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New TomTom One GB / Regional v3 Goes Head to Head With The Garmin Nuvi 200

Two Entry Level Sat Navs That Will Be Dominating The Market - Which Is Best?

So here I am sitting in front of a table, on which are the latest offerings in the entry-level in-car Satellite Navigation market from TomTom and Garmin, the One GB ver 3 and the Nuvi 200, both available for under £150. I can't help but think back to a couple of years ago when we were struggling with large, heavy Sat-Nav's like the Navman 650, which cost a fortune, had no internal battery, only partial Post-Code look-up, and needed an external GPS antennae if you windscreen had so much as a tint in it.

The TomTom and the Garmin have similar specifications. Both come with pre-installed maps of GB and Eire, full Post Code look-up, 3d maps, voice instructions, speed-camera warnings, thousands of POI's (Points of Interest: petrol stations, cash machines, hotels, etc), the ability to store favourite locations, go to recent finds, and both will fit neatly into your pocket.

As you can see and hear from the above video, the 3d maps differ slightly as well as the voices. Some people prefer the Garmin way, others the TomTom. Both work very, very well. To choose between the two we are looking at the extras and how they relate to what you need from a Sat Nav - both are excellent GPS devices for your car and there is nothing to choose between them in terms of basic A to B navigating - both will do you proud, amaze you with how easy they are to use, and get you where you want to be on time and stress free.

Let's start by looking at the extras included inside the TomTom One v3, as this is the unit with the higher specification on paper, then move on to the Garmin. As well as everything outlined above, the One v3 includes a handy option called Mapshare. Mapshare allows you to alter your maps, to correct mistakes and upload those corrections for others to use. You can also download the corrections others have created, making the maps on your device more and more accurate and up-to date. This is a great feature, and could spell the end of expensive map-upgrades, but the jury is still out on how well it will work in practice, but I am expecting great things.

The One Third Edition also has a jack to plug in a FM TMC aerial and get free traffic information. The aerials normally retail at over £50.

The TomTom One 3rd edition has no option to expand it's map database to include European or North American maps via a SD card slot. The slot has been removed, presumably to save in construction costs, so if you're thinking about a trip to the continent soon, don't buy the GB version, get a v2 European One instead.

Next the Garmin. Smaller in overall size than the TomTom, the Nuvi still has a similar size screen. No Bluetooth. No TMC traffic capability. No mapshare, but this could be released by Garmin as a software upgrade in the future (surely they have to?).

The Garmin Nüvi 200 does have an expansion slot for more maps, or picture viewing, so could be expanded with European or American maps, turning it into a 250 or 270.

I myself own a Garmin Nuvi 200, so I guess you could say I'm biased, but honestly I'm not going to push one over the other, you just have to ask yourself these questions.

If you need TMC traffic information, get a One v3.

If you want a unit that you can expand the map database on at a later date, get a Nuvi 200.

If you're not bothered by either of those two questions get down to your local electronic store and have a play with both - enter a few addresses you may be using, listen to the voices, look at the maps. Feel the size of each unit, examine the windscreen mounts. Then make your choice.

If you're decided already, you could always:

Buy a TomTom One GB v3 from Amazon.co.uk Free Delivery!


Buy A Garmin Nuvi 250 from Amazon.co.uk(The Nuvi 250 is the GB and European version of the 200 - and Amazon do it for almost the same price with free delivery too!)

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

Comments / Questions:

I have a nuvi 250W, and was wondering do I need to buy a specific Garmin USB cable to connect to a PC or can I use any USB cable (ie I have one for my digital camera). Also, I am heading to Europe, do I need to buy the AC charger or will using the car charger daily do the job? Belinda.

Any mini-usb will do. It will charge in the car fine.

Hi,I have a Tom Tom go 500 and it has been great and only use it when I need to but recently it will not let me switch on. The unit may have develop a fault. Do you recommend repairing? Thomas.

No. Get a new unit with new maps.

