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TomTom XL 2 IQ Routes Edition UK & ROI

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    6 Reviews
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      24.07.2012 06:00
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      Decent customizable 4.3" LCD touchscreen satnav, updateable through Windows and Mac PC connection.

      === Satellite Navigation ===

      Satellite navigation is a technology using GPS (global positioning systems), which use three or more points to triangulate position, calculate speed and determine direction. This information can then be connected to a three dimensional grid, to map the location more accurately. As the name suggests, satellite navigation uses the satellite instruments, which are a few thousand miles in space, within the Earth's orbit. This is why it's very important to have a clear view of the sky for best results, which gives you better signals from multiple satellites.

      The GPS system is becoming more common in our communication devices, which can help us to find where we are on a digital map, or help track down a lost or stolen device. Due to this, the GPS system has become more widely available through a range of electronic devices. If you have access to a home computer, which you'd like to get GPS for; although I don't see why you'd need it on a PC, you can get it as a peripheral card or USB dongle. You can also get GPS cards for notebooks and netbooks, available as express-cards and internal peripheral cards. For the average user, USB is usually good enough.


      === Why Satnav? ===

      With an increase in travelling to various locations, it became more important to have access to a map. Using the GPS technology, the location is easier and quicker to spot on a digital map. The paper based map books can take a long time to use in route planning, and can be quite time consuming when looking for your current location. Keep in mind that people have different levels of map reading skills, and some people struggle to read maps effectively. Whatever the situation, it helps to have access to a device, which will make the task a little bit easier.

      I heard of TomTom satellite navigation systems a few years before purchasing my own, and even then I wasn't one hundred per cent sure I was buying the best satnav, in term of value for money, ease of use, updateability and quality. I saw a TomTom listed on an online store, I read a few short comments about it, and read the technical specifications. The information was very impressive, and I thought I should buy it and see how it performs in reality. I found a case and a mains charger for it, which were being sold separately, so I decided to group all the items into a single order. The TomTom includes a mountable holder for the car, which easily clicks onto the satnav, and is very easy to mount onto the windscreen. It also has the standard car charger, which is essential to power it while driving, and a USB cable to connect it to the computer for file transfer and updates. The USB connection is compatible with Windows and Mac. The total cost was near two hundred pounds. I received a few messages from TomTom, which told me that I can get free map updates for several months, and it emphasised the accuracy of their up-to-date maps.


      === Using the device ===

      A week later I received the device, so I left it to charge for several hours as instructed. I then switched on the device and had a look at the local area, which I found to have a number of mistakes. I decided the maps need updates, and because I have the email from TomTom, I can click it to get the updates free. I clicked the link, which directed me to a page to register the product on their website. Once that was complete, I got a message that I have to pay for my first map update in order to get those free updates later. I paid about thirty pounds, maybe forty. I updated the maps, but found no difference in them. I contacted TomTom a few months later, because I was trying a map update and the website was asking for another payment. TomTom sent me an automated response, and never replied after that. I never got those "free updates". A lesser problem was when the device stopped working, I sent TomTom a message, they didn't reply. I managed to repair the fault myself; I had some help and advice from members of an online community.

      With the exception of several mistakes, including wrong information on one way roads, roundabouts on the map, where there aren't any roundabouts in reality, there are some good points to the TomTom XL IQ Routes. It has improved journey time and route planning, which was previously done using two spiral map books. I also found the speed camera notification to be quite accurate, and the road speed is mostly correct. This is because I used community updates for these features, but for maps this wasn't recommended, and I didn't see any user reviews to suggest community map updates to be reliable. Some of the points of interest are also correct, as are fuel stations, hospitals and other important locations. The satnav has advanced lane guidance, which tells you which lane you should take on a multi-lane road, such as dual carriageways and motorways.

