Garmin Vs TomTom GPS – Navigation Wars

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Not all adventures call for getting lost in the woods. For a rider, the supreme is to get where you intended to go. It would help if you quickly learned to navigate the bike because the stagnation of getting lost is not a good sail.

But how about letting a more reliable aid do that for you, how about allowing technology to guide your rides while you enjoy the thrill? Is there such a tool for motorcycle riders. Heck, there is! A navigation device is made just for the badass biker.

If you are thinking what’s’ so special about a motorcycle GPS navigation? There are many things unique to motorcycle navigation devices that you wouldn’t find in a conventional navigation system, features that will blow your minds!

If you already wandered into this realm, hoping to find a navigation gear for your motorcycle, we are sure you must have come across the dilemma of Garmin vs. TomTom? Which is better? What would make for a fruitful investment?

Since you are investing, we want to make sure that you are spending on a navigation system that proves to stand the test of time, a device that becomes one with your riding ventures and keeps you focused on the destination.

We have tested different gears for both the brands- Garmin and TomTom, and we understand the quandary. Each of the two brands has something that we can vouch for, and it was a hard choice for us too.

So instead of lurking on a middle ground, we decided to make the ultimate navigation gear system. The final deliberation for a clear winner! Follow Along; this is going to one hell of a ride!

Here’s a quick comparison table if you are in hurry. Or click here to jump directly to review section.

Preview
Best From TomTom
TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device, 4.3 Inch, with Motorcycle Specific Winding
Best From Garmin
Garmin Zumo 595LM
Product
TomTom Rider 550
Garmin Zumo 595lm
Display
4.3 Inches
5 Inches
Lifetime Map Updates
Yes (North America)
Yes
App
Handsfree Calling
Updates Over WiFi
Spotify/Pandora Support
Connectivity
Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
Map
World
World
Battery
6 Hrs
4 Hrs
Price
$303.16
$543.99
Best From TomTom
Preview
TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device, 4.3 Inch, with Motorcycle Specific Winding
Product
TomTom Rider 550
Display
4.3 Inches
Lifetime Map Updates
Yes (North America)
App
Handsfree Calling
Updates Over WiFi
Spotify/Pandora Support
Connectivity
Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
Map
World
Battery
6 Hrs
Price
$303.16
More Information
Best From Garmin
Preview
Garmin Zumo 595LM
Product
Garmin Zumo 595lm
Display
5 Inches
Lifetime Map Updates
Yes
App
Handsfree Calling
Updates Over WiFi
Spotify/Pandora Support
Connectivity
Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
Map
World
Battery
4 Hrs
Price
$543.99
More Information

The Final Battle Between Garmin And TomTom

If you are an avid motorcycle rider, investing in a motorcycle nav gear is an inevitable choice you will need to make sooner or later. There are a lot of features that make a motorcycle nav superior to a traditional GPS, including factors like shock proofing, waterproofing, gloves abled touchscreen usage, and much more.

Two big contenders offer the best motorcycle navigation system globally- Garmin and TomTom. Each unit from the two brands has a unique feature that makes it harder to make a final choice. So, to make things easier for you, we have decided to take matters in our hands.

In this post, we will give the most insightful and honest reviews on navigation systems for a motorcycle from each brand, along with the true offering where you will choose the one that suits you as a rider and keeps to focused on your destination for years to come. Let’s get started, shall we!

Which One Is Easier To Use?

Both Garmin and TomTom have some significant differences in terms of the user-interface. Although despite the difference, both the devices reach the end result quite well. Setting up the destination, searching, calculating, all these actions are simple to execute in both the nav gears.

But, if you pay closer attention, we found Garmin’s interface as more intelligent and engaging than the

one present on TomTom. The clean display on the Garmin nav gear is easy to understand with large icons. In this context, TomTom seems a little off-beat.

However, we did notice that TomTom nav gears are quicker in terms of finding the location, locking on the satellites, and finding the routes. Garmin fall by a single decimal to match the speed, but we prefer the bright display and smooth interface more.

