Anyone has experiences in GPS preloaded with European Maps?

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by fll, Feb 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. fll

    fll

    Need to get one for an upcoming trip because luggage has no room for extra weight of the Michelin spiral Atlas nor the regional maps.

    There are basically 2 options - a Gamin or a Tom Tom. Though there are a few models.

    Would hope to hear any opinions / experiences on this.
     
  2. FlyingBear
    Original Member

    FlyingBear Silver Member

    Messages:
    919
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Status Points:
    845
    Prepaid Nokia Nuron or E73 with no plan and free Ovi Maps :) Sorry, that's all I got, but worked decently well for me last month.
     
  3. TuxTraveller
    Original Member

    TuxTraveller Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    160
    Status Points:
    350
    Agreed I use my nokia phone and Ovi Maps, though I have decided to go with Android for my next phone so will need to work out at some point what to replace it with.

    If your phone has a GPS device I would look into paying for the software to be able to use it, it means you don't have to carry an extra device around with you!
     
  4. cockpitvisit
    Original Member

    cockpitvisit Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,392
    Likes Received:
    15,670
    Status Points:
    10,595
    What parts of Europe are you going to visit?

    For me, Garmin maps work fine except in France and Spain, where the GPS doesn't alwats prioritize roads correctly and will sometimes guide me to an unpaved road because it is shorter by a few meters! There is a good database of hotels, restaurants and landmarks. I seldomly have to enter an address.

    No experience with TomTom.

    Note that I am living in Germany myself, so if there are any special problems for visiting Americans with a Garmin, I may not know them :)

    I also have a small Nokia with preloaded maps, but it is *much* less convenient than a Garmin with a touch screen. Also it requires a data connection, otherwise it may take up several minutes to get a lock on satellites.
     
    KingCarrot likes this.
  5. fll

    fll

    Need it for France. I think a stand alone GPS works better than using the phone's GPS function for serious driving.

    We would drive from Toulouse to Carcasonne then head West towards Basque Country. After that zigzag up towards north to Loire Valley, Chartres and eventually return the car at Fontainebleau. Take the train to Paris. The GPS would complement the Michelin regional maps which have the scenic routes and points of interest.
     
  6. It is almost always cheaper to buy with pre-loaded maps.
    Most all top GPS are pretty good, unless you want some special features.

    I own three Garmins, mostly because none of the other consumer brands makes an approved flight computer. I also have some other older GPS devices (non Garmin) I don't use.

    Be sure to download an updated traffic camera POI, as it will pay for the cost of the GPS from tickets you don't get.
     
  7. willyroo
    Original Member

    willyroo Active Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    22
    Status Points:
    95
    Very happy with the current TomTom 860.3101 "Europe" maps - these include much of Eastern Europe as well. I much prefer a standalone GPS to the Nokia Ovi maps or the iPhone TT app. The smarphones aren't worse, it's just that a GPS is, well, a GPS!

    If you decide on a TomTom, make sure it has at least 4Gb of memory, OR (preferrably) an SD card slot. Mine has an 8Gb SDHC card which means I can have Europe (2.5Gb), US (2Gb), and Australia (0.14Gb) maps all on the one card.

    The 2Gb TomToms restrict you to the more regional maps eg "Western Europe".
     
  8. Bob Smolinsky
    Original Member

    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    14,569
    Status Points:
    10,575
    Garmins +1
     
  9. Miles
    Original Member

    Miles Silver Member

    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    980
    Status Points:
    695
    Used my old Nuvi 270 last week around Barcelona and Andorra, and it worked fine. It has many European nations and well as US and Canada, in a multiplicity of languages.
     
  10. RCyyz
    Original Member

    RCyyz Silver Member

    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    389
    Status Points:
    495
    I've used my trusty Garmin Nuvi 255w in Europe several times without difficulty. The unit was purchased in Canada and therefore came pre-loaded with Canada + US maps. For another $100 or so I purchased the Europe maps on an SD card which I popped in and life was good.

    The Garmin functioned in Europe exactly as it did here in Canada. All I had to do was enter the address and the unit figured everything else out. There were occasional challenges entering addresses correctly as different countries have different address standards, but on the whole it was what one would reasonable expect. With the European maps I've been able to navigate UK, Scotland, Germany, Poland, France, Italy without any major challenge.

    When I went to Turkey I purchased a Turkey map from the authorized Garmin distributed in IST. Sadly I found the maps terribly deficient and not entirely accurate. I was emailing the guy I had dealt with at the distributor and he even emailed me an update which helped but didn't entirely resolve my troubles (addresses not found). Eventually, to his credit, the chap I dealt with refunded me the purchase price of the map. (I lost out a little on the exchange rate but so what?) Needless to say I was quite impressed with the Garmin distributer in Turkey. Since then, the Turkey maps are included in the Europe package.

    I'm quite pleased with my Garmin experience. $100 for the Europe maps feels expensive, but when you consider that a good Michelin roadmap costs $15 - $20, you quickly realize that $100 for all of Europe is really quite cheap.
     
  11. RCyyz
    Original Member

    RCyyz Silver Member

    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    389
    Status Points:
    495
    I'll add that eventually the North America map updates grew too large to fit the internal memory of my trusty 255w. I struggled with loading the updates onto an SD card but it wasn't straightforward so I decided to upgrade to the Garmin Nuvi 3790LMT. The unit was expensive (around $400) but wow - what an improvement on my 255w. It's incredible how much better the new Garmin is vs. the old one!

    Thus far the 3790 has only been to the US twice and the rest of the time has been within 200km of YYZ. In April I'll be in Greece and briefly Denmark so I'll be trying the unit out then. I anticipate that it will work well.
     
