Written on: 30/07/2009 by zaphod987 (13 reviews written)
I hummed and hah'd about the Garmin Zumo 550 vs the TomTom Rider2, but when you look at the units, and start to add all the extras that the TomTom needs, but the garmin comes with, such as the car mount, the case, and the computer cable, it quickly became apparent that on cost the Garmin Zumo 550 looked more expensive, but actually was cheaper than the TomTom Rider2.
It is a shame that shops such as Halfords don't put these units out to be played with, I was allowed to look, but not touch a Zumo 400 unit at my local Halfords before I bought one online, but I guess the price makes them worry about them being dropped.
The bike mount itself is very sturdy, and different length mounting arms are available for about £10, giving great versitility in where it can be mounted.
The unit itself is very easy to use on the go with gloves on, especially the fuel feature, you enter your fuel tank range, and about 30 miles before the Zumo pops up a warning message, and gives you an icon to find nearby petrol stations. It can be a little out of date (petrol stations close down at a fast rate) but generally is very good at letting you find fuel when you need it.
The text to speech is very good, rarely does it stumble on pronunciation of word.
The 3.5" screen is big enough that you can see clearly, without being so big that it obscures the instruments on the bike.
In the car, the car mount is rugged with an inbuilt speaker, it could do with being a little louder sometimes, but generally does a good job of being heard over road noise, conversations and music.
It's very rugged, in nearly 18 months I've dropped it several times, ridden through howling thunderstorms and generally done my best to break it, and I've failed.
A handy feature, when you take it abroad it starts reading in Km instead of MPH, and the clock automatically changes the time as well.
Bad points: The bike mounts have a known fault where moisture gets in the pins and corrodes the power pin, always park up with he little rubber cover closed over hte pins to avoid this happening.
The 2Gb onboard memory is mostly taken up with the satnav software and maps, though you can clear out all the unused language files to make space for MP3 music files, however, the more MP3's you put on, the longer the unit will take to start, I put an 8gb SD card in recently and watched my Zumo take 5 minutes to start (I took the card straight back out again)
It's just a shame that the 660 has come out now, and the 550 is going to be relegated, based on the last 18 months use I can see me using mine for a long time to come.