can detour the current road, and preview the whole of the route, but you can't pick out specific roads to avoid.

The TomTom XL also comes out tops if you want some type of traffic avoidance. The One XL has Bluetooth to pair with your mobile phone to download live traffic information so that the Tom Tom can guide you around any congestion. You do have to pay for a subscription to use this TomTom Plus Service, and the data download costs associated with your phone. Please note that the Bluetooth capabilities on the One XL are limited to data download, and it cannot be used for hands-free mobile phone calling.

The Garmin Nuvi 200w / 250w has no traffic capabilities at all - that's it.

The screens of all the units are bright and clear, with the TomTom having the edge on Smoothness, but the Garmin is brighter. The TomTom's have the clearer and more realistic voices, with the Garmin seeming a little Robotic.

So far you may be thinking the TomTom One XL is going to be the clear winner - but we're not there yet.

The Garmin operating system is very stable, I've never had a 200 series crash, ever, but I've seen a fair few TomToms lock up.

The most important reason for buying an in-car Sat Nav is the accuracy of its maps, and I have to say that all the feed-back and experience I've had says that Garmin maps are the more comprehensive and accurate. That's not to say that Garmin maps don't have errors, just less of them where I've tested them.

So at the time of writing I'd have to recommend a Nuvi 200w or 250w, simply because of the maps. I myself have a Nuvi 200 and it is very, very good, you will not be disappointed.

Tomtom however have an ace up their sleeve - Mapshare. On the new Go 520 and 720 you can change your maps and improve them as you drive - and download free map updates from other users. TomTom are promising to roll this feature out as part of software updates for all other TomTom's, so that should level the map playing field and probably tip my recommendation towards a TomTom One XL GB or Europe for those in the market for a budget widescreen Satellite Navigation Unit or PND.

If You Found This Article Useful, Why Not Buy Me A Beer? (£2 via Paypal - please click on the Pint Glass!)

Comments / Questions:

On the voice issue, you can download John Cleese to the Tomtom. Definitely makes the journey less boring.


I work for a large elecrical retailer and have had conversations with both the Garmin rep and the Tomtom rep.

The Garmin rep told me that Garmins were better - of course he would say that but he then went on to jusitfy that statement:-
-Garmin maps are based on Ordinance Survey maps and are more accurate.  Tomtom maps can be a "few metres out" which can make turning instructions where there are a few roads close togeather a bit confusing.  I have acutally noticed this on my Tomtom.

-Garmin units are exchanged instore should they go wrong, where as tomtom units have to be sent off for a few weeks for repair.  You get very used to having your sat nav and to have it taken away from you for repair is not a nice feeling.

-Garmin units off a lock system, so that should it be stolen from your car it cannot be used without the PIN.  This should in theory mean that potential theives would be put off stealing a Garmin unit.

A few days later the Tomtom rep visited and I put the above points to him

-Tomtom units are more reliable than Garmin units. (This I'm not so sure about.  We seem to be forever sending back tomtoms, but have only ever exchanged one Garmin, but then we sell way way more Tomtoms, so I dont know.  Anyway he should have trumped that point with Tomtoms offer a 2 year warranty, whilst Garmins only have a one year warranty.

-Tomtoms do have a lock, you just have to turn it on. And anyway you should take your sat nav out of the car when you leave.

-You  get the latest map guarantee with Tomtom (this is true, although Garim now offer this servie too)


my cigarette lighter does not work. is there  sat nav available for my car?

All will, just buy a home charger.

Hi, a good review and useful for people who are looking at both models.

I have tried both, my wife has a TomTom One XL GB and I have a Garmin Nuvi 200w, we got the TomTom first, and then I got the Garmin later for my car as it was on offer.

The TomTom always drove me mad when it came to driving around London streets especially around the city with the tall buildings. It would keep loosing signal and when the signal wasn't strong it would keep rotating the map and saying I was on the pavement or pointing the wrong way. In this respect the Garmin is definitely better as it doesn't have these problems, when doing the same routes.

It clearly benefits from a better internal arial, and/or Garmins decades of experience buildings GPS/Radios/Nav aids for yachts, so is able to operate better, when the signal is weak.

Also, its obvious when you do a lot of driving around citys (as alas I have to do) that the TomTom maps are not as up-to-date as the Gamins......maybe TomTom updates might fix this...sometimes they don't have changes that have been in place for more than 18 months!

