Posted on 19-Nov-2007 14:24 by M Freitas| Filed under: Reviews
TomTom, the largest GPS manufacturer and mapping software developer in the world has just entered the New Zealand market with the launch of two of their models. For a couple of weeks I had the TomTom One XL with us in the car so that we could test it.
The first impression counts a lot, and the unit is nicely designed with just an on/off button – all user interaction is done through its 4.3 inch touch screen interface (480 x 272 pixels), which is really sensitive and easy to use with nice large icons. It is not a large unit by any means, measuring 119 x 86 x 27 mm and weighing only 208 grams.
Icons are what you get – the TomTom One XL provides a large number of features, including navigation, point of interest information, traffic information (not yet available in New Zealand), configurations options and even first-aid instructions.
Maps are downloaded to the TomTom On XL and stored on its main memory (512 MB), but you can use SD memory cards to store more maps or even store files.
A desktop application allows you to download updates from TomTom’s website, and install on your device. This includes new software, additional maps you can purchase or other information.
For example, the TomTom One XL has the fastest time to get a fix I have ever seen, thanks small data files you can download and transfer to unit, containing information on satellite ephemerides. With this data the GPS knows where to find the satellites in the sky given the current date and time, instead of having to scan the sky, like other GPS devices do.
Navigation works really well, although once while driving around an inlet it reported our car on the correct side but showing the wrong road name – the one that would be on the other side of the inlet. And the distance was quite considerable between roads.
It also allows you to select different voices such as American male or female – but my wife couldn’t really see the Kiwi accent when we selected New Zealand male and female voices.
Instructions are loud and clear, although we both notice that coming to roundabouts are kind of funny experience. With other software such as the Navman we hear “At the roundabout take the third exit on your right”, while the TomTom says something like “On the roundabout go straight through, third exit”. When I hear “straight at roundabout” I understand the instructions as “continue on this road, do not take exits”. Probably something the Europeans say?
The TomTom charges from standard USB and you will find a cigarette lighter charger for use in the car. It also comes with a car holder that you attach to the windscreen – convenient and easy to slide the unit in and out of it.
This model also comes equipped with Bluetooth and you can pair it with a mobile phone so that it can access the Internet – important for traffic information downloads but not yet available here.
At this point TomTom have not announced New Zealand maps for their Windows Mobile map client software, which I would like to use. But the dedicated GPS and navigation device is very convenient, with a larger and easier to read screen than you would find on a Pocket PC, so it is not a bad replacement.
Over the Internet updates
Quick satellite fix
Clear voice and good selection of accents
Recalculating a route may take time (not excessive) and the first instructions comes too near the road you need to take.