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-   Dieselboss review - Truck driver GPS features comparison and rating

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Trucker GPS features comparison - current models chart
(for the prior models chart:  click here)
Copyright Dieselboss, Inc (rev. date Dec 10, 2013) NOT for redistribution.
Color Key:  Green = this is an advantage of this unit  |  Yellow = this is a limitation of this unit
 
A BLANK cell means that feature is still being tested and the verdict is still out.

Hardware and general info

Feature Description Rand McNally
TND 510-520-710-720
 
<click to view product>
PC Miler 450/550/750
 
<click to view product>
Garmin Dezl 560
Software / Firmware version tested: 510/710: 11.95.2258.1629
720: 12.4.2348.1846
(8.1.0.529 / data: 2012.02) (soft 2.30 - firm 2.70 / maps NTTS 2011.31)
Current average pricing $239.99 to $389.99 $79 to $279 $289 to $369
Factory Warranty 1 year 1 year - new units
90 days - refurbs
1 year
Screen Sizes 5" / 7" 4.3" / 5" / 7" 5"
Screen technology = clarity of buttons and overall resolution.  This is NOT related to "clarity of maps," which is graded further down this chart) TND510: very good
TND520: excellent
TND710: excellent
TND720: excellent
PCM450: ok
PCM550: good
PCM750: excellent
very good
"Tapping response" - this means how well the screen responds to finger taps and scrolls very good PCM450: ok
PCM550: ok
PCM750: very good
good
Bluetooth capable (Can be paired with cell phones for hands-free phone use) No No Yes
WiFi capable (connects via WiFi to wireless hotspot cellphones, businesses, and homes) TND510: No
TND520: Yes
TND710: No
TND720: Yes
No No
Has an SD memory card slot (used for loading updates sometimes, but not for unit functionality.) Yes (empty) Yes (empty) Yes (empty)
"Charging" LED light Yes Yes (except on 750 model) No (on screen indicator only)
Battery life when not plugged in and driving TND510/520/710/720:  About 45 minutes
TND520 or 720 when WiFi is enabled:  About 20 minutes
About 45 minutes About 45 minutes
External GPS antenna connection (only used if you driver regularly in huge cities like NYC or drive car-haulers) Yes (not included)
Note:  this connection point is not a tight one and is a weak link on some 510 and 710 models
Yes (not included) No
AC and DC power cords Yes (and extra long DC cable) DC only (AC is available for extra) DC only (AC is available for extra)
Audio / Speaker built-in  (*note:  speaker on any unit can be drowned out by truck noise.  The 7" are very loud though) Yes (very loud) Yes Yes (very loud)
Mini USB cable included (to connect to a computer) Yes Yes Micro-USB included
Stylus included 510 / 710:  Yes
720:  No, but not needed
Yes No, but not overly necessary on this model.
Headphone/external speaker jack Yes Yes No
FM Transmitter No No No
Vehicle mount kit included Yes (large 90mm suction style) Yes (window suction style) "bean-bag" style dash mount
Documentation / Manuals limited included on paper, and extensive online and on-board the unit (very good) Included on paper and online (good) Online and on-board the unit (Excellent)
Ability to display a camera (external video input jack) TND510, 520 & 710:  No
TND720:  Yes (2.5mm)
No Yes, (3.5mm)


General Software Features

Feature Description Rand McNally
TND 510-520-710-720
 
<click to view product>
PC Miler 450/550/750
 
<click to view product>
Garmin Dezl 560
Languages English US / French / Spanish English US / English UK / English Australia / French / Spanish US English / UK English / Spanish / Czech / Dansk / Deutsch / Eesti / French / Hrvatski / Italian / Latvian / Leituviu / Magyar / Netherlands / Norsk / Polish / Portuguese / Romania / Slovencina / Suomi / Svenska / Turkish / Arabic / Russian / Japanese / Chinese / African
Built-in help tutorials Yes (Extensive) No Yes (Extensive)
Keyboard (on touchscreen) Qwerty or Alphabetical Alphabetical only Qwerty or Alphabetical
Can take "screenshots" TND510: No
TND520: Yes
TND710: No
TND720: Yes
No No
Can dial a POI phone number from the GPS when paired with a cell phone N/A N/A Yes
Plays windows movie, MP3 music, and picture files No No jpeg/jpg pictures viewer
Has optional security lock code No No Yes
Can add your own vehicle icons and voices Yes (icons only) No Yes
Language translator No No Yes (subscription)
Unit converter/calculator (temps, distances, and weights) Yes No Yes
Current time and time zone Manual and Automatic Manually set Manual or Automatic
Screen modes Day / Night / Automatic Day / Night / Automatic Day / Night / Automatic
Brightness controls Yes Yes, but have to exit the nav program to get to them. Yes
       


