No matter what side of the big pond called the Atlantic you are on, if you are into cars, than you are into Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear. While in the US, Tele Atlas maps may not have the highest rating, I have to admit that with this edition of TomTom GO Live, it has renewed my faith in the non US developed map set. In fact, due to its “Top Gear” goodies and the Tele Atlas navigation improvements, this is should be the GPS of choice for Gearheads and car buffs alike, as well as general road trippers.
My GPS testing is the same across the board;
- General Navigation including routing me home
- Getting/Not Getting lost
- Traffic capabilities
- GPS Specific services (Live Services in Tom Toms case)
- Setup and ease of use
First of all, let me introduce you to the two words that will make this possibly the last GPS you will ever need to buy; “Lifetime Maps”.
This means that after purchasing the unit, you will never again have to worry about buying another map again. You simply hook it up to your computer and it will automatically download the update.
It can’t be tested without setting it up. From unboxing, to mounting to gaining satellite and traffic link, took no more than 3 minutes. That is “bloody” good. I was then able to set up my home (current position option), and pair my Bluetooth phone(s) as I do not have Bluetooth in my car, nor a separate speaker. That took an additional 2 minutes. “Good show I say”.
The first judge of character of any GPS device is its ability to get me home. I know the quickest route and expect a GPS device to take me that same route. With previous TeleAtlas powered devices, they got me home, but it was a longer (by ½ mile) than other non TeleAtlas devices. Well the maps and directional algorithms must have changed, because this device took me there, and in the shortest time.
In a given day, my day can consist of driving anywhere from 50 to as much as 500 miles. This can include major metro areas as well as rural back roads and the highways needed to reach them. I cannot take a chance on a cut rate gps to show me the way. Not once did I get lost. I actually turned off the GPS for about 10-15 minutes, took several wrong back road turns, etc. I put the device back on, and my location was found w/i 30 seconds. I came to find out that while I thought I was 15 minutes out of the way, the Top Gear device got me back on track in about 7 minutes.
Traffic reporting is essential if your travels take you through major metro areas, such as Boston, NYC or Washington DC. You don’t want old data, but rather up to the minute data and alerts. Once the unit gains the traffic signal, that is what you get. If a major jam is in along the route, I want to know NOW, not when I am 5 minutes away. Tom Tom has perfected this. While it is rare to find a jam in rural areas, it does happen, whether it be because of weather or an accident, Tom Tom will pick it up. It will then give you a choice to continue on the current route or detour. It will also show you the time differences either way.
As for their live services which include traffic, Google Local Search, Yelp, speed cameras and even fuel prices, it is a matter of convenience that these are made available to you. It also includes trip advisor which will pull up any and all attractions, restaurants, etc. You can search near you or in another local.
As for setup, you can choose to mount the disc on your dashboard or console or just use the attached suction cup mount and hook it up to the windshield. As for general setup, it does come with a manual, but frankly, even a GPS novice can do without. The device actually walks you through any and all setup processes.
Learn more at TomTom’s websiteor go over to amazon.com to see Tom Tom’s full line.