New Tomtom versus old (old maps a problem?)

Discussion in 'Maps and Routing' started by twinbee, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. twinbee

    twinbee

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    I live in the UK, and have roughly narrowed my new TomTom purchase shortlist down to two or three models. The first is one of their latest: "TomTom Start UK". The second is one of their older models, but which has been rated highly, the TomTom GO 920. Also, maybe the "TomTom XL Classic Navigation UK".

    Problem is, if I go for the 920 or even the XL Classic, since they're older or second hand (or even refurbished), the maps on them might be old. If no indication is made, what do you think? Obviously, this isn't a problem if map upgrades are free for new users (whether new or 2nd hand), but I don't think this is the case is it? Or maybe purchasing an old model will grant a one-time access to the latest maps?

    Apart from accuracy/reliability of course, I would want a feature which allows you to search for the nearest petrol station, supermarket etc. from not only a given postcode, but also the current location. My previous Garmin model had the first, but lacked the second, and it was a pain.

    I've also heard that the new 'EasyMenu' interface is a bit dumbed down. Does the "TomTom Start UK" feature that (I think the Start2 does, but not the Start).

    Also, lane indication would be nice if the Start has that?

    If someone can help me make up my mind, I'd be grateful!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
    twinbee, Nov 28, 2010
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  2. twinbee

    canderson Moderator

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    In order of age:

    The "Start2" with its mickey mouse menu could well be a disappointment if you come to this with some preconceived ideas of what a GPS should be able to do. You mention having had a unit previously, so you might miss what you don't have in features on the Start2. The Start2 does have the IQRoutes ability and lane guidance, however.

    The older "Start" (vs. Start2) also has the "EasyMenu" system. It has IQRoutes as well, but no lane guidance feature.

    The XL Classic is a little older yet. It offers neither IQRoutes nor lane guidance. However, it has a real menu for what it does provide.

    The 920 is the oldest of the bunch, and clearly the pick of the litter in terms of features. Brought up to current (8.351) firmware levels, it's the same as owning a 930. That said, several caveats on this model. Like all of the above as well, you get whatever map the previous owner has left you with as a 2nd owner. 2nd owners get no update privileges from TomTom. Updating maps will cost, and if you need both the European and U.S. map updates (which is the primary reason for getting the 920 instead of a 720 which came only with one or the other), that will set you back a good bit. Further, the battery on a 920 should be getting pretty tired by now. That's not insurmountable (we even have a thread here for the DIY crowd that puts you to rights for about $25), but you should be aware that if the battery has not been renewed, it will become a problem sooner rather than later.

    I found your selection of Start2, XL Classic and 920 quite surprising, and assume there must be some common cost ceiling being applied to all of them given the difference in capabilities of those units.

    One thing that will better direct the effort is to know how much you value spoken street and exit names (text to speech) capability.
     
    canderson, Nov 28, 2010
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  3. twinbee

    twinbee

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    Thanks, that's very useful!

    Actually, spoken street and exit names would be pretty good, and on par with lane indication I reckon.

    Which of the above three TomToms (if any) can find the nearest POI (garage/shop/whatever) nearest to a chosen postcode *and* also nearest to your current location?

    I chose these three not really based on price, but instead because they received a high proportion of good to bad reviews from various places such as Amazon, Ebay, and Revoo.com. I tend to research these things quite a lot (bearing in mind I live in the UK, so try to go after reviews which come from UK people). However if you can recommend something else entirely, I'm open to the possibility within reason.

    Finally, what do you think of this Amazon post in regards to the otherwise poor Start2 interface:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R363...3CJTR6O&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=#wasThisHelpful

    (read both the negative review and the positive potential solution).
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
    twinbee, Nov 28, 2010
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  4. twinbee

    canderson Moderator

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    OK - I'll start to focus in on units with that feature.

    I've not used one yet with EasyMenu, but I suspect all of them share that feature in the following form.

    "Navigate to > Point of interest" on all the units I've worked with brings up several options

    • POI near you
    • POI in city (you pick city)
    • POI near Home
    • POI along route (if you are already navigating to somewhere)
    • POI near destination
    OK - I'll get an earful from someone for this ... many of these units share exactly the same key components. For example, anything remotely "recent" in the lineup will have used either a GL2 or SiRFiii GPS chip, both of which do a fine job at acquiring and locking on a satellite data signal. MUCH of the difference between TomTom models (excepting the absolutely latest models - which have their own issues) is the mix of features and firmware. We'll get to that in a moment.

    We have a similar thread here right at the top of the TomTom ONE/START/EASE/XL/XXL section that explains how to cobble together a list that creates a new menu structure, and it works pretty well. However, even then we find that there are features that cannot be reintroduced. I can't see any special reason to purchase one of the models that will require such attention just to bring it back to basic GPS functionality.


