I purchased TomTom Navigator 6 (Great Britain maps) after having used version 5 on my Orange SPV M3100 Smartphone for some time. I use a non-TomTom Bluetooth GPS receiver purchased via eBay.
The previous version worked well albeit the moving 3D display stuttered with a resultant 'two steps forward, one step back' effect whenever points of interest were enabled. I also found that the display would occasionally freeze so that I had to press the 'Windows' or 'OK' keys to jar it back into life.
I've found that TT V6 appears to solve the first problem but not the second. To be fair the screen-freeze issue generally only happens for a short period after the software has been started: allowing it to 'settle' for a couple of minutes before operation seems to do the trick.
It's worth pointing out that the software is supplied on a mini-SD card with an SD adapter. If you are like me and have a device with a micro-SD slot then you will need to copy the TomTom data onto a micro-SD card before you can use it. I used a memory card reader to transfer the data onto my PC before copying it onto my existing 2GB micro-SD card. I had enough space on the card to retain a small amount of existing personal data as well as install the US and Canada maps in preparation for an impending business trip.
The operation of the software is well documented and works as advertised. V6 adds features such as arrival time planning, TomTom Buddy support and excessive speed warning. My version came with pre-loaded safety-camera information with proximity alerts already set.
Updating/upgrading the software is made possible using the bundled TomTom Home PC application. This makes it much easier to maintain the TomTom software but the transfer of large amounts of data (such as the US maps mentioned above) to/from a Windows mobile device via Microsoft ActiveSync is very slow compared to transferring data using a memory card reader.
I strongly recommend the use of a freeware computer program called 'Tyre' for creating itinerary and points of interest files. The program integrates with Google Maps and Google Earth and makes it very easy to locate places you intend to visit and pre-load them onto your TomTom beforehand. 'Tyre' can be located via Google.
I've never used any other PDA satellite navigation software so I've nothing that I can compare TomTom with. That said I drive over 28,000 miles a year and wouldn't be without it.
Version 5 has served me well; version 6 looks like it will do the same with added functionality, better maps and at a reasonable cost.
This review is about the Tomtom Navigator Mobile 5 edition for Windows based Smartphones.
The software is very expensive at over £100 but what you do get for your money is an SD card, instructions and if you pay extra a Bluetooth GPS receiver unit. These packages are available in most competant electrical stores but the best deals can be found on the net using price conparison websites.
The SD card should plug straight into the SD socket found on the side of most Windows Smartphones. I have mine running on an Orange SPV E200. Once the card is inserted the program icon comes up straight away on the start menu and you simply have to click on it to activate the program. Once activated a small discalimer about reading whilst driving comes up and this has to be OK'ed before progressing on.
There is an inbuilt security system in this device that prevents the SD card being used in another phone. A code is required to activate the product and this is done via the Tomtom website. However if your phone breaks, it isn't possible to get a new code for the new phone on their website you will have to phone Tomtom about that. This prevents you using the SD card on other phones - a major disadvantage.
Depending on your receiver Tomtom works wonderfully. The maps and views are indentical to those seen on their Go range and are relatively clear. But since this is being displayed on a mobile screen the maps are rather tiny and hard to read on the go.
Most features are accessed using the keypad and there are many POIs including restaurants, petrol stations and ATMs amongst others.
The voice commands are clear and are given in good time and repeated just before the relevent turn approaches. There are different voices to be selected and more celebrity voices can be downloaded off the internet or be purchased from the relevent websites.
Data input is easy by either typing in the full postcode of the destination or simply typing in the street and the door number. The software allows the use of the full postcode unlike others that only accept the first five characters.
The downside about running it on a mobile phone is that it utilises a lot of memory. This greatly slows down the phone and the result is that the software is rather hesistant at times when selecting menus. Also the downside is that battery life severly decreases when the program is in use. You can program Tomtom to switch the backlight on and off when turns come up but the savings are minimal.
To hear voice commands clearly will require a strong speaker in your phone. Most phones have a very weak speaker and unless you drive a LExus it might be a bit difficult to hear if you have the window down.
