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I bought this TomTom for my husband last Christmas, to replace the awful satnav we had previously been using which we discovered was impossible to get updates for, rendering it useless. It was on offer in Halfords in the run up to Christmas, costing me around £80.
Aesthetically, the TomTom is fairly standard in size, with the screen measuring 4.3 inches. This is the perfect size to be able to see the screen easily at a glance, without it blocking your view. A simple yet favourable feature of this is that the clip which attaches it to the windscreen actually clips into place, so you're not sitting in the car trying to get the suction pad to stick. This is brilliant for me because it's one of the many things that drove me insane with our last satnav. The charger is a bit fiddly to get into the bottom of the TomTom, but as I usually do this before I set off on a journey it isn't too big an issue. I wouldn't attempt it whilst driving, however.
In use, it has many features, although we usually use the same ones each time as with most technology. You can enter the postcode of the address you're trying to find, or you can search for recent addresses or landmarks. I find entering the postcode the easiest way of finding places, and the touchscreen is responsive but not overly sensitive, so it picks up the postcode easily as you're typing without you having to hit the backspace button repeatedly.
Once you're on your merry way, the display screen will display your route with a picture of a car and large arrows flashing to show the direction you should be travelling. This is very useful if, like me, you get paranoid about being in the wrong lane, and like to have plenty of warning about which lane to get in. Glancing at the screen means I am usually quite aware of which lane to be in, well before the voice of the satnav has started talking.
The screen displays a lot of information, such as how many miles to go, estimated time of arrival, your speed, the speed limit, and a countdown to the next turn-off point. However, a lot of these are quite small to see when you're driving, so I don't worry too much about them, but instead just focus on the main part of the screen which tells me visually where I should be going. A very useful feature of this TomTom is that when you're on the motorway and it branches off in that way it does sometimes without warning, the screen will show you very clearly which lane you should be in by way of arrows. So sometimes, when "Keep Left" isn't clear whether it means turn off or just stay to the left, the screen will show you straight away what it means. I find this useful because my biggest phobia of motorway driving is when you think you're in the right lane and all of a sudden it just branches off, taking you somewhere you don't want to be.
If you pass any speed cameras, the TomTom will give a big "dong" to let you know, so you can watch your speed. This has been helpful when we've been in unfamiliar areas, and has stopped me getting caught out a few times because sometimes when you're concentrating on driving you can easily get carried away with not watching your speed.
There are different voice options, but we have stuck with the standard female one which isn't too annoying as far as satnavs go. However, one thing I find really annoying is the way she pronounces road numbers. As an example, the road B5134 (not sure if it exists, it's purely an example!), which most people would say "B-5-1-3-4", the satnav voice says "B five thousand one hundred and thirty four". I find this irritating because it seems to take longer for me to figure out which road she's talking about, which isn't great when you're at a roundabout and need to check you're taking the right turning.
Overall, however, this TomTom has been great for us so far. It hasn't got us lost or caused stress whilst on holiday, and even managed to cope with the windy unnamed roads in Cornwall during our holiday earlier this year. It is possible to source map updates for this one, but we haven't got round to it yet. I can see this one lasting us a lot longer than the last one we had.
(Review also appears on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
I bought my TomTom XL two years ago and have never looked back since. I was unsure at first whether to go for a cheaper make or a different model, but I'm extremely glad I got the TomTom XL.
Firstly, the main problems with the older TomTom designs was the fact that they were bulky and that the method of sticking the device to the windscreen have been solved. The TomTom XL is sleek and has a 'suction' knob which sticks it tight to the screen so it will never fall off if you hit a speed bump at a 'higher-than-desirable' speed like the old designs.
The TomTom XL retains however its easy-to-use touch screen and its highly informative and logical information display such as average speed, speed limit on current road, current road, next maneuver (such as turn left symbol), next road you will be on and expected arrival time. The display is easy to follow and my only complaint would be that it doesn't refresh quick enough to be 100% sure what the turnings are in relation to you when driving round a long round-about, but it is a rare occurrence and a problem of technology rather than design.