GPS Software Program and Generic Mapping Features

Feature Description Rand McNally
TND 510-520-710-720
 
<click to view product>
PC Miler 450/550/750
 
<click to view product>
Garmin Dezl 560
Difficulty to use & learn (software) Excellent
Ok Good
Street-level Maps and addresses US / Canada / Puerto Rico / Virgin Islands (NavTeq) US / Canada / Mexico (ALK) US / Canada / Mexico / Puerto Rico / Virgin Islands (NavTeq)
Map "look" / road clarity (zoomed in) Good, but streets nearby are shown with only about 1/3 named unless clicked upon Excellent.  Most surrounding streets are named and easier to see at a glance. Good, but streets nearby are shown with only about 1/3 named unless clicked upon
Map "look" / road clarity (zoomed out) Good - but major interstates only when zoomed out to state level and beyond Very Good.  Most interstates and some state highways still visible at large zoom levels. Good  - but major interstates only when zoomed out to state level and beyond
Can select how much map "detail" No No (map detail is excellent already) Yes
Map "auto-zoom" mode option Yes (Multiple) Yes (Multiple) Yes
Multiple map color schemes No Yes Yes
Customize route line color Yes No No
Download program updates from the web (NOT maps) Yes (PC and Mac) Yes (PC only) Yes(PC or Intel-based Macs running OSX 10.5 or later)
Map update method 1 - 2x per year via computer app (PC or Mac) Via computer app (PC only)  Last update was Nov 2012 and future updates are unlikely for this model.  2 - 3x / year via computer app (PC or Mac)
Map update cost $89.99 product lifetime for non LM models.
Free for LM models and LM coupon specials.
Free $79.99 OR purchase the "LMT" model for free product lifetime maps
Can send map and feature feedback to the manufacturer when connected to web Yes (make notes on unit and send later via web dock software.) Yes (can send in tracks from the unit when docked plus "Mapsure" online feedback program) No (you can send map feedback info to the map-maker, NavTeq, via their site.)
Car mode Yes Yes Yes
RV mode (with scenic route option) No Yes Yes
"Avoid" propane-restricted tunnels (RV-related, not truck mode) No Yes No
Walking mode No Yes Yes
Motorcycle mode No Yes No
Built-in calendar Yes (TND 700/710/720 only) No No
Built-in Notepad Yes (TND 700/710/720 only) No No
Add pictures of places in your favorites No No Yes
"Quick Power Press" hotkey.  (Assignable functions to a momentary press of the power button) TND510: No
TND710: No
TND520: Yes
TND720: Yes
No No
Can customize the button locations in the menu screens No No Yes


