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on 16 July 2011
I bought the Start 25 EU as a replacement for a 3 year old Garmin 255W, which died on me soon after a map update. Was initially tempted by the XXL as the price of those have come down now TomTom has updated their range. However the XXL has only 2GB worth of memory and therefore any updates to the European maps will not fit (so one has to choose what part of Europe one wants to install- not great if you want to go to Italy e.g.).
The good:
- The Start 25 EU has 4GB memory.
- Excellent screen. Great detail, which gives you a good idea of the road system around where you are travelling. In case you want to
get off your choosen route e.g when motorway signs tell you there are delays up ahead.
- Also better size: 5 inches is easier to see especially when mounted further away on the windscreen
- '3D' view is excellent.
- There are many ways you can adapt the screen and alerts to your own taste. E.g. how the map looks, how many instructions you want to
hear, even down to what sound, if any, for various types of speed camera's!(Garmin sound was either on or off)
- An other little trick: when you go somewhere you can choose to be directed to a parking area near by.
- Great route planning tool.
- Plenty of 'Points Of Interest' installed
- Perfect timing for turnings, not too early, not too late (My old Garmin often just spoke a little too early - many times I choose
the wrong turn when 2 were close by).
- Despite what you find on TomTom's website, this one needs the MyTomTom software (not TomTom Home) installed on your PC (follow
instructions in the box). Very easy to use. MyTomTom instantly showed me an update for the Navigator software. Installed without a
hitch.
- Very prompt reply from customer service to e-mails (within 24 hours).
The not so good:
- No HD traffic, however, unless your job is travelling (e.g taxi, sales rep. etc.) I do not see the need as, after the first year,
this cost around £50/yr as part of the Live services package; e.g. in the more expensive Via Live 125 EU (which cost around £50 more,
so one pays for it anyway).
- Can't see the unit as a drive on ones PC. The reason is: the new generation of TomToms are using the Linux based file system instead of FAT/FAT32 as before. This was changed sue to Microsoft successfully sueing Tomtom for using the Microsoft FAT and FAT32 file system on a Linux platform. Microsoft claimed this was an infringement. Therefore Tomtom were forced to use another file system other than a Windows based one. TomToms have always run on Linux anyway, so the choice to use Linux file system was an obvious one.
- MyTomTom states my map is up-to-date, which is 8.65. However, the latest according to TomTom's website is 8.70. In other words:
'latest map guarantee' does not work. Also 'Map Share' funtion does not work and there is no facility to back up the device.
- On MyTomTom it initialy appeared that I needed an Activation Card for the 'latest Map Guarantee'. However no such card in the box.
Even after repeated questions regarding this to customer services, I still do not know if I need one. Somehow the Customer Service
staff ignore this question of me.
- Customer services has now passed me to a technical engineer, as they don't know why I cannot update the map. Been e-mailing
to and fro for about a week now, without resolve. (maybe I do need that card??)
- Customer Services don't seem to know the difference in software as I was advised by the first person to use 'TomTom Home'. Should be
'MyTomTom'
- Their website needs updating, e.g. The tomtom.com/getstarted website does not mention the Start 20/25 as sat navs requiring this
software.
- Reading the TomTom forums, these issues have dogged MyTomTom at least since February this year. Summer holidays are coming up and
still no resolve; not good to say the least. One would expect different from TomTom, being the Apple in sat nav land.
However: overal I think it is a great sat nav, let down by the update software of MyTomTom. Hopefully the TomTom folk get this sorted very soon! Together they would take some beating!

Update: It has been 2 weeks since I bought the device. It works fantastic. Advance Lane Guidance is a great help and screen is responsive. However still no resolve re the map update. I have tried suggestions from TomTom Forums like using a different PC with 32bit (instead of 64bit) of the Windows OS and different browsers, tried all the suggestions from the TomTom Team, incl. turning off the Norton Internet Security Suite temporarily whilst updating device, being 'hardwired' to internet and using the PC's rear USB connection. From their end they got my map download to work, however it appears I was assigned the wrong map (error as it was done manually) and hence I was unable to install it. My TomTom account was then rebuild by them. And now I am back to square one, as MyTomTom states once more there is no map update. Insane really.

