Most helpful critical review
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A curious mix of good and bad
on September 4, 2012
I've owned several TomToms over the years, and bought this a couple of years ago for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it's got a larger screen than the older units had, which is a plus. The navigation is very similar to previous units, and the touchscreen is reasonably functional and obvious, although there are scenarios under which you'll be pressing lots of times to reach the information you're seeking.
It's also not great for those of us with large hands: be prepared for a lot of deleting and starting over due to hitting the wrong key.
The brightness is an issue in some locations, as is the case with many TomToms. I've never had to call customer service regarding this unit, and it has always updated properly. Another plus is the lifetime updating of maps and traffic. While we live in the middle of nowhere, when we've gone through big cities the traffic function has worked, although it's never given us an alternative route yet. And, in general, the POIs have also been relatively accurate.
Now for the cons, and some of these are both annoying and to a point dangerous.
It's not possible to download other voices for the device, as we had on the previous one. Same applies to different vehicles, and to start screens. It's not a functionality issue, but for an upgraded system, it's a backward step.
It's also not the best when it comes to housing it in the car. On the windshield is too far away, so I use a vent mount, which is flimsy at best. And the battery life isn't fantastic.
The previous TomToms we owned were very quick updating while driving. This isn't. The voice often gets streets and place names wrong (although sometimes it's amusing), and quite frequently you see the street just as you're going past it. It also seems more inaccurate. Last year, while driving in New Orleans, we were desperately trying to get onto a highway from a feeder road parallel to it: the unit told us we were already on the road. It also recalculates relatively slowly, making it potentially dangerous if you're relying on it 100%.
The final beef is my biggest - the time it takes to receive a signal. If you're on vacation or a business trip, be sure to turn this on in your car a full ten minutes before you leave, as it takes forever to find a signal. We recorded the times while on our last trip in Georgia and South Carolina and northern Florida, and the quickest it found a signal was 4 minutes, the slowest almost 11. If you're exiting an underground parking garage in a big city, this is clearly ridiculous, as you're better off with a map, because five to 10 minutes in the middle of a city not knowing which direction you need to go feels like an eternity.
So, it's an improvement in some areas, and a massive let down in others. The only feature that makes me hold on to it and not try another manufacturer is that lifetime updating, and the forlorn hope that the Top Gear voice will one day miraculously be available for me to download. I may still be driving aimlessly around cities waiting for a signal, but at least Jeremy and I could vent our frustration together. And on that bombshell...