Cost Is A Significant Factor.

It all eventually comes down to one fundamental quandary- how much are you willing to spend on a navigation device? Both Garmin and TomTom have a nav system in various price ranges. The best approach is to find a device that offers an uncompromised value for money.

If you simply want traditional and straightforward navigation, it is best to stick with TomTom rider 550, but if you want extra features like adventurous routing, you can spend a couple of more shingles on the Garmin XT Terrain or the Garmin Zumo.

Maps And Navigation

Besides the cost of a navigation device, the two primal features – maps and navigation, should be your most significant consideration. According to the reviews from existing customers, it is alleged that TomTom offers more detailed maps for European countries, and Garmin is more suitable for the United States.

Road network is a very inconstant system, due to the everyday changes, you need continuous updates on the device. If you understand the importance of this feature, but you are unwilling to spend extra bucks every time there is an update, the TomTom VIA 1525SE is a good choice as it offers free lifetime updates on maps of the united states.

Traffic Routing

Each of the brand- Garmin, and TomTom have unique platforms to pitch in traffic updates on different devices. However, both brands offer real-time notifications on more dense routes if your daily lifestyle requirement is to avoid traffic jams and delays.

Nav models from TomTom do receive a higher rating in terms of real-time traffic abilities when compared to other devices present in the market, including Garmin. We can attribute this to the fast satellite locking and calculations by TomTom. The traffic jam reporting of TomTom is rated as 67 percent while that of Garmin is 22 percent. The large margin makes it clear that TomTom is a clear winner in this deliberation.

Bonus Features

Having new additional features in your device is something most us do appreciate. However, the real puzzle surfaces when you think about the same element overpowering the necessary ones. There are nav models form both TomTom and Garmin that offer some unique features in standard as well as more pricy versions. Here is a more elaborate description of the features that we deem necessary on every navigation system.

Bluetooth Connectivity

If your nav system has Bluetooth integration, it becomes a lot easier to pair your smartphone or Bluetooth headset with the primary device. Garmin stands at the forefront of Bluetooth connectivity when compared to TomTom.

Voice Recognition

This is an excellent option for the rider who wants to have a handsfree navigation experience. There are several phrases like “hello” or “wake up” that you can speak out loud to activate your nav device. Both TomTom and Garmin offer different models that are voice enables and each equipped to the job well.

The final say falls on you before you invest in an additional feature on a nav system, it becomes imperative to consider if you really need the functionality. We don’t want the integration to waste away, so if you want a robust navigation device, you can create a vision board of what you deem necessary, which will help you save a significant amount of money. The rule of thumb is to pay for features that you will surely use.

Motorcycle Navigation System Reviews

1. TomTom Rider 550

Sale
TomTom Rider 550 Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device, 4.3 Inch, with Motorcycle Specific Winding
  • Routes with more hills and more thrills: Get all the cornering, hills, and thrills you can handle with TomTom's Rider Motorcycle GPS: Search, create, or import routes, then start your ride out
  • Weather-proof build: Tom-Tom’s rider motorcycle gps has rugged, ipx7-certified weatherproof design and capacitive touchscreen remain under your control even when you are wearing gloves
  • World maps, traffic, and services: stay safe, stay up-to-date. Get maps, safety camera alerts, and other live service updates quickly and easily via the Tomtom rider gps. No computer needed
  • Quad-core processor: The Tomtom rider gps’s quad-core processor runs commands simultaneously, doubling your overall processing speed and increasing your gps's start up speed fivefold
  • Smart screen: See more of the road ahead with the Tomtom rider motorcycle GPS’s high brightness and sunlight-readable 4.3" display, which switches smoothly between portrait and landscape mode

The first thing you will notice with the TomTom 550 motorcycle nav when you hold is the stable build. And everyone knows that satisfaction of holding a hefty device that screams premium body. The supplementing fitting is equally as robust and well-made.