Update 2: Now been 4 weeks. Been on holiday and sat nav worked a treat. Recalculating a route is superfast. Easy to read & follow instructions. So much better then my previous Garmin. However: TomTom finally admitted that unit might be faulty and I was able to get device replaced. Halfords will only do this once TomTom gives them an authorisation code, without it one cannot change the device nor get a refund. The new Start 25 has exactly the same problems: I can update the Navigator software, but not the maps. This one is going back as well. Already sent an e-mail to TomTom!

Update 3: RESOLVED. Five weeks in and now on my third device (silly maybe, but I really like this sat nav - so have been persistent). This time MyTomTom offered the map, downloaded fine, but again installation failed. On the phone to them almost on a daily basis. Apparently appears that the device thinks it is out of memory (which it is not), so no space for the new map. Finally someone at TomTom took 'drastic' action and with a small download wiped the old map of the sat nav. New map downloaded in around 25 min (20MB cable connection) and installed on the device in around 30 minutes. Checked map version: 8.70. Result! TomTom support staff have confirmed that I should not have these issues again in the future. The Support Staff have been very patient and very friendly throughout. I have asked them though, when these issues occur with someone else, to take the 'drastic' measure straight away. Will solve quite a few headaches for all parties involved.

Update 4 (Final): Have now also been able to download the August 2011 map update(Version 8.75). Download and installation went without problems. Looks like TomTom finally got this sorted (and that is the same thought of people placing messages on the TomTom forums).
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on 28 September 2011
I bought this to replace my Tomtom GO520 which was a great but maps are expensive to update so I decided to just get a more modern satnav with Tomtom's 'latest map guarantee'. So I switched it on, had a play and it seemed basic but functional. Then I plug it in to update the map and since then it's just not worked.

Firstly, you can't back up your old map so if you install a new map it deletes your old one first before downloading your new one. Consequently if you're download doesn't work then you've a satnav with no maps or a brick.

I've been onto Tomtom about it but as with most IT companies they ask you what system you're using, Pc or Mac, what browser, wireless, wired..? Personally if the unit is going to be that picky about how it gets it's data then it's just not worth the effort.

My grievance isn't with the unit but the way it's 'updated' or destroyed as in my case. I wouldn't buy another Tomtom if it had to be accessed by Mytomtom.

UPDATE
Tomtom eventually replaced the unit after 7 weeks of constant emailing and chasing them up. A little googling showed this as quite a common problem. The unit is basic but adequate and works okay but I dare not plug it in to the computer again. It's just wasn't worth the hassle.
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on 3 July 2011
I purchased one of these and it was faulty. Or at least, after going on forums for hours I couldn't get it to work. I returned it the same day to Amazon and ordered a replacement. As usual Amazon were fantastic and my replacement was with me next day (ordered express delivery). This one loaded up and worked immediately. I tried it out locally for a day before heading off to Italy two days later where I hired a car at Milan airport. The TOM TOM was superb, getting me out of the airport and on the road to my destination, Lake Maggiore without problem. About half-way, the clutch started to burn out on my hire car so we entered the nearest hire company destination and TOM TOM took me through the back streets of Varese to the hire place and the car was replaced. For the next two weeks we drove all around Lombardia and up into Switzerland and the TOM TOM was absolutely fantastic. Can't praise it enough. Easy to use, easy to understand the very English pronunciations of Italian roads and towns. And it saved me a hell of a lot of hassle replacing the car. If you are thinking of getting one...... do it.
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on 14 October 2011
This is my second TomTom product. The original (XL Europe) was perfect in almost every way except for poor battery life which finally motivated me into getting a new TomTom. Unfortunately I never used the Start 20 on the road but have given it a 1 star review since TomTom cannot get the product to download maps properly off their webpage. Once you try to update the maps off their website, it deletes the original map so that when the download finally fails, you have no map at all! What an incredible design fault. No reset will help since the preloaded maps are deleted from the SatNav if you try to do an update. I tried to fix this many times all with the same result "Something has gone wrong...".

The online help people tried to assist but it appears the product/website may not interface properly with Internet Explorer. They finally suggested I switch web browsers to Firefox or Chrome since they've received similar problems with other customers. After many hours trying to get this to work, I'm not about to switch web browsers just because TomTom can't get their product to work on the most popular web browser.

