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This unit replaced my other tomtom software that I used on a HP iPaq. Boy was it a difference - The feel when you take it out of the box was so great that you feel immediately that this has to cost more. The colour the feel and finish were just amazing. The screen size was BIG I mean real BIIIIG- it is about 4.3 inches
The box also come with a car charger and windscreen mount , very handy. The battery life a full charge was about 3-4 hrs.
This was enough generally over a day if used judiciously. Also the maps were rich and colourful, the lane assist was OK (not that great).
The maps are clearer and sharper. They are clearly visible while driving- both in day mode and night mode. If you miss out a road, it recalculates new roads immediately.
Also the box comes with a code that allows you to update your maps to the latest available at the time you buy it. So basically it may be really old hardware but you can update it for free with the latest compatible software for free (within 2 weeks of buying it).
You can download various voices including Homer Simpson. It has a voice recognition feature- so just say out loud where you want to go and it will direct you.
It has bluetooth connection, and you can transfer or receive information via bluetooth. If you connect your mobile phone via bluetooth, then you can answer phone calls or read messages via this. The speech recognition even reads out messages if needed.
The GPS fix time was greatly reduced in comparison with the older models I used. It was particularly quick even in the narrow London streets with tall buildings so it doesn't spend ages to get a fix and you do not end up waiting or driving in circles!!
Quick Summary: Best Satnav around, easy to use and reliable!
Tomtom's do exactly what they are meant to do. They get you to your destination via the fastest or shortest route, even if you want to get somewhere and avoid motorways, the Go 520 will get you there.
It will tell you the exact distance of the planned journey, how long it will take to get there, what time you will start and end the journey, it will give you prompt and loud directions so you can hear it very well when driving (even with noisy passengers!) and the most important thing about it is that it is reliable.
The 520 is so easy to use. The touch screen is very sensitive and the menus are clear, big and colourful.
The customisation that is available with Tomtoms is fantastic. You can buy (or sometimes get free) additional voices, such as Homer Simpson, which is sometimes fun to hear, although I can imagine would get very annoying after a long car journey! I just stick to the original male voice as it is clear and concise. You can also download images of your own car to have as the car on the screen that is driving, so I have a Fiat Punto on mine! You can also download POI's, which are Points of Interest. Some have been added by other Tomtom users and some are official POI icons from Tomtom themselves, or other companies such as Shell, which show you where the nearest Shell Garage is for petrol. This is extremely handy if you are in need of petrol, or finding your nearest supermarket when out and about. (You can actually ask your Tomtom to direct you to "the nearest" hospital, doctor, dentist, zoo, supermarket, petrol station, services etc.).
You can also set it to make a sound when you go over the national speed limit, and when approaching speed cameras, which is very useful.
I believe there is also the ability to use the "Jukebox", which is for music, although I haven't had to use this because I usually just plug in my iPod or use CD's to listen to music in the car as that is quicker that going through menus on the Tomtom to search for who I want to listen to when I can just press the skip button on my radio if I want to switch songs (Even though it might be very easy to use, I haven't used it because I would imagine it to be no easier than using your car hi-fi). Maybe it would be a good addition for somebody whose car only has a cassette player!
Tomtoms maps and directions I think are second-to-none. They are probably the most widely used satnav's across the UK, and so they are kept up to date by simply plugging in your satnav to your computer. Although you do have to buy the most up to date maps if you want to keep with the times. I personally haven't because I don't feel like I have a need to.
One annoying thing is that the battery life is poor, so you have to have it plugged into the car's lighter socket the whole time it is on, just incase it does go off when you are driving. And that's not a nice thing when you're going 70mph on the motorway and can't slow down to get the leads out and plug it in. I've done it myself, so make sure you don't have a similar experience! The Tomtom doesn't come with a mains charger either. So apart from charging it in your car, you have to charge it via USB through your computer. And even if you do have it fully charged, it doesn't hold it's charge for very long, even if it hasn't been turned on.
Overall, I wouldn't swap my Go 520 for any other Satellite Navigation. Don't spend the extra money on the Go 530 with the IQ option, because I believe you have to plug it in to the internet or something through your phone to get the latest IQ updates. I may be wrong, but I really don't see the point in it. If you're going on a long journey, check Teletext's travel news beforehand and simply avoid the roads which are congested (and you can tell your Tomtom to avoid any roads you don't want to go down!)