The other disadvantages I have identified are that the battery seems to drain when the SatNav hasn't been used in a while, and it has to be plugged in in order to be used if it's been in its case for a few weeks. Also, my biggest issue is that the charger cable is ridiculously difficult to insert into the TomTom because the socket in which you need to input the charger is set almost half an inch into the device, so it can be very fiddly and especially frustrating if you are in a rush.
Apart from that it is a sleekly designed SatNav which does the job well and one that even your grandma could use. It very rarely glitches, NEVER crashes like most electronic devices and will certainly out-perform the SatNav systems you'd pay an extra £500-£1000 or so to come standard in an executive car.
This Tom Tom Sat Nav's most defining feature is that it is widescreen, which in my opinion makes a massive difference and for some reason, I find it more trustworthy (not really sure why).
The sat nav comes with a holder to use in the car, and a car charger. I find that I do have problems with the holder sticking into the window, but this may be because I am doing doing it right, or I just have a faulty holder. I do know someone else with this sat nav and they don't have any problems.
My other qualm is that you have to charge the sat nav in the car with no option of charging it in your house. I have been fortunate to discover that my blackberry charger fits the sat nav, but others may not be so fortunate.
These are the only disadvantages I can find. The sat nav is easy to use and I found it quite simple to work out how to work it. Firstly it gives you the opportunity to store your home address, so you just tap the screen from where ever you are, and it will direct you home.
The Sat Nav also stores your recent destinations, so once again you can search through that if your visiting somewhere where you have been recently.
In some instances you don't even need to know the address. For public locations ranging from restaurants to cinemas to churchs', it will tell you where the one you are looking for is and how to get to it.
The Sat Nav also comes with a wide range of voices that you can use with names for each of the voices. For example, I use Sean from Ireland, but there are a wide ranges of accents that come in both male and female voices.
I rely heavily on this Sat Nav and I am very impressed with it getting me every place I have asked directions for.
Another birthday present, and one that I get a lot of use out of. A lot of Sat-Nav systems have small screens which I find to be an accident waiting to happen. The main attraxtion for me was the size of the screen. The XL version is much more generously proportioned than the standard version. The size of the screen makes it really easy to use, I've never had any problems with the navigation itself - I find TomTom are the leading provider of satellite navigation systems and having an approximate speed displayed at the bottom of the screen it also warns of speed cameras and when you exceed the limit.
I installed the latest updates when I set the XL up, and I have had no problems since without further updating it. I suppose if you used it for unfamiliar routes on a regular basis then updating it more regular would be useful, and it is very simple to do. The software provided also allows you to load different voices onto the XL and there are many discounts for accessories on their website too.
The sat-Nav itself is well built and the sucker that you stick the unit to the windscreen with is also simple to use as I never leave it attached to the window when I leave the car so I detach it every journey. I would definately suggest anyone looking for their first Sat-Nav system should give this one a look, because the size of the screen allows easy use and when you are driving around the town you dont need to be squinting to look at the map. I cannot find any meaningful downsides to this product.
When I first got my Sat Nav never actually having used one myself I was a bit sceptical about weather I would end up in a river or something after reading some horror stories on the internet.
Well not really but I was wondering exactly how accurate it was going to be.
I must admit I have a been using it quite happily for about 3 years now but I do have issues with it.
# Screen is more than adequate for the job
# Lots of choices within menus (Very customizable in other words)
# Some streets don't have all the house numbers (May have house 1 and 3 but not 2)
# Will sometimes direct you to the back of a location and in some situations can still be a challenge to find were you actually wanted to go.
My main gripe with any Sat Nav system is really the data. All Sat Navs are basically only as good as the maps and the data you have.
I was not pleased to discover I would have to shell out more money to keep up to date with the latest maps the second after I buy it.
I often sit back in amazement when I think about how we possibly managed to drive anywhere without a trusty Sat Nav stuck to the windscreen! My husband and I survived quite a long time without owning one (while only occasionally borrowing a Garmin from his sister). We finally reached the point where we realized that it was time to invest in 'one of our own' and spent days researching various options and reading reviews. Our final choice was the TomTom XL.