If you buy the product, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO UPDATE YOUR MAP FROM THE TOMTOM WEBSITE. It may work fine if you just plug and play. Me, I'll never know and the experience has put my off TomTom for good.
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on 24 August 2011
So far I've been impressed on the whole by the product - the lane selection indications are clear and very helpful, and the general usability of the system is well thought out; pretty much anybody could pick one up and find their way from A to B with limited stress. I recently found it to be a life-saver while driving through north London during the rush hour.

However, battery life is a concern. I initially charged the unit by connecting the USB cable to the PC. I left it connected for the best part of two hours, and the battery appeared to be charged, but on trying to use the unit it went dead shortly after I had programmed in the first postcode.

Thankfully I'd brought the 12v connector with me. I plugged it in and set off. Before too long the battery returned to the 50% level, but it never got any further.

Once I knew where I was heading I disconnected the power cable and in under 30 minutes it was on the verge of running out of power.

The implication of this is that you essentially have to have the unit connected to a 12V supply (cigarette lighter) most of the time during a long journey, and depending on the layout of your car and your preferred position for the unit this can be a real pain; in my car the cable rubs on my wrist whenever I change gears. It simply should be better in this respect.

Other small niggles:

i) System continually informing me that I'm breaking a 40mph speed limit on a stretch of motorway when there was clearly no such limit imposed. It makes alarming noises ever few seconds when you drift significantly above the limit. I'm sure that you can turn them off, but the fact that the information was incorrect is worrying.

ii) On the whole islands are great, but on one occasion it got confused and told me to take the second exit, straight on, when in fact it was the first exit. Small niggle, but it almost led to an incorrect turn.

All in all though a good unit. Just be ready to feed it some juice!
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on 22 September 2011
TomTom Start 20 Europe
THE GOOD:
- thin and light
- clear instructions, really helpful spoken street names and motorway exit junctions
- picked satellite signal quick enough, sometimes it picks it up even from my room when is connected to the computer
- it has the ability to take memory cards (haven't tested it yet) - but for those who can't find it - it's a micro SD card that you will need and the hole is near the serial number where you connect the power cable
- the time adjusts automatically but expect a restart after that (not good if you are in traffic in an complex roundabout or junction)
- for those who are complaining about the safety camera warning being too late - you can adjust that (in seconds) - how many seconds before the camera you want to be warned
- auto rotation - just like a smart phone the whole screen can automatically rotate accordingly.

THE NOT SO GOOD:
- the mount attached to the device is not such a good idea as sometimes is quite fiddly to put on the windscreen without touching the glass and leave marks that are difficult to clean after
- the instructions: really small written instructions, would definitely need a computer as the first thing they advise you to do is go on their website for more instructions and manual
- downloaded the manual but couldn't find any information on how to find out whether the battery is fully charged. (The battery does charge when connected to the computer)
- no technical information at all (CPU, ram, memory, battery .....) I can confirm that the Start 20 EU has 4 GB internal memory and after update approximately 0.26 GB will be free

UPDATING.
It seems that other users had problems updating the device with the latest maps and firmware. TomTom seems to have solved this problem.
- You need to download MyTomtom (free from the website) which is extremely limited compared to the previous software. I also have to mention that I had bought the start20 on 20th September 2011.
-After I logged on (I had an account already) the device was quickly recognized by the computer and updates available came on the computer's screen.
-The download of the whole map can take quite long because it has more than 3 gigabytes (for those with slow broadband - be patient).
- There was no option to backup the data in case of download problems, power cuts or a update fail.
- After the download completed it took about two hours for the new data to be installed
- Before that (the update) I took a picture (with my phone) of the screen where it shows the firmware version and the map version to compare it with the one after the update.
- I can confirm that the update went like a charm with no problem from the first time. I did looked at the firmware version and the map version and indeed they were up to date (and different from the previous).