Specific Tools and Functions for Truck Drivers

Feature Description Rand McNally
TND 510-520-710-720
 
<click to view product>
PC Miler 450/550/750
 
<click to view product>
Garmin Dezl 560
Ease up setting it up correctly for truck routing and other features Very easy Ok Easy
Truck Routes US and Canada (Rand)
(very good)
Yes (US and Canada) (ALK) (very good.) US and Canada (good)
Hours of Service log timers and alerts (driving, on-duty, off-duty, sleeper) Yes (Automatic or manual) No Yes (semi-automatic)
Driver Daily Logbook "grid" screen" No No Yes
Future 2013 "8-hour rule" session clock incorporated Yes N/A No
Enter load history info? No No Yes
Enter multiple drivers (for logs, trips, and loads?) Yes (up to 2) No Yes
Enter truck trailer numbers and VIN No No Yes
MCRA Atlas cross-reference data  Yes No No
Can save multiple specific truck and trailer dimensions No (one at a time) Yes Yes
Logs miles or KM driven by state or province (helps with IFTA) Yes Yes, but needs to be more versatile in getting it off the unit or editing it. Yes
Can export the miles driven and fuel purchases off the unit and onto a computer Yes No Yes
Maintenance warnings counters / odometers Yes (2) No No
Trip odometer(s) Yes (3) No Yes (2)
Fuel purchase entry / log with IFTA state-by-state reports.(cost and gallons or liters) TND510: No
TND520: Yes
TND710: No
TND720: Yes
No Yes
Multiple time zone clocks Yes (current, dest, and yard) No Yes, including a "world clock"
Address book (favorites) Yes (excellent.  Can group, sort, and add notes to favorites or POI) Yes, but needs to be made more sortable. Yes and searchable
Shows upcoming scale icons on the maps on the Nav screen Yes, even when zoomed out.  Also shows rest areas this way Yes (but uses the same icon for truck stops and exits too.) Yes, but only when you are close - not zoomed out.  Needs to separate which side of highway it is on.
Color-coded roads that show preferred truck routes Yes Yes Yes
Icons that show "no-trucks allowed, low bridges, hazmat, and no-hazmat roads" No Many No
Can filter-search truck stops by amenity (what they have there) Excellent feature!   No No
POI results show what services are at a truck stop Yes, VERY extensive No Yes (a few items, like scales and food)
Current road Truck Speed Limits on screen Yes, on most roads. No Yes, on most roads.
Can edit the speed limit yourself to instantly correct it. TND510/710: No, must use "Tell Rand" feature to submit for correction.
TND720: No, but can tap the speed sign and send feedback to Rand to correct it
N/A Yes (very good feature)
"Trip statistics" page Yes - Excellent (avg speed, miles driven, uphill speed, downhill speed, elevation, sunrise/sunset, more) No Yes (extensive)
       


