Top critical review
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There are pros and cons to using the Tomtom pro truck
on 8 January 2015
The unit itself is a reasonably good design, except that the screen mount also contains the connector for putting it into the computer. The whole unit plus mount has to be removed in order to be able to plug it in and update it which is a severe pain. The screen is clear and bright without being distracting. The truck routing, bridge heights, weight limits and general ability to plan and execute a route are good.
When you receive the unit, make sure that the pamphlet explaining how to subscribe to LIVE is read and understood. You need to subscribe to LIVE in order to have your free lifetime maps activated. The LIVE service that you get free for a year with this unit really is integral to its operation. Without it even the speed camera notification doesn't work as it defaults back to the locations loaded in its memory at the factory, or to the last ones it picked up through LIVE before the service expired. Those cameras through those roadworks on the A1? Bleeping forever on a clear road. After the free year has expired you will need to take out a LIVE subscription to avoid this. The Live Service subscription is currently charged at £47.50 per year. I'll update this shortly with the trucker's verdict on if the LIVE service is worth that money.
Yes you still need a separate email address for each TomTom you own. As this is now a 6 TomTom extended family that becomes a little wearing. Note that you'll need at least two accounts for each unit; one to update the unit and the other to log into support. The TomTom support does not recognise that you're plugged in and logged on updating the unit and requires you to register and log in again in order to get into the support system. Activating LIVE isn't simple either. It's a complex series of screens and information to enter that I thought I had navigated successfully only to discover (more than a year later) that in fact I had not. Now I'm pretty technically aware, and a gadget hound, if I can't manage successfully as the family's go-to geek, then there is an issue with the usability of the software.
The software update system is abysmal. Updates make the unit slower, and slower, and
s l o w e r, until the unit nearly ended up being thrown through the passenger window without bothering to open it first. From the trucker using it, "Every time I come to a roundabout on a planned route it tells me which road to take before the roundabout is reached. When I reach the roundabout the unit stops reporting my location. I take the correct road from memory and the unit then takes more than two minutes to find my location and report it correctly. Sometimes the unit fails to report my correct position at all. I have seen the unit tell me that I was running through fields more than once just this week." If you're getting this issue then TomTom say that their "soft reset" should fix it - and it does seem to have speeded it up a fair bit. If not, then you should contact support. Good luck with that. I managed to find the way to do the "soft reset" through pure dumb luck, before I managed to get hold of customer support. But the software should not be doing this. It's an issue that needs a simple permanent fix. Like, oh just for instance, forcing a software triggered soft reset on unit restart while still backed up and plugged into the computer after each update.
The problem is that the TomTom truck routing is still the best on the market. However for the individual trucker that doesn't have a unit like this supplied by their firm, or for the jobbing owner driver not being able to get the support needed from customer services for a £300 machine with a £50 a year subscription service, this is customer disservice writ large. Tomtom customer services are as in as much need of update as the software system. Customer services have ignored three emails from me, they replied to the last one which was sent on 15/12/2014. I got that reply almost a month later having already raised Cain to try and get a response. I had to write the original of this review (this is the edited version) and link to it on Twitter with an @ mention to TomTom's UK Twitter account before I finally had any contact at all after six months of trying. I'm still unhappy with the support I've received and there has been no true apology offered. I have to recommend the unit as things stand because I've not found better; that this means accepting this kind of hassle makes me do so grudgingly.