Top positive review
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A new generation and paradigm shift
on April 13, 2014
UPDATE AUGUST 5th 2014:
Here comes my 2nd part of the review after almost 4 months of heavy usage in California, the East Coast (NY, NJ, PA), Germany and Hawaii:
Overall Judgement: this GPS is a paradigm shift from routing towards Live routing. HD traffic makes the difference - in comparison to "older" versions of tomtom, I only used the device, when I was using it for unknown destinations. Now, I use it almost everyday, because of the accurate traffic information.
The positives I mentioned in my earlier report remain unchanged. Here some updates, which I haven't touched before, and I got some questions:
+ First of all, I should mention, that Tomtom responded to many complaints with SW updates during May and June. The biggest issue for me was constant crashing, where I almost wrote a very negative review, but was informed in the forum of the SW update. Since than back in May ... No issues. Thanks for listening to customers.
+ With the SW fix, tomtom also responded to the desired option of alternative route (very good solution, as in this new version, it gives you 1-3 options with total times and comparison with original route), you have some additional colors to choose and you can also mark a waypoint directly on the map (and can come back eventually later to it)
+ the mounting device and the suction has been in heavy use as I take it with me in rental cars, no issues, works like a charm. Direct sunshine exposure and Heat are no issue at all. (If you want to be very picky, I should mention, that plugging in the cable on the back, can be a challenge, as you would need to unmount the device to get it right). thumbs up - Best solution found!
+ HD traffic and iPhone app works great, in the new version, tomtom connects and starts automatically the app. I would say that in urban areas the correctness of the traffic alerts ~99% and in rural areas 80%. I'm using tomtom now 95% of the times I'm driving - yes, it is that useful.
+ I bought the European map. For this I had to use a micro SD card (8GB). Plugged it in, bought the map, downloaded it, installed it and .... It worked ... Flawless. Also 3D is very nice to observe, when you drive through major cities.
+ Here again, what I really enjoy, when I landed in Frankfurt, Germany and got into my rental car - it takes you 2 sec. until you get the GPS signal, same in New York or in Hawaii. (Back in 2006 with my 650,- USD tomtom (GO910) I had to wait 10-15 minutes for signal reception ...)
So, the question: why not 5 stars?
Here my answer:
- my biggest issue: HD traffic doesn't work in Europe. I can see the traffic alerts on the app on the iPhone in theEuropean countries in all details, BUT it doesn't pass the information along to the device - so, what I really loved in that device is useless in Europe and in theory could be passed on to the device, as the traffic information is right there on tomtom's my drive app on your phone. RDS could have been an alternative option ...
- The application you have to use for your desktop PC is not transparent (i'm using win7 with chrome as browser - no fancy IT extras). Sometimes you click the icon and it doesn't start and there it is on the quick menu and it starts, it depends on the day .... Also, it never tells you what is happening right now, most of the time it gives you advise on new downloads, but downloading and installing is a different animal, which can take hours. What I do is quit energy savings on the PC and let it do the job for 3-4 hours without touching the PC ... This normally works. The older desktop solution, was better in managing your device.
- Personal POI: this is an issue for lots of users. My advise, as several times it had been heard to use favorites - but you need to scroll a lot until you find what you want. My proposal would be to have categories under favorites, which you can edit from your desktop device and where you can add your personal destinations from your desktop.
Overall I can recommend highly this device. It is a real pleasure to use!
I bought the tomtom go 50S 5 days ago (not on amazon, as I wanted it really quick and I went to a local competitor) - and I have to say that I'm quite impressed (I'm a tomtom customer I had : GO 910, 920 and 540 XXL WTE and I liked the systems for their rock solid and easy performance) . The reasons, why I stick with a PND like tomtom and I'm not going over to my iPhone: if you are in areas without cell coverage (e.g. Yosemite, Point Reyes, or Nevada ...) you really appreciate a PND. Besides - I prefer to have my phone available.
So why did I buy it, having a tomtom 540 XXL WTE, which works well and has Lifetime Map updates for Northamerica:
- I was attrackted by the traffic functionality
- The new UI (yes and 3D ...)