I bought this sat nav just over a year ago, I got it from Halfords for £199.99 which yes is very expensive but I had always wanted one of these & had been told that they were very good, better than all the other sat nav makes. They were right & I'm still glad I bought it. I've noticed recently that the prices haven't really changed much, I've just looked this up at play.com & it will cost you £219.99 which is outrageous considering I bought this over a year ago for £20 less. I would normally expect them to be about £120 now. However when purchased from play.com it does come with a £10 iTunes voucher & an iPod cable. So considering the prices of those it would probably cost you around the £200 mark if bought on it's own. I think it's strange to include an iPod voucher & cable with a sat nav but I'm not here to review the voucher & cable I'm here to review the actual sat nav!
Anyway, back to business. I was very excited to get this home to set it up & also used to CD-ROM that came with it, however this is not absolutely necessary. The disc is mainly for downloading things like new voices like Michael Caine or John Cleese which although are nice accessories they're not mandatory & at £5 per voice download I think a lot of people will be avoiding them. The disc can also be used for downloading new map versions, these will indicate all new shops & speed cameras.
One of the things that really stood out for me about this sat nav is that you don't necessarily have to have it in the car with you, you can take it on foot. I have never seen anyone walking around town following directions from their sat nav but it's a nice thing to have there in case you really need it & also I believe you can attach headphones to it so not to attract attention to yourself with the spoken instructions!
This versions of the TomTom includes the latest maps of the UK & Ireland. You can get some TomTom's which have maps of Europe in them, but as I'm not planning on road trip around Europe anytime soon I went for the UK & Ireland version. Another big factor on choosing this one was the fact that the Europe edition was £80 more expensive at the time & after checking just now I noticed they haven't changed in price as I presumed they would have done either.
The TomTom Go 520 has a 4.3" touch screen, this is bigger than a lot of the competition brands of sat nav & one more reason I went for the TomTom. The touch screen is very easy to use & extremely responsive. You don't need one of those special pens like I've seen with other sat navs, you can simply do this with your fingers & is a lot easier for it. The screen is extremely clear & the layout is very simple & easy to master. When you turn on the sat nav for the first time it will ask you if you would like an introduction to all the features, I tend to skip these kinds of things & I prefer to just get to grips with it myself. It will ask you to input your address, this is not essential but is good to have it stored as if you have used to get somewhere you can simply click on home & it will give you directions to your front door... simple!
A nice feature included with this sat nav is the Bluetooth connectivity. You can connect it to your phone when you are one the move & will work as a speaker phone, displaying all calls & incoming texts up on the screen & of course you can either use your phone or the sat nav screen to answer incoming calls. It will even read out texts for you, this is optional though, you can either decide for it to inform you that you have a text & ask if you would like to read aloud or it can be read automatically. I prefer to choose at the time whether to have them read aloud or not as you never know who's going to be in the car with you at the time! The Bluetooth device on the sat nav is extremely easy to set up, my only problem with it is that it can take a while to connect to your phone. My TomTom sometimes stops at 40% for about 20 seconds or so then connects up within about a minute or so or sometimes when it stops at 40% it says connection failed, try again? Which can be very frustrating.
A great feature with this sat nav is the voice recognition it comes with, this is especially great if you are driving at the time of operating this & saves you from taking your eyes off the road. It recognises your voice with great precision although it is a good tip to have the radio off & windows shut to avoid interference. You will need to speak quite slowly & clearly when using this device but that goes without saying!
This device stores in all your previous destinations for ease of use. You can find them by simply pressing the screen when you are on the map screen this will then take you to the main menu where you will see the options; Navigate to, find alternative, help me, mobile phone & change preferences. There are more options if you click the arrow on the right of the screen but to find your previous destination you simply press navigate to & then recent destination. You then simply scroll down the list to find the one you're looking for.
Inputting address couldn't be more simple. You click on the screen when you're viewing the map, press navigate to then press address. On this screen you have options like city centre, spoke address, postcode, crossing or intersection or street & house number. I mainly use the street & house number feature & occasionally the postcode feature. The spoken address is good but of course not everyone's cup of tea & some people will prefer to do it the old fashioned way.
I love the fact that if you have a memory card with your phone you can put it in your sat nav & you can view photos, videos & listen to music, this is extremely easy to do & you will find the memory card adapter at the bottom of the device next to the charging port.
