Garmin or Google – Which is Best?

One feature I really like on my smart phone is the Google navigation feature. Is it better than my Garmin gps?

Well, having a job where I deliver items all over town, often at places I’ve never been before or rarely go to, a gps or navigation system is a real help to me. And, most of the time, my Garmin fills the bill.

But, and I don’t know why Garmin would not have corrected this years ago, the garmin gps sometimes won’t recognize some streets. Now, I’m not talking about remote back roads or streets that have been laid down only a week or two before hand. I’m talking sections of major streets that have been there since probably the late 1800’s! In Portland, one street my Garmin won’t recognize is a section of McLaughlin Blvd. This would be the equivalent of not recognizing a section of Olympic Blvd or Wilshire in Los Angeles or a section of Broadway or 42nd Street in New York City. It could be that it requires me to enter the street or address differently because the section may be in county territory rather than in any city proper, but this is pure speculation on my part. It would be nice in that case if the Garmin asked me if I meant a different name or designation for that section of street or road. This is my biggest pet peeve with my Garmin unit.

Also, unless you get a unit with live traffic updates, the Garmin unit gives you the arrival time assuming there is no traffic or other obstacles, such as construction going on. So, if you get stuck in traffic, the arrival time extends per the time spent going slower than normal.

Google, on the other hand, so far has recognized every street I’ve entered, along with the address, with rare exception. In addition, I can even say the name of the place or company I’m going to and it will pick up the directions and location and get me there.

And that’s another Google advantage. I can say where I want to go, whereas, with Garmin, I can only enter the address I want to go to.

Google also gives more precise directions, even telling me which left turn lane to use when there are two of them, to make things easier. And, because it looks at live conditions, it will give me a more accurate time of arrival and will route me along the fastest route under current, real time traffic conditions! It will even reroute me if needed!

Is Google perfect? Well, no. First of all, it uses my phone’s battery and data, but I usually have enough to use Google as my backup when my Garmin can’t tell me how to get somewhere. But, because it’s not good to use a car charger for a phone, unless it’s an emergency, I do have to watch the usage.

Also, the phone has no holder like the Garmin does, so it is more difficult finding a place where I can put the phone where I can see the map display.

Also, there are a few times when Google will insist you are entering a different address or street direction. A few days ago, I gave an address on “Southeast 82nd” and it kept changing the address to “Northeast 82nd”. Fortunately, Google rarely does this, but it’s every bit as annoying as when Garmin won’t recognize a major street.

I’d love to ask the experts from both companies why their navigation systems fail this way at times.

Nevertheless, they both come in very handy and, I think if Google made a stand alone gps like Garmin, it would compete very well.

So, which is better? Well, I think Google is better at navigating, but the Garmin, being a stand alone gps, is easier to physically use and see as a navigation tool..

And I do get my use out of both of them!

Happy travels!

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And thanks for reading!  🙂

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