Customer Reviews: TomTom START 55TM 5-Inch GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic & Maps and Roadside Assistance
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Style Name: Lifetime Traffic & Maps|Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Change
Price:$79.99 - $149.00
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on March 21, 2013
I researched and researched. I read review after review. I checked price comparisons. My son has a Garmin and he really likes his unit. After all of that I made the decision to buy the TomTom 55TM 5-inch with the Lifetime Traffic and Maps. It was a smart decision on my part. The price was great and it does everything I need it to. It has kept me from getting lost several times and when I felt hungry or needed gas...well, there it was on my screen. Reviewers mentioned the problems when they do updates on their computer problem for me. It was quick and easy. The voices are fun plus I downloaded a car that looks just like mine so there I am!!!driving down the road. I like the 3D feature. It shows all the turns and so accurate that it is easy to see exactly where I am at any given time. 2D is okay but not as fun. I like the automatic re-routing feature without it freaking out. My son's tells him to turn around several times before it finally says "re-routing". Maybe this is something that you pre-program in? The screen is easy to see and some reviewers mentioned that the touch screen was not sensitive enough..well, for me it was really soft touch. I wouldn't want it to jump to another view or action while I am trying to drive and completely lose my way by accidentally touching it and 'force' it to move on, so to speak, without me planning it to. I gave this a 5 star on the overall features and ease of use. Others most definitely do not agree but I guess that is why we do reviews and see how each person makes their own mind up on products..Happy Driving!!
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on April 23, 2013
I was spoiled by my wonderful TomTom XXL 540TM 5-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator (Lifetime Traffic & Maps Edition) and stupidly purchased this TomTom START unit because Amazon FALSELY popped up a message saying the TomTom START is a newer version of the TomTom XXL 540TM which it is NOT. The TomTom START is an entirely different branch of the product line than the TomTom XXL 540TM and does not have automatic power off as my XXL does and does not work reliably at all. Here is the review I posted on the TomTom discussion forums at [...]

I am so disappointed with this TomTom START that I cannot express it in words. It is a huge disappointment and in my opinion gives TomTom a bad name. I am going to try to return it if I can figure out how to do so and exchange it for a TomTom XXL 540 and never buy anything else from TomTom. It was a gross mistake on TomTom's part to ever offer such a piece of crap as the TomTom START for sale to the public. It constantly changes it's "mind" for no reason, repeats itself, and gives incorrect directions. It is a disgrace to TomTom and I regret ever having bought the piece of junk that is the TomTom START.
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on March 20, 2013
My Garmin Nuvi 255W died after 5 years of use. Since I was traveling, I went and bought a 2555W to replace it. In less than an hour it went black. Disgusted, I decided to give Tom Tom a try. I can't say one is necessarily better than the other, but there are two things that are almost unforgivable on the TomTom:

1.) Does not automatically switch timezones when traveling. How can a device that knows exactly where you are not have the timezone boundaries in it's map? This is a real hassle when driving long distances because the arrival time will be wrong. My Garmin took it into account automatically.

2.) No altitude information. Yes, I know GPS altitude is marginally accurate, but when traveling in the mountains altitude is a nice thing to know. Even my 15 year old Magellan SporTrak gave altitude.

There are things I like about Tom Tom better than Garmin:

1.) One touch switching between 3D and 2D maps. This is VERY helpful when driving in a large city. It allows you to look ahead.

2.) The receiver sensitivity seems to be better than Garmin. I can get a pretty good lock even indoors where my Garmin or Magellan would fail.

For either TomTom or Garmin, I think the RDS-TMC traffic info is marginally useful. After taking a 2000 mile trip, there were some construction zones that didn't show up while others did. TomTom points out correctly that this service is not theirs. It is transmitted by Clearchannel FM radio stations.

The best thing about the Start 55TM is that it survived the trip while the competition died.
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on November 25, 2012
Advanced Lane Guidance is great for navigating large cities where you can't be sure what lane to be in unless you've been through there before.
Updating the unit online is simple and easy, the software is very user friendly. The traffic updates and reroutes are good, but if you're not in a medium to large size city they aren't that useful very often. That said, when they are they can shave a lot of time off your trips and keep you from sitting behind an accident on the interstate.

The user interface is simple and easy to read. I plugged it in and got busy teaching myself how to use it without reading any instructions. You can get additional voices (and there is a promo code you can find pretty easily to get a $10 credit towards those) and after my wife and I tried a couple we found that Mr. Burns from the Simpsons was the funniest with the most original phrases. This thing is a ball to have and use on trips.

I can't fathom other people's lower ratings unless they just aren't technically savy at all. My wife and I both got them and had no issues with them. If this unit is too complicated for you then you might want to stick to a paper map.

The unit comes with a suction cup windshield mount and a dashboard peel and stick mount and a charging cable that doubles as the traffic radio cable (it uses radio signals to receive traffic updates). It also comes with a miniusb interface cable for updating the unit online.
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on May 17, 2012
I compared the TomTom 55M with my Garmin nüvi 2460LMT 5-Inch, and my Garmin came out the clear winner. The higher cost of the Garmin is justified by the better graphics, more intuitive interface, better lane assist, and I must admit, I've been really spoiled by Garmin's voice command feature. My husband and adult son also used the TomTom GPS so they could help me with my review, and all three of us agree that the TomTom graphics and interface seem like a beta-version product compared to the Garmin.

A few things did stand out as positives, though - the voice on the TomTom (the standard female US English voice) seemed a little clearer than on the Garmin; and the user-updated maps resulted in more accurate maps in areas where there have been recent-ish road changes. (Not in all cases, though.) Also, my husband was impressed with the window mount. He didn't think he'd like it after using the excellent Garmin Portable Friction Dash Mount, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the TomTom mount. It was easy to install, and stayed on the windshield without slipping.

