I, like a lot of us, had to travel over the Thanksgiving weekend. In my case, I had to travel to Grand Haven Michigan ( about 150 miles south of where I live ). I just got the Motorola Droid with Google Maps Navigation and wanted to compare it with my 1 year old TomTom One.
First, around town.. The TomTom is quite good at finding businesses and not quite as good at finding addresses. The touch screen is easy to manipulate and it doesn’t take too long to get your address entered into the device. Once you get it in there, it will take you to within a block or so of the correct address. It’s not perfect. The Google Maps app on the droid take a bit longer to load the address into then the TomTom ( you will have to pullover to do it on the fly ) but once it’s in there, the Droid is much more accurate. Both do a great job with businesses and the Droid’s Google Maps app works with voice quite well as long as you don’t have to read the whole address to it. For finding a McDonald’s or Starbucks, it’s perfect.
Now for the long trip… There are 2 ways to go out of Traverse City to get to Grand Haven. The slightly longer but faster route though Grand Rapids on US131 and I-96 or the shorter US31 along the lake shore. Knowing that there is a detour around a bridge in the Cadillac Area, it makes it quicker to go the US31 route. With the TomTom, it has no idea about the bridge being out so it wanted to route us via US131 and Grand Rapids. But, thanks to TomTom’s choice of “fastest route” “shortest route” or “avoid freeways” I was able to select “avoid freeways” and it routed me the way I wanted to go. The Google Maps App is supposed to know when there is detours and not route you through them unless it thinks it is the fastest way to go ( no option for shortest or other routing that I found ). It did show the section of closed road but it routed us on it anyway. So I ignored it. I wanted to see how far along TomTom’s route it took the Droid to catch on that we were not going that way and re-route us. The verdict? 15 miles. We were on the road for at least 15 miles and the Google Maps on the Droid wanted us to turn at ever intersection to get us back to the closed road. Once it got the fact we were going the other way, it was right on with the TomTom.
The TomTom One can be had right now for about $90 if you shop around and it a great all around navigator. It has lots of options of routing, voices and what info it displayed on the screen. You can have the time you will arrive at your end point and your speed, the speed limit of the road you are on among other things like that plus a nice 3D display of the road in front of you (map, not video ) The Google Maps Navigation does not have any real options as far as routing, display info or anything like that. Just a nice map, the street names, and how many hours and minutes to your destination. It does, however have Satellite views of the route and when you get where you are going or come to an intersection, it will show you street view of the area which could be nice if you don’t already know where you are.
One thing the Droid does better with Google Maps over the TomTom is that it reads you the street names. The TomTom one doesn’t (although you can get a model that does) Also, on the droid, you can’t change the voice (yet).
All in all, I would say the Droid with Google Maps Navigation is OK for a navigator if you don’t have a stand alone unit. You will want to get a car charger for it as the battery won’t last but a couple of hours running with the display on all the time. The thing that gets me excited about this App and the Android phone is it will improve over time with updates and other 3rd party software. The TomTom is more or less stuck with what it is. They do update the TomTom from time to time, but it can only do what it can do. You won’t go wrong with a TomTom for the price. I’m happy with both and will use both depending on the situation.
I’m loving all the other things the Droid does and will update you on my switch from Blackberry in future posts.