It is easy to mount the TomTom Rider 550 on your motorcycle with the U-shaped bolt that goes around the bike’s handlebars. Although, you might have to be little cautious while mounting the clamp to avoid chaffing the clutch cables.

It might also take you a bit longer to assemble the wirings in place for a precise and neat organization. The TomTom nav gear is both shockproof and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about small impacts or a particularly sunny day. Because even with water droplets on the screen, the responsiveness in nowhere lackadaisical. If anything, the touchscreen remains sensitive even when you are thick winter gloves.

The display is crisp, with a clear direction towards your destination. Even on the sunniest days, you will have no trouble grasping the course, the TomTom Rider 550 suggests. You can choose from a variety of modes such as the ‘plan a thrill’ feature or the ‘MyDrive mode,’ which found quite intriguing.

The TomTom Rider 550 motorcycle does come at a significant price, but the premium build, multiple in-built features, the ultra-clear display makes it worthy of spending a couple of extra bucks.

Features

  • Winding and hilly roads
  • Updates via Wi-Fi
  • Smart screen and weatherproof build
  • TomTom Road Trips
  • Smartphone messages
  • Compatible with Siri and Google Now

Pros

  • You can choose between Winding and Hilly roads
  • Plan your trip with My drive app
  • Smartphone messages on screen
  • Waterproof build to withstand all weathers
  • Lifetime map updates for North America

Cons

  • Little bit costly

2. TomTom Go Comfort 6

Sale
TomTom Go Comfort 6 with WiFi, 6 inch Display, Lifetime Traffic and Maps, Smart Routing, Destination...
  • Top-Class TomTom Traffic: Time-saving traffic congestion avoidance, with trusted arrival times backed by comprehensive traffic information and real-time updates, all via your TomTom Go Comfort GPS
  • 3-month safety camera alerts: Stay updated, under the speed limit, and safer along the way. Keep going with live services on your gps by switching over to a subscription after your trial ends
  • Tomtom map updates at no extra cost: see what is going on way up ahead with your go comfort gps; Effortless navigation with routes around road closures and other traffic hassles
  • Wireless connectivity: Stay updated quickly and easily with the Tomtom go comfort gps. Get regular software and map updates with the convenience of built-in Wi-Fi. No computer needed
  • Road trips by Tomtom: Supercharge your holidays; Road trips brings you another world of driving and riding experiences created by our road trips community. Sync them easily to your gps and go

Despite the allure of more high-tech features, a motorcycle GPS nav gear should satisfy the most basic functionality requirements. The TomTom Go Comfort motorcycle navigation device takes a straightforward approach with a clear and straightforward to use interface.

The 5-inch resistive screen has rounded edges with a plastic body. Installing the TomTom to your motorcycle is easy with its sturdy suction cup that will not budge no matter how fast or slow you are riding.

In the complete package, you receive a micro USB cable, but the TomTom Go Comfort also has an in-built battery with around one hour of functioning. The interface is kept simple, with colossal icons for each of the essential functions.

You have access to more secondary options such as my places, record my route, etc. You can rearrange the menu layout and what features it displays according to your requirements. The TomTom Go Comfort is made to work flawlessly when you are en-route.

Overall, the device is packed with modern features while keeping the integration simple. Moreover, if you are looking for a budget buy, this might be your best bet.

Features

  • Updates via Wi-Fi
  • Smartphone Messages
  • Destination prediction
  • TomTom My Drive
  • TomTom Traffic
  • TomTom Road Trips

Pros

  • Huge 6 inch display
  • Smartphone messages can be played
  • TomTom My drive support
  • Destination prediction according to your driving style

Cons

  • Not suitable for motorcycles

3. TomTom Via 1525SE

TomTom Via 1525SE 5 Inch GPS Navigation Device with Free Lifetime Traffic
  • 5 inch touchscreen see your next instruction better, touchscreen type resistive
  • Lifetime traffic updates steer clear of traffic
  • Lifetime maps updates of the united states, download free map updates with the latest road changes for the life of your device
  • Free software updates; connect to your computer regularly for free software updates, including new features and improvements
  • Advanced lane guidance clearly see which lane to take at key junctions on your gps; No more sudden lane changes or missed turns

The TomTom VIA sits somewhere in the middle of basic and modern. This version is made for customers looking for a budget buy. And even with the minimal pricing, TomTom doesn’t seem to have cut back any corners on the navigation system to make it cheaper.

