Consumer Reports Rates GPS Devices

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Update October 1: TomTom said it issued a recent update which returned some of the features that Consumer Reports found lacking in some TomTom models as noted below. The update will appear in TomTom devices by mid October and can be downloaded now. It adds the following features:

Route summary screen
Change route feature
Brightness settings option
Display preferences option
Updated volume control menu

Original story: Consumer Reports’ latest review of portable GPS devices found several improvements in units from Magellan and Garmin. TomTom didn’t fare quite as well, as the supplier was called out for removing some key features on new models.

The reviewers looked at over 100 devices and came up with these conclusions:

Garmin—Free traffic is now more prevalent in the line and a new feature called nuRoute adds some intelligence to your routing to avoid roads that are typically congested at appropriate times.

But Consumer Reports found two features are not quite worth the price on the Nuvi 3790. Those features are 3D landscapes that show up in the map’s view of the road and voice recognition.

Winning praise is the “iPhone-like design” of some of the new Nuvi models and the improved screen—which it rated as clearer and more sensitive than many competitors—on the Nuvi 3790T, 3760T, and the 3750.

Magellan—It’s GPS devices continue to improve. New units all have easy to use interfaces with up to date graphics and free lifetime traffic.

On the downside the models lack Bluetooth and lane assistance.

“The RoadMate 2035 and 2036 devices provide good, basic guidance without frills, though the map coverage is less than with some competing models,” said Consumer Reports.

TomTom—While TomTom is an innovator, some of its new models eliminate some commonly used routing options such as the ability to create multi-destination routes and the ability to call up directions at a glance. Also there’s no brightness adjustment so the display may wash out in sunlight.

Source: Consumer Reports

Photo of Garmin Nuvi 3970T

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