Product Type: Tomtom in GPS Navigation
Newest Review: ... want a simple sat nav to use that is cheap. The newer tom toms are much more expensive. Functions: This works by gps so you must be in r... more
Way to GO TomTom but....
TomTom Go 510
Member Name: NIck_Endeavour
TomTom Go 510
Advantages: Screen Size, TMC, Bluetooth Hands free for Phone, Accessories
Disadvantages: Price, Extras at Price, Only GB and MRE, SD Card too Small, No Mp3 player facility
Open another box (inside the big one) and you finally you find the TomTom, sitting there looking at you pretty in a nice gleam smile. I was just dying to open it up and try it. Common sense though suggested putting it on charge and playing about with the rest of the gadgets.
This is where the first problem arouses. There is no jack to plug the charger in the TomTom and you have to use the dock, which means you have you have a dangling USB cable down in the living room because some genius designer though to make it built in. Now past that irritating feature I have the charger that doesn't plug firmly into the "dock" but is loose that only stays in is carefully put on the desk and remove your hand gracefully reminiscent of a game of sticks. Annoying stuff really!
Anyway the feel of the accessories assures quality irrespective of the annoyance with the indoor charger. The TMC module is only one small dome with suction cups (3) to fix it neatly to the dashboard.
The car docking station though it fantastic, sturdy, well built with a lot of connection ports as you would expect. I sort of understand why the main unit has only one connector. It is build for the car which means that the dock takes all the connection ports, (power, external GPS aerial, microphone, external speakers, TMC)
It sits neatly but should you fill all this ports it will look like a computer medusa head out of a scene from Hellraiser: Matrix Style.
Now was time to play with the TomTom Home software, being a software engineer by trade I like it. It is intuitive; it loads up automatically when you connect the TomTom or even when you plug the SD Card in and shows what have you got installed, what can be installed from CD or you PC and even what you can download from the internet (TomTom related sites), ranging from maps to voices and updates (luckily these are for free).
The software lets you control the TomTom via the computer to test the new downloads and changes without having to disconnect the unit from the cradle/dock.
Still though you have to copy some files manually especially the POI downloaded from other sources as TomTom ones are just not enough. See POI section
Also it shows the capacity of your card how much is free and needles to say I was disappointed that the 256MB has no space to put a pin in there left.
The maps of GB and MRE of Europe are marvellous and do a spectacular job but for £300 they could at least put a 512 MB card. Basically you want to enter an extra voice which TomTom rather cheekily charges the best part of a fiver to get John Cleese being daft with directions and suddenly you get a honking noise that you run out of space (and is only 900 kb). In the days of 256MB SD cards being small change TomTom could have been feeling a bit more generous.
Also the same feels for downloaded POIs no space left so I was left, having to shell out more to actually have fun with an expensive product. I recommend that you buy a 2GB card (TomTom will take up to 4GB but these are dear at the moment) which will hold all the maps (even Western Europe), POIs, and everything else you would want into it.
USING THE UNIT:
Initial setup is easy if you know what you doing but the manual should do the magic should you not be very good with technology.
Also Bluetooth connectivity with a mobile phone is smashing. I am using it with my Sony Ericsson K800i and it works a dream. It can connect so you receive calls but I haven't managed to get it to open up text messages on the screen as it says it does (not that make it a good idea while driving to read them, and not very legal I am sure).
Also downloading the phone directory it was a pain in the back side. Kept stoping and kept disconnecting to my phone. I didn't figure out why it does that and how to solve it apart from having fingers crossed. Now that I have it all set it rings through, but I can't see who is calling even though it is advertised that is does and ringing TomTom back up will end up in: "Well we haven't tested it with every model of the phone"; standard answer from every technical support line everywhere these days.
The text receive feature doesn't work and also by reading manuals I found out that even if you get them you precious TomTom won't read them back. A very very annoying feature because his bigger brother the 910 does which is essentially the same unit but with a hard disk drive and really I didn't see the point of having to pay an extra £150-200 so Homer J. Simpson can read me my mums message asking me why haven't called in a few days.
Another stupid annoyance is that even though I know the great rule of reading fine print and look for the stars advertising all over the 510 that it will read mp3s and display pictures, well bar the little star telling me that feature available only on 910. It is a bit discriminating to ask me to buy the 910 (preloaded with USA & Canada as well as the EU maps) rather than the 510 the GB and MRE which are just fine. (For the record the 710 has Western EU maps but you pay £100 extra). I have a big enough card now. Let me play my mp3s, let me show this off to grandma and display the silly Xmas pictures. What makes it frustrating is that TomTom has put 1 mp3 and 1 wma song there just to rub it your face alles " You should have given us more money to play this"…GRRRRRRR
Entering Destinations, Navigation
It is such a breeze entering a new destination. Just simply enter postcode or address which is quite simple and foolproof. It also recognizes full postcodes (well not on the map but as an add-on which is preinstalled) and a simple touch you are on your way with a variety of voices (always if you have the right size card otherwise you are stuck with 2 at its very maximum).
I love its directions; I love the daylight/night settings so it doesn't dazzle you. The speaker is strong loud and clear. The microphone is top quality but use with the add-on external as it makes it even better. I love this if only for the handsfree kit that will keep me legal at least.
It guides you clear with very few moments of confusion and give the instructions well in advance. Just a word of advice that might sound daft but it happens. Keep the eyes on the road. It is an assistant on a foolproof autopilot. Use common sense and tell your tomtom to shut up now and again just like you would tell to your mate that thinks he knows the way to the Football ground.
