TomTom vs Navman: Which GPS brand is better?

We take a look at budget, mid-range and high-end GPS devices from TomTom and Navman.

Navman's S-Series Platinum GPS units have appealing designs.

Navman's S-Series Platinum GPS units have appealing designs.

TomTom and Navman are two of the best known GPS brands, and for good reason: both companies make great quality GPS devices that are easy to use. However, when it comes to choosing between the brands, just picking your favourite of the two won't necessarily net you the best GPS.

Depending on how much you're willing to shell out, one brand can have a slight edge over the other in terms of features, ease of use and price. We've taken a look at the current offerings from each and conducted a side-by-side comparison to help narrow down your choice.

BUDGET: $200-$450

The budget GPS market is often the most competitive. Features and build quality are often the deciding factors here, though the differences aren't stark when it comes to comparing two of the market mainstays.

TomTom ONE (4th Edition)

Price: $349

With an attractive price tag and a small form factor, TomTom's ONE series is an iconic budget GPS device and the obvious choice if you're not a seasoned user. The fourth version doesn't offer revolutionary changes, but continual updates of its software and design have made sure the TomTom ONE (4th Edition) is a fantastic device for basic GPS navigation.

Navman S100

Price: $349

At exactly the same price, Navman's entry-level offering has the touch-screen interface of more expensive GPS units from the company with a stripped back feature set. Text-to-speech technology is a big drawcard (the TomTom ONE offers it as well), and TomTom's budget GPS unit doesn't have an equivalent of the Navman S100's lane guidance feature.

Winner: TomTom

Lane guidance is useful when navigating tricky highways, but the pedigree of the TomTom ONE makes it simply too good to pass by. For such a small asking price, you're getting an extremely useful GPS unit that is simple to operate.

MID-RANGE: $450-$600

Mid-range GPS devices usually add small touches such as a widescreen display and Bluetooth connectivity (so you can connect your mobile phone).

TomTom GO 730

Price: $549

TomTom's mid-range GPS offers a number of features that distinguish it from its budget counterpart. Bluetooth is an obvious standout feature but traffic updates are noticeably absent (they cost $100 on top of the base price). Nice inclusions like IQ Routes and Map Share offer better guidance and quicker routes, and TomTom's software is always a pleasure to use.

Navman S150

Price: $499

Navman undercuts TomTom's offering by $50 while offering a design we prefer to the TomTom GO 730's. Bluetooth and text-to-speech technology are also on offer. Navman counters TomTom's software offerings with improved touch-screen features and 3D landmarks. Frankly, we don't care much for the latter during everyday navigation, but the touch-screen interface makes finding an address easier.

Winner: TomTom

The mid-range market is certainly a tight one in terms of competition, and there's little to differentiate the two GPS devices significantly. However, the ability to update your own maps on the GO 730 makes it the ultimate victor at this price point.

PREMIUM: $600-$900

If money is no object and a full feature set is an absolute must-have, the premium category is the way to go. Expect to find features like improved mobile phone connectivity and sometimes even an integrated camera. Traffic information isn't always standard even at this price, but if you need everything on hand to ensure you get there in one piece, then a premium GPS device is certainly for you.

TomTom GO 930

Price: $849

TomTom offers high-end features for a high price. If you're looking for a way to spend the government's stimulus package payment, then TomTom can deliver all the features of a mid-range GPS device along with an FM transmitter and text-to-speech for SMS messages. You get the perks of IQ Routes and Map Share, and TomTom has also included its Enhanced Positioning Technology (EPT) to help you navigate when you lose a GPS signal in tunnels.

Navman S300T

Price: $699

Navman wipes $150 off the GO 930 price tag, and consequently the smile off the faces of product designers at TomTom. It is more attractive and offers most of the same features as the GO 930, but more importantly the S300T (as the T implies) comes standard with SUNA Traffic Channel compatibility; the latest and greatest feature for GPS devices. Of course, this is available as an optional extra for the GO 930 but the same feature for less is simply too good to pass up.

Winner: Navman

Although the TomTom GO 930 has some nice features, the upgrade from the GO 730 simply isn't worth that much extra money. You can pick up Navman's premium offering for cheaper with traffic included as standard — who can say no?

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