The customisation of this sat nav is brilliant & I was very impressed when I first came across it as I didn't know it was included. There are lots of things you can change to match your preference. To do this you simply click on the screen when on the map, press change preferences & there you can change everything from the colour of the map (you can also have night colours to make it more visible in the night, this also stops it reflecting on the windscreen so much which is a great feature, you can show points of interest like petrol stations, garages, restaurants. You can change the voice preferences or you can turn off the sound altogether. I would only recommend this if you have someone in the car with you to tell you the directions as it can be a pain & also extremely dangerous to keep taking your eyes off the road to look at the device. One of my favourite customisable feature is that you can change your symbol that shows where you are, you can have arrows, motorbikes & lots of different cars which is a great touch.
The battery life isn't that great. I like to use it without the cable plugged into my cigarette lighter although I always have it with me just in case. The battery will only hold out for about 2 hours, which I suppose isn't bad but if you're on a long journey isn't great either & you will have to pull over to put in the cable to charge it unless of course there's someone else in the car to do that for you.
Another thing that bugged me a little bit about this device is that it doesn't come with a wall charger, it comes with the usb adapter which charges it & of course the car charger but I had to go back to Halfords on the same day to buy a wall charger for it which set me back another £20 which is extremely expensive just for a charger.
Overall I think this sat nav is excellent, the features are great. The spoken instructions are very easy to follow, the maps are very clear & the address input is extremely easy to do whichever way you choose to do it the only thing that brings this down a little but in my estimation is the battery life, although as long as you always have the cable with you, you will not have a problem & this is only a problem on very long journeys anyway.
I bought the TomTom 520 sat nav recently. I have never had sat nav before and I really don't know why! I am the type of person who can get lost going home so really don't know how this one passed me by.
I love my go520!! One of the main reasons I bought this particular model was the fact that I can also use it as a blue tooth so once I have paired my phone with it if its switched on I can talk through it to answer my phone which I find great!
Once I had charged it up I found it fairly easy after the first time to use it and its certainly paid for itself in unused petrol with me not getting lost!
I guess most sat navs have fairly standard things. This one has UK maps as standard but you can buy others if you are going on a driving holiday. You can set it up to warn you of approaching speed cameras to sound with various noises (I have a cow!) and also to warn you when you are driving over the speed limit. With the speed camera one you have the option to set t to so many seconds before the camera it warns you. I guess this can vary depending on your speed but I find that it always gives me plenty of time to slow down safely if I need to . Most of the safety cameras I have come across are showing but I do know of two on the same stretch of road which do not show up so its not infallible! I was going to enter this one myself but it proved too difficult for me to enter so have not bothered.
There is a choice of voices which are pre loaded and there is the option to download others. I did try this but got really fed up so have gone back to the standard voice, It does have the facility to record your own voice commands but this looks fairly intense so have not even bothered to look at it.
Entering your destination address is easy if it's a house say but I have found problems with entering things such as IKEA even if I enter the postcode. With a shop as big as this its easy to find but it may also happen with smaller places too but on the whole its not a problem. If I enter a post code for IKEA say it will find the road then ask me what number on the road it is which I haven't a clue so I just enter anything!
You can enter your home address to show as your home destination with just one touch which is good. A policeman did tell me though to enter an address a few doors up just in case it ever got stolen and they know where to go to rob!
The satnav itself is a touch screen unit which is simple to use. You can either charge it via the pc or by plugging it into the cigarette lighter while you are driving. If there is charge in it, it can also be used as a hand held device. It attaches to the screen with a suction cup which attaches to the rear of the unit and in my opinion this is not very good. A few times it has just fallen off as I have been driving along and as I caught it pressed a button inadvertently and changed the destination. My mate has an older version and the suction thing on his was far superior.
The screen itself is big and easy to read and you can vary the colours and some of the things it shows you. It gives you an estimated time of arrival or you can switch this bit off. It also gives you your speed and again you can turn this facility off. The way is marked clearly and instructions are clear and precise and given in plenty of time.
All in all I love my satnav and have no problem with recommending this particular model as it has no real drawbacks.
I've not had my Go 520 long and decided to treat myself as my old satnav was well past it's sell by date.
I spent a lot of time prior to my purchase researching the various brands and models, I wanted one that would allow me to use my phone handsfree and play mp3s/audiobooks and decided this was suited to my needs.
Firstly, it works straight out of the box and comes complete with car charger, windscreen mount, dock for charging/updating via PC and software.
