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European Level Sat Nav Shoot-Out 2006 - These Satellite Navigators Will Take You Around Europe, Which Is The Best?

TomTom One Europe vs Garmin Nuvi 360 vs TomTom Go 710


European Sat Nav Show-DownWe're moving up a level now - looking at in-car Satellite Navigation that is capable of taking you from John 'O Groats to Gibraltar, for the casual traveler or the business user. A hotly contested category, check prices online for the best deals, but as always, try before you buy.

First up is the minimalist TomTom One Europe or European. 3d maps, voice instruction, maps of Western Europe pre-installed on an included SD card, Postcodes for GB & Holland, auto-rerouting, the ability to download speed-camera's and traffic information - all for around £280. We were very surprised when we saw the price of the TomTom One European. If you don't want the additional bells and whistles of mp3 players, Bluetooth kits or built in TMC, there isn't another unit out there that offers this map coverage (pre-installed) at the same sort of price. The TomTom One is a proven winner, it has a fantastically simple user interface, works out routes quickly, has a clear and bright screen, and does exactly what it should. Hard to beat in my opinion, for the Sat-Nav buyer on a budget.

Next up is the Garmin Nuvi 360. The Nuvi range are very compact indeed, with a clear, bright screen and a pop-out GPS antennae on the back. Entering destinations is a breeze, if a little different from the Tomtom range, and it works out routes fast. When comparing the Garmin & Tom Tom devices, you could say the the Garmin voices aren't as smooth or "human-like" and the maps don't move as smoothly, but it does come in a very compact size, has super-accurate maps and a great reputation. The Nuvi 360 also adds Bluetooth Hands-Free capability, it will pair up with a compatible phone and the integrated mic & loudspeaker become a transferable hands-free kit for any car you use the device in. A really cool feature is that relevant POI's, like hotels & restaurants, have their phone-numbers stored on the device, so you can use pick-out a nearby hotel, then ring it to make a reservation. Neat!

The Tomtom Go 710 is Tomtom's European traveler in their Go range. Full street maps of Western Europe pre installed on SD card, Bluetooth hands-free, wide screen, loud, clear voice instruction (louder than a One or Nuvi), pre-installed Speed Cameras, ipod connectivity. The Go 710 is a large unit, but this is so that the integrated speaker can give rich, clear voice instructions, and they are among the loudest out there. Using the device is simplicity itself, entering destinations via the touch-screen is quick & easy, and the wider screen means the buttons are slightly bigger. Playing your ipod through the built in speaker is obviously a poor choice, but if you buy the additional car-stereo interface (about £100) the voice-commands, mobile phone calls and ipod music will come through your car speakers. Nice. There is a debate as to whether TomTom have made the best use of their widescreen with the Go range, yes, it is wider, but not taller than the One, and many users say they prefer the size of the One screen, and that the Go range are also too bulky. I like the 710, it has loads of great extras and the voice instructions are so clear it could be a human giving them to you. It is on the large size compared to the Nuvi 360 or One, but overall a great unit.

So which is the winner, again it's a split decision depending on your circumstances.

If you're after a budget European GPS in-car Navigator, then you can't beat the TomTom One Europe. It does just that, and it's probably the easiest GPS device to use, by far.

If you don't mind spending that little bit more, then the extra Bluetooth Hands-Free Kit of the Tom Tom Go 710 and the pre-installed Speed Camera POI's are well worth it, so that would be my choice as the best European Sat Nav in this price bracket.

 

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