I realise that most people have a love/hate relationship with their Sat Nav, especially when it gets confused and instructs you to do a random U-turn (for no apparent reason!) or politely directs you to turn right, turn right and turn right again until you end up back in the road you were driving in 3 turns ago. Nobody will ever be able to explain the logic behind some Sat Nav instructions, unless it really wants you to do some sightseeing en route to your destination. Having mentioned the quirks of the gadgets, we really cannot live without them. They have taken away a lot of stress of driving to unknown places - simply type in an address or post code and off you go, without having to follow a map and losing where you are when you drive from one page to the next.
But I digress . . . back to the TomTom XL. The TomTom is easy to use and the controls are surprisingly intuitive. The 4.3in screen is big enough to see clearly. You have a selection of voices to choose from and audio alerts e.g. traffic cameras, can be switched on or off at will. It is easy to download updates from the internet; you need to connect to the PC as this is not done automatically (we try to do this at least twice per month). You can type in a list of favourite destinations, which makes it very quick when you switch it on. The price is reasonable at £138, but unfortunately you are not supplied with a carry case.
You have the option of buying a USB charger to use at home, but we simply plug it into the cigarette lighter socket while we drive and charge it then.
Another feature which I find helpful is that the TomTom will tell you what the driving speed of the road is and your current speed, which is also displayed, flashes red when you are exceeding the speed limit.
One disadvantage is that it sometimes takes a few minutes to find the satellites. It also gets confused when surrounded by a lot of tall buildings. Initially I found it quite tricky to attach to the windscreen, but once you get the hang of the Easyport Mounting System it becomes easier.
It is still one of the best inventions around and the TomTom does what it needs to do well (most of the time!)
I bought a Tom Tom One XL sat nav device two years ago & wrote a glowing review about it on Ciao, however after using the device for two years my opinion of this device has changed.
Originally I was looking for a no nonsense sat nav unit that was small enough to fit inside a jacket pocket when not used. Tom Tom had just introduced the basic 'One XL' model with the new extra large screen. At the time the price was competitive & Tom Tom had a great reputation.
It came in a stylish yellow box with a car based power lead, USB lead, CD, manual, SD card with UK & Ireland maps on it & what I thought at first was a rather flimsy windscreen mount but no slip cover.
The flimsy looking mount turned out to be quite fantastic, once attached to the screen it holds the device rock solid & can be difficult to remove!! Even when driving over rough roads the unit never shakes or vibrates & I don't feel the need to upgrade to a more durable mount. Latest models come with the mount built into the device.
Take this unit out of its box & switch on & provided you are not inside the house it quickly finds a decent reception & is ready to use. You need to enter your home location on the system, entering any location is made easy with a choice of a post code or address options & no matter how big your fingers are the touch screen can cope.
There is only one switch on the unit for switching it on & off; all other tasks are carried out with the touch screen. I entered about 40 favourite sites into the unit's memory so finding a location is made even easier with this facility.
I have used the sat nav from the highlands of Scotland to the South of England & reception is always first class. The screen can be set to individual requirements but I have on screen my estimated arrival time, distance, vehicle speed, compass & an excellent coloured display which can be changed to suit individual tastes & which can easily be read in strong sunlight or dimmed at night.
Voice instructions can be changed quite easily or many others can be downloaded from the Tom Tom website. You can update or back up your device from the Tom Tom website which is very user friendly. So far so good!
At first the sat nav proved to be quite accurate getting me to destinations without much hassle but after a couple months I was finding that a lot of places I was driving to were not recognised on the sat nav mapping system.
Here are a few examples; the main road from the M11 to Norwich was upgraded a few years back but its not even entered into Tom Tom's maps, as you drive along it all you get is a field & all the info disappears for a few minutes.
Another bypass close to Morpeth in North East England which was built a few years ago isn't recognised. The new link form the Forth Road Bridge to Edinburgh Airport doesn't exist according to the maps a housing estate I have visited outside Dundee since 2004 isn't recognised either & there are many more.
However, about 9 months after I purchased the unit, Tom Tom introduced a map correction facility which could be downloaded onto the device. This would allow the user to make corrections & enter details on the unit & send them to Tom Tom. They would then have them checked & then updated when you next connected your device to the website.
Fantastic I thought, if even a few owners downloaded updates the mapping system would be more up to date. Around 15000 changes are made on the European road system every year so this just might make a difference.
