I deliberated for a long time before taking the plunge. The decision was between this TomTom and the traffic version of the Garmin Nuvi. I decided on the TomTom, as magazine reviews said that the TomTom had a more comprehensive live traffic reporting service. Apparently the Garmin's traffic covers motorways and major roads only and as the traffic facility was the major reason for upgrading from my existing original TomTom satnav, TomTom it was.
Out of the box, the bigger and clearer screen is a great improvement over my original TomTom.
However, setting up the device started to show why this model has been heavily criticised elsewhere. I put in my address to define Home to the device. Apparently number 3 in my street does not exist, neither does number 1 or 5. This is strange since my earlier TomTom recognised my address correctly. Never mind, I will use the facility to put my current location as my Home address. Problem solved.
I next put in my eldest daughter's address as a favourite. Neither the post code nor the street was recognised by the device. I was not entirely surprised by this, as this post code and address has only been in existence for 18 months, because it is a new housing development. So much for TomTom's claim that the maps and data are up to date.
My step-mother's address was also a problem. The post code was there but her road was not. This is no newly built estate, but one that has been in existence for 35 years. Not impressed TomTom.
I have used the device for about 6 weeks and am generally happy with the basic functionality. The lane guidance on motorways is a good feature, as is the integrated Bluetooth facility for hands free mobile phones. It connected easily to my Blackberry and my wife's Nokia. The clarity of the connection is good, although the volume could be louder for my taste. I have not used the numerous other features of the satnav and probably never will.
The traffic facility is nicely executed with a clear warnings of a delay on your chosen route. It then gives you a choice of changing to a quicker route or staying on the same one. If the delay does not affect the fastest route you are told clearly. All this is good.
My experience of the traffic facility has me slightly worried, however. On the 5 or 6 occasions that a warning has been given, I have stuck to the original route. On every occasion, as I have approached the traffic delay, the warning disappears and the road is indeed clear of any hold ups. Either I am very lucky, or these delay warnings are significantly out of date. I guess only TomTom knows the answer to that.
Another glitch I have noticed is that when turning onto a motorway or a major road, the message to travel towards xxx is often wrong (but not always). For example, "Take the motorway towards Gatwick" really should be "Take the motorway heading away from Gatwick".
My earlier TomTom did not have the IQ routes facility, but the new device does, and does indeed chose different routes based on the time of day. All well and good. But I have my doubts about its choice of routing. On one route that I travel regularly, it suggested going further towards Croydon rather than my usual route of staying on the M25 and taking the next exit. My experience of 20 years commuting to Croydon told me that would be a bad idea, even at 7.30 am. I ignored the suggestion and travelled cleanly without any hold ups to my destination. Hmmm. I am confident my route was quicker. My old TomTom agrees with me.
Perhaps I am being too picky but I have lost a lot of confidence in its ability to find the fastest route. If you have no idea of where you are, then TomTom will get you there, but not necessarily on the fastest route.
Sorry to finish on another moan, but the PC software MyTomTom for managing the device is just awful. Again this did not surprise me, as the same was true 4 years ago when I got my first TomTom. I have spent 30 years in IT and reckon I know my way around a PC, but this software had me baffled. I eventually got it installed and updated to the latest version, but it was a long fight. The efforts were pointless, of course, because the software tells you that your device is all up-to-date and no updates are available. This is a clever piece of software because it tells you that your device is up to date before the device is even connected. Magic.
All in all, a good product trying to get out of the shoddy software that supports it. Pull your socks up TomTom.