To begin with, the TomTom Via 1525 catches on to satellite significantly faster than the medieval nav gears. With high-quality maps and well-marked digital roads, there is no way you are getting astray from the main route when using this device.

Another more unique feature we found on the TomTom Via is its advanced navigation lane system. This feature shows you the correct lane you are riding in and where you should be moving to next.

Overall, the TomTom Via 1525SE is undeniably one of the best budget nav gears in the market, considering you get a free lifetime update of all of the united states to keep with the most recent layout of the road network system.

Features

  • Lifetime Maps
  • Advance Lane guidance
  • Free software updates

Pros

  • Lifetime Maps updates
  • Lane Guidance
  • Good pricing

Cons

  • Not suitable for motorcycles

4. Garmin Zumo 595LM

Sale
Garmin Zumo 595LM
  • Premium motorcycle GPS for new adventures in riding
  • Glove- , sunlight-readable 5-inch dual-orientation touchscreen with rugged design for harsh weather (IPX7)
  • Garmin Adventurous Routing finds curvy or hilly roads; limits major highways
  • Rider alerts for sharp curves, state helmet laws, speed cameras (not available in all regions) and more
  • Bluetooth for hands-free calling and smartphone notifications right on your zūmo screen (requires Bluetooth-compatible helmet, headset or smartphone (sold separately) and the free Smartphone Link app)

When you ask existing patrons of the Garmin Zumo 595M nav gear, which feature stands out the most? You will get a heavily unified feedbacks- the Garmin Adventurous Routing system. The routing system will count all the curves and hills and help you avoid all the more significant highways.

Note, this feature is purely for those who love adventure but with a reliable device that will take you to places that avoid the conventional humdrum of the everyday traffic. You can choose how intense you want the adventure to be using the sliding scale in the settings.

The installation is simple and quick; we found that routing the cables took a bit more time, but that’s a one-time thing, so in our judgment, there is not much disparity. But if you want to make the most of the Garmin Zumo 595LM, you must pair with your smartphone or your Bluetooth headset.

Pairing the device with the smartphone allows you to take phone calls directly on the GPS. But we will advise against that if you want to avoid the constant smartphone notifications for a serene ride.

Conclusively, if you don’t mind the slightly smaller 5-inch screen, you are getting a lot of features, a versatile device made to fuel your adventurous spirit. We deem the Garmin Zumo 595LM a perfect bang for the buck.

Features

  • 3D terrain
  • Rider alerts
  • Live Track
  • Smartphone Notifications
  • Spotify and Pandora Support
  • Lifetime Map Updates
  • Garmin Adventurous Routing
  • Compatible with TPMS

Pros

  • Rider Alerts
  • 3D terrain
  • Live Tracking
  • Garmin Adventurous Routing
  • Compatible with TPMS

Cons

  • First time installation can be a bit tricky.

5. Garmin Zumo XT

Garmin zūmo XT, All-Terrain Motorcycle GPS Navigation Device, 5.5-inch Ultrabright and...
  • 5.5” ultrabright, glove-friendly display with crisp HD resolution in landscape or portrait mode; rain-resistant and built rugged (passed the military standard 810 drop test)
  • Get spoken turn-by-turn directions through your connected helmet or headset plus preloaded off-road topographic maps with public land boundaries, 4x4 roads and more
  • Access to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery with direct-to-device downloads and no annual subscription
  • Garmin Adventurous Routing options find curvy or hilly roads for a fun and exciting riding experience
  • Easily manage and review routes, tracks and waypoints across your navigator, smartphone and computer using Garmin Explore

If the small size of our previous Garmin recommendation is not something that appeals to you. We unravel the new Garmin XT, all-terrain motorcycle nav gear with a colossal size of 5.5 inches. This GPS gear has been tested for the military standard drop test and the waterproof test.

