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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turns your iPhone into a TomTom (almost), 28 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: TomTom Car Kit for iPhone (Compatible with iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
As other reviewers have said, buying this combined with the TomTom App (at about £50) makes this just about as expensive as buying a dedicated TomTom unit. The reason I'm happy to pay is that it gives me flexibility. I always have my phone with me and therefore always have a SatNav, plus my wife and I used to argue over who got the other TomTom that we have.

As you'd expect it integrates perfectly with the corresponding iPhone App, and I understand integrates with other SatNav Apps on the phone as well (but I haven't tried others). In use it's no different to using a TomTom. I have no particular problems with GPS reception, and the voice instructions come through very clearly. However, that said the speaker quality is not really good enough for playing music (even though the device supports it) - an audio port allows you to connect the cradle to your car radio if equipped with an audio in (which mine isn't unfortunately).

The hands free works, and I can hear callers very clearly, but the microphone pick-up is a bit hit and miss - people often say I sound very distant and I end up shouting to be heard. I'm not sure whether this is a limitation of the cradle or just my car - I've had other blue-tooth hands-free units which had exactly the same problem - the car is a Coupé so is a bit more noisy than most, so maybe that's it.

When mounted the cradle gives you complete flexibility in positioning - the ball socket combines with a rotating ratchet mechanism that allows the phone to be rotated around 360 degrees when in the cradle. Works very well, although unfortunately after about 2 months I managed to break it in two - it was a 4am trip to the airport and I was half asleep when setting up the cradle - not sure how, but I managed to pull the rotating ratchet/speaking housing apart whilst trying to re-position the cradle. Thankfully it clipped back together again, but the ratchet mechanism was broken meaning the thing just spins round rather than staying put. I managed to fix it with a bit of Velcro strapping wrapped around the housing (e.g. Velcro Self Gripping Ties 10mm x 5m), so it's almost as good as new. In fact it's almost better now - before the ratchet had a little bit of play in it meaning that the phone would move/rotate very slightly which annoyed me, but the Velcro has sorted that out. It also just shows how good the clamping suction cup is - I managed to break it with the suction cup fitted to the windscreen, so you can take it from me that your phone isn't going anywhere once the suction cup is clamped in place.

In use the unit also charges the phone even whilst navigating. I think the degree of charging you get varies depending on what you do on the phone - e.g. when making phone calls it's not that great. I have iOS 3 on my phone, so no multi-tasking. I'd imagine that if you have iOS 4 you might see poorer charging performance if you've left several apps running in the background.

The phone and cradle communicate through blue-tooth (even if you don't use the hands free), which is my only serious niggle with this device. It means I have to leave Bluetooth switched on all the time, which I'm sure drains my battery more than normal. I did try disabling it each time but found that you then end up having to re-pair the devices more often than not. Less of an issue if you use this only occasionally, but I use it every day.

So all in all a very good product, but slightly over-priced for what it is. One star off because of the blue tooth and hands-free issues, but still very much recommended.

P.S. I also signed up for a year's worth of HD traffic subscription, but I'm not sure it's worth it. I find that 70%-80% of the time I end up in a jam that HD traffic hasn't warned me about (normally, about 10mins in it finally tells me, but it's too late by then!). Equally, I've had several cases where HD traffic is telling me I'm in jam where there isn't one (presumably one that cleared some time ago but the system hasn't caught up). So not too impressed with that..
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