      This satellite navigation device can be set so it avoids certain types of roads, e.g. motorways. It has the normal display modes for daytime standard display and night mode, which is more eye-friendly at night. The map views can be toggled between 2D and 3D; I prefer the 3D view, because the view looks closer to the road layout as seen from the driver's view. The 2D view is more of an aerial view, which is better for looking through the map, but isn't as good as the 3D for the current part of the route view while driving. The 3D view is always facing forwards, no matter if that's North or any other direction. The 2D view has two options, one is to always keep North on top, and the other option is to keep the current forward driving direction at the top. There's no one right view for everyone, each person may have their own preference.

      There are various customizable settings and features, which I've used. I'll only cover the most important points about some of them; otherwise this review would turn out too long. Setting the Home location is very useful, so no matter how many addresses you enter, no matter how many routes you plan, you can always click that one button to navigate to your Home. That is the 'navigate to Home' button. This device also stores a list of your recent destinations, so you can easily find where you've travelled to recently, click on it and the device will calculate a route for you. Another useful function with destinations is you can add them to Favourites, which will store them all in one easy-to-find place. The speaker volume is easy to adjust onscreen, which is a straightforward volume slide-bar; sliding right to increase the volume, and left to decrease. There are plenty of settings and quick preferences, which can be used to customize the view, route methods and to change the picture of the car in 3D view.

      The physical description of the device is an important feature, which is one of the things we look at when choosing any device with a display feature. In this case it's a four and a third inches wide touchscreen LCD screen with a resolution of four hundred and eighty by two hundred and seventy two pixels, and its colour depth is sixty four thousand. The total weight of the device is one hundred and eighty five grams, which is approximately the weight of a three quarters filled cup of water. The device has a Lithium Ion battery, which is built-in and rechargeable. It wouldn't be very practical to have a non-rechargeable battery in a device that requires constant recharging, so it's easy enough to understand why its battery is rechargeable. If you connect it to your Windows or Mac computer and find the device volume at two gigabytes; don't be alarmed, that's all it has. If you connect it to your Linux computer, you'll find the TomTom PC software doesn't work on Linux. TomTom is still in a backward mind-state, when it comes to Linux and other open-source operating systems and platforms. They are also behind in their USB technology, and are stuck at USB1.1 on this device.


      === When satnav says no ===

      Satellite navigation sounds all good, but there can be problems. The most well-known shared problem of this technology is that it doesn't work so well in bad weather. During snow months, it's known to lose signal altogether. This is why the authorities recommend an emergency kit for the winter, which includes a paper-based road map. The device may not be suitable for someone who needs to look at it for long periods of time while driving, because they'll lose concentration of the road and may or may not wake up in hospital. If you're the sort of person who needs to take a good look at the speedometer while driving, instead of a simple quick glance; I'd advise you to avoid satnavs altogether. By taking this advice, you may be saving many lives.

      Sometimes it's not the weather, nor the driver; satellite navigation can be dangerous if the maps aren't accurate, and the driver follows instructions unquestionably. The satnav may lead you into a no entry, or lead you into an industrial or development site, mistaking it for a road. In this situation, find a safe place to stop, and make sure to have a paper-based map at hand.


      === My Conclusion ===

      The TomTom XL IQ Routes UK and Republic of Ireland edition is a useful satellite navigation system to have, although it may not be the best, or may not be anywhere near the best. It has a rich variety of software features, and is very easy to use. This helps to out-way the problems such as the useless updates, the free updates promise that's not kept, and the device requiring repair within only weeks of purchase. The technology of this device has become a bit too old to give it near four stars, and the experience with the company and device overall puts it down another star. Another star is lost due to its lacking support of open-source operating systems, while the lane guidance, physical features and customizability push it up an extra star.

      I don't believe that this is a must have device, nor do I believe that satellite navigation is a must have technology for everyone. Sometimes the paper-based maps are good enough on their own, and sometimes we can use the paper-based maps as backup, in case the satnav is heading the wrong way, or taking a non-existent road.


      === To sum up ===

      TomTom is a decent satnav with out-dated maps, but useful nonetheless. It's got customization settings, address list features and options for route planning, and the lane guidance feature is very useful. It's not suitable for everyone, but some people may find it very useful. Some people may find satnavs in general to be a distraction from the road ahead, they should avoid them. Physical features include a wide 4.3" LCD touchscreen, 480x272 display resolution with 64k colours, weighs 185g and has a 2GB storage volume capacity.

