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on 20 June 2010
The name, Start2, implies what you will get - a GPS that has some specs of the other models either hidden or removed. However that's what I wanted.

I have borrowed more sophisticated GPSs, both Garmin and TomTom from friends, so I know what is to be had, but I did not find the bells and whistles all that useful. Recently I borrowed a Start and found that it did what I needed - which was to be directed to addresses in towns that I don't know.

So what's missing? The screen is small, but that can be a plus if you don't want a large object suspended above your dashboard, or in your pocket. Your options are more limited, but again, that may not be such a problem. For example, on the more sophisticated models you can specify, as an option, to go the fastest route, or the shortest route, or to avoid motorways. In my experience, those are not worth much. The quickest route, for example, can take you literally a 100 km further, just to shave 10 minutes off the journey. If you ask for shortest, you risk being taken through towns in some totally bizarre ways (I base this statement on transitting towns that I know).

The Start2 does some of this for you. For example it will start by trying motorways, but will check with you if you want to pay tolls. If you don't, then it will plot an alternative, often shorter but taking more time. It will allow you to specify "via", which is the safest way of getting it (or any other GPS) to plan a sane route.

The must-have options are still there, such as chosing language, voice, units and so on. And it still does nice things - like lane guidance, like telling you your speed, and also showing the speed restriction on that road, if known, and speed cameras.

The thing you might want to consider is price. You can get older, but more sophisticated, models for about the same money. Whether this has some more up-to-date technology embedded I don't know.

Anyway, simple is what I wanted, and I'm perfectly happy with it so far. Haven't tried to update the map, which has caused problems for some people on some models. I'm in no hurry!

>>>>Updated 3 July 2010: I have now connected the Start2 to my computer. I asked to update the map, but the response was that I already have the latest map, which is good. I did a "map share" update too. No probs at all. Also, power seems to be provided via the supplied USB cable so you won't need a mains adaptor.
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on 28 June 2010
When I purchased this from Amazon there were no other reviews for this product so I had to go searching various places to get the information I needed. I purchased this for myself as I decided it was time to stop fumbling with maps and get one of these devices. I am writing this from the viewpoint of someone who knows nothing about sat nav and has never owned or used one, hoping this review might be helpful to fellow novices (but appreciate hardened sat nav experts might be looking for higher spec models)! I am by no means a technophobe but simply had never got round to owning one (preferring to wait until the cost came down and features improved). At the time of writing I had only owned this for 4 days but had been out twice with it. These were on routes I actually knew so I could test it for accuracy. First trip was about an hour's driving, whilst the second trip was just over half an hour.

The four major reasons I purchased this particular device were: (1) It speaks the road names to turn into, (2) it has motorway lane assistance, (3) it warns of speed cameras, and, (4) the cost - ie. not the cheapest on the market but also not the most expensive plus it's free to update the maps.

The speaking the road names feature is helpful but it seems to only work when a "computer" generated voice is selected from the choice of voices stored in the device. The first time I used this I chose the Irish voice and no road names were mentioned throughout the journey, but it worked with a "computer" generated voice. I find this feature very helpful to confirm which roads I should turn into without having to take my eyes off the road.

Motorway lane assistance kicks in once you approach a motorway exit or need to change to a certain lane. It will give you a clear image of all lanes on the motorway and put green arrow(s) in the lane(s) you need to be in, above which is a clear blue motorway-type sign telling you where you need to head for. I have only tried this twice exiting and joining a simple 3 lane motorway but from what I saw it worked well.

As you approach a speed camera the device gives you two short beeps to warn you of the camera (but not so loud that it makes you jump out of your skin).

As you are driving it displays what speed you are going and the speed limit of the road you are on (if known). I believe the speed flashes if you go over the limit but to be honest I did not notice as I had my eyes on the road. I noticed that some of the speed limits were wrong though (best keep on the lookout for road signs to confirm the speed limit). Once it has calculated your route (you can enter the postcode or a place name) it will tell you the usual things such as how long it will take you to get there as well as your expected arrival time. As you progress on your journey it may make an adjustment to your arrival time according to your progress so far. If you go wrong or decide to take an alternative route (which I did on purpose to see what happened) it will reroute you from the new road you have taken (unless of course the only choice is to make a u-turn). You can also tell it you want to change your route part way through a journey (ie. if you discover a traffic jam) by tapping certain areas on the screen (I left this to my navigator so as not to detract from my driving but you could always pull over and do this). If you break down or if there is an emergency and you don't know where you are, you can press the "Help" button and it will give you the coordinates of your location so you can report them to the services. You can also look up nearest hospitals, police stations, doctors etc.