THE WORST
- I had other satnav devices in the past 4 years and among those another TomTom and I thought it would be appropriate to take it for a test in some areas that I know very well. The maps where the same as in my old Start XL (4 years old) in some areas so I don't know what updates had been made since then.
- I set it to take me to the Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge (knowing that the old TomTom map had a fault in a specific place where it told me to turn left and keep left and then as soon as I was on the left lane it would tell me to turn right - which is impossible on that specific area because you are on the wrong lane and are forced to go straight) and guess what.. the same problem with the new one
- POI s. I set it up to take me the nearest Tesco Express and I chose the one in Slough; Everything was fine until I got near the supermarket when it told me to make a U turn in a place where turning is forbidden and it took me back, somewhere behind the supermarket on a Cul-de-sac street with no way to get access to the store (not even on foot unless I could jump over a brick wall).
I thought to give it another try so I choose Asda superstore in Slough and guess what.... the same thing, just before the supermarket, it told me to go right and I ended up again somewhere on a blocked road not far from the supermarket
I think it took me to the post code in both situations.
- I have also tested it on the motorway from London to Luton ant back. I almost changed my mind (about how good TomTom is) when suddenly the arrow (car) on the screen started shifting and jumping from one street to another near the motorway - giving me wrong instructions to make U turns in order to get back on the motorway. The old device never did so.
- Delay. Sometimes there is a delay on the screen - for example: I am on a bridge, but only after I cross the bridge the device will actually show that I am on it. Only after I make the turn the device will show it and so on... This can sometimes lead to wrong (too late) instructions
- Not customizable at all, despite the fact that they say you can add pictures, voices and other stuff (as with the previous software - TomTom home), My TomTom doesn't support that or at least not yet, hopefully they will fix it in the near future. The manage content option doesn't give you any option at all (at the moment).

CONCLUSION
I have bought this as a backup in case my phone's satnav stops working. I thought about taking it back for a refund but after a day of research I realized that all the devices (not only TomTom) are having pros and cons and I have decided to keep this one despite the drawbacks. I think that the integration of satnav in to smartphones is going to take over and the map updates are free (some of them are really up to date and very accurate). On the other side I kind of understand the strategy of the quarterly updates - get more money on a constant basis. There is no genuine interest to have one real update once a year, (the streets don't really change that often apart for when new streets are added on the map) and there is no rush at all to have a perfect map... guess why...
Will answer questions and update review (if needed)
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on 5 August 2011
I have had my Start 20 Europe for two-and-a-half days and have spend most of that time either on the phone to TomTom or downloading data. In a nutshell, if you want it for a holiday or important trip, buy well in advance, or update map afterwards!

Only read on if you want to hear my whinging ...

The saga began after I took my first (slightly weird) trip - it was a good job I knew where I was going!- and I plugged the thing into the MyTomTom programme, which I downloaded at the device's request, to get my free map upgrade. It then informed me I had the latest map, while the TomTom website said a newer one was available.

So I rang customer services, and was only on hold for 10 mins (!). The agent eventually told me that there was a glitch and he manually added the new map to my account. Three hours downloading later, the computer said no, and the device said no.

I tried again; three hours later, the same thing, so I went to bed.

Today, I was told something about the device tried to add the map, rather than update ... couldn't really understand what the guy said but he assured me this wouldn't happen during future map upadates.

BUT then the TomTom deleted it's map! GAH!

Three hours later, the third download was complete, then another hour for it to reinstall into the machine. All good, except now it doesn't see the satellites.

Customer services runs me through a procedure, which left it with a black screen for over an hour.

A fourth call to customer services, finally makes the thing work again.

I have nothing to compare this too, as it is my first SatNav, and I am hoping I will grow to love it, but so far, I think, 'could do better'.

The customer services guys are very nice though, and very helpful, and they got it going. After all, they are not the ones who make the TomTom
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on 27 June 2011
Just returned my TomTom Start 20. Worked fine on my first journey but when I connected to my computer the problems showed up. You cannot add POIs from previous TomTom incarnations because it does not interface with TomTom Home. It cannot be viewed on your computer as a separate hard drive so you have no access to the file structure. What's worse is that the online interface called My TomTom (The one you HAVE to use) does not allow you to restore or backup your data. That's right you cannot backup or restore your data! I have had 3 TomTom devices in the past but this one was my last. Any ideas about what to choose instead anyone? Can't give it 0 stars so one will have to do.
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on 31 August 2012
If you want the convenience of regularly travelling long distances on unfamiliar routes, free from navigating from paper, you are, unfortunately, forced to buy some electronics. If you are going to buy any at all, read the 3 star and lower reviews for sat nav's, NOT the 4 and 5 star ones which seem to be posted very largely by those in the first flush of local or very local use.
TomTom are on a completely different level of customer dis-service compared to the entire rest of the world - totally, shockingly, appallingly bad, so just hope you don't need them if you buy one of their machines.
Beware that TomTom service dept. also tell lies too (probably) - I sent my old One 3rd Edition back to get the software unscrambled but they said it was easier to replace it with a new unit. The "new" machine arrived with new serial number, but, strange to tell, it had EXACTLY the same fault of randomly switching itself on after 1-2-3 days unused, so running the battery completely flat. Coincedence? Well, I suppose it could be, but I don't believe in them.