Addressing, Routing, Planning, and Guidance capabilities

Feature Description Rand McNally
TND 510-520-710-720
 
<click to view product>
PC Miler 450/550/750
 
<click to view product>
Garmin Dezl 560
Time to calculate or recalculate a route (longer route is longer times to calc) Medium (5 - 60 secs) Very fast (3 - 15 secs) Medium (5 - 50 secs)
Preplan multi-stop routes (note: large multi-stop trips can slow down units dramatically) Yes (up to 50 stops) Yes (up to 50 stops) Yes
Unit can auto-arrange a multi-stop route for correct order (least mileage) Yes Yes Yes
Enter U.S. cities using the zip code Yes Yes No
Enter Canadian cities using postal code Yes No No
Pre-plan route from another location Yes (easy)  Yes (easy) Yes
Can edit current trip on-the-fly Yes (easy) Yes (easy) Yes
Can rearrange the order of a trip Yes (easy) Yes (easy) Yes (easy)
"Forcing" a different route / making it take specific roads (permit loads) Possible, but not easy Possible, somewhat easier Possible, but not easy
Preview your route turns/directions Yes (but only for the current leg if in a multi-stop trip) Yes (easy) Yes (easy)
Preview and zoom in your route on map Yes (but only for one leg at a time on a multi-stop trip.) Yes Yes
Preview only the route main highways list separately Yes No No
Preview and choose an alternate route simultaneously on the screen (multi-option route previews) Yes No Yes
Real-time traffic capability
TND510/710: Yes.  Requires optional traffic receiver hardware (NavTeq for about 98 cities)
TND520/720: Yes, nationwide via Wi-Fi. (Requires subscription)
No Yes (supported by ads on the LT model only, which are irritating unless you pay for an upgrade, but it does come with all units. LMT models are ad-free)  NavTeq traffic for about 98 cities
"Traffic Predictor" technology (uses historic traffic data to help plan route based on time of day through many cities) TND510: No
TND520/710/720: Yes
No Yes
"MyTrends" predicts routes based on learning your past driving habits No No Yes (note that this feature is mostly helpful for those that drive a similar route regularly.)
Download and display road construction info for route planning Yes (updated every 2 weeks via dock app) No No
"Quick-stop" entry feature Yes  (easy) Yes No
Exit Services (see food, lodging, fuel, etc by exit) TND510/710: No
TND520720: Yes
No Yes
Can tap on a road on the map and "avoid" it Yes. Can also define road segments to avoid by tapping on map and can leave them as permanent avoids. No.  Must use the detour function and choose roads i the route list to avoid them No.  Must use the detour function and choose roads i the route list to avoid them
Points of Interest (POI's) Yes (> 8 million) Yes (> 7 million) Yes
Contains enhanced truck POI's Yes (Rand McNally, Trucker's Friend and TruckDown data) Yes (ALK) Yes (NTTS Breakdown enhanced, but needs to be more complete)
Point of Interest and other types of audio and visual alerts Yes MANY (weigh stations, toll booths, state borders, time zones, sharp curves, steep hills, POI's) Yes (very good options for POI's only, but need to separate CAT scales from weigh stations and use different icon for weigh stations) Yes (weigh stations, curves, cameras)
POI searching ability Excellent (includes end of day) Very Good Very Good
Add your own POI's using a computer and sites like POI factory or your own spreadsheets Yes (excellent) Yes Yes (excellent)
Can add POI ratings and notes Yes, Excellent feature! No Yes
Can choose which POI's categories are displayed on "Nav" screen Yes (all, truck-only, car only, or none.
TND720:  additionally can choose any icon category to be displayed.
Yes No  (doesn't show POI icons when navigating except weigh stations)
"Am I Close" feature - starts showing address numbers on screen when close. Yes No No
Shows next two turns on screen Yes (often shows next 2) Yes (often shows next 2) No (only the next, but voice sometimes announces the next 2)
Show what county you are in on Nav screen Yes Yes No
Specific road type settings to use or avoid. Yes (Freeways to use, prefer, or avoid, tolls, u-turns, and ferries, unpaved, tunnels, country borders) Yes (Extensive options to refine what types of roads to use (freeways, divided highways, primary, secondary, locals, tolls, country borders) Yes (Freeways, tolls, u-turns, ferries, traffic favors and avoids, car pool lanes, unpaved)
Lane "assist" guidance info / junction view Yes Yes Yes
Voice tells you which side of the street that destination is on while approaching Yes No Yes
Safety Camera Alert Capable Yes, but you need to add them via custom POI method Yes, but you need to add them via custom POI method Yes
Configurable speed alert warning Yes - very flexible No No, but it does turn red (visual) when speeding.
"Recent" destinations memory Yes Yes Yes
Automatically saves recent destinations Yes Yes Yes
Leaves a "breadcrumb" trail of trips Yes (turn on or off.  Save specific trip trails) Yes (in walking mode only) Yes
Can search for "cross-streets" Yes (Easy) Yes (Easy) Yes (Easy)
Detour feature Yes Yes Yes
Avoid specific roads or road segments Yes, temporary or permanent.  Excellent management screen for this Yes - this trip only Yes
Avoid entire states or provinces? TND510/ TND 710: No
TND520/720: Yes
No No
Auto re-routing if you miss turn Yes, but can be slow to make next turn decision on longer trips
TND520/720: use "fast recalc" option to reduce this..
Yes (fast) Yes, but can be slow to make next turn decision on longer trips
"Where am I?" screen Yes (very good) No Yes (very good)
Shows mile post marker while driving Yes, Excellent feature! No No
Click on roads to see their names Yes Yes Yes
Drive maps in 2D and 3D modes Yes Yes Yes
Drive modes with north at top or heading at top? Yes Yes Yes
"Save current location" to favorites. Yes Yes Yes
"Pick on Map" destinations Yes Yes Yes
Saved / Custom places show on maps as icons and can be set as "alerts" Yes (and in the POI search function) Yes (and in the POI search function) No
Can save specific trips to memory Yes Yes Yes
Customize which info is displayed on Nav screen Yes (extensive) Yes (multiple choices for which items) Yes (extensive)
Keeps your current trip if you turn it off Yes Yes Yes
On-screen compass Yes Yes Yes
Can modify how far from turn alerts Yes (extensive options) Yes (extensive options) No
Current Route "Demo" simulator No Yes (Excellent) Yes, but the trip origin can only be your current location)


Overall Dieselboss Review and summary out of 10 points (higher numbers = better)