There is also a "POI" (points of interest) feature where you can look up nearest shops, restaurants, petrol stations, places to visit. Only had a quick glance at this but noticed it wasn't quite up-to-date as a petrol station that no longer exists was still listed. Similarly, there are major roadworks near me and although I went on the internet and updated my maps it still does not recognise the new road (quite funny driving across what it seemed to think was a field - just a blank green space on the screen - which was actually a new slip road)! However, I am sure given time they will get this right.

Purchasing this device gives you access to "TomTom Home" whereby you connect the device, via the supplied USB cable, to your computer and you can then update the maps via the internet (after you have downloaded the software from the TomTom website). You can also download different car icons so that it shows the car of your choice driving along on the map! I quite liked the VB Beetle car icon that came with the TomTom but downloaded an icon of the car I own for when I feel like a change!

The suction device seems to work quite well. The holder and suction are an integral part of the design and once you are holding the TomTom in position on the windscreen you twist the base of the sucker and it attaches securely to the windscreen. Simply untwist to remove afterwards. It also comes complete with an in-car charger that works via the cigarette lighter (and the aforementioned USB cable for connecting to a PC). The supplied manual is very brief and doesn't go into enough detail (just the first 9 pages of the 32 page manual are in English) but you can download the full manual via the TomTom website. In very bright sunlight the display is not very clear but this is often the case with other devices such as mobiles (plus you still of course have the spoken instructions to guide you).

There were a few driving instructions I thought were odd, such as one instance on a dual carriageway when I was asked to "keep right" for no apparent reason (something which could annoy the driver behind you if you were hogging the right lane expecting to receive further instructions). There was also a case of when the instructions were to take "the third left" turning, which turned out to be the first left but the final instruction to turn left was given just as I drove past the junction, making it too dangerous to swerve left at such short notice, particularly as I was not expecting to. Generally though, instructions to turn off are given in good time. Another thing I noticed was it told me to "turn left" then "turn right" on a continuous road (ie. there was no need to turn off - it was just a left bend followed by a right one). Another time it said to "bear right" when it should have been a "turn right" (ie. cross the road to turn onto another). Having said that, in general it is good - I think at times you just have to bear in mind that directions might not be quite as they are described ... and if you go wrong then it can always reroute you!! I thought I read somewhere that one thing this is bad at is letting you scroll on the screen and zoom in on the maps but I have not tried this feature yet. So far I have just driven wherever it told me to without knowing beforehand which roads it was going to take. Having said that I am still very pleased with my purchase - for the money it does all that I need it to and I'm looking forward to my next adventure with TomTom!!

PS: A year on and this is still working fine. I have noticed that some of these reviews refer to the UK and ROI version whilst others refer to the Europe version. My review was based purely on the UK and ROI model.
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on 6 July 2010
I got this new european starter tomtom for a recent trip to france. I previously owned an old tomtom one and the progress over those four years is amazing. The satellite lock now happens in 20-30 seconds as opposed to anything up to four minutes. The new menu has fewer icons but doesn't seem to lose any core functonality. The speed camera warnings are very useful and spot on as I noticed many hidden cameras and was able to react accordingly. The lane guidance is great, as it allows me to get in the correct lane early. It can also read out street names in a weird computer voice which is quite nice to hear to check you're on the right track. The maps using the IQ routes are also a bit more intelligent - a local route that I take (and had to ignore on my old unit) is now recognised by this little guy. Not perfect but so much better routefinding than before. But the best new thing is the mount... it actually works!! I lost count of the number of times my old unit fell of the windscreen and I had to reach down and reattach it while driving along. This one is integrated just twist and it is straight on! Much safer and easier and one less lump of plastic less to carry about.

My only minor quibble is that I would like to press a button and explore the chosen route in detail. You can't pick a section and zoom in so you can't decide to say pick a little village halfway and think about where to go for lunch. I'd also prefer a case included. It could also be a smidge louder.

I'm glad I didn't go for the bigger XL units. For me paying less for a smaller unit seems like a double win!! Who needs a wide screen when the thing is two feet from your face anyway? Pay less, carry less and get the same mapfinding abilities. Easy choice!

I can honestly say that I'm thrilled that I took the plunge and splashed out on this unit as the rate of advance in satnav land has been a relavation! Don't delay - you really will be pleased with this if you buy one.
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on 14 July 2010
This is my first SatNav. After spending a few days researching Garmin and TomTom I settled for this one. I must say I'm very pleased and I hope you'll find this mini-review helpful.

I still have a preference for the Garmin units(but not maps). I find the menu system more intuitive and there are more options to suit your needs. The new TomTom's menus have been simplified and I think they've removed some useful options. Fortunately there is a way to get most of these options back with a few tweaks. Just google "tomtom menu customize" for more info. One setting that is very important to me is the ability to see the next road name. By default it only shows the road code, which is useless in most cases. The nice thing is you can adjust the device to your needs, and then switch back to the simplified menu.

