June 5, 2007

Widescreen GPS


Size does matter: Actual size comparison of a standard 3.5-inch GPS Screen to a 4.3-inch Widescreen GPS.

A lot of people are asking about the wave of Widescreen GPS units and are they worth the extra real estate. The classic argument is, “I am traveling straight ahead. Why do I need the widescreen? I need a taller screen to see where I am going better.”

I say, don’t knock them until you try them.

The typical screen on a standard width GPS is 3.5 inches diagonally, while a widescreen is 4.3 inches diagonally, which adds up to a lot of real estate difference, not only in width but in height too. The image here is a composite of actual screen shots from a standard width Garmin (SP550) and a widescreen (Nuvi 660) Garmin. This should give you an idea of really how much extra space you are getting, not only in width but in added height. In terms of area, the widescreen is 70% larger than the standard 3.5-inch screen units.

The best way I can describe it is that the widescreen is like having better peripheral vision that allows you to not only see what’s ahead of you right now, but also what’s going on around you. Let’s face it, not all roads are straight, and having the widescreen offers you a lot more information as you travel.

Furthermore, when you have the widescreen, you don’t really feel like you need to be on top of the unit, and you feel like you can kick back a bit and relax with this great widescreen hanging out there guiding you. It's a pretty luxurious feeling.

Finally, the widescreen GPS units offer more space to navigate the unit's interface with; more buttons, easier navigation and typing on the unit. It's just a better experience.

The TomTom ONE lists right now for $249, and the TomTom ONE XL is $100 more. I think that the extra money is worth it. When moving from the Garmin Nuvi 350 to the Nuvi 650, the price difference is a bit more, but overall I still think that it’s a better choice if it’s in your price range.

Popular Widescreen Models are:

  • Garmin Nuvi 200W (Lower 48 States + Hawaii Maps) and Garmin Nuvi 250W (North America Maps); neither have text to speech - See my Full Review of the Nuvi 200W/250W
  • Garmin Nuvi 650 – North American Maps
  • Garmin Nuvi 660 – North American Maps and TMC Traffic enabled – See My Review
  • Garmin Nuvi 670 – Pre-loaded with North American and European Maps
  • Garmin Nuvi 680 – With MSN Direct Gas prices and traffic feeds – See My Review
  • TomTom ONE XL – North American Maps and TomTom PLUS enabled – See My Review
  • TomTom ONE XLS - Adds Text to Speech to the TomTom ONE XL
  • TomTom GO 720 - Text to Speech, BlueTooth, Record your own voice prompts
  • TomTom GO 920T - Text to Speech, Bluetooth, Maps of North America AND Europe pre-loaded.
  • Mio C520 – North American Maps and split screen navigation capabilities.
  • Magellan Maestro 4040 – North American Maps
  • Magellan Maestro 4050 – North American Maps and Voice Activated Controls

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    Posted by Scott Martin at June 5, 2007 8:29 AM
  • Recent Comments

    Unfortunately your image is comparing resolution between C550 and Nuvi 660 and not display size. The individual pixels on the widescreen display are smaller than the regular screen.

    But point taken - I'd still rather have the widescreen. :-)


    Posted by: GPSFan at July 20, 2007 5:25 PM
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