Product Type: Tomtom in GPS Navigation
Newest Review: ... and UK maps are too big to fit on the device. Yes, that's right - whoever designed the TomTom Start Europe didn't think that this might ... more
Not terrible - but not as good as Garmin's offerings.
TomTom Start Europe
Member Name: Hannard
TomTom Start Europe
Date: 06/05/11, updated on 06/05/11 (94 review reads)
Advantages: It does what it says on the box. And you can put Brian Blessed's voice on it.
Disadvantages: It's not as accurate as Garmin's Nuvi range. And it can't hold all the updated European maps.
Ask people to name a brand of satnav and they'll probably say TomTom. It's true that TomTom put a lot of money into marketing their products, but they're not necessarily the best ones out there, as I discovered when I bought a TomTom Start. I bought a TomTom Start Europe not because I needed the European maps, but because the TomTom Start Europe was cheaper than the TomTom Start for some reason. I previously had a Garmin Nuvi which I managed to break, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to get a TomTom. Okay, I was swayed a little by the fact I learnt I could put Brian Blessed's voice on it. The general reviews of the device seemed fairly positive too, so I paid up and the TomTom arrived a few days later.
Most satnavs don't have the latest maps on them, which is understandable since they've likely been sitting in a warehouse for a bit. So the first thing you should do when you get a satnav is to update it with the latest maps - you usually get one update for free, and this is the case with the TomTom Start. So I downloaded the latest update - and hit a snag. The Tomtom Start Europe by default has the maps for the whole of Europe, including details maps of the UK. But the updated Europe and UK maps are too big to fit on the device. Yes, that's right - whoever designed the TomTom Start Europe didn't think that this might be a problem. So after hunting around on TomTom's website I found I could download the Western European maps and put those on instead, since they included the UK maps - with the same level of detail as the TomTom Start UK. Problem sorted.
And so, I took the device out and gave it a try - it worked okay, and admittedly, having Brian Blessed's voice on it - for which I paid eight quid or so - was mildly entertaining. But then I started to notice that it wasn't as accurate as the Garmin Nuvi I'd had before. The TomTom Start does give you the option of downloading user-submitted map fixes, but even with these the device didn't acknowledge the existence of certain places. For example, I'd driven to one town using my Garmin Nuvi 250W - which also had European maps on it - and it found an open car park for me no problem. The TomTom start, on the other hand, said that there were no car parks in the town centre. I had a vague idea where the carpark was from the last time I'd visited, but it was annoying to find that I'd essentially traded down.
The TomTom Start Europe is also not the most user friendly device either - the touch screen interface works okay, but it's lacking some more useful features such as the ability to avoid motorways, or to to stick to motorways. The version I bought also came with IQ Routes which is supposed to help you avoid heavy traffic, but I can't honestly say it made a difference. Essentially, if you want a good satnav, then I'd recommend one of Garmin's satnavs - TomTom may be fairly well known, but based on my experience with the TomTom Start Europe, they're not necessarily the best.
Summary: Check out the competition first.