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        03.05.2012 12:51

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        Really good sat-nav, definitely recommend Tomtoms

        I have had bad experiences with sat-navs in the past so finally decided to invest in a Tomtom as it is well known that they are supposed to be the best brand available. After having mine for a few months now I can definitely say this is true!

        I have to travel a lot for my job and am incredibly directionally challenged so a sat nav is essential for me. This Tomtom was really easy to set up, just turn it on, put in the postcode and it was ready to go. It is also a lot more compact than ones I have had previously, making it easy to store in the car or your bag. All of the other menus are easy to follow too and the voices are clear, with the additional feature of telling you road names which I think is pretty useful.

        What really sold it to me though was the lane guidance as I like to be prepared well before I need to make a turn. The Tomtom does do this well in the sense that it tells you when there is a right turn coming up and is great at instructing which lane to be in on the motorway. However, I presumed that the lane guidance would work on normal roads rather than just motorways, which is not the case. Another negative is that it can sometimes take a long time finding a signal and planning the route although I think this is the case with all sat-navs and this Tomtom is ten times faster than others I have owned.

        Overall, I would definitely recommend this sat-nav and Tomtoms as a whole. They are technically better than any other sat nav I have had and I couldn't live without mine now!

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        17.04.2012 20:07

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        Definitely recommended for when your travelling or you need a guide to your destination!

        Me and my husband purchased a TOMTOM SATNAV 2 Months ago to help and guide us when we are driving around in an unknown area! My husband also uses it in his lorry at work because he drives all over the country delivering goods! I think it's great and it's really helpful to if you need a guide! I know you can't beat the old map or A-Z but the TOMTOM is so much easier! All you have to do is type a destination address in and it automatically plans the route within seconds!

        The only negative side of the TOMTOM is that when your travelling through big cities with tall buildings the TOMTOM freezes, stops responding or it can't find the signal which results in you probably being lost! Also, SAT NAVS have been known for leading drivers into dead ends, ditches and taking them to entirely the wrong place!

        Otherwise, there a great product to have around and there very easy to use!

        What made me buy this product?
        The whole reason me and my husband purchased this fantastic product was because of how helpful it would be to us as we travel quite a lot and how easy it is to use and control! The weight and size is great. You'de think it would be quite heavy but it's very light in weight! Also, how fast it is when planning the best route for us to go!

        Where can I purchase this product from?
        You can purchase this product and its range from Halfords for a good price! You could probably buy them off the internet for an in-expensive price and from electrical appliance stores!

        This is a great product and is very useful for when you need help with getting to a destination!

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        31.08.2011 22:55
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        A easy to use Sat Nav with a few helpful features

        I was bought the TomTom XL 2 as a Christmas present. I have not been driving long, having only passed my test for a year. As my uni course involves me travelling to and from different placements, I felt that a sat nav would be necessary.

        The initial set up is very easy. So easy that I didn't need instructions - just literally switch on, enter post code, and you're good to go. There was minimal battery when I switched on, so it needed to charge. This is my biggest concern with the Tom Tom. Trying to put the little USB in to the impractically placed space on the device is consistently a problem. You have to really wriggle it about until it eventually fits in to the correct position and space. I'm always concerned that I'm going to damage the connection one day. I thought it may get easier, however, after 8 months of use, I still find it difficult.

        Actually using the device is very easy, you can choose a number of languages, a number of accents, a male or female voice, and whether you want street names or not. I originally chose to have street names read out to me, but found it got rather annoying after a while and switched to the man who wouldn't tell me the name of every single street we passed!

        There is a function on the device which alerts the driver to any speed cameras, which I find very helpful, but also at the same time quite a nuisance as some are very outdated, so it alerts me even if there is no longer a camera there. I have not yet plugged in my tomtom to update it, so don't know if it would then remove the old alerts or not. I also like that it clearly shows you which lanes to be in when coming off at junctions, and alerts you way in advance. I often get confused when it says to take a left or right after "300 yards" for example, and think it may help if there was a sort of measure that shows you how far away from the turning you are, like other sat navs I have seen do.

