I was given a TomTom for my birthday a couple of years ago now as I have a tendency to get lost. I have absolutely no sense of direction whatsoever so a satnav was a must have for me. From a practical point of view, it is much safer to listen to/glance at a satnav than it is to try and read a map or directions whilst driving. So if you find yourself getting lost a lot like me or if you travel a lot for business etc. then a satnav is a neccessity.
You can navigate to a city, street, postcode or point of interest (POI). The TomTom comes with various POIs stored on it, such as: football grounds, shopping centres, petrol stations. It can navigate you to the nearest petrol station which is very useful if your red light is on and you have no clue where you are. If you find that you hit a traffic jam, alternative routes can be calculated and it tells you the difference in time between the original route and the alternative route. If you take a wrong turning it will recalculate quickly giving you a new route.
When you have selected a destination, you can choose to browse the route as screenshots of maps or text which is good when you want to know where it is taking you exactly. If your route includes a toll road, the satnav will alert you and ask if you wish to avoid it.
There is a feature that you can use in emergencies that provides you with numbers to call etc. I have never used it so I do not know how effective it is but it looks useful if you ever find yourself in trouble.
The screen in the XL is wide without being too wide that it distracts you from the road. The map display is very clear and easy to understand. There are a few different voices you can use on the satnav or you download some from the internet (some are free, some are not), I have the English mans voice on as the female is too snooty. There are also Irish and Australian on there if that is more your thing. I have downloaded some of the free voices (munchkin, Darth Vader, Yoda) and they are amusing but not if you're driving. They are a distraction and often I can't understand where it is telling me to go so I stay away from them and stick to the English guy.
I do sometimes turn the sound off because it is like the guy is shouting at you if instructions have to be given quickly, which I don't need from a machine thanks very much. Usually though it is very helpful. It did take me a while to get used to the distances though, visualising 300 yards in my head wasn't easy but after a few uses you figure it out and go down the right turnings.
On the map screen there is other information, such as: time to arrival, estimated arrival time, speed, next direction. On the map itself you can choose what points of interest show up-so you can have petrol stations show up for example, it is only a little icon so it doesn't distract but it is useful. You can also download features from various companies, for example, I downloaded the Premier Inn one so it shows me where all the PIs are and allows me to navigate directly to them, very useful. Many other companies offer this service as well.
As good as satnavs are, they are not perfect. I have case for my TomTom to stop it getting stratched but it still doesn't stop the problem of it turning itself on. I've never heard it say anything but often I put it in my bag fully charged and when I get it out, the battery is flat. It may be best to turn the sound off before turning it off, just in case.
I have found that on a couple of occasions, the voice on the TomTom tells me to go the wrong way ie. it says 'turn left' when the map shows the arrow turning right. This is a very rare occasion but I now always have a little look at the map when it gives me instructions just to check it is correct. Obviously they have a few glitches in the system.
If you are getting to your chosen destination by postcode, there is a chance that you will arrive at the wrong street. It has happened to me quite a lot, often the satnav takes me to the back of where I want to be which is one street over from where I want to be. That is just the nature of postcodes, typing in the street name should take you to the correct destination.
Probably the biggest annoyance with my TomTom is that it doesn't understand one way streets, why it doesn't have one way streets on I don't know. The amount of times it has told me to go down a street that I can't is ridiculous and really should be something that TomTom look into.
The satnav comes with an in car charger, a computer lead and a mount to attach it to your windscreen. One little safety point, a lot of people leave the mount attached to the windscreen and only remove the satnav (usually putting it in the glovebox), this is very unsafe and attracts thieves. My mum does it all the time even after having her window smashed in and her satnav stolen from her glovebox-and that was in a quiet neighbourhood. Don't be silly, it only takes 5 seconds to attach the thing to the windscreen. Wipe the marks off that the suction cap leaves behind too, thieves look out for them.
Overall the TomTom is a must have, it takes so much stress out of driving and allows you to simply focus on driving not on which turnings you should be taking. Well worth the investment (this model retails for about £120).
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating.
I have used Navman and TomTom satellite navigation systems and to me there is no competition between the two - TomTom is by far the best. After lending various family members' sat navs over the last few years I was given my own, as a gift from my mum.
This sat nav comes with a 4.3 inch wide screen to make it even easier to see, you can either prop it up on the dash board or use the sucker that comes with it, which attaches the TomTom to the windscreen.
You can choose between four voices - English woman, Irish woman, English man and Irish man; and you are given the option of programming in your home address. Once you have chosen your voice and inputted you home address you are good to go.
This TomTom is very easy to use, you input the postcode or the address of the place you are travelling to, or alternatively you can use the 'point of interest' application to find a destination. The TomTom will then calculate the quickest route.
Once you start driving it tells you in advance when you will need to turn / change lanes and if you make a wrong turning then TomTom will recalculate your route.
The TomTom will then count down until you reach your destination, adding minutes on when you get held up in traffic and deducting minutes when you make good progress.
Another handy feature is that the TomTom informs you when you are about to drive through a speed camera, so that you can monitor your speed if you are slightly over the limit.
I always have my charger with me because the TomTom can loose charge quickly, but is easy to connect it to the cigarette lighter to charge up while you are driving so this isn't an issue.
My one gripe with the TomTom is that sometimes it will direct you up hills and down side lanes if that is technically the quickest route. Sometimes I'd rather spend a little longer on a main road then have to drive in difficult conditions (especially if the weather is bad), but the TomTom doesn't take the terrain into consideration.
Overall I'd say this is the best satellite navigation system on the market, it is simple to use and it will help you get anywhere in the UK and Ireland, but some of the routes it calculates may challenge your driving skills. Four out of five stars from me!
TomTom is the best to me, I have used other systems such as Garmin, but TomTom always wins hands down. Compared to other systems I found that TomTom is far easier to use, as it tells you the directions before hand, such as 300 yards before, and not just when the turn comes up, which results to a re-route.
This TomTom XL Classic is great as it has a nice 4.3" wide screen that allows more of the map to be shown. The voices are the same as in all TomToms, nice and clear to understand. The TomTom is really easy to use, and this is where the wide screen comes helpful as more of the menu is shown and it all becomes less confusing.
Another great feature about the TomTom is that it shows where the cameras are on the road, really helps you slow down to speed! The software that comes with the TomTom allows you to update your map, which updates any new cameras or any road edits that have been made. The TomTom also allows you to edit your own map, if you know that something has been placed there on the road and has not been updated by the update.
Another great thing about the TomTom is that even if you take a wrong turn, the TomTom will recalculate itself and find a new way to get to place that you need to get too, this is really useful.
The suction tool that comes with the TomTom is great as all you have to do it place the tool on the window are using your hand screw the tools button and then just place the TomTom into place, and then just unscrew the button to release the pad.
The only thing wrong could be the battery life, as I had mine fully charged one day and then two days later after using it for around 1 hour, the battery went to half. So make sure you carry the in car charger around.
But overall, even though TomTom costs more than other GPS systems, it's much more worth it.
I love my TomTom XL Classic, without it I would be lost many time in the UK!