I have had only one previous SN - a One 3rd Edition. That was genuinely great except that the memory was small with no slot, so you could not update maps with all of the useless junk information that motorists are forced to buy, but have no need for, along with the basic road updates. Connecting it to Home for map updates (rather than mapshare) for the very first time, killed it stone dead anyway and it took weeks of argument and threat of legal action to get TomTom to fix it. It also switched on at random times so the battery was always flat after being left for 2-3 days. Finally the touch screen died. I had had it for a little short of 5 years but had used it comparatively little - probably considerably less than 100 times, total time in use probably way under 1000 hours - it was bought very largely for continental weekend trips 2-3 times each year.

This machine has far inferior maps - far more difficult to find a car park in somewhere like a National Park which you can most easily load as a destination from an on-screen map (though it can also be done by map reference, if you have one). It struggles to find a signal at times - far more regularly and for way longer than the One - (around 3 hours near Walsall arboretum and it still hadn't found a signal). It also regularly tells you in advance of a bend in the road to the right, that you will have to turn right, as though you are approaching a junction. More worryingly, it also tells you to bear left at many junctions where you should pull up and turn, such as T junctions and X-roads - BEWARE.

The software also says that random stretches from less than a mile to several miles long, of the M1, M25, and similar motorway and dual carriage-way in N France, Belgium and the Netherlands (and elsewhere that I have yet to travel, no doubt), have speed limits of 40, 45 or 50mph. They do not. If you have any of the speed/speed camera alerts activated, the warning bleeps will drive you to distraction (and beyond) in very short order indeed, and they are not easy to deactivate whilst driving. I resort to turning the TomTom off entirely for a few miles.

DO NOT use the stored locations for Eurotunnel Folkestone or Calais - they are both under the Channel and in the wrong time zones - Folkestone is on French time and Calais on English. Get to Eurotunnel Folkestone and TomTom tells you you have 30 miles to go and you will be there in 90 minutes time (French time). Arrive at Eurotunnel Calais and it tells you you have 30 miles to go and you will be there 30 minutes in the past (English time), by which time you could easily have missed the train - not at all obvious unless you keep checking the clock and the arrival time (assuming that you have both dispalyed on the screen).

The unit is very slow to give instruction after a wrong turn - come off something like a motorway at the wrong junction and it is far too slow to tell you to rejoin via the opposite slip road, or even to go round any roundabout at the bottom of the slip. You can be half a mile wrong before it gives instructions, even though the display shows it has detected the wrong turn.

It does not always select the shortest or quickest route - the only time that I've noticed, when I decided I knew one part of my route was better, it only knocked a mile and a minute or two off of a one hour journey after it recalculated using the route that I'd chosen.

All Sat Nav's are slated heavily - TomTom and Garmin for different things, but I bought this dreadful (and it is just that, at least - dreadful), bit of kit because it was the cheapest, least worst one that should do what I want and does not obstruct half the car windscreen. I will hold out as long as possible before connecting it to any form of update service..............

Lightning doesn't strike twice? Well, one month after receiving the new TomTom, the battery is absolutely, totally flat after a few days left unused. Dud battery? Or the same problem as with the previous TomTom - switching itself on at random? I will put it somewhere very obvious in the house and see what happens.

A good point!!! The display when you are on multiple lane carriageway is far better than the old One. Instructions are FAR clearer.

Oh, and the lead is too short and far too stiff - routing it coveniently across the dash is a near impossibility. The old leads were very supple and much longer - shame they have changed the connector so that I can't use the lead from the dead One!!