Rand McNally
TND 510-520-710-720
 
<click to view product>
PC Miler 450/550/750
 
<click to view product>
Garmin Dezl 560
Truck Route accuracy: 9
Raw addresses: 9
Features: 9
Calc/Recalc speed: 7/8* (see note below)
Stability: 9
Learning to use it: 9
Hardware durability: 7/9** (see note below)
Truck Route accuracy: 9
Raw addresses: 8
Features: 6* (see note below)
Calc/Recalc speed: 9
Stability: 8** (see note below)
Learning to use it: 6
Hardware durability: 9
Truck Route accuracy: 8 * (see note below)
Raw addresses: 9**
Features: 8
Calc/Recalc speed: 7
Stability: 9
Learning to use it: 8
Hardware durability: 9
Comments: 
- Truck-specific features are excellent and more than any other unit.  Truck routing and maps are very good.  
- This brand is the easiest to learn for "non-techie" drivers because of big, clear buttons and logical program layout, yet it still has EXTENSIVE truck features.
-  The sheer amount of information that is displayed on the screen while navigating and the ability to obtain deeper info or addition functions with only one or two taps is very well designed from a user-friendly standpoint on all models, especially 7".
- 520 and 720 models have Wi-Fi capability.  While some drivers do not have "hotspot" capability on their smartphones, or own a wireless cell device, those that do will find the weather, live fuel prices, live local search, and optional enhanced live traffic options to be very good.
- The "TND Dock" application for PC and Mac is easy to use and contains many computer-based enhancements to the GPS overall usefulness.
* Calculation speed is not a disadvantage when first calculating a route.  But, if your planned destination is far away (>1000 miles for example) then the recalculation speed when you choose a different turn than the one on the screen can be a factor in terms of  how many seconds before it is ready to present your next turn info.  The 520 & 720 models and the "fast recalc" option turned on mitigate this issue as well.
** Power socket where the cord plugs in is a weak link on 710 model and the external GPS antenna socket on 510 and 710 models needs to be more rugged.  However, the new ruggedized hard rubber outer shell of the 520 & 720 models and better power connection is more appropriate for semi truck usage than previous models.
Comments: 
-  (UPDATE!:  ALK technologies was purchased by Trimble in 2013 and the future of map updates to the PCM units is not likely.)
-  The clarity of the roads around you is the best that we have seen, including having icons on the streets where a low clearance is located.  Display of street names around the vehicle and road location detail when zoomed out are standout points of this brand.
-  For budget-minded there is a 4.3" and refurbished versions.  In our tests the 4.3" is too small and not loud enough though.  However, it is a low-cost entry-level choice.
-  The touchscreen can be very sensitive, specially on the 550 model, which can make it easy to miss-tap a button.
-  This brand will be the lowest price, but at the expense of many of the features offered by competing brands at this point.
*  Although these models do not have nearly the array of truck features that Rand and Garmin have, it is a solid truck navigation unit when you have set the truck and road options correctly for your truck.  It's good for truck navigating but without the extra bells and whistles.
** our stability rating got lowered from 9 to 8 because when the state mileage logging is turned on it can be prone to lockups at moments when you go through tunnels or an area that blocks the sky from GPS signal.  Turning the state mileage logging off eliminates this issue though.
Comments:
-
The 560 is a marked improvement in our opinion over the original 465T in terms of screen size and features.
-  Garmin has stepped up the feature set with a "grid-style" driver log screen, multiple drivers for teams, and fuel and load logging.
-  We do not find that their bean-bag mounting style is appropriate many many truck drivers who prefer a suction-style mount due to the way that most semi trucks are configured.  The power plug goes into the mount and not into the GPS itself.  If the bean-bag style mount is not an issue for you then this power method makes it easier to remove the unit from its cradle without having to unplug a power cord.
-  The Garmin touch display quality and overall hardware are very good and we have had no issues with durability.
-  The price is higher for the Garmin unit than "same-sized" competing brands, especially for the "lifetime" maps versions, but it can be argued that Garmin's high quality of hardware and tech support is part of that trade.
-  For fans of previous Garmin-branded GPS who are used to the Garmin interface and associated computer updater software, this is a good choice.
*  Garmin overall truck route data especially inside of urban city streets is not as mature as the other two reviewed in this page, but is by far better than a car-specific GPS.
**  We are not fans of Garmin's method of making you choose a state before entering an address.

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