On both accounts, the Garmin XT All-terrain passed with flying colors, so if you are looking for a nav gear that has the ability to withstand rough adventures, this is your best bet.

You can switch been the street maps views, topography, and bird’s eye satellite using a singular toggle. The Garmin XT terrain stands out due to its ultrawide super bright screen. Even on the sunniest days, you will see the screen. Moreover, due to the available choice of mounting the Garmin XT in traditional or portrait mode, you can get better visibility of the route ahead.

The added safety net with the hands-free calling integration along with default incident alerts and the in-each satellite communicator for dual location sharing, there is no doubt that the Garmin XT terrain is the best nav gear, especially for adventure lovers.

Features

  • Large Display
  • Bird’s Eye satellite imagery
  • Garmin Adventurous Routing
  • Pre-Loaded On-road/Off-road Maps
  • Great Battery Backup (up to 6 hrs)

Pros

  • Bird’s eye imagery helps you get a wider view of the road
  • Battery Backup
  • Large Display makes it easy to see information
  • Switchable orientation

Cons

  • A little expensive

6. Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S

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Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S, Motorcycle GPS with 4.3-inch Display, Rugged Design for Harsh Weather, Live...
  • Motorcycle navigation for the twisty road to adventure
  • Rugged, glove friendly, Sunlight readable 4.3 inch display; resistant to fuel vapors, UV Rays and harsh weather
  • Pair with a compatible smartphone for hands free calling, smart notifications through the free Smartphone Link app, easily share GPX files for group rides
  • Access free Live services for traffic and weather using the smartphone link app
  • Garmin Adventurous Routing finds curvy or hilly roads; limits major highways

With so many complex features and skyrocketing prices of several nav gears in the market today, the purchase and use can get quite overwhelming. On that front, the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S is a pleasant, modest surprise.

The initial installation is pretty straightforward considering the Garmin 396 LMT-S prefers a wireless life with a single power cable that you need to route. There are no USB jacks, extra load for the maps, or the terrain. Everything gets updated over the Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to keep plugging the nav into a computer every time you need to revamp the map.

Much like our previous recommendation, the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S sports an adventurous routing feature that can be used to upscale the terrains and avoid busy areas. The app works flawlessly between your smartphone and GPS.

The only disparity we hope gets looked after is that the screen can use a little more brightness, and an unpaved adventurous routing option would be a tremendous functional upgrade. Overall, taking the nav gear as a whole, the Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S has an allure, that certainly can’t be ignored.

Features

  • Garmin Adventurous Routing
  • Live Traffic & Weather updates
  • Rider Alerts
  • Dynamic Fuel Alerts

Pros

  • Garmin Adventurous Routing
  • Rider Alerts
  • Dynamic Fuel and oil change alerts
  • Live Traffic & Weather updates

Cons

  • Small Display, Brightness could be improved

Our Verdict

Comparing Garmin and TomTom is anything but easy. Both models offer features that can make you drool if you understand the mechanics of nav systems. However, each has its own inconsistency. So, the impending query- who won the contest, Gamin or TomTom? It is safe to say that considering the variety of features sprinkled around, the winner depends on the user.

We can’t stress more on creating a vision board before you make the final purchase; this will help you make an informed decision.

While Garmin has a more crispy-clear display, along with intelligent routing features, it lacks in terms of map updates and screen size. On the other hand, TomTom is infamous for its fast calculation and satellite locking; it lacks significantly in terms of display and battery life. It is up to you and your specific needs to choose a navigation system that puts the odds in your favor.

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