Garmin Zumo XT vs Tom Tom Rider 550 – The Heavyweight Showdown


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Last Updated: 19th June 2020

Garmin’s Zumo XT and TomTom’s Rider 550 are a pair of veritable titans on the motorcycle GPS scene.

In this article, we’ll be putting them head to head, and comparing them on a number of critical points to see which comes out on top.

Our Top Pick

Garmin Zumo XT (map view)

Garmin Zumo XT


Style and Substance

The Zumo XT is all about the tech.

A huge screen and intelligent route planning will leave you feeling like Tony Stark. Check SportsBikeShop

A Worthy Runner Up

tom tom rider 550

TomTom Rider 550


Versatile, Practical, Reliable

The Rider 550 is a master-of-all-trades.

Seriously powerful hardware and tonnes of great features and extras out of the box.Check SportsBikeShop

Garmin Zumo XT vs TomTom Rider 550 Quick Comparison Table


Bottom line upfront

If you’re only planning to ride in Europe and want a big screen with up to the minute tech choose the Zumo XT.

If you need world maps and aren’t too fussed about a bigger screen and cutting edge features then the Rider 550 is the better choice.

Check our comparison table for a quick overview.

 Garmin Zumo XTTOMTOM Rider 550
Battery Life6 Hours6 Hours
Screen Size5.5"4.3”
Weight262 grams280 grams
ConnectivityBluetooth (smartphone), WI-FIBluetooth (smartphone), WI-FI
Resolution1280 x 720480x272
Device speedFast - quad core processorFast - quad core processor
MapsFull EuropeWorld Maps
Map updatesLifetime freeLifetime free
Live TrafficLifetime freeLifetime free
Speed camerasLifetime freeLifetime free
Internal Memory32GB16GB
Check PricesSportsBikeShopSportsBikeShop

Main Features and Spec

Garmin Zumo XT (map view)

Garmin:

  • Quad core processor.
  • 5.5” capacitive touch screen.
  • Free lifetime map updates.

TomTom:

  • Quad core processor.
  • 4.3” capacitive touch screen.
  • Lifetime update guarantee.

In terms of processing power and how fast the units respond there is very little to choose between the two.

The most noticeable difference is screen size with the XT sporting a huge industry leading 5.5″ display.

Both devices include their manufacturer’s version of lifetime map updates. Beware this claim, however, as it often refers to the ‘useful lifetime’ of the device- as defined by the manufacturer.

Winner: The Garmin takes this category for it’s extra screen real estate.


What’s in the Box?

550 unit

Garmin:

  • Zumo XT unit.
  • Battery/battery pack.
  • Power/charging cables.
  • Universal bike mount.
  • Car mount.

TomTom:

  • Rider 550 unit.
  • Battery/battery pack.
  • Power/charging cables.
  • Universal bike mount.
  • Alternate RAM mount.
  • RAM Anti-theft solution. (Premium version only.)
  • Protective case. (Premium version only.)

Again, not much difference between the two SatNavs here.

That is, until you consider the Rider 550 Premium, which comes in at around the £400 mark- the same as the XT. This souped up kit for the 550 includes a bunch of extra stuff- most notably the extra security and durability provided by the RAM anti-theft kit and case.

Winner: An obvious winner here then. This round goes to the TomTom.


Installation

Garmin:

  • Includes standalone battery.
  • Can be hard wired.
  • Easy handlebar mount.

TomTom:

  • Includes standalone battery.
  • Can be hard wired.
  • Easy handlebar mount.

Both GPS’ have a RAM mount. Both can use their onboard battery or be hard wired into the bike. No real innovations here.

Winner: A draw- neither contender really stands out.


Connectivity and Updates

Garmin:

  • Lifetime map updates.
  • Built in WiFi connectivity.
  • Bluetooth.

TomTom:

  • Lifetime map updates.
  • Built in WiFi connectivity.
  • Bluetooth.

Yet another close contest. Both SatNavs have onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, allowing you to connect them to your smartphone and computer. Both can also be updated without the need for a computer with their onboard Wi-Fi.

Winner: Another draw- both GPS’ are almost identical when it comes to connectivity options.


Display

Garmin Zumo XT (landscape view)

Garmin:

  • 5.5” screen.
  • Glove compatible.
  • Poor anti-glare.

TomTom:

  • 4.3” screen.
  • Glove compatible, adjustable.
  • Effective anti-glare coating.

When it comes to the screen, both SatNavs make compromises. The Zumo XT has a massive 5.5” display and has improved the anti glare problems from older models by using a white backlight.

The Rider 550, on the other hand, can handle glare with ease but only boasts a 4.3” display.

Both screens are capacitive and suitable for gloved hands, so the contest comes down to a question of preference.

Winner: This one goes to Garmin. That 5.5” screen is impressive for a SatNav.


Route Planning/Included Maps

Garmin:

  • ‘Adventurous Routing’.
  • BirdsEye satellite imagery.
  • Switch between normal and topo maps on the move.
  • Stored POIs.

TomTom:

  • MyDrive route planning.
  • Traffic alerts and updates.
  • Stored POIs.

When it comes to planning a route, the Zumo XT feels more complete.

The Rider 550 does have intelligent route planning and live updates, but the XT has these features and more to boot.

Access to satellite imagery is a real bonus- allowing riders the chance to get the lay of the land rather than trying to decipher topographical information on a map.

Winner: One more point for Garmin.


Waterproofing

No need for bullet points here- this one’s a straight tie. The Rider and the Zumo are both rated IPX7, the industry standard for waterproofing in devices like these.

This means they’ll withstand anything but prolonged submersion in water, and can take some pretty serious knocks like, say, dropping your bike from a standstill (not that any of us have done that, otherwise how would we have passed out tests?).

Winner: Tie


Additional Features

Garmin:

  • Stream music via device.
  • Route recording.
  • iOverlande POIs.

TomTom:

  • Intelligent routes.
  • Hazard notifications.
  • MyDrive sync across multiple devices.

The Garmin and the TomTom both come with an impressive array of additional features and extras, but the Garmin has quirks and details in all the right places that make it a more satisfying device to use.

Features like satellite imagery, that the TomTom simply doesn’t have, spill out of their respective categories and weigh in on this one.

Winner: Garmin pips this one- the overall user experience is more streamlined, and the added luxuries really make a difference.


Conclusion

Let’s round it up then. Four points to Garmin for spec, display, route planning, and additional features. One to TomTom, for box contents.

Then there’s three categories with no clear winner- these two SatNavs are pretty closely matched.

Numerically, the Garmin takes it. When you consider the areas it won in- display and route planning in particular- it starts to seem like the more attractive option of the two.

Both devices are excellent and, at their price point, they should be.

But for us, the Zumo XT just pips it. All the quality of life features crammed into it, combined with the additional media systems and the fluidity of Garmin’s UI make it the essence of what a motorcycle GPS can be in 2020.

Garmin XT – Check prices on SportsBikeShop

TomTom Rider 550 – Check prices on SportsBikeShop


Further Reading

If you want to look at some other options see our guide to the best motorcycle Sat Nav

For more reviews:


Image Credits: All product images via SportsbikeShop