Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 07:03

TomTom SatNav

A while ago I decided I hadn't bought enough gadgets recently, so I went out a bought a new HDD (and an enclosure so I could use the old one as an external drive), an extra gig of memory, a 2Gb flashdrive, and a mini SD Card for my phone. But while those were all great, they weren't things that I could play with. So I went out and bought a TomTom One :)

Overall, it's pretty good. I haven't used it much, but what I have used I like. I love the 'Help Me' menu, which gives you directions by car, or walking, to the nearest police station, hospital, train station, garage, etc.

You can customise it pretty well - you can choose a voice, and colours, and decide what information you want displayed on the screen. You can make your own Points of Interest, and save your Home location and favourites.

I haven't tried the Garmin Nuvi, but apparently it doesn't allow you to make trips with multiple waypoints, which sucks because the TomTom not only lets you do that, it lets you save them and load them again as well. So I'm glad I didn't get the Nuvi ;)

It can tell you how fast you're going, and if the map supports it, whether you're exceeding the speed limit. It gets louder as you go faster, and zooms out. As you slow down, it zooms in. The instructions are given in plenty of time, and are really clear.

There are a couple of things I don't like, but I'm not sure if they're features or bugs.

One is that if you use 'Advanced Planning', you can set up a trip from A to B. If you don't have a GPS signal, and you want to view the route, it asks for a start location and all is good. If you do have a GPS signal, it tends to start the route from where you are, rather than from the starting point. It doesn't seem to do this all the time; I haven't worked out all the circumstances when it does and doesn't, but one of them is if you recalculate the route to go via a certain point. Then it will always start the demo of the route from where you are, which is a problem when I'm trying to set up a route from somewhere to home, when I'm at home. (Edit: sometimes it does even odder things; if you've previewed a route, and stopped the demo at some point, it takes that last point as your starting point. But only sometimes, and I'm sure it's also related to whether or not there's a signal.)

Another is that it can take a minute or two to pick up the GPS signal when you switch it on. I find it frustrating, but apparently it's pretty good that it can do it that fast.

A third is that sometimes it seems to miss out instructions. At times it will give you lots of detail, like "turn left, then keep to the right", but driving home today there were two forks in the road where it didn't tell me which one to take (and yes, they are on the map).

And sometimes it works out slightly odd routes - going the long way around the block when it could just route you the short way. Not important, but I can see whole generations growing up being used to taking the long way round just because their satnav told them to. (Edit: this is where the delay in getting a signal comes in useful. It always routes me the long way around from my house on to the nearest "big" road; by the time it's picked up a GPS signal, though, I'm on the right road and it recalculates from there :-)

Overall, it's great - I've only used it for driving places that I know how to get to anyway, so far, but as I get used to it and start trusting it more, I'll be more adventurous :)



At 7/12/07 06:58, Anonymous Nat said...

I love the TomTom ONE - the GPS has saved me so many times. I am thinking of getting the ONE 3rd Edition for my Dad for the holidays - can't wait to see how it is, I have read great things about it!


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