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2007 Christmas Sat Nav Buyers Guide

Our Tip For A Great Present This Xmas - Go Widescreen!

Christmas is fast approaching and you may well be thinking of buying yourself or your loved ones an in-car Sat Nav as a present, so we'll be guiding you in the right direction, to make sure you don't end up with disappointed faces on that special morning.

For me the secret to a great present for grown-ups is to get them what they want, but then also to surprise them with that little extra - and this year for Sat Navs that means going wide-screen or adding some much needed accessories.

To choose the right Sat Nav this Christmas you're going to end up with either a Garmin or a TomTom, so your first task is to find out which brand your loved one has expressed a preference for. If they mention other brands gently mention that you've heard that Garmin and TomTom are the best. DO NOT BUY ANY OTHER BRANDS!!! If you get a TomTom or a Garmin you will have bought a great product, guaranteed. I'm not saying that other makes aren't good, but you can have full confidence that Tom Tom and Garmin are much better.

Next up we need to find out whether they need just UK or European Maps as well. If in doubt go for the full European specification, it's much cheaper to buy the maps with the unit than at a later date, and as mentioned before we're going to be recommending wide screen models for that something extra special.

Now you could look through the dozens of Sat Nav Reviews we have on this site to pick out the best gift, but I know we're all busy at this time of year so I've got straight to the point to recommend certain models without going through all the pros and cons, if you buy any of the units below you will not be disapointed. Lets Start!

If your budget is around £170 you should be looking at a either a TomTom One XL GB or a Garmin Nuvi 200w. Both are widescreen models with maps of the UK, speed-cameras and easy to use operating systems. I would lean towards the Garmin, but the TomTom is also a very capable unit and you can't go wrong with either of them. Don't forget a case or mains charger for that extra stocking filler.

Buy a TomTom ONE XL Great Britain from Amazon.co.uk FREE DELIVERY!

Buy a Garmin Nuvi 200W from Amazon.co.uk FREE DELIVERY!

If we move up to the £200 mark we can get the models that include UK and European maps, the Tom Tom One XL Europe, or the Garmin Nuvi 250w. Again both are wide screen, easy to use and highly capable, perfect present for the driver who will be using their Sat Nav at home and on the continent.

Buy a TomTom ONE XL Europe from Amazon.co.uk FREE DELIVERY!

Buy a Garmin Nuvi 250W from Amazon.co.uk FREE DELIVERY!

If we move up to £250 we can look at the TomTom Go 520 or the Garmin 610T. These units are widescreen, UK maps, speed-cameras, have Bluetooth for hands-free calling via a compatible mobile phone, and great looking units. The Garmin comes with a built in Traffic receiver to avoid congestion, while the TomTom adds voice-recognition, FM Modulator and mapshare instead. I'd lean towards the more expensive TomTom, it has some great extras, but as usual I wouldn't be disappointed if I received the Garmin for Christmas.

Buy a TomTom GO 520 from Amazon.co.uk FREE DELIVERY!

Buy a Garmin Nuvi 610T from Amazon.co.uk FREE DELIVERY!

Last up we have the £270 price point, where we're looking at the TomTom Go 720 or the Garmin Nuvi 660T. Both have street-level maps of Europe, Bluetooth for hands-free, speed-cameras, 3d maps and voice instructions. I would recommend the TomTom 720 because of the added FM modulator, voice recognition and Mapshare, but the Garmin is a very nice unit too.

Buy a TomTom GO 720 from Amazon.co.uk FREE DELIVERY!

Buy a Nüvi 660T From Amazon.co.uk

So there it is, my rather short recommendations for perfect Sat Nav presents this Christmas, follow my advice and you won't go wrong. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Comments / Questions:

Are there any Garmin/Tomtom sat nav models that provide you with free speed camera updates?
Mike C.

Sorry Mike, Not that I know of. Lots of users recommend the Pocket GPS World Speed Camera Database, and its great value for money.

I am trying to decide between the TomTom One Europe or the Garmin 250. I would like to be able to use the device in the car and while walking european cites. I am also not sure if the Garmin can be linked with a PC or charged outside the car. Your advice. Aaron.

Both devices can be used in pedestrian and walking modes, both can be linked to PC's for updates, and both can be charged at home with the appropriate extra mains charger.

I'm thinking of buying either the Tom Tom 720T or the Garmin 660TFM.
The Tom Tom literature seems to say that although the traffic service is bundled, I could have to pay mobile phone charges. Whereas the Garmin seems to say that everything comes over the FM radio (and thus no extra charges).
I really like the TT720T cos of the voice-input, but I don't want to let myself in for unknown mobile phone charges, particularly if driving on the continent.
Am I misreading? Your advice would be much appreciated. Paul.