My mobile phone was easy to set up and works well via bluetooth (Model: Samsung). Anyone thinking of buying this would be advised to check compatible models on the tomtom site.
FM receiver - set up was a doddle (once I'd worked out how to get my standard Renault cd/radio to manually search step by step rather than automatically find the next FM station - and believe me it took some doing!) The sound is clear as a bell with no interference which is great as I love playing mp3 audiobooks on long journeys.
Using additional SD card for mp3's did have me foxed for a while - but soon found the answer on google and created a folder called 'mp3' on my SD card and dragged them into there. Individual Albums/Audiobooks are placed in their own folder within this folder.
Voice recognition - I've read reports of it not working for some but it works instantly for me every time. Just say the town, it asks for the street, etc.
Satnav itself hasn't taken me wrong yet - map correction worked for the closed off road just round the corner from my house and no longer routes me that way.
Plenty of warning given for speedcameras and usefully also shows the maximum speed limit.
I've read of problems with the mount falling off the windscreen, not happened to me yet.
No problems with the TomTom home software - just connected it up to my PC and automatically installed the latest software and updated my maps and speedcameras. Another great feature is the backup facility and that was one of the first things I did - very handy should I mess up.
In summary, I'm absolutely delighted!
Please Note: I also review on Amazon under username Big Bertha and this review (or a version of it) may appear on there.
After recently getting my brand spanking new TomTom 520 I thought I'd say a few words about how wonderful it is!
The TomTom brand of satellite navigation is probably the most popular satellite navigation system around. This is not to say it is the best one, merely the most popular. Within the TomTom range there are numerous models and the price ranges from about £130 - £400. Obviously the more you pay then the more features you will get. These may include things like different maps for the rest of the world or the ability to link it to your phone.
Satellite navigation systems are basically a tool that uses satellites to locate where you currently are and direct you to your destination by putting in the desired address. They use spoken voices to tell you when and where to turn and also how far from your turning you are. It is basically like having a brilliant navigator sitting next to you!
The TomTom I got costs around £180 and only has the UK and Ireland maps so if you were to want to use it abroad then you would need to either buy a different model or buy the maps from the shop although I'm not sure how much it would cost. It does obviously have other features which I will come onto a bit later on. Inside the box is the TomTom, a car charger, installation CD, manual, cradle and window mount to stick it onto your car window. To get it up and running is very simple; plug in the charger to your cigarette lighter and the other end into the TomTom, clip the TomTom into the mount, and stick the mount onto the window using the sucker that is attached. Apparently older TomTom models used to be a bit of a pain to get the TomTom onto the mount but on the one I got all you need to do is slide the TomTom on the mount by using what can only be described as a slot.
The main reason you get satellite navigation is for directions so I'll talk about that first. Once you turn the machine on and your current position is found (which takes no more than about 15 seconds from pressing the on button to your position being found) then you need to put in your destination. This can either be done by putting in the postcode or manually finding the street. Once you do this the TomTom will calculate your route and confirm it to you. Once this is done then you are up and ready to go. It's as simple as that. As you travel it also gives out information via the speaker such as an upcoming turn or a speed camera ahead. This information is very useful and gives you plenty of warning of what to do. It will tell you when you need to turn onto a road and how far this road is, what exit to take on a roundabout or to keep to one side of the road as it breaks into two roads soon. All the instructions are also on the screen to help even more. The screen also includes how fast you are going and how long the journey will last and what time you are expected to arrive at your destination.
The TomTom 520 has a very good size screen with it measuring 4.3" which is also slightly bigger than the basic TomTom model. I wanted a bigger screen as I find it makes it that little bit easier to see where you need to be going. It also has the ability to link up to your mobile phone using Bluetooth and you can then use the TomTom to make calls and send and receive texts while you are driving. It is worth mentioning though that there are not many phones supported. My phone is technically not supported but I am still able to connect to the TomTom, make and receive calls on it, and send text messages so I am only really loosing out on the ability to receive texts. Even so, it is a very handy tool to have and obviously has the safety benefit added. For a list of phones compatible then go to the TomTom website.
Another feature the 520 has is that it has speech recognition. This is particularly useful when you are driving and need to change destinations. To use it you simply need to press a button on the TomTom and then follow the instructions on the screen (or that are read aloud). You will need to say the name of the town and street you are going to and the TomTom will come up with a list of places that match what you say. I always found that the one at the top of the list was the one I wanted.