For these reasons alone I prefer the Garmin, otherwise I agree with the review...there is little between the two really. Both will get you from A to B just fine.

Great post, thanks.

Our new Garmin 250W will be used extensively throughout our trip from Eastern Ontario to Alberta. What step-by-step is used to change my home location to another city on my GPS??
We are moving there to stay. Please explain?

Ok, what you need to do is press "where to", then favorites, then use the arrow keys to navigate down to find your home address. Select it, press "edit" then "delete".

Now go to favorites again, press the green "home" bar at the top and it'll ask you for a new address. Cool!

Good luck with your move!

Does any of the Garmn range offer  route planning and advanced previewing of routes - with the ability to pick out specific roads in order to avoid them?

Yes you can preview the routes in all the models I've seen, but no you can't avoid specific roads in any of them.

Hi there. Great review thank you. I'm thinking of getting one for my mum (who is 66 years old). Which one is the easier to use for somebody who is willing to face but ultimately a little fearful of technology? Thank you.

Go for the Garmin.

I have a 53 reg Citroen C5 and the cigarette lighter connector on my daughter's Garmin Nuvi 255 does not fit the car cigarette lighter . As I am curremtly looking to buy online could you advise of making sure that my choice of Sat Nav will be compatible. Thanks Mike.

Just get a cigar lighter extension or splitter from Halfords.

I have just bought a nuvi 200w, very pleased with it!
Could you please tell me if the unit charges up when plugged into my PC, and how can you tell if its chargeing, how long does it take?

Yes, it should charge via the dock. Shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to charge, check your manual.

Hi, can both these units be used in some way for geo tagging images. I noticed many software titles seemed to use the time & date for referencing image to a geo reference time. I wasn't sure if this info can be extracted, or is it just long/lat references that these unit put out.
Can either unit also be used for tagging a short walk/trek. Chris.


My Garmin 200W works absolutely fine behind my fiesta heated windscreen. I have had no problems at all although I was warned before I bought mine to double check. So I did, by borrowing my dad's garmin 200W for the day!! Lynn.

Good info, thanks.

Just purchased a Garmin 200W, and it doesn't work while charging it in the car.  Am I doing something wrong?

Make sure you're using the proper Garmin power lead, if its from some other brand it will just go into "comms" mode.

I purchased my tomtom XL two days ago and it had been working fine until I downloaded tomtom home and updated my gps. Now, whenever I turn the tomtom on, there's a big red x. I attempted to do what it says to do here:

but it hasnt helped. So then I attempted to follow the information under this section: What if the device still doesn't start?"

and I was unable to back up my tomtom because some files are corrupt. I am using windows. I also attempted to back up my tomtom using tomtom home but it also said, " an error occured when reading this file "h:/data.chk"

Im going on a family trip in about a week and would really need help in fixing this problem. If you can help I really appreciate it!

You need to contact TomTom on the phone and explain the situation and let them help you sort it out, or take it straight back to the shop where you bought it and ask for an exchange.

Getting error message "no detailed maps found that support routing message on Garmin Nuvi 200w" after I updated USA maps. Flip.

Check out this link, it may help.

I am not sure who to address this query to but it has become evident that sat nav units do not have (some road) listed under postcode (some postcode) it infact comes up as (another road) which does not exist and hasn't done for the 30+ years myself and my family have lived here.  This issue has been made worse by more and more companies and people using sat nav and route planner services even an ambulance could not find (some road) as it was listing (another road)?  How do I go about getting(some road) listed correctly? Teresa.

Start off here.

hi i have just bought a garmin 200 and when i looked up the list of restaurants in my town, they were all listed , except mine !! who do i contact to rectify this huge oversite on their part. Bill.

Try the Garmin Map Error Reporting Page.

hi,just read your advice on tom tom xl gb.i`m thinking of buying one for my very first sat nav, however i was surprised to read that the bluetooth only allowed data download, is this totally correct cos i am hoping to use my bluetooth nokia 6230i with the tt sat nav to enable me to make and receive calls? can you please comment,cheers...

The Bluetooth in TomTom Ones is for data only, not hands-free calling I'm afraid.

Are the mini USB (or DVi?) type sockets on the sides of the C510 or 250W "exactly" the same as far as the internal battery charging connections are concerned, as when either device is connected to the PC using the same lead they power up, suggesting that a mains charger for a 250W will also work on a C510.

