Can The New Range From Tom Tom Take The Initiative Back From Garmin? A Definite Yes!
I'm sitting here tentatively opening up a brand new TomTom 520, so let's see why the new Go range has once again pushed TomTom to the forefront of cutting edge in-car Sat Nav, with features that other manufacturers have not even thought about...
First a quick explanation of the models in the new Go range - the Go 520, Go 720, and 920 (although the Go 920 is yet to be announced officially). The main difference is maps. The 520 comes pre-loaded with street-level maps of the UK and Ireland , while the 720 comes with pre-installed maps of Western Europe . The Go 920 will probably come with maps of Western Europe and North America . The main functions of all these Go Models are the same, so although I'll be looking at a Go 520, all the salient points are the same.
Back to the review. First let's see what's in the box (and very nice packaging it is too). We get the unit itself, windscreen mount, car power lead, pc mount, instructions and TomTom Home disc. Sadly no case like you used to get in a 710 or 510, but I guess with the price reductions that will come into effect when the retailers start their usual price wars Tom Tom have to give shops some way of making a little extra profit through the sale of accessories.
Picking up the unit, it looks very nice. Lovely widescreen with a grey / silver surround and a rubberized back. The mount is the usual suction type and slots neatly in the back. Flipping the unit upside down reveals the mini-usb power / data jack, SD slot, microphone and ipod lead connector and a well marked reset hole (hopefully we won't be using that too much!)
Turning the unit on, the screen impresses straight away. Brighter and crisper than previous widescreens, TomTom have also ensured that the screen is as glare-free as possible. To previous TomTom users everything will feel comfortably familiar, if a little smoother and more polished. After putting in our country details, distance and time preferences, we're greeted with the usual grayed out 3d map, which pops into colour as soon as a GPS fix is achieved.
Now we just tap in the middle of the screen and we're into the main menu. We can select "navigate to" and there is the usual Post-Code, address, city centre, recent, favorite, POI and "browse map" options. Everything is smooth and fast; let's just say that for basic navigation the TomTom Go 520 and 720 works very well. We can also do itinerary planning, entering a number of destinations to go from A to B to C, etc.
Points of interest are very well catered for, you can find thousands of different places by choosing "near" "on your route", "in city" or you can search by name.
The big difference here is we now have speech recognition. That's right you can now call out Town, Street-Name, and number. This happens in two ways, either you can press the right answer on the screen, or enter a "dialogue". In dialog mode you don't need to touch the TomTom at all, just press "1", " 2", "3", etc. to select the option you want. It was a bit hit and miss when I tried it, but time will tell.
TomTom have made POI's more useful with the "help me" menu option. Using this you can access help from the AA, emergency services, hospitals, garages and loads more. For example if you press the AA button the screen displays the phone number to call, and even shows you your location with a text description that you can tell the operator. If you've got Bluetooth on your phone, and you're paired up, the TomTom will phone the number too.
Let's look at Navigation next. As soon as you have put your destination in the unit it will quickly work out the route and you're off. Straight away we can see some subtle changes in the new Go Range. Still 3d, we now have the outlines of buildings indented into the ground, the speed cameras have more detailed icons, but most importantly the GPS now reads out road names, and does it quite well.
But you want to know about the extra features that you'll be spending your cash on, so let's look out those.
The new TomTom Go range has built in FM modulators, so you can select to have all voice instructions transmitted to your car stereo. This is a great feature, especially as you can also transmit MP3's at the same time, with voice instructions making the music fade out. This means that volume is no longer an issue, even in a noisy diesel truck, or with the soft top down, just turn on the FM transmitter, turn up the radio and never miss another voice instruction again.
We've got Bluetooth for hands-free calling and downloading Traffic information, but we expect that on Satellite Navigation in this price bracket.
The new TomTom Go 520 and 720 have customizable voice-prompts. You can download celebrity voices to guide you, or even record your own.
We can change the little blue arrow to one of several other vehicles, change colour schemes, customize the menus, and take tours and much more.
I've probably missed out some of the new Go Ranges features, but as you can see the 520 and 720 pack in lots of new, really useful features. The FM Modulators and Mapshare are almost category killers - Garmin have to come up with updates to their Satellite Navigation to keep up. The downside? Well they're quite expensive, and although smaller than last years models, still not as small as Garmin's Nuvi's. It's a shame there is no included TMC traffic aerial for subscription free traffic avoidance - TomTom are going the data download through your phone route, but other than those minor points these new Sat Navs are brilliant.
Remember, if you want a Sat Nav for the UK and Eire , Buy a TomTom GO 520 from Amazon.co.uk
If you want a Sat Nav for Europe (including UK ), Buy a TomTom GO 720 from Amazon.co.uk
Comments / Questions:
I BOUGHT CAMERAS ONLINE FROM TOMTOMCOSTING £16.95 I DIDNT GET ANY CAMERAS OR ANY INSTRUCTIONS OR HELP IN HOW I COULD ADDRESS THIS POSITION AS I CANNOT SEEM TO BE ABLE TO GET A TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR THEM,. Furthermore when i used my debit card got a message saying try again as transaction didnt go throught when in fact it had i payed TWICE still no Cameras FOR downloading , i just dont know wher to go from here if you could be of help i would be eternally gratefull . regards Samuel.
Contact TomTom. The phone numbers are near the bottom of the screen.
Can you update/upgrade a TomTom 720 to include the 'Traffic' functions? Mike.
Just buy a compatible TomTom RDS aerial.
Ik heb een tomtom 730 gekocht. Er is een mogelijkheid om een SD-Cart in te voegen, waarom kan ik als ik mijn SD-Kaart van mijn fototoestel insteek geen afbeeldingen krijgen van mijn foto's??? wat moet ik doen??? met vriendelijke groeten, hans.
I don't speak Dutch, tried an online translator but Its a bit unclear about what your problem is.
I would like a unit that will work in UK/Europe also Thailand which are the models to choose from. Phill.
If you want Thailand maps you're going to be looking at a Garmin who sell maps for that country.
Is there a US version of this particular model by Tom Tom? Dan.
Check out this Amazon link for the US Versions.
I like the look of the 720, but need to be sure that I can search by coordinates as well as the usual(postcode etc). Will this unit do that? Colin.
You can navigate to lat / long coordinates with the new TomTom Go 520 / 720 / 920.
I'm looking at these but also want to have a unit that manages traffic info for free. I would like to know how well this feature actually works, but I believe there is 520T model that DOES incorporate a TMC traffic receiver with FREE subscription. Chris.
Hi Chris! You're right, TomTom have just released "Traffic" versions of all their models, so for about another £30 you get an RDS-TMC Aerial that will give you free congestion / traffic information for life in the UK.
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