  12. TRAVELSIG
    Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    5,509
    Status Points:
    4,145
    TomTom works very well in Italy- particularly the IQ maps version which can save you a ton of time as it is actually quite good at predicting the very crowded streets/times.
     
  13. Fredd
    Original Member

    Fredd Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    3,181
    Status Points:
    1,970
    We're thinking of replacing our Garmin 350 that we've had for years (and paid about $600 [​IMG] at Costco) rather than trying to update it. We bought a European chip for it a few years ago that's also served us well. Buying a Garmin with the European maps preloaded does somewhat reduce our model choices. Is it worth it? As well, are there any gps units, Garmin or other, that are a beat quicker than the several we've used, i.e. that give us directions to turn before we've gone by the given roundabout exit or other intersection rather than a repeated chorus of "recalculating?" Does a larger memory help? So far I haven't found anything in reviews about the actual speed of the directions in such situations. [​IMG]
     
  14. TRAVELSIG
    Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    5,509
    Status Points:
    4,145
    Newer GPS are significantly faster at recalculating.

    I used to have Garmin however switched to TomTom for IQ routes.
     
  15. Fredd
    Original Member

    Fredd Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    3,181
    Status Points:
    1,970
    We bought a Garmin 265W a few months ago for a daughter and tried it out first. It didn't seem to be any quicker. Is that because it's a lower-end unit? We'd be happy to pay $400 or more for a new one (considering what we paid for our original) if it has a faster processing speed. Of course we do have the option of buying from Costco and returning it with no hassles if it's not significantly better.
     
  16. TRAVELSIG
    Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    5,509
    Status Points:
    4,145
    I don't know the individual model #s- if you have the Costco option I would think that is the way to go.
     
    Fredd likes this.
  17. willyroo
    Original Member

    willyroo Active Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    22
    Status Points:
    95
    I have had a number of TomToms over the years and TT does seem (anecdotally) to do Europe better than Garmin. That being said they're both good. The TT930 is a great device, and it does come preloaded with Europe maps - however if you buy a refurbished model it won't have the latest maps, and I don't think TT honors the "latest map guarantee" on refurbished units not purchased from their website (eg Amazon).

    The TT540 World Edition is another to consider - it has the same chip and RAM as the top line TomToms, and for $170 you can't go too far wrong, especially with a lifetime map guarantee.
     
    Fredd likes this.
  18. Fredd
    Original Member

    Fredd Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    3,181
    Status Points:
    1,970
    Thanks again. Yesterday we bought a Garmin Nuvi 3790LMT at Costco for $380. The professional reviews are positive and the consumer reviews in Amazon and other places are mainly very positive with a few really negative ones thrown in about serious glitches. We'll give it a good test drive. Not to shill for Costco but, along with competitive prices, their no-questions-asked return policy is really useful to us.

    For that kind of money, compared to lower-priced units discussed here and elsewhere, it had better be really good. [​IMG]
     
  19. TRAVELSIG
    Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    5,509
    Status Points:
    4,145
    I think you should be happy. I used to have a Garmin Nuvi- it was so great that someone broke into my car in Milano and stole it :) Garmin was then replaced by TomTom as I was curious about IQ routes- which turned out to be very valuable in Italy. Have a good trip to Europe- and please report back Fredd with the good, the bad, and the ugly. What countries are you headed to?
     
  20. Fredd
    Original Member

    Fredd Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    3,181
    Status Points:
    1,970
    That's too bad. Our son had a gps stolen out of his car parked in his own driveway a few months ago and it's annoying to say the least. :mad:

    We actually have just returned from Italy. The impetus to buy a new one was caused by taking our old one along for use in pedestrian mode and finding that the old battery only gave us about 15-20 minutes of use before dying.

    Our next planned foreign trip is to South America followed by a transatlantic cruise. We probably won't take the GPS along since we don't plan to be driving on this trip but we'll give it a good road test around here and look forward to use it or if necessary a replacement in Europe later this year. :)
     
  21. RCyyz
    Original Member

    RCyyz Silver Member

    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    389
    Status Points:
    495
    You made a good choice Fredd. The 3790 is dramatically faster and overall just plain better than the older 2xx series. The external speaker / clip on the 3790 is great too. I always found my 255w a touch on the soft side.
     
    Fredd likes this.
  22. jneugeba
    Original Member

    jneugeba Gold Member

    Messages:
    514
    Likes Received:
    2,292
    Status Points:
    1,110
    I love my Garmin. The one feature I wish I would have got would be a QWERTY keyboard. Mine is alphabetical, and it is a PITA to type stuff in.
     
  23. RCyyz
    Original Member

    RCyyz Silver Member

    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    389
    Status Points:
    495
    This has changed on the 3790; keyboard is QWERTY now and it's sooo much easier!
     
    Mrs. Fredd likes this.
  24. Mrs. Fredd
    Original Member

    Mrs. Fredd Silver Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    75
    Status Points:
    330
    Yes, it's much easer. (Our first GPS had QWERTY and the second did not, and I never really got used to it.) I note that this model allows one to choose which keyboard. So far we really like it. It's a pain that the software update instructions are wrong, but we finally got it to work.
     
  25. Mountain Trader
    Original Member

    Mountain Trader Silver Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    32
    Status Points:
    165
    We've used Garmin (with now almost two year old maps) in France and Italy with great success. As another poster said, you occassionaly are directed to a needless dirt path to save a few meters but I never go from pavement to dirt without knowing what's up, or at least asking. I would rather forget my credit cards than that Garmin for a road trip.

    We bought a small Garmin and take the screen device with us and leave only the cord and stand (which can be replaced pretty cheap) in the car.
     

Share This Page