        When entering a post code, it also gives you the option to choose different routes (e.g. avoiding motorways, fastest route, and shortest route) which I find helpful.

        Overall this is a good product which is very simple to use. Also very easy to get from A to B. I haven't personally used the point of interest feature, so couldn't comment on that, but it gets me from A to B easily - does the job!

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          30.06.2011 20:51
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          It does work, just not brilliantly

          I bought this TomTom last September for a holiday in the UK.

          First impressions were it was very easy to set-up - literally bought it, plugged it in, typed in postcode and we were off! It was relatively easy to use, though the touchscreen was slow and not terribly sensitive. I liked the window attachment, it folds back on itself to makes it easy to store. The battery lasts well when not plugged in. The points of interest worked most of the time, though I struggled to always set it up to navigate to them. The lane guidance is good, would be better if it didn't just work on motorways.

          My main problem came when I tried to buy a map for the USA, only to find that it doesn't have the memory to use other maps (only discovered after purchasing a map and going through TomTom support to fix it - luckily they refunded me!). I know with more research I would have known this before I bought it, but with all the maps available for purchase I didn't realise there were memory limitations. The IQ routes still directed me through city centres at rush hour; I'd hoped it would keep me out of busy traffic areas.

          I found the more I used Google maps on my Iphone, the less I liked using TomTom - being able to quickly zoom in and out, and move about is so easy on Google maps and yet so fiddly and irritating on TomTom.

          My TomTom was then stolen after my car was written off, however I won't be buying another one unless all of the alternatives are just as bad! It does the job, but it just isn't a pleasure to use.

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          17.03.2011 18:11
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          Could not live without this.

          I was bought a sat nav for Christmas before I'd even passed my driving test, as, as much as I hate fulfilling gender stereotypes, my sense of direction is notoriously bad. I do quite often have to travel to places I've never been before, so owning one was an absolute necessity. The first time I used it I was very impressed - the first thing I did was tell it where 'home' was - there's an easy to find 'navigate to home' button which is nice and convenient to find your way back from wherever you've found yourself.

          I was amused by the choice of voices you can have - my first choice, the well-spoken English "Tim", was a little too pompous and authoritarian for my liking, so he went after a couple of days. My brief fling with the Spanish "Antonio" (the language not being an issue as I do speak Spanish) ended swiftly as I found that passengers in my car generally found the unintelligible nature of his directions frustrating. I eventually settled on the friendly, laid-back, "Sean", whose Irish tones have since personified of the sat-nav - I now refer to the sat nav as "Sean", as do all my friends and boyfriend.

          The sat nav comes with a sticky thing so that you can attach it to the window, and a charger. I learned the hard way never to leave these accoutrements on show - my car was broken into and both implements stolen after only a few months. Sean himself was safe, living as he generally does in my handbag.

          Sean gives clear, simple to follow directions, so even the most spacially unaware can get around without much of an issue. A couple of problems I've come across are that occasionally the postcode of a place does not match up to the actual location of said place - however, I put this down to more of an error of town planning than a lack in Sean's ability. Secondly, as roads are constantly changing, if you do not keep the sat nav updated regularly, it can get confusing on new roads (Sheffield city centre is a prime example of this - Sean frequently thinks I'm in water. He doesn't panic though - as soon as we're in the old part of town he gets right back on track).

          Another slight issue is that when first switching on the sat nav, it can sometimes take a couple of minutes to find a satellite and work out where you are. If you're in a rush, this is a bit annoying. I try the standard practice of switching it off and back on again, however I'm not sure how effective this is in speeding the process up.

          The negatives pale in comparison to the sheer usefulness of the thing, though. We've gone on many adventures together and he's got me to all sorts of weird and wonderful places. The estimated journey time is frighteningly accurate (I do sometimes enjoy playing the game of "beat the estimated arrival time", but this, due to safety and speed limit reasons, is not advisable).

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