I downloaded the software which put a small icon on the screen, if you were travelling to a destination & found for instance a roundabout had replaced a crossroads, all you do is tap the icon at the place where the changes have been made.
Later you enter the map correction mode & make detailed changes to your update, connect up the device to the Tom Tom website & download your changes. Other changes which had recently been made by other users are uploaded to your device at the same time.
You can imagine that with travelling all over the country every day I was entering about 15-20 changes weekly & downloaded them on a regular basis.
However, I was very disappointed in the end results, a year after spending a lot of time download numerous changes not one of those had been updated. Tom Tom sent me a questionnaire about my map corrections & I stated on it that it had become a total waste of time, they never replied but I have since spoken to many other users who have the same opinion.
One of them purchased a new update from Tom Tom for £49.95 only to find it was out of date, missing all the changes he had sent them via map corrections.
Other gripes, the car power lead is long enough to run from my centre console mounted cigar lighter socket to the far right hand corner of the screen but the lead is a too inflexible & goes out of shape quite easily. Battery life is poor battery, two hours maximum if you are lucky when new & about one hour now, the battery can't be changed easily as the unit has tamper proof screws holding it together.
Also the safety camera information which was loaded on from new is also out of date which defeats the purpose of having it. Worse still during my regular updates via Tom Tom website they wiped it off after the first year of use & sent me an email offering me upgrades for around £20.00. I have since found a way of getting third party safety camera software on it which operates a little better than the original.
Often you will enter a postcode to get you to a destination, however postcodes can be inaccurate if you're in the countryside. Quite often a postcode covers a huge area & you can be sure this device will take you miles from where you actually want to be.
It is also worth noting that you can set the device to get you to your destination either by the shortest route or the fastest route, this can make a considerable difference to your journeys. The device cannot plan a journey taking traffic jams into the equation so the shortest route often ends up being the longest in peak times.
The device has got Bluetooth to allow traffic updates but I have never used it after my friends complained that it never reports incidents accurately. However if you do get informed of a road blockage ahead via the radio the until will give you an alternative route if possible to avoid being stuck in traffic. However it has to be done whilst you're parked up as it can be a bit 'long winded' in its operation.
I purchased a Tom Tom carry case for £17.00 which is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket & SD cards with Europe or North America are available if required.
Another problem that has come to light recently is that the unit switches itself on when being stored. I only found out when on two occasions it switched on during the night & bleatered out "You have reached your destination", it was quite scary at first hearing this in the dead of the night, but it flattens the battery very quickly as it can't switch off again.
Other good points, it does keep up quite well to your location, I have friend who owns a Blaupunkt sat nav which takes about 30 seconds to catch up with your position on the road, that doesn't sound very long but of your driving through a busy town centre it can make all the difference between getting lost & being in control.
Would I recommend a Tom Tom sat nav device? Yes, but its not the 'be all & end all', I would still advise taking a map with you. The maps are dated & it's not worth buying the updates.
Just got one of these 3 weeks ago, and have now made a few journeys on it. I went for this model, over the TomTom One because this one has the larger screen.
The TomTom system is very user friendly and easy to use. It can give you the options of having the fastest route, avoid motorways, shortest route, and walking and cycling directions. The view can be changed from 3D to 2D, and the voice directions work really well as they are clear and tell you in plenty of time before you need to change direction. It provides the information such as how many miles you have left to go, and the expected time of arrival (which updates accordingly if you are in ques). It also comes with speed camera locations and will give you a warning if they are ahead, although you have to pay for them if you want to have these updated.
---Connectivity, Addons and Extras---
The TomTom comes with a software CD for a computer, and I loaded the software onto my mac, where I can access more maps (although they charge extra for this) voices (you can get the homer from the simpsons to give you the directions) and other themes and points of interest that are free (such as getting national trust locations, wifi locations and more.) The TomTom is therefore fully upgradable and is fun to use. The car mounting system is simple and easy to fix and does not take up much space at all.
A great sat-nav, from one the best names in the business. The only nags are that you can get other sat nav's that have built in bluetooth so that you can also use it as a hands free car kit, unfortunately this model does not have bluetooth.