Fans of our site know that we are big supporters of the Waze application available on Apple iPhone and Android operating systems. We have written several articles on this terrific application which you can read here and here. I recently began to notice that I barely use my Garmin Nuvi GPS any longer. Why is that? Well to answer that question, we take a look at Waze versus Garmin Nuvi.
So I began to think about the advantages and disadvantages (if any) and listed the advantages and disadvantages below.
Cost – Waze is absolutely free versus Garmin Nuvi which will cost $100 and up depending upon the model. Waze Versus Garmin Nuvi Winner: Waze
Maps – Garmin updates their maps and if you have a GPS with a lifetime map subscription there is no cost for map updates. If you do not have a GPS with lifetime map updates, you will need to purchase it from Garmin. Waze updates their maps regularly and solicits map corrections from the user base. I actually had an opportunity to report a map correction and the response from them came in less than one day. Waze Versus Garmin Nuvi Winner: Waze
Driving Directions – If purchasing the latest Garmin, you will receive lane assist which is real helpful when driving on large highways. The Garmin Nuvi will show a blown up map of the road and tell you which lanes to get into. Waze does not include this feature. Both will guide you around traffic if you have that feature and will reroute quickly if you are off course. Waze Versus Garmin Nuvi Winner: Garmin
Traffic – Waze has full-time live traffic reports which are supported by traffic networks, real-time measurements and social interactions of the user base. Some Garmin Nuvi models have traffic available but at an extra cost (warning don’t lose the Garmin traffic power cable or it will cost you another $60 for a replacement). The Garmin traffic feature uses the FM radio frequency and is only available in large metropolitan areas. For example, out here in northwest New Jersey, traffic is rarely available but begins to receive reports as I head towards New York City. Waze Versus Garmin Nuvi Winner: Waze
Bluetooth Integration – Waze runs on your phone, so Bluetooth is already present so you would think that Waze would win this hands down but it doesn’t. When using Waze on an active route and a call comes in, the app disappears to the background and the telephone application takes over. Your map is off the screen. You can get the map back by closing the phone app and opening Waze again but that’s not safe while driving. Additionally, while speaking to your party that just called, Waze will interrupt and override the speaking party. This one is kind of surprising but that’s how it works on my iPhone. Android users might be able to benefit from an application called Waze Up but sorry IOS users, you’re out of luck. Waze Versus Garmin Nuvi Winner: Garmin
So there you have it. Both Garmin and Waze have advantages and disadvantages. The above reflects my own personal opinion, you might have different experiences. You will need to base your decision on your own personal needs. There is still a need for dedicated GPS devices like the Garmin Nuvi but there’s a huge market for anything free, especially a great application like Waze.
If you would like to read a good article on smartphone car mounts which are useful with GPS applications such as Waze, you may view it here. We also have an excellent overview of car mounts for Garmin Nuvi here as well as a Guide to Buying a Garmin Nuvi.