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Like the Tom Tom Go, the StreetPilot has a built-in battery, which I found to be very good indeed. I used the StreetPilot for a long journey of around five hours and the battery showed no signs of dying. However, for me, the idea of an internal battery means that you don’t need to have a wire trailing to the cigarette lighter in your car, making the positioning of the device more flexible, but here again a fundamental mistake has been made. Instead of having the cigarette lighter cable plugging into the mounting cradle, Garmin has chosen to hard wire it – this means that even when you’re using the StreetPilot on battery power, you have a long messy cable hanging around on your dash. With the Tom Tom Go, you can unplug the cable and keep it in the glove box, leaving you with a more tidy solution, but giving you the option of using it when you need to.
Finally there’s the issue of personal “Points of Interest”, which the StreetPilot doesn’t support. With the Tom Tom Go you can upload your own points of interest, which can include handy things like speed cameras – in fact this has been quite a selling point for the Tom Tom in the UK. That said, Garmin has assured me that there will be an update for the c320 that will allow you to upload your own points of interest, including a speed camera database.
Then you have to take price into account and at just over £400, the StreetPilot is pretty much on a par with the current Tom Tom Go, but things won’t stay that way for long. Tom Tom has already expanded its Go range, and soon there will be three different models available, with the basic unit coming it at around £370. Now that’s quite a price differential, considering that the Tom Tom Go is a better overall product.
All that said, I have to believe that Garmin will get this right, it has far too much experience in GPS to leave these fundamental flaws unresolved. The fact that I have been assured of an upgrade for points of interest gives me hope, since this could mean that Garmin will be addressing some of the other issues, like being able to search by post code. But even though I’m convinced that Garmin will eventually either upgrade this product, or create a successor that’s worthy of its name, right now the StreetPilot c320 is no match for the already established Tom Tom Go.
Garmin has created a device with some truly excellent features, but unfortunately it has missed some of the basics along the way. The convoluted and unintuitive user interface, hard wired cradle and unhealthy obsession with the London orbital motorway, ruin what could have been a great product. I’m hoping that Garmin will release an update to address the majority of these problems, but as it stands, the c320 just doesn’t feel like the finished article.
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