The maps are identical to those found in the standalone Go range. However, they are not very up to date and most new roads about a year old won't be on it unless you get the map data updated. A speed camera option pack can be purchased from Tomtom that will alert you to any speed cameras en-route but this is quite expensive
Very expensive for the software at over £100. The maps are totally up to date and extras cost an arm and a leg. Though the portability of this device can't be beaten and its rather handy if you are on foot and need to find a road. However, the impact on phone battery life is substantial and the performance of the voice commands depends on your phone's speaker power. If you want a Tomtom system then go for the PDA version or the Go range, as if you have any important phone calls that you want to pick up you may well find that after using the Tomtom software the battery may well be flat.
I purchased TomTom Navigator along with my HP iPAQ 2210 about 10 months ago. I travel about 18000 miles a year and this product has been a great asset. It saves me having to make route notes and keep referring to road atlases. For town driving it is even better as road maps do not show all local roads. I initially purchased version 3.0 but have now upgraded to v3.03 (427). I use it with a wired GPS receiver which simply plugs into the cigarette lighter in the car.
In most cases you run the application and then bring up the Navigator Menu. You can then choose where you want to go; a recent location, an address, a favourite location or even a Point of Interest (more on these later). The address can be based on a post code or you can enter the town, street name etc yourself. Your Home address can be saved as a key favourite place as you will be going here most frequently. If the GPS sensor is connected and you have a valid signal the program will then plan a route for you from your current position to your destination. All you need to do then is drive normally and the Pocket PC will tell you which turnings to take as you approach them and then again when you arrive at the turning until you get to your destination.
If you take a wrong turn or do not follow the instructions the program will try to calculate a new route based on your current position. If no suitable route is available it will tell you to turn round as soon as possible. If this occurs you may be able to select an alternative route (but it may use local roads and be slower than turning round and going back) by tapping the screen to bring up the navigator menu and selecting Alternative Route. You can also use this to avoid roads that you do not want to use (for example if the road is blocked by an accident). You can also specify areas that you want to avoid, the central London congestion charging zone is already defined and can be avoided if you wish.
On the maps TomTom shows selected Points of Interest (POI). You can select which POIs are displayed, databases covering everything from petrol stations to burger joints and speed cameras to holiday camps are available. Those that are selected display as an graphic icon on the map. As stated before you can select POIs as destinations, so if at any time you need to find the nearest Shell [other petrol stations are available] petrol station you can select this as your destination and the program will calculate the best route to get you there.
The maps are supplied with the software and you can download as much of the map as you require. If you do not travel far (or do not have much available memory on your Pocket PC) then you can use a map that just covers two or three counties. Other maps divide the UK up into four regions and you can use the region that you are in. I use maps of the complete UK, not that I travel that far very often but I think that it is best to have them all there in case I want to and dont want to download the next map section. The full UK takes up about 130 M-bytes (I use a 256 M-byte SD card in my Pocket PC to store the maps).
For those drivers with a blue tooth mobile phone with GPRS, TomTom provides an add on feature (for a monthly charge) where you can get live traffic information from your mobile phone. This way you set the Navigator to route you around traffic problems as they occur.
When you are using the Navigator with sound turned on, you can choose whether you have a Male or Female voice (I use a female voice) and you can adjust the volume so that you can hear instructions over the radio/road/engine noise. You can select the format of the map that is shown and change the colours. With an add-on you can set it to automatically change colours for day and night driving. On the Navigator screen as you are driving it shows the route that you are following, the direction that you are heading in, the next instruction, the distance to the next instruction, your current speed, the expected time to your destination and the distance to your destination. So that this does not distract you too much you can turn this display off when you reach a predetermined speed.
One of the downsides of the TomTom package is that the maps quickly go out of date (since I purchased mine two new roads have been built in my area, new A120 and a new stretch of the A10) and there is not an easy way to upgrade the maps (or I cant find one). Other downsides are that TomTom itself does not indicate when you are close to a POI (it would be good if it warned you that you were speeding as you approach a speed camera for example). There are add-on packages that do this (I use GPSAssist) but I would have expected TomTom to have included this feature (may be its not legal in the Netherlands). My iPAQ frequently requires a reset to restart the Navigator when I have not been using it for a while, whether this is a problem with GPSAssist, TomTom or my iPAQ Im not sure.