Top critical review
116 people found this helpful
A bit Hit and Miss
on 8 July 2009
Have had this product for some 6 weeks and recently took in on holiday to Wales. Calling at Reading Services on the M4 it completely lost the plot and again at the same location on the return (eastward) journey. So much so this time that it failed to locate a signal miles after I had left the service which meant that it could not direct me from the M4 onto the A329M at Wokingham. Had to completely re-set the whole thing. Once done it picked up a strong signal and worked fine (fickle !)
In Wales it definitely did not like the area around the Cambrian Mountains. Lost the plot (GPS signal) many times. Showed us in the middle of a reservoir on a couple of occasions. Somewhat surprisingly it worked well in the Brecon Beacons and did not lose a single signal throughout our week there.
Suffers from the usual occasional inadvertent direction indications which had to be treated with caution (a bit of common sense prevailing over blindly following the unit's spoken directions).
Screen was clear and bright most of the time (except when it decided to reset itself in Night vision mode - although that might have been my fault as the touch screen was so dim I couldn't see where I was pressing.
Screen map is uncluttered and the additional information in the bottom half of the screen can be chosen from the preferences menu. The estimated times of arrival (ETA) was very surprisingly accurate.
A sound warnings indicates to mapped presence of 'safety' cameras, and the screen also displays the count down distance to the camera's location. But it won't pick up every single camera, so be warned.
I had purchased seperately the Tom Tom traffic receiver attachment (extra £28 or so) which is a bit fiddly to attach and has to be fixed to the screen and will only work when the whole unit is plugged into the 12v socket. It displays traffic restrictions etc. vertically on the right hand edge of the screen. It connected to the FM Traffic signal most of the time whilst on major routes but I found it's information woefully out of date or incorrect.
Excellent piece of equipment for passengers not having to navigate with maps the whole time, and affording them time to take in the scenery. Especially good (when working properly) for visually warning the driver of impending hairpin bends or sharp turns. Approaching a directional change it clearly and timely gave voice direction and visual warning regarding the turn or hazard ahead which was repeated as one approached the turn. [Just a pity it doesn't show altitude as well. One has no idea from the screen as to the steepness of the road ahead - but hey ho you can't have everthing I suppose].
Plotting a route either from where you are or between two different locations (A2B) was simple enough with the option of a "Travel Via" or "avoid part of route" as well, although it does not seem to be able to put in several "travel via" options (more research required possibly on this one). Prepared plotted routes are identified by using a different colouring to the route - so you know if you have gone off course even if you have the voice directions turned off.
Unit can be updated by plugging into a computer to access the TomTom website and there is a wide selection of Point Of Interest - Tourist Information Sites, Historic buildings, Castles, Supermarkets, Hospitals, petrol stations, even Dangerous narrow roads and Nightlife (many of which have been plotted by users) and many, many more, which can be downloaded for free.
Overall a useful piece of kit which has several advantages for driver and navigator BUT should only be used as an aid to navigation and all directions should be carefully assessed before manouvering. It saves turning into a farm gate !
Would I buy another - yes I would, but in the knowledge of the reservations set out above.