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I'm not sure why I ended up buying a satnav as I work not far from home and rarely travel around England. I think it was just one of those car purchases I thought I better have!
The TomTom XXL is a classic in satnav technology. For anyone who doesn't know what a satnav is let me be very brief. It's a satellite navigation system, you stick the little screen on your car windscreen, easy facing you in the driving seat. You pop in an address/postcode and hey presto it shows you the route.
This satnav is quite lovely, at five inches in screen size it is the perfect size which doesn't take up much room on the windscreen which means you can see everything. It is also big enough that you can see the road and the route clearly enough. I found the brightness on the screen to be a little bright, driving at nighttime was especially annoying. The clarity is nothing to be complained about though, the route is very clear. I also like the fact that on motorways it tells you which lane to be in, as I can sometimes get confused by this.
The ease of use is probably what most people complain about with satnavs. This one I have found particularly easy to use, only a few simple steps is all it takes to get your route set up. Considering it is for Western Europe, if you ever need to get anywhere else but England, it's a handy little tool.
My only issue would be that at times in can be a tad slow which means you press buttons again. This does not work as then it takes two clicks on certain things which drives me up the wall.
You can buy this Satnav for around £90 online, I think you probably can get better satnavs for that price but I have been pleased with it. Overall I would recommend the TomTom XXL.
I have begrudgingly just put my beloved TomTom XXL on eBay after buying a car that has a sat nav screen built into the car, and I suddenly realised that I haven't written a review on one of my best loved gadgets ever! So here we go....!
We initially opted for the XXL as we were travelling to the South of France and needed to be able to get there. For us, gone are the days of getting out a map and navigating your way through countries that way (I have memories of holidaying in France with regular domestics going on in the front of the car! Specifically when my step mum directed us to the ferry at Plymouth and not Portsmouth, ooops!). We obviously bought a map too so we can physically see where we are in the country (specifically France), but I don't know how we would have managed without one with a 9 hour drive in France and 2 children! With so many sat nav options, it really is important that you research and find the right one for you. Many are not suitable for use outside of the UK, so if you specifically want to cover Europe too then the XXL is for you.
5" touch screen
The 5 inch touch screen is quite a wide screen which is ideal. At just over 13 cm it allowed that my husband who was driving could see the screen, but as a passenger I could also see the screen meaning I can help out when driving in cities etc. La Rochelle was quite difficult to drive around, and it was a great help to my husband that I could help him rather than him looking down at the screen all the time. The screen is also touch screen too which does make it much easier, however we found that in comparison to say a phone or an iPad it's quite slow to respond.
TomTom Speed Cameras and Speeding Alert
A must for us (or me specifically with my lead foot!). I don't drive excessively fast but can sometimes find myself creeping into the realms of 'points' territory so speed camera locations not only stops me from getting points (!) but also reminds me to check my speed. We live near the M62 which is notorious for road works which take absolutely years to finish. The latest episode has taken well over a year and has a stretch of around 20 miles of road works of which the average speed is 50. We did have cruise control in our last car so we could set the average speed and well, cruise, but this wasn't always viable with switching lanes and braking, so the speeding alert will also light up red when you are going faster than you should. This will work even when you are not in navigation mode so as long as the TomTom is switched on, this will work.
Advanced Lane Guidance
This is handy specifically when on motorways. It's not always clear on sat navs which specific lane you need until you realise that you are now in the wrong lane! The XXL displays lane in a wider format where required which helps you to stay in the correct lane and not miss a turning. They also display in a 3D version so this allows you to visualise lanes and roads much easier.
Spoken Street Names
This has been a god send in built up areas when there are roads close together, as it allows you to keep your eyes on the road rather than your sat nav!
Help me! Emergency menu
Luckily we didn't ever need this but it is reassuring to know the option is there. This allows you to find information such as local hospitals and roadside assistance local to your current location.