I have though to rant again: How do you cancel it. Half way to a meeting I decided that I want to go and see my gf. I don't need directions but I want this thing on so I can use it as handsfree kit and I quite like the map view. How do you cancel it? How? How I ask you?
Well you can if you find the button to show everything in the menu and then tirelessly find where the cancel navigation is. A bit foolish I would say
The 510 and 710 are again left out because the voice only tells directions but it doesn't read the road names like the 910 does. Ohh come on now you are taking the …. It really wouldn't be so bad if it didn't tell you in the manual that the 910 does. Makes you feel like in a competition of mine is bigger than yours.
Maps are very good. They are made by TeleAtlas which is a Dutch company and the European rival to US Navteq. They are accurate but there a considerable "unnamed road"(s) which is TomTom/Teleatlas speak for " We didn't bother looking it up". The thing is that the Yanks do much better. I have seen rival systems with Navteq on board that perform better in that department. Being beaten while putting a solid fight it fine but losing for not knowing your own home is pathetic and that's how Teleatlas should feel.
That and also charging £100 for the Western European maps; Now that even the Americans have noticed that the notion of Western Europe died with the crumbling of the Berlin wall and that I quite fancy a trip to Prague for the marvellous architecture/cheap booze (delete as appropriate) the Dutch should know that Europe expands further than the Eastern border of Austria. Hmm Navteq is charging the same but includes Europe the continent not Europe the touched by the heaven of the Marshall Plan boys.
Also if your family member/gf/mate/etc have a 710 you can't borrow their maps because you need to activate them and enter product keys. Nice try TomTom
The good news is that the MRE section of the TomTom map is better that the Navteq one. Is complete, it has most routes, and most main roads in towns. Even small ones, Happy Days.
The selling point of the TomTom. The battery lasts and lasts. I never used the in-car charger, which is probably a good thing as I can see it becoming messy in the car. The battery life is a few hours which is great and means that you can take it out of the car and not be dependable from the power supply.
The bad news is that it will last as TomTom says only 2 years and that is by being careful to prolong it by charging it than letting it discharge only to about half way through and charge again. Do not let it drain.
You can always use another battery but you can't change it. You have to dismantle it and to put the icing on the cake you have to solder a few bits. WHHAATTT? I hear you saying. Well tough would say TomTom or just use it with the in-car charger from then on.
Nice one guys….Maybe Market Garden wasn't a good idea after all
To put it mildly the ones that TomTom comes with are rubbish. Well apart from the free fixed cameras one which is good to have. In your face Road Angel!
To the rescue…www.poihandler.com which should be itched on the skin of every Sat Nav owner: It has everything! From Museums and Village libraries to Strip Joints and Brothels (I am not kidding). Just download the ones you want and bang them into the maps folder and way you go.
Most of these come with phone numbers which means that you can make a phone call via your Bluetooth phone which is neat. However some of these are out of date and some are not even there anymore. i.e I went to a Frankie and Benny's that was a nice council estate these days. 
One small thing though, if you have more than one map, you would have to copy the POIs to every folder because it won't read them. From a software engineer point of view wouldn't be easier to have a folder called POI and have the software read from that??!!
The GPS RECEIVER
Top of the class SPIRF III receiver! It doesn't get any better than this and it works even indoors most of the time. It also doesn't lose connection once in the car. To connect after the signal has been lost it doesn't take more than a a couple of minutes and with the QuickFix update for the firmware (automatic download from TomTom via TomTom Home) it will triangulate the positions of the satellite even faster. Actually it will predict where they are via an algorithm. Very well thought indeed…
On the Go 510 there are two ways to get them.
1. Via the TMC module through the RDS FM network (the same as your radio station displays its name on your car stereo) and only works on major motor ways and also you will have few more wires on the dashboard.
2. If you feel flash and want to get rid of the wires and obviously have money to burn than you can pay for the TomTom plus service that connects via your phone (bluetooth) onto GPRS and download the real time updates. Well money for data transfer, money to TomTom Plus and essentially only a slightly better service than the TMC. Shoving money down the drain is maybe more fun. The redeeming feature, one month subscription is free only for the cost of your phone downloads
Just don't download from TomTom. See above about pricing
There are plenty of fun ones round and about the internet. At the moment I have G.W. Bush, The Queen, Homer J. Simpson, Darth Vader, Yoda, Ozzy Osbourne, A London Cabby, A porn star, Tony Blair, A Rastafarian to name a few and some are cool but after a while you will put the normal standard one as they get annoying so really not worth the fiver TomTom asks for.
A neat nylon pouch is provided to keep it with you as Sat Navs are notoriously thief friendly… (see picture)
The SD card provided is a smallish 256MB one and needs to upgraded at the very first occasion
It is good even though the ranting. The problem is that this is the best of best and the expectations naturally build up and when it doesn't live to we get disappointed. It is a great machine and works well but it does so at expense, a great one I might add but I still prefer it to the competion.
This is the iPod of Sat Navs yeah the battery will die after 2 years just like iPod's did after a few months. Yeah the memory is not enough, yeah is expensive but it is chic. The materials used are great. It feels solid and bar few annoyances is a great product but not excellent.
Sat Nav : Satellite Navigation
TMC: Traffic Message Channel
SD: Secure Digital
GB: Great Britain
MRE: Major Roads of Europe
POI: Points of Interest
Summary: Top product but top price for everything
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