Hi! I hav just bought the Nuvi 200 in China. I am travelling to Europe soon - is there any way I can download the Europe maps and use it while I am there? Vinay.

You need to buy the Garmin City Navigator NT Europe maps on DVD.

I have a garmin nuvi 250 and all works just fine. Have just one major question though: Does it charge when connected to PC via USB or not?
Thank you in advance.

It should do. Mine does. Might not if its going through a USB hub though.

Hi just bought the nuvi 200 today. I have registered, but how do I update etc? thick newbie here! Anything else I should know? I was told the new map update for the nuvi 300 ends at the end of April, but can't find anything on the Garmin site for the 200.

check out these links:



Hi, just wanted to know how I can use a Nuvi 200W that I bought in US in Thailand?? is there anything specific I need to do or just pop in a SD card with Thai maps and go?? What about setting up country on it, Thailand doesn't exist. Regards Micael.

You'll need to buy the Garmin Thailand Maps.
Then you need to tell the Garmin which maps it should be using (if it hasn't figured it out automatically) - press the wrench, settings, map, map info, and make sure thailand is ticked, and untick the USA.

I have found your reviews on both Garmin and Tom Tom very useful. I live in France and will mainly use the device in France. The postcoding system here is different. Are you able to offer advice on which would be the best make for use in France.
Thanks, Jonathan.

I've talked to people who have used Garmins and TomToms while on holiday in France, and both are suitable. The best option is get down to your local electronics store that keeps them in stock (le Halfords?), and ask to have a play with them. Enter some French addresses and see which one you like the best, probably a Garmin Nuvi 250 / 250w or a TomTom One Europe, XL Europe.

My new Nuvi 200 wanted to take me into the city (M8 Glasgow) at Junction 4 M74 North. I knew my destination, ignored it and continued on the M74 reaching my destination Carmyle a few minutes later.If i had heeded Garmin, I would have been taken into city traffic anfd back to Carmyle. Why? Jim.

Occasionally you do come across odd route decisions - but remember that the device always thinks motorways are the fastest route, it will not take into account local conditions or traffic.

Hi can you set say 70mph in and warn you that you are exceeding that limit on the Nuvi 200/250.
Thanks Mick.

The Nuvi doesn't support that feature I'm afraid.

On two recent occassions my nuvi 250W has locked up when travelling in the map mode. It will not switch off using the ON/OFF switch on the top left. After stopping the car it took many attempts with pressing the reset button to get it to switch off. What is happening? It has destroyed my confidence in using it in strange locations. John.

Try a system reset. This video show's you how.

Is it possible to update the speed camera info with either the Tomtom1 or the Garmin by connecting them to your computer and logging on to a website? If so, do they provide all the gubbins and how much is the subscription? Nick.

Both GPS Sat Navs come with Speed Camera's installed, then if you want to update them you can subscribe to the manufacturers service or pocketgpsworld.com do a good servive too. Costs about £30 a year.

Thanks for the reply to my recent questions.
One more. I noticed that the MapSource City Navigator has a feature of route planning and download it to a GPS unit. Does it work with Garmin 250? If so, how many routes can it saved because I don't see anything such as route selection. David.

Unfortunately you can't download routes to a Nuvi from Mapsource, or vice-versa.

I've updated the camera info through a random USB cable, no software required, very simple, GREAT! I just got the unlock code for my Nuvi200 from the garmin website (the one you get when you register).
I cannot find ANY information about how to actually put this code onto the Nuvi200.
The manual that came with the sat nav is useless (it really is the only complaint about the unit!) and the support pages on the garmin website just do not load. Pedro.

The code is only needed if you were to lose your maps and have to reinstall them via download or disk from Garmin, the code is used by the map software. You don't need it at the moment.

Hi my garmin nuvi 250 was great then all of a suddent he voice stopped directing me the sound is on 90% and the mute button is NOT checked also the touch screen tone is very faint any ideas??? Frances.