Ok, the Nuvi 250 uses Garmin Adapter 010-10723-00, and the C510 uses.... the adapter isn't listed on the Garmin site anymore! Phone Garmin.

Hi. Just bought a garmin Nuvi 250w, can any one tell me if I plug into my PC would this charge it's battery?


If I buy a tom tom one uk xl, and at a future date want to take it to europe, am I right in thinking I can purchase an upgrade of the maps i want? any idea how much it would be for say france?
Thanks Dawn.

Tomtom maps for France are £40 at the moment - check out the TomTom Map Shop. You may need an additional sd card to store them on.

Just bought a Garmin 250W to replace stolen TomTom One from Halfords. Is there a tie in between Halfords and Garmin as they were very keen to recommend Garmin and I noticed the store target sheet said satnav target was 12, 10 of which should be Garmin. James

I doubt it, and anything like that would be confidential so would be difficult to find out.

Bought tom 0ne v3 europe all fine apart from some poi.
i live in a big town with police,cinemas,swim pools,etc looking for above in my town or near to me it gave police 8 miles away cimema 15 and my nearest swim pool in france.
spoke with tom support to fix error but no joy.
as this was my 2nd unit ( some probs with first)
took back for full refund.
tom tom support now tell me it the 3rd party softwear installed and hope to sort it.but this did'nt help me.
can you please shine any light or maybe i should buy garmin ? many thanks paul for your help.

POI files on all Sat Navs can be notoriously out of date, often you do have to install updates from third parties. Looking at my Garmin, the Police Station coverage is sketchy too. Librarys are good though!

My tom tom 1 suddenly stopped receiving satellite signals after turning off then on it started to receive why is this ?

If it happens again reset it using the hole on the bottom. Make sure you've got the latest updates by installing tomtom home.

I've just bought a Garmin 200W. If I want to avoid a road, say the M25, how do I go about it? Many thanks for any help. George.

If you go into the settings by pressing the spanner, then settings, then navigation, press the button next to "avoidances" and put a tick next to major roads. This will try to avoid all motorways and some major A roads. If you just want to avoid a specific road you'd have to put in two destinations, and go from a to b to c, picking out a point that would take you up your other chosen motorway rather than the m25.

I am flying to france from Ireland and will be using my 250w to get to the hotel when i land, will the sat nav realise i have changed country and auto aquire a closer sat or will it still think its in Ireland? Paul.

You'll probably find your Sat Nav will take a few more minutes than normal to get a GPS fix - make sure it's somewhere where it has a clear view of the sky and doesn't move until it gets a lock (ie the map changes to your location) and everything should be ok.
But it' might work pretty much straight away if you've used it in the last couple of days.

How long does it normally take to charge up a 250W? How do I know if it has been fully charged? While charging it with a home charger, I can't use it. Is this normal? Is there a way to save a route so that it doesn't need to be recalculated? Which file are the favourites stored so that I can save them in my PC in case there is something wrong with my 250W? David.

The 250w should take about 4 hours to charge, and that would give you up to 5 hours of use. The Garmin doesn't tell you when it's fully charged. Whether you can use the home charger depends on it's voltage output, but just unplug it and use it then. Routes are recalculated every time you enter a location or choose a favourite. The easiest way to back-up your data is just to copy everything in the Garmin to your PC hard-drive - plug the unit it via USB, go to my computer, select the Garmin, copy, then put it somewhere safe, copy it to cd's or a USB stick.

Great review, even for someone in the US... it is time for me to get a widescreen GPS however I still cannot decide between these two models.. I have owned a Mio and a Garmin before and i just don't like how the Garmin voices speak, they are too slow and monotonous for me,.. for example mine would pause - after - every - word - in - 5 - hundred - feet - turn - left - then - turn - right - then - turn - left. (enunciating every word as if i were a child and could not keep up). If TomTom One XL HAS mapshare available (this is my question), then it will seal the deal for me. If it does not then my question is, I wish I could compare these two, with an identical route through a major city, (say, Baltimore MD or Washington DC), with the "fastest" route selected. Do you have any comments on how this test would turn out? (does one take the most obvious fastest directions, better than the other?) Thanks for your time.. Steve.