Ok, there's two different ways of getting traffic information to your GPS Sat Nav:
Via Bluetooth with a compatible mobile phone. This incurs a subscription fee to the traffic info provider (TomTom) and a fee for the data download from your mobile phone operator. (The Tomtom can use this, the Garmin doesn't.) Via a RDS-TMC aerial. Both the Tomtom 720t and the Garmin 660tfm come with these in the box, so there's no initial set-up fee, and the traffic info is free-for-life in the UK. With Garmin you get free Traffic info in France, TomTom include France and Germany for free, however both devices can pick up free services if offered in other countries.
Which to buy? I'd get the new Garmin 760t with dynamic route planning.

Hi, I'm in the market for a relatively high-end sat-nav system, circa £300, and after reading no end of reviews I'm a little confused.
I'm going from an in-built car sat nav system with a large 7" screen, so I'd lean towards a wide screen model. I also require bluetooth, European maps, speed camera alerts and traffic re-routes, if the need arises.
Garmin and Tom Tom seem to be the way to go, but which ones, as some require extra subscriptions? I've also been pushed towards a Navman S90. Any good?

If you really need a built in camera, go for for the navman, but I'd recommend the new Garmin 760t.
It's the ultimate in transferable Sat Nav. The first unit to offer multiple drop route planning - it'll work out the best route between a number of destinations - Bluetooth hands-free, European maps, FM modulator, Speed Cameras, etc, and Garmin reliabilty.
Summary here

Where a Satnav has an FM transmitter, will it cut into a different radio broadcast whenever appropriate, or does the radio need to be permanently tuned to the satnave device? Paul.

The radio has to be permanently tuned into the Sat Nav (if you're using the transmitter instead of the built in speaker). The best way to do this is to tune it in, then set it to one of your radio presets, so on motorways or other roads where you won't be making a turn for a while, you can flick back to listening to the radio, then back to the Sat Nav when your turn-off is approaching.

Of couse all units that have fm transmitters also have built in mp3 players - load some tunes (or audio books) onto an SD card - then listen to them via the FM modulator, and the Sat Nav will fade out the music when it's got something to say.

I am interested in purchasing a Garmin 270,which as you know has maps of Europe and North America as i like to drive whilst in America,can the the maps be updated, or can you suggest another model ? Brian

Hi Brian!
With the Garmin 270 you'll be stuck with the maps that are on it until Garmin release another update - their US update is in 2008, their European sometime after that, but the 270 is a very good price.
TomTom do the Go 920 which also has European and North American maps pre-installed. It has all the bells and whistles, including Bluetooth for Hands-Free Calling, FM Modulator to transmit voice instructions or music to your car stereo speakers, voice recognition, etc. But the feature that might interest you the most is Mapshare.
Tomtom's Mapshare allows you to correct the maps on your device as you find errors, and also download corrections from other users for a year after you've bought the unit. After a year you've got to buy another map disc, just like Garmin.
This potentially gives TomTom the edge in terms of map accuracy in the long term, because most users agree that Garmin maps are the better ones out of the box.
My advice? If you want a cheapish UK / Europe / USA Sat Nav, get the Garmin Nuvi 270. Amazon are doing them for about £210. Follow this link:

Garmin Nuvi 270 Satellite Navigation System With European & American Mapping

If you want a Sat Nav that can do everything, Get the TomTom Go 920, which Amazon are doing for about £366. Follow this link:

TomTom Go 920 With US and European Mapping

Hope this helps.

Hi, your site has been so helpful to me, I'm trying to decide what sat nav to buy my boyfriend for Christmas. I had decided on a Garmin 610t having read through all the info, but he's just announced (not realising what his Christmas surprise might be) "wouldn't it be cool to have a sat nav with a famous person's voice?" I agree, but he's always getting stuck in traffic jams as he's a sales rep and I thought the traffic services on the Garmin seemed much better and also no subscription, whereas the Tomtom required an extra attachment and yearly payments. I really just need to know whether the Garmin is actually a better unit in general and will make up for not having John Cleese directing you, or whether to go for a Tomtom with what seems to be a rather rubbish traffic service. Please help! Many thanks. Emma.

Hi Emma!
Don't worry, TomTom have just released "Traffic" Versions of all their models. These versions, for about £30 more, include an RDS-TMC Traffic aerial, which gives you subscription free traffic services for life. This means your boyfriend can have his funny voices and traffic info. I'd recommend the TomTom 520T, check this link out:
TomTom Go 520 Traffic Edition

Amazon are doing a great price for the 520t, under £250, with Bluetooth hands-free, FM Modulator, speed-cameras, text-to-speech, and much more.
TomToms do have the advantage of mapshare, where you can update the maps for free for a year.

Thank you so much, you've been a massive help! I'll have a happy chappy at Christmas!

 

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