First impressions

Discussion in 'General TomTom Discussion' started by ChrisW, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. ChrisW

    ChrisW

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    I just got a TomTom One, and used it for about an hour so far on some secondary roads. This is my first standalone navigation unit, although I've had a handheld Magellan for most of a decade, and have used a navigation system that runs through my laptop computer.

    I got the new version without the SiRFStarIII (this one is Hammerhead, right?). Some people seem to refer to this as v3 and others as V4, so I'm not sure what to call it.

    Compared to my previous experience, well, the Magellan, is almost useless for road navigation. The PC-based GPS is much better, but still doesn't compare to the TomTom. Despite the small size, the TomTom's user interface is better, and the TomTom GPS functionality itself is much better.

    Specifically for the TomTom:

    Getting everything set to run was much more involved than I expected. Not that it was difficult, but there was a bunch to set up, what with authorizing the map set, entering the time (why doesn't it do this automatically?), etc. So, a bunch to do, but easy.

    The GPS is amazing. As I pulled out of the garage, it got its initial fix in the time it took me to wait for the garage door to close. And once it had the signal it never wavered, regardless of tree cover or speed. Even last night indoors, it had 4 out of 5 bars.

    The display and voice prompts seemed to be slightly out of sync with the actual location. It seemed that the location displayed on the screen was where I was perhaps 50 feet prior (depending on speed, of course). I wonder if the Hammerhead chipset's leeching off the main CPU doesn't allow it to keep the display up-to-date.

    The maps were very detailed and accurate, at least that I've seen so far. I was impressed that it was able to tell me to take the 2nd and 3rd exits from the two traffic circles I had to go through. However, at one intersection I was told to make the second left; I have no idea what it thought the first one was, since there are only two roads in the immediate vicinity.

    I'm a bit less impressed with the routing. On the large scale, I can see why it made most of the choices that it did. It isn't aware of the rush hour traffic patterns in the area, so what would appear to be a no brainer on the interstate is to be avoided at certain times. I can deal with that.

    But there were two things that bothered me. First, since I disagreed with some of its choices, I went ahead and did my own thing, and let it recalculate the route as I ignored its command to turn. It seems that most of the time, its solution to the recalculation is "Turn around when safe", rather than giving any weight to my current direction of travel.

    Second, there is one area of maybe 1/4 mile square where two roads meet at a T, and a third creates a triangle between them. An oddity of naming has it that this third road is the "main" road; if you take this road, then at its end there's a stop sign; make a right and the new road has the same name! The road that goes straight is called the bypass.

    I was approaching the bypass from the other side, yet TomTom told me to pass this intersection and take the main road. Its route would not only be longer, but also take me through two lights and a stop sign, compared to just a single light if done my way. There is no conceivable criteria that should lead to the TomTom route: it's longer distance, longer time, more complicated, and avoids no restrictions that might interfere with either trucks or bikes. So I just can't fathom what it's thinking.

    Hardware wise, the unit seems pretty good. It's solidly constructed and doesn't look like a toy. The mounting hardware works fine -- there's no way that suction cup is coming off -- but the bracket the device slides into is too tight. There might be a glitch in the touch screen, I'm not sure. A couple of times entering addresses, it seemed as if the device thought I'd clicked Done when I hadn't, but maybe this is just a matter of getting used to it.

    So far, I'm pleased overall with the unit.
     
    ChrisW, Jun 8, 2007
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  2. ChrisW

    lec510

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    Weird. It rarely asks me to U-turn.
    I set the Planning preference to Prompt me, then usually choose Fastest. I drive mostly in town, not rural, maybe that's the difference.
    It usually obeys my route after two or three overrides.
     
    lec510, Jun 8, 2007
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  3. ChrisW

    Sextant

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    My biggest complaint with all the GPS that I've had is that there is no accounting for traffic lights. It will take you off a freeway to go what seems like a shorter distance, however, I know that route is nothing but traffic lights and will double the trip time. I'd really like to see an effort made to identify roads with lots of traffic lights and factor that into the decision making.

    I've also had some issues with routing. It prefers to take me home from work on an 11 mile route that takes 20 minutes. The one I use reroutes and shows 13 miles but 17 minutes. How does that go with "fastest" ??? The one it prefers is shortest not fastest but fastest is the default. And the route it prefers is riddled with traffic lights, so they need to get that data too!
     
    Sextant, Jun 8, 2007
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  4. ChrisW

    46jimbo

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    When you deviate from the original route, this is how I believe the unit 'thinks'. It checks the the next crossing street and calculates if it can get you to your destination. If this street can't do this, the unit tells you to 'turn around when possible'. If you keep going, it eventually finds a road that will get you there.
     
    46jimbo, Jun 8, 2007
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  5. ChrisW

    ChrisW

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    Routing algorithms

    It's understandable that if the next turn isn't for another 5 miles, then the best answer probably is to turn around. It just seemed to me as if it were underestimating the cost of the U-turn.

    I saw an example of what Sextant mentioned above. I was giving my officemate a demo, and he had the TT plot a route from our office to his house. He thought the route wasn't optimal. I was explaining the cool features with "Alternate Route" (this is one of the reasons I chose the TT, it doesn't seem like competitors do this well). He told the TT to avoid one of the roads it had chosen, and bang, it comes up with a route that was shorter and quicker than the one it had initially proposed. :eek:
     
    ChrisW, Jun 8, 2007
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  6. ChrisW

    Nextourer

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    "Turn around when possible" occurs more frequently when you use the "Shortest" route function.
     
    Nextourer, Jun 11, 2007
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  7. ChrisW

    KKop

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    Yeah, routing does some weird stuff.

    My subdivision contains a road that loops. Every route I plan from my house, it wants me to complete this loop first, and then routes me out of my neighborhood :confused:

    Also, some maps seem to be severely out of date. We got stuck a few weeks ago at a railroad crossing that was no longer there (a wall and fence blocked our way). It didn't look like a recent change...
    On the same trip, it tried to route us out of a state park using an 'employees only - dead end' road.
     
    KKop, Jun 11, 2007
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