You're right, Garmin voices are a little monotonous, whereas Tomtom voices are really smooth.
Now the strange part - The One Xl in Europe is sold with Mapshare, but if you check the US part of TomToms website, it doesn't list Mapshare as a feature of the North American One XL!
You should phone Tomtom on 1 866 486 6866 for clarification, and if you could tell me how you get on that would be great.
As far as testing the routing you'd probably find little difference, some people prefer TomToms, others Garmins, both units are good. The Tomtoms have great voices (and hopefully mapshare) but a bit of a poor windscreen mount. The Garmins have robotic voices, good reliability, and a good windscreen mount.
Which would I buy? I prefer Garmins - I've got a Nuvi 200 and it has never, ever crashed, the mount is good, it was a great price, and you get used to the voices.
Your best bet is to go to a local store that could demo both units for you so you could make a really informed choice. (But you wouldn't go wrong with either models).
Tell me how you get on and good luck.

Thanks for the quick reply! Yea I have been to the website and noticed that mapshare is not mentioned for XL... seems to me that all tomtoms should have it.. i had not thought of calling, so i will do this. (good idea!) thanks. I'll post a comment or reply here again once i find out. With your latest info, (below), i may go back to Garmin because i don't think i will like it if my tomtom crashed on me... (i am a computer guy at work so i hate crashes all that much more!) I'd like to think "that will never happen to mine" but if i get one and it does, i will be mad if the routes and poi's that i'm currently using are lost. (any idea if that would happen?)

Most crashes / freezes are sorted out with a press of the reset button, and you don't lose data (it's a soft reset).
If you want some evidence of Garmins commitment to safetey and reliabilty, get over to Leo Laportes Techguy podcast, show 416 and listen to Ron Rosburgs story about how a Garmin Aviation GPS saved his life.

mp3 download if you don't have an ipod:

CHARGING ISSUE.Just bought garmin 250w, fantastic product,i put in to french car cigar lighter and will not charge up but in english car all is fine.Is there any way i can make it work? Thanks,and great review site. Jason.

Strange problem.... Which cars does it work in and which cars doesn't in work in? My Dads got a Laguna and his 200 works fine. Is it the case that the plug just isn't sitting right in the cigar socket? Give it a twist. Check for dirt / ash in the socket and remove any with a PLASTIC implement. Does the cigar lighter work with other accessories (or to light a cigarette) - the fuse might be blown?
Using a cigar lighter extension / splitter will sort out any problems due to incompatible cigar sockets.
Tell me how you get on.

Thankyou for your quick response,the cars in question are a renault kango,mini cooper s,vw sharan,all are french registered cars in france.Thanks again. Jason.

What car was the lead in last when it worked? Sounds like you've got a faulty lead to me (maybe fuse blown in end - replaceable - just unscrew metal bit)
Does your Garmin take a charge when plugged into your pc (with a mini usb lead - the Garmin won't turn on, but will display a pic of pc) ?

Do you know how much update subscriptions cost for both of these satnavs? Anon.

By "update subscriptions" I guess you mean maps? With the Garmin you just wait until another map update comes out, which sell for about £50 per country (cheaper if you buy all together), and it's a similair case with the TomTom. TomTom do however have mapshare which allows you to correct your maps for up to a year after buying it.
If you're asking about speed-camera subscriptions, its £24.99 a year from TomTom or £29.99 from Garmin.

My 'inforad' gps speed camera locator doesnt work behind the ford heated windscreen, are these any better? Ray

Since the new Sirf Star GPS receivers have come out I haven't had a problem with Satellite reception in any cars, but if you're unsure get yourself down to your local Halfords and ask nicely if they'll let you use one of their demo models in your car to check reception is OK. Their prices are pretty good too for a high st store with real people you can ask advice of, and going back if there is a problem is easy with "proper" bricks & mortar stores - they may be slightly more expensive than the web, but someone has to pay for lighting and heating!

Do they both have the facility to find accomodation, hotel, motel etc,in UK and Europe?

Both the tomtom and the Garmin come pre-loaded with extensive POI (Points of Interest) files that include hotels, parking, restaurants, cash-points, hospitals, etc.
A quick search of the web will reveal dozens of sites that offer free additional POI files, but I'd probably stick with the installed ones to start off with.
Remember both devices have the ability to save favourites in advance of your trip, so if there's specific places you want to visit, put them in before you go.

Thank you for the review. The beer is a great idea-shall I call your favorite pub and ask them to charge it? Harvey.

Hi Harvey, Glad you enjoyed the review. Which Sat Nav are you going to go for? ( Just click on the pint glass! )


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