- And I was hoping to get faster route calculations and rerouting and smoother graphic flow (after having seen the navigation on an iphone)
So here are the positives:
+ Traffic: I downloaded the app on my iPhone to get the instant traffic (living in the San Francisco Bay area it is a must) and it connected instantly like a breeze and showed all the trafiic issues- not only freeways/highways also streets in the city - and after 5 days it never failed - this really impressed me, as I expected glitches in the communication between iphone and the tomtom device - no problems for now - Thumbs up!!!
+ UI: Ok. If you are used to the traditional Tomtom it is a question of taste, if you would like it - I like it very much, especially the combined POI and street search - works fast and smooth - uncluddered
+ Graphics: Smooth! 3D available only in the bigger urban areas e.g. San Francisco or Oakland. Rerouting - very fast
+ GPS reception: Thanks to the connection with the phone - you turn the system on , and it has instant signal - it tranfers the GPS fix- it hasn't failed for now (in the past I was used to wait between 10 sec - 2 minutes until I got the signal) - I'm impressed!
+ Parking POI available on the menu - I also like this feature, as, let's say when you drive to a movie theatre, you don't park your car right in front of the main entrance - you look for a close parking. Also great. And really great: Car rental Parking POI for airports (Yeah!!!)
+ For Ex-Garmin users: I read from Ex-Garmin switchers to Tomtom, that the feature they most missed, was the missing indication, on which side of the street, the destination is lying. Now, you get 2 announcments over the speaker and you see a jumping icon on the left/right side of the street. Great fix.
+ Voice quality - very clear, crisp and loud - real improvement over the past editions
+ Visual Routing: you can clearly distinguish your route with side streets - also a positive improvement
+ You can add stops on your current route - very easily
+ You start your car - Tomtom starts (as long as it's plugged in) - Standbye feature is also very handy
Now, you might be wondering, why not 5 stars. Here are my observations for improvement - and I will review my rating in a couple of months:
- It is unclear on Amazon and on the tomtom homepage, what the difference is between the 50 and the 500. I also downloaded the manual with ~90 pages and even there it wasn't really clear. What I found out, that the 50S doesn't have the integrated chip and you need a smartphone (Android/iPhone) to use the Traffic functionality. What I also found out in addition - also not clearly said: The Voice recognition is NOT available on the Go 50 S. I would suggest to tomtom, to make that clearer on their homepage or introduce a compare menu in order to see what the real differences are between the systems.
- My Drive: Well, this created some nervous moments on day one: 2:30 hours to download the newest map and map share. Download done. But then ... system freezed and the device told me, that no map was installed. I rebooted and learned after restarting mydrive, that the map was installing ... 50 minutes later it was almost installed. System error and I should contact support ... For whatever reason I retried and this time it worked, the map got installed, and I drove the next w/o any issues ... mydrive is not really transparent and you have to search it on your computer and you really don't know, what the system is doing at which moment - tomtom home (former edition of desktop application) gave real transparency - also no options on mydrive to change appareance, icons, greeting screen, etc.. I beleive this is fixable and tomtom will improve the experience over the next months
- POI transfer: Yes ... for now, you cannot transfer your personal POI's. In the old tomtom world a neat feature, as for example I created POI categories like in my case - I'm working for a multinational corporation and as I'm traveling a lot, I could create a catgory just filling in all the important office addresses - or a POI category for my vacation in Germany - with all places to visit. I believe it will be also fixable ...
- WTE - I owned in the past the word traveler editions, as I'm in Europe 6-9 times a year and I depend on a rental car and prefer to have my Tomtom with me - this time there is no WTE and there are no European Lifetime Maps - Sure you can buy a map on the tomtom store with a certain version of the map - but maybe I will be the same model in Germany and would get the Lifetime Maps for Europe ... maybe tomtom will do something about it and you can buy any map with lifetime updates ... for the moment I will continue to use my good old 540 XXL WTE, when I travel overseas
- Small issue - the option "calculate alternative route" dissapeared - it was a nice feature
- Battery life: 2 hours indicated - depending on your use: 60-90 minutes ...
Side comment: It is NOT a retina display, but you also don't need it - as you are not having it as close as a smart phone.
Conclusion: A very nice GPS, intuitive, fast grapics, smooth routing, clear voice, fast GPS signal reception and real time real traffic. I can only recommend it and would buy it again.
I will post any updates over the next weeks/months.