Some reviewers complained about the touch screen's responsiveness, but I can assure you it works very well.
The screen size is actually big enough to comfortably read from a normal seating position and I rarely made mistakes using the keyboard.

For those who aren't aware, TomTom uses Tele Atlas as their mapping database. This is also used by Google Maps and I think it's far superior to Navteq(used by Garmin) here in the UK and Europe. This is also the main reason I decided to go with TomTom. Just run a side-by-side comparison with Google Maps and Bing maps. You'll notice Bing maps(Navteq) would often have roads wrong or missing altogether. They are also known not to update their maps frequently.

The device manages to acquire a signal almost instantly everytime, even indoors! Very impressive.

Text to speech is also handy, although I can't always make out the street name and have to check the screen. A digitised computer voice is used for street names and a normal recorded voice for turn directions. They've made every effort to make the two sound the same so it's not half bad.

Compared to my friends TomTom ONE with IQ routes, the display has been much improved. With smoother graphics and faster refresh rates. I think they must have increased the CPU speed. Signal acquisition is also much better.

There is a downside however. And this might be a dealbreaker for some. The TomTom Start2 does not have a memory slot(nor does the XL) and is only equipped with 2GB of internal RAM. The current UK + EU map update is 2.2GB so you won't be able to update all your maps at once! TomTom has now split UK and EU into "zones" so you can for example only have UK + Western Europe at any given time. There is an option to change zones at anytime though by connecting the device to your PC, which should be fine for most. Unless you're travelling from the UK to Western Europe and then Eastern Europe in one go.
I don't realy understand why TomTom don't upgrade the RAM in these units. For a massive company like that, it would cost them a few £'s to double the memory.

Overall though, a very reliable and easy to use satnav.
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on 25 June 2010
This is a very basic Stat Nav and works well for addresses & post codes. As a basic machine the software is very limited when compared to the more expensive models [Models xx50]. If you ask TomTom support a general question you will get an general answer, so please ask specific question and always give them the model number you are enquiring about. All the software is contained within the unit and is updated, backed up only when connected to a computer, an internet connection is required to update from the TomTom website. Remember to allow for the cost of buying the safety cameras software from TomTom if you need them. THE UNIT DOES NOT HAVE A REMOVABLE MEMORY CARD SOCKET. The supplied mounting bracket works well for flat windscreen mounting but keep it out of the sun if you want to "see" the display, other mounting brackets / hood are available if you need them from TomTom and others at additional cost. The in car charger cable from the cigarette lighter is approx 1 metre long. Halfords will let you see the unit, mounting bracket etc. if you are unsure if it will fit your car. Both the case and mains charger recommended by Amazon work great with the unit and as always the Amazon delivery is great.
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on 17 October 2010
I am new to sat-nav, normally relying on a good sense of direction. However, the TomTom Start2 has impressed me getting me to the last mile / half mile with no fuss. I am particularly impressed with the little time it takes to adjust directions if I do not want to go the actual way it tells me or I miss a turn. I am not sure the Start2 gives any more than the Start and worth the extra cost. The only fault is that sometimes it does not pick up the satellite signal (very rarely), the touch screen also needs getting use too, other than that it has been worth it.
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on 27 July 2010
Having previously had a cheapo Binatone sat nav, which worked for about 6 months, and was not particularly up to date, we wanted a more reliable piece of equipment. That said, we only wanted a simple, no frills system that told you how to get from a to B.

This TomTom Start 2 ticks all the boxes, and is really easy to use. You can literally turn it on and go. I updated the map system by visiting the Tom Tom website, which was very easy to use, and, of course, free. After a few short test runs, we needed to rely on the system to get us 160 miles to North Devon.

I had an idea of the route I wanted to take, but the Tom Tom suggested a different route. I thought I'd see how the TomTom did, and followed its suggestion. Fair play, the suggested route was much easier to drive, and stuck to mainly dual carriageways, rather than the single lane A roads on the route I was thinking of. It got us to our destination absolutely fine.

All in all, I'd highly recommend this product, if you want a reliable, simple to use, yet up to date sat nav. The fact that it's a Tom Tom also gives added peace of mind and the ability to update the system via TomTom Home.

The final bonus was that it was about £15 cheaper to buy this from Amazon than anywhere else!
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on 19 July 2010
It's worth mentioning that this is my first SatNav, so other than occasionally borrowing other models and seeing them in action in other cars, I have little to compare it to.

I bought the TomTom Start2 to help with a holiday to France, and before I say anything else, I must state that the device took away much of the stress that driving in an unfamiliar country brings. On the whole, it worked pretty excellently and got us from A to B without too many problems.

However, as stated in my review title, it ain't perfect. Here are a few of the problems that I encountered:

- 'Keep' left, 'bear' left, 'turn' left........... The satnav doesn't seem to know the difference in meaning between the words keep, turn and bear. We missed several key turnings because the satnavs instructions were not clear enough. And at times they are simply wrong.