Sounds like a hardware problem to me, but first lets try a software solution.
First reset it by pressing the button on the bottom (under the sticker) and see if that works, if it doesn't try the hard reset it by turning it off, then hold your thumb on the bottom right of the screen, then while turning it on keep your thumb in position. The Garmin will ask if its ok to delete user data (you haven't got any choice) and you'll have to re-enter your language info.
If that still doesn't work try selecting the American voice in the language options (or British if you're American), or another language - the voice files could have been deleted or corrupted.
If all this still doesn't work contact Garmin to have it repaired under warranty. (Unless you dropped it or got it wet...)

Hi, I am a complete and utter newbie to gps. I found your site extremely helpful. my question is : If I bought a Nuvi 200 in the UK, would I be able to upload a Thai map, as I am currently living in Thailand. The cost of the Nuvi 200 in Thailand is about 3 times that in the UK, hence mu question. Thank you Kevin

That would work ok, just get a Nuvi in the UK, then buy the Garmin SD map card for Thailand, put it into the SD expansion slot and you'll be away.
You can look at the specification here. I couldn't add it to my cart to see how much it cost (probably about £100), must be a problem with their website, but it may work for you or phone Garmin on 0808 238 0000.

Many thanks for your previous advice. i have bought a nuvi 200w from Halfords and my son will be bringing it over to Thailand next month. I have made my donation of 100us dollars to Rotweiler GPS Maps. Apparently their maps are much better than the one available from Garmin (and at about a third the price!) For the one time payment maps of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are also available. My question is : The maps have to be loaded to an SD card. What in your opinion would be the best SD card and also can I load all the maps on the card or will they overwrite each other. Sorry for asking such basic questions, but for a retired meteorologist from Ireland, running through the internet is getting me nowhere. Thanks again. Kevin.

Looks interesting, had a quick look at the website, the map files are very small, so a 512 / 256 SD card would be more than enough. The "search" option looks limited (see the Nuvi section on the Rotweiler Website), but it's a lot cheaper than Garmin, but we don't know the difference in detail.
The maps should reside on your SD card, they won't overide your UK maps, but always back up the Nuvi before attempting anything.
Follow their instructions carefully, you need to get The Mapsource Software to get it all to work.

Right, I've written a workshop so everyone can have a go at Installing Rotweiler Demo Map of Bangkok to their Nuvi's.

I have a garmin 200 i have connected this to my pc via usb cable from my digital camera even though i am using xp my pc is not detecting new hardware and when using garmin web updater it tells me that no device is connected on my sat nav under system it displays gps simulator off does this need to be on? Martin.

The GPS simulator won't make any difference - I tried it on mine. In the examples below you're checking to see if your Nuvi appears in "My Computer" - if it does then it should work with web updater afterwards.
OK, first restart your pc and try again.
Now try a different USB lead if you have one and try again.
Now try a different USB port - preferably one that goes straight into your pc and not through a hub, and try again.
Now reset the Garmin (button on bottom behind sticker) and try again.
Plug the Garmin into another PC and see if it appears in "My Computer" if it does you've got a problem with your usb ports.
Tell me how you get on.

Just received your email regarding garmin 200 i could not get my pc to find device you suggested using a different usb cable and this worked thank you for your quick response i tried to reply to your email but had a message that said could not match email address so came back hear to contact you could you also tell me can you add different voices to the garmin 200 thanks again.

No celebrity / funny voices for Garmins yet I'm afraid.

My question is whether there is any advantage to buying the Mapsource software at Garmin for the 250W, and if it is can you do the same functions with it that you can do with the handhelds like transferring routes from the pc to the unit. Also maybe required if i wanted to add another country to the unit and needed a map unlock code. But otherwise is there any benefits to having it for the 250W?.

The only reason to buy additional Mapsource software is to increase your map coverage, to say North America or Australia. As far as I'm aware you can't use the software on your PC to plan routes then transfer them to the GPS.
To check for map updates, visit this page

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