Points of Interest
Much like the emergency menu, this uses your current location to show you points of interest within the area. This we found, can be quite frustrating as the points of interest are petrol stations, restaurants, hotels, etc. There are some leisure places and the odd outdoor thing, but often we were in an area and would want to know what we could do there and how far it was but it was quite frustrating finding something. We found some places on maps that were big such as aquariums and things like that, just didn't come up on the TomTom at all, so I would use this with caution.
This is useful as you are able to see frequent destinations making it quicker to select and get your route calculated. When I first saw this I wondered why you would need directions if you are travelling somewhere frequently, but I did use this several times, specifically for long distance journeys such as meetings for work which were in city centres and I could never navigate my way round. I also had to make a couple of visits to Birmingham for uni last year and I wouldn't have been able to find the specific destination without the TomTom but having it saved as a destination meant I could be on my way quicker.
IQ Routes technology
TomTom is the only satellite navigation device that uses data from millions of other users to calculate the fastest routes. This is pretty impressive in how it works. It basically works by taking data from other TomTom users (automatically) calculating a comparable journey time and speeds in relation to your route. It will then divert you if required which saves you time and fuel! Pretty impressive! This is obviously all going on in the background so you don't really know what it's doing, and will wonder why you are going a different way than you expected - the TomTom is being all clever and stuff! TomTom makes quite a bold claim that it will take 10% off a journey time in London, so may be worth considering even if you don't plan on using it to direct you somewhere...
Choose to navigate directly to the nearest car park or chose to park en route, it will direct you to one nearest your location.
The TomTom XXL will provide detailed coverage for the following:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Canary Islands, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden ,Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
You can change the language setting to practically any language you can think of so it really is perfect for anyone (providing you are only driving around Europe!).
One of the best things with a TomTom, is you can plug it in and off you go. As they charge via your cigarette lighter in the car, there is no need to leave charging over night at home, or read manuals etc. We found with this specific model that it's easier just having a play around with it rather than sat reading a book about it. The easy port mount does for once, make it easy to fix to a windscreen and for it to stay there securely in place (once 'locked' in).
Included in the box:
TomTom XXL Sat Nav
USB Car Charger
There are lots of 'extras' and accessories available to buy to go with this sat nav. Realistically I would say (obviously dependent on the user), the only thing you will really need is a decent case to store the sat nav and mount. We kept our sat nav at home but when going on holiday would store in one of the various storage compartments in the car for easy reach, but you obviously want to avoid the screen getting scratched or damaged and a case is essential. You can pick these up for around £10.
RRP £119.99, currently on sale at Halfords for £95 online price (£99.99 in store). We bought ours from Halfords for £99 so it is regularly on offer (we also got cash back from Quidco so buy savvy!).
I've absolutely loved using this device and I'm a bit gutted to have to get rid of it, but it seems silly using one when I've got one in built with my spangly new car. I would thoroughly recommend this device, as it's so much more than just a device to direct you from A to B.
See more and drive easily with an extra wide screen. Touch screen technology gives you the easiest operation to make using your device a pleasure.
Only TomTom uses actual speed data collected from millions of users to calculate the fastest routes at any point in time. Imagine a route that takes into account rush hour, traffic lights, zebra crossings, school exits or even shopping crowds, every minute of every day. That's how smart IQ Routes is!
Clearly shows which lane to take at junctions so you don't miss your turning. On the most difficult highway intersections, realistic 3D representation of the junction keeps you relaxed and safe.
Make corrections to your own map and benefit from thousands of corrections made by TomTom users every day - free of charge.
|Product Description:||TomTom XXL - Classic Western Europe - GPS receiver|
|Product Type:||GPS receiver|
|Display:||5" colour - 480 x 272 - widescreen|
|Preloaded Maps:||Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican, Gibraltar, United Kingdom, Canaries, Malta|
|Internal Memory:||2 GB flash|
|Speed Camera Warning:||Yes|
|Voice:||Navigation instructions, street name announcement|
|Included Software:||TomTom HOME|
|Dimensions (WxDxH):||13.5 cm x 2.6 cm x 9 cm|