As I previously mentioned, the TomTom also informs you if you are approaching a speed camera. This is normally clearly shown on the TomTom by a camera picture on the top left hand corner of the screen which also shows what the actual limit is followed by a sound. This is very handy at times when you may be going faster than you should. These cameras can also be updated but for this the TomTom must be connected to a mobile phone.
The 520 also has a "Jukebox" feature on it. This means that the 520 can also become a music player. This is done by connecting the computer up to a PC at home and then transferring files onto it by simply dragging and dropping files onto the TomTom. There isn't much free memory on the TomTom itself but you can by a memory card which will increase the memory to up to 2GB which is a fair whack. The way it plays in the car is that it broadcasts the music (and driving instructions if you so wish) on a particular frequency and you need to tune in your car radio to it. I have found that the sound comes out very well and have had no problems with it.
The 520 also has a built in transmitter which lets you use the traffic updates. This is used to update traffic as you are moving so you don't get stuck in it. As you are driving, the TomTom will receive updates as to where the traffic is bad and inform you of this. It can then calculate a route for you to go that avoids the traffic. I believe it costs about £20 per year but I don't have it so cant really comment on it.
As with all the TomTom's, you can change the voices that speak to you. There are a wide variety of standard voices but there are also some celebrity voices which you can get at an extra cost. Beware though, the only official voice is John Cleese and a lot of the other voices sound pretty bad!
The final feature I will mention is the point of interest feature. These are things that may be of use to you on your journey such as petrol stations, cash points, restaurants, or car parks. These can be turned on and even a sound assigned to them. As you can imagine these are very handy if you're quickly running out of petrol but have no idea where you are!
Those are the main features of the TomTom but there are loads of other features which I have not mentioned but help make it really good!
The software provided with the TomTom is also very good. It is really easy to use which is a big help. The TomTom connects to the PC via USB (which is supplied) and as soon as it is plugged in, the computer detects it and you are ready to go. When you plug the TomTom in, the first thing it does is look for updates either to the PC software of the TomTom itself. The most important update I find is the map share. This is basically when people update the TomTom themselves and then upload this change onto the website and this is then made available for everyone else to get. This helps ensure your TomTom is always up to date. Once the updates are complete then you get to the main screen. On here there are about 5 options (and another few if you scroll to the next page). These are big icons which give a brief description as to what you can do if you click on a particular item. For example, one might be for music, another for settings, another for voices, etc. Basically everything you could need to go on the TomTom is right at your finger tips and easy to find.
I have also found the unit to be very reliable. I know some people who have other makes of satellite navigation but it is always freezing and things keep going wrong but as yet I have suffered no problems. I have also heard of people who have TomTom's but it takes them in wrong directions or will take them the wrong way down a one way street but fortunately I am yet to suffer any of these kind of problems. This I s probably due to the mapshare feature.
The one thing that is a bit of a negative is the battery. It says that it is supposed to last 5 hours but I find that hard to believe. In reality I have found it to be closer to about 3. This isn't a problem as you are given an in car charger so its not a big deal but it can be a bit frustrating if you are using the cigarette lighter for something else.
So all in all I find this satellite navigation system to be brilliant. I cant say whether it's the best one on the market because I have not tried all of them, but I do know that I found it very easy to use and due to its popularity there is more support for it in terms of things like forums and chat rooms which answer questions you may have or help you do something which you do not know how.
The only thing that needs to be thought about when buying a satellite navigation system is whether it will be worth it. These are a lot of money and even the most basic model costs about £130 so you need to be sure that it is a worthy investment and that you do not buy it and only make journeys that you know.
Personally I think it is brilliant. It has all the features which I wanted and is far easier than having to use an A-Z when I'm lost!
TomTom has a reputation for the most user-friendly and efficient navigation devices. And the GO 520 is no exception. A range of useful and also fun new features all benefit from the latest version of an award-winning intuitive user interface that makes the smartest TomTom technology easy to use.
Easier on the eye: a 4.3" widescreen improves your view of where you are, and makes entering instructions easier and quicker. Better communicator: text-to-speech means your device can announce street names, as well as sms and traffic messages. Giving you easier guidance and allowing you to focus better on the road ahead. Better listener: speech recognition lets you tell your device where to go, instead of typing it on the screen. Better view day and night: light sensor gives automatic brightness control.