When will the regulatory/consumer bodies realise what a total con' and near completely unreliable bits of kit these things are? When they work, they are brilliant, but it is a case of when.
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on 29 November 2012
I bought the Start 20 Europe to replace an older Garmin.

The physical unit seems nice enough. Matt black plastic instead of the more usual shiny black plastic. The suction cup is attached to the device by a ball joint. This makes it quite a nifty compact unit. My only concern is how long this will last until the joint breaks, or worse the plastic housing keeping the ball joint in place breaks. Hopefully never.

Navigation is pretty good, and the routes its picked so far have been the ones I would usually use.

The unit will supposedly only work with Windows, but if you plug it into a Linux computer it pops up as a usb0 ethernet adapter with an IP address of 169.254.255.2. You just need to point your browser to [...] and then you can upload POIs and other stuff using Linux. Note you cannot update the maps using Linux.

Thats the good stuff out the way. Unfortunately the TomTom fails in two key areas:

1) POIs
The use of custom POIs on the TomTom has obviously been designed by someone who does not drive long distances. You can import POIs. These have to be in TomToms proprietary OV2 format. It does not understand GPX files. This is a pain to have to export from Google/Bing Maps as GPX, convert to OV2 every time. There is software and even online web sites to do this but its still a pain.

Now try using your POIs on your device! There is no way you can list all your POIs. You can either navigate to a "POI near you" or a "POI in city".

If you select "POI near you", you can then select your POI category. But it will only list POIs within a 40 mile range. It does order them in "as the crow flies" distance so thats good. But what about POIs further than 40miles away? For this you have to use "POI in city".

If you select "POI in city", you have to tell it which city you want to look for your POIs in. After entering a city you can then select your POI category. It will then list your POIs within 40miles of this city. BUT it will show your POIs ranked in distance from the centre of this city, not from your current location.

So say you had some interesting tourist POI places stored 40miles outside your current location, there is no way to quickly pick the nearest one to visit first.

I did try importing my POIs into Favourites. This will then list all POIs. BUT it will display them in alphabetical order, with no distance calculation next to them. Useless.

In built POIs, including restaurants and car parks work in exactly the same way. You need to be within 40miles of them to show up, otherwise you search by city and get the distance relative to the centre of the city not your destination. This makes the TomTom relatively useless for picking POIs that are 40miles or more away from your current location.

2) Map Updates
I installed the TomTom software on my Windows 7 machine, and it tells me I have 4 updates. It happily does 3 of the updates, OS, GPS fix, and speed cameras ok. But then it tells me there is NO space on the device for a map update! This is a vanilla TomTom Start 20 right out the box. The Europe maps are around 3Gb and the device only has just over 3.5Gb on. So it looks like you have to delete your existing map first. The TomTom software supposedly lets you uninstall the current map and install the new map in one operation. (There is no option to delete a map without installing another - which is probably quite sensible). Anyway I select uninstall old map, and install new map, press continue, the software just sits there spinning an icon. Checking the network, there is no background download going on. Nothing. I have tried this several times now with different browsers, restarting the computer and the unit. Nothing - the TomTom software refuses to update the Europe map. Remember the OS, speed camera, and GPS all updated ok, so there are no issues with my computer, network or Internet. I guess I can buy an external microSD card and try to install the new map to this. But I would say there is something very broken with the TomTom map updating software. So looks like the 90days of free maps is worthless. I'm glad I didn't buy a lifetime maps subscription!

Summary:
So in summary the unit has decent build quality, with good basic navigation on. POI handling is woeful, and I cannot recommend this device for anyone who drives regularly outside a 40 mile radius. As for updating maps - forget it. Checking the Internet it would seem I am not the only one who has issues updating maps.

UPDATE 30 Nov 2012:
The only way I could get a maps update on the device was by buying and installing a microSD card, and installing the new map to the microSD card. This is crazy. Either TomTom should include a 4Gb microSD card, or increase the device memory to 8Gb, or fix their update software so you can replace maps.

UPDATE
TomTom finally updated their software and fixed the map update problems.

UPDATE
It turns out when you switch the TomTom off, it goes into a sleep mode not off. This drains the battery. So next time you take it out the glove box its usually dead.

UPDATE
TomTom finally fixed the 40 mile radius POI issue. Now all POIs are displayed.
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