- Strange routes - The device has IQ routes programmed in, which apparently ensures that it takes you the quickest route at any particular time. However, it really does baffle sometimes. When close to returning home I'd kept the TomTom on to see which way it would take me. There are 3 or four different routes that I'd usually take. The TomTom took us a completely different and quite bizarre route that I'd never even considered. Rather than take it's word for it, as I had done in the past, I thought I'd miss the suggested turning and go a way I believed to be faster. Lo and behold, after passing the turning it recalculated our route, and 5 minutes disappeared from the estimated journey time. Having led us several questionable routes throughout the holiday, I'm now questioning whether they were all in fact the best route.

- Maps far from perfect. Even after all these years of satnavs, the maps are still flawed in places. The device is prone to completely inventing roads, and at times it seems to completely loose track of where you actually are. In France, for example, it would do things such as state 'go straight on at the roundabout, second exit', when in fact we should actually have been going left at the roundabout, fourth exit. Very odd.

- Another problem we had was when we were trying to get back to the ferry port in Cherbourg. I entered 'Cherbourg', hit 'Places Of Interest', then 'Ferry Ports', and then was presented with a selection. I hit the one which simply said Ferry Port (in French) and set off. 2 hours later I realised it was leading me to a ferry port some 30 miles from Cherbourg! Good job we allowed plenty of time to get there!

So anyway, what I can say is that the device is easy to use, has plenty of places of interest and useful options programmed in, and for the most part works absolutely perfectly. For the price it represents excellent value, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Hopefully they will iron out the few problems with updates. If they can do that then it would be a Five Star device, no question.
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This is the first sat nav I've bought and I found it fairly easy to use. It's not always intuitive at times but I haven't had to read the instructions yet. The touch screen is not that good (I'm used to an iPod!) and doesn't always register unless you tap fairly hard. There's a couple of things I would change but to be honest if you just need to get from A to B then this is great. It only takes a couple of steps to plan a route and then you're ready to go. Occassionally it takes a while to find a satellite so you have to wait a minute before you can set off. The instructions are clear. It advises you which lane to get in and if two instructions are close together it prepares you for both. I'd say the unit is about the right size and the graphics are easy to follow. As a first-time sat nav user I was impressed how much easier it made my journey. The battery life isn't that long so keep the in-car charger with you for those longer journeys. The PC software is good and easy to use - nice touch. I'd recommend this as it is affordable and good value for money in terms of what it delivers.
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on 25 September 2010
Got this last week, with the intention of using it for trip to US. Paid extra for express delivery, and it arrived by the stated time and date. Took it out, turned it on and it went fine, locating satelites instantly (unlike my Garmin). It made a few mistakes in the city centre, which surprised me as the maps seemed up to date. Lane indicator useful, as is the spoken name of the road you are turning into, neither of which were features on my previous model. Unit was initially set to 2D display, which was hopelessly confusing, giving you the map upside down half the time so you had no idea where to turn. However, switched to 3D, and problem gone. Screen is perhaps a bit small, but the spoken instructions seem reasonably accurate so you do not need to rely on it quite so much.

Problem came with adding new maps. Logged onto website, and purchased US maps. However, the downloaded US maps won't load, and all I get is an unhelpful error message, which tells me an error report has been sent to TomTom, but does not help me sort the problem. Have tried repeatedly to intall these maps, but to no avail, and cannot find anything helpful on the TomTom website. Customer support only open mon-fri 9-5, so not managed to speak to anyone, and they have not responded to my emails. There are also some very bad reviews of the customer services out there.

Have now looked on a number of websites and found that adding new maps has been a problem with TomTom for some time. There are a range of different problems, but it seems the issue with this particular unit is that START2 UK and ROI has only 1 GB of memory, whereas the EU version has 2 GB. This means that in order to add any maps other than those which come pre-loaded, you need START2 EU: US maps 1.5GB, Central Europe 1.3GB, Southern Europe 1GB. Also appears that you cannot add extra memory to this model either, whereas you can with the more expensive ones. None of this is made clear anywhere on the Amazon website, nor is it stated in the instructions that come with the unit, nor with the TomTom HOME software. Also, despite asking which device you have when purchasing new maps from TomTom, they are quite happy to sell you stuff you cannot use on it. Evidently, the TomTom website states that the unit comes with only 1GB of memory, so you are expected to work out for yourself that this unit cannot take additional maps, which will then be used as a reason not to refund your money for the map you have just purchased which you are unable to use.

So if you want a basic sat nav to use only in the UK and ROI, this unit will be fine. However, do not be mislead into believing that you can just download additional maps and use it elsewhere. Had this been clear, I would have simply bought a more expensive model to meet my needs.
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