Overall, though, the Garmin still gets our vote for being a superior product, even at the higher cost.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on May 29, 2013
First time I tried to update maps - which took over an hour - it FAILED. Tried again 2 more times. They FAILED too. Then called customer support - and after waiting on hold for a long time finally was connected to somebody in support. His answer was to reformat the GPS. That failed too, and in the process totally disabled the GPS. I asked to speak to a supervisor and got the rudest and most clueless customer service person I've ever had the displeasure of speaking to.

So in 4 hours time I went from a person simply trying to update their GPS before a vacation, to somebody with a worthless GPS that will be of no use during that vacation - and wishing I had bought a Garmin instead.

Overall I would give the GPS (before updating) 3 stars. Their customer service would be MINUS 5 stars.

If looking for a GPS unit, pray that you don't have to deal with dumb and dumber in TomTom customer support (even if the person they have replying here suggests they can help), or better yet do yourself a favor and buy a GPS made by somebody else...

PS. Just contacted TomTom customer support again. Found out the phone support is based in Mexico, and in the background could hear a technician badmouthing about American customers expecting too much. Amazon's customer support is ONE THOUSAND OR MORE times as good as TomTom's customer support.

UPDATE!!! The customer service gets even worse!!! I sent back the NEW unit that their customer service (or should I say botched remedial service) ruined and what did I get? A refurbished unit with a busted front screen. I would suggest that any prospective GPS buyer do themselves a favor and don't buy any TomTom product and don't believe the customer support rep trying to do damage control here for them, or the positive reviews TomTom probably paid for (or were made by their sales staff)...
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on December 25, 2012
I bought it, i plugged it into the computer, i download all available updates, including new maps. When i was ready to use it, it couldn't find 2 of the destinations. One at the time of course. It kept telling me to "enter a different house number. It was suggesting me range of numbers, but the one need it it was not in that range.
So weird, i return it for a full refund.
I was told by many people that Tom Tom were better than Garmin, but the old Nuvi 350 was better about finding addresses.
One of these address was the one that the old Garmin Nuvi was able to find with no problems, the only bad about this Garmin was that already needs a map update.
The only thing i liked about this tomtom start was the fast sattelite signal acquisition, actually in matter of seconds.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on July 6, 2013
NEVER NEVER NEVER buy ANY TomTom product!
Their customer service and product support SUCKS!
I have/had a TomTom GPS navigation unit for my car. My wife and I were planning our vacation to Italy, and we decided to buy and download the Western European Maps from TomTom on our GPS ($70.00) instead of renting one with the car rental. I downloaded the European maps, as instructed, from my computer (I had to first remove and save the USA/Canada maps onto our hard drive) and then I proceded to program the different hotels, destination sites, routes, information of Italy onto my TomTom (Favorites). I noticed that when not connected to my computer, the TomTom GPS would not boot-up; it kept saying it was searching for a satellite signal. I telephoned TomTom and asked about this problem. The service rep sort of giggled and told me that being in the USA the TomTom wouldn't find a satellite, because it was looking for the European Maps link/satellite. Okay - I went with the program. Upon arriving in Italy my TomTom with the European Maps still would not boot-up; I left the GPS on searching for over 40 minutes, while the battery/charge was dwindling down. So now I'm in a foreign country, in a car, not knowing the language too well, and not knowing where to go or how to get there! After fumbling around Pisa, with the help of 4 different people (4 different stops) we were able to locate an electronics store (similar to Best Buys in the USA), and I purchased a new GPS outright ($165.00 - with the exchange rate).
Upon returning to the USA I contacted TomTom and relayed my experience and requested a refund ($70.00) for the map (Europe) that did not work. After a 2 week runaround from TomTom I was told that my map purchase had exceeded their 30 day return policy and I was out of luck. I told them we were in Italy for 28 days by itself, and that I purchased the European maps in advance to make sure it worked; I also relayed my earlier discussion with their service rep, and how I was told to wait until I was in Europe for the European maps to find the appropriate satellite. TomTom wasn't interested, and they offered no consolation - just take it and lump it.
So I warn you - don't buy anything from this company. After they have your money you are of no consequence to them, and they apparently don't stand behind their products. There are other reputable companies out there, making good and affordable GPS devices. So don't take a chance, and don't buy TomTom. I will NEVER buy another TomTom product as long as I live!
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on August 30, 2012
This TomTom worked great for about a day, then problems began. The main problem is that it can't find a GPS signal when inputing a destination, and I have to clear it out and enter in the address again - usually 3 to 4 times before it will plan a route. The other issue I have is that the GPS has started to "lag" so the map is behind where I actually am, which is confusing. I've already used one of my updates to see if that would fix the problem, but it has not.

Another issue I have is that this GPS was advertised as having "Lifetime Traffic & Maps and Roadside Assistance". The traffic is definitely NOT included; the TomTom service only offers traffic for additional purchase. Also, the voice stutters/gets stuck, when giving directions more than it should which is annoying, as is the "lane guidance" which is more confusing than helpful (however, I think you can turn it off). The overall interface where you enter directions it not very intuitive, and took me a while to figure out.
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on September 14, 2012
Don't buy this system unless you deal with frustration well. I knew I'd made a mistake when I could not load my home address in the near useless nav device (I have lived at my current address over six years). Then came the phone calls to reps I could not understand. The lifetime unlimited map update feature is yet to work. A real third world experience overall. Pure trash.
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