252 of 267 people found the following review helpful
Decent GPS Unit with a few things to be aware of
, April 21, 2012
This review is from: TomTom START 45TM 4.3-Inch GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic & Maps and Roadside Assistance(Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
This is a pretty good GPS unit, there are some things to be aware of.
First, the positives:
The unit feels sturdy which I like. It's also quite simple to use and the interface is easy to understand and it has a large easy to read screen (larger than smartphones). It also comes with free lifetime traffic alerts and map updates as well as user-generated map updates.
It tells you the speed limit as well as recommended lane to be in in many circumstances.
There are TONS of voices you can download via the TomTom app on your computer however many of them cost $12.95. There are many free user-submitted ones however not many of them are good. Also, only the built-in computer voice can speak street names (although your next turn does display on the screen with the name of the street). The downloaded character voices (which include characters such as Homer or Marge Simpson, Yoda, Darth Vader, etc) will not speak the street names and only tell you things like "prepare to turn right in 200 yards". This makes sense if you think about it because it would not be possible for TomTom to synthesize each voice actors voice such that it could pronounce all the street names. They are only able to record a limited number of directions.
The built-in suction cup mount works quite well and is a nice design that seems to stick to the windshield quite well though I'm not sure how long it will hold up over time.
Now the negatives:
-If you are on a Mac, the TomTom software that comes preloaded on this unit does not work under OSX Lion (the current OS). Further, it took me a very long time to locate where on the TomTom website I could download the latest sync application. I finally found it, but using their website to locate it was almost like pulling teeth! I ended up doing a search on their homepage for the word 'Home' and was able to get the download link there.
-The gas station fuel prices service is only free for one year, then it turns into a paid service. But I could not for the life of me figure out how to get this feature to work. Even after downloading and installing it I could not find it on the unit whatsoever.
-There is only one included voice that can read the street names. TomTom should include several different voices that can read the street names so we can have more options.
-The downloaded voices seem much quieter in volume than the built-in voices.
-It comes with no case nor even a cloth bag! How am I supposed to store this when I'm not using it? The answer is you have to buy a separate case/bag for it or just store it loose, as is. It really should come with a case or at the very least, a cloth bag.
-The roadside assistance costs anywhere from $30. and up each time you use it. It may be okay for emergencies but if you already have an AAA card or equivalent that you pay annually for, you would be better off using that since that does not charge you per incident. This is not made clear in the product description nor on the TomTom website.
In all this is a good unit in this price range but if you have an iPhone you could purchase a software GPS app instead which maybe likely be fairly equivalent. You could even use a free GPS app such as Waze.
The competition with smartphone GPS apps is increasing and dedicated GPS units are going to have to be a lot more competitive in terms of included features and usability to remain relevant.
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