    Here are the things I'd want to know before making a recommendation, and some reasons behind the questions, some of which are unique to the situation in Europe regarding maps. Any of these will have just about any feature you could expect from a TomTom unit.

    Do you plan to travel about Europe much?

    Recently, TomTom found themselves in a position where they were no longer able to load their entire Western European map set onto a typical 2GB unit. The only units that continue to support the full map without having to swap pieces on and off the unit with your PC are those that include an SD (or microSD) card slot that allows you to install a 4GB or larger memory card. The rare current model exceptions available to you are the 4GB 940 and 950 models, and even then, you'd have to shuffle off the North American map to make space for the full Europe map. However, both of those models also support the additional SD card, so with a card, that's not necessary.

    The reasonably current models (current in that they run on a current firmware version) that support the SD card, and hence allow for a full Western European map to remain resident, include the GO 540/740/940 and GO 550/750/950 models. However, the 540/550 have only 1GB of internal memory, so they're already hobbled a bit, and the maps offered to these have somewhat less detail.

    Will you need maps for the U.S.?

    If you don't need U.S. maps, the 9XX series is a bit of overkill for you. They include both Western Europe and U.S. maps, and there's a bit of a premium for that. If you don't, consider a 740 or 750 model.

    Not traveling much in Europe or in the U.S.?

    That opens up a wider selection since the UK/ROI map will fit comfortably on everything. Focusing back in on such features as lane guidance, text to speech and the like, you'll find that for some reason, units sold in North America that support text-to-speech don't support that same feature in the UK (why?) That brings us to the following additional models available in the UK: XL550 (NOT XXL550 - which I don't believe they sell in Europe anyway), GO540, GO550.

    Net:

    Minimum features assumed = Decent menu with itinerary planning, etc., Spoken steet names, IQRoutes / Lane Guidance ... here are the minimums:

    Traveling Europe and U.S.: GO 940 or GO 950
    Traveling Europe: GO 740, GO 750, GO 540, GO 550 (all with 4GB extra SD card)
    Mostly Homebody: XL550, GO 540, GO 550 (but likely fewer POI available?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
    canderson, Nov 28, 2010
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  5. twinbee

    dhn Moderator

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    Minor creections to your detailed post, canderson.

    The 540 doesn't have a card slot and its core storage is 2 gigs, 4 gigs if the WTE model.
     
    dhn, Nov 28, 2010
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  6. twinbee

    canderson Moderator

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    Note we're talking GO540, not XL540. The OP is in the UK.
     
    canderson, Nov 28, 2010
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  7. twinbee

    mikealder Moderator

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    Go-540 has a Micro SD card slot as does the Go-550, either device is a decent unit, as supplied they only have UK&ROI maps installed.

    If you need European mapping consider the Go-740 or Go-750 but avoid the Start unit as they are very very basic (unless thats what you want) - Mike
     
    mikealder, Nov 28, 2010
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  8. twinbee

    canderson Moderator

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    Sounds like we came to pretty much the same conclusions, Mike. Sorry for not noting the microSD vs. SD in the GO540/550.

    Another note to the OP. If you should find yourself in a position where the SD (or microSD) card would be of benefit to you (e.g., ability to hold a full Western Europe map) on a 540/550/740/750, be sure that you get a Class 6 card. I've found that the microSD cards in particular often come at a lesser speed since they're often just used for audio on cell phones. The Class 6 will be adequate for moving map data into your unit on-the-fly as you travel.
     
    canderson, Nov 28, 2010
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  9. twinbee

    twinbee

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    Okay thanks all, and again for the detailed reply canderson.

    Due to your recommendation, the GO 550 and the Start 2 seem to be most promising for me. Looking at Google, they both get similar ratings:

    TomTom Start 2 United Kingdom & Ireland - Automotive GPS receiver - TFT - 320 x 240 - colour

    TomTom GO 550 LIVE - Automotive GPS receiver - LCD - widescreen - 480 x 272 - colour

    I presume the Start 2 doesn't have street name speech, but maybe that's not worth the almost double price tag of the 550 - I'm not sure. The live feature (traffic jams etc.) of the 550 sounds good, but I doubt I'll be doing enough driving to warrant that.

    I'll research it a little further and then choose. Thankfully, you get the latest maps even with older models (at least if you buy new).
     
    twinbee, Nov 28, 2010
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  10. twinbee

    canderson Moderator

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    I think you'll prefer the larger screen size of the GO550 along with the improved functionality. It also gives you future options regarding European maps if you decide to do some traveling. The Start2 will come with UK/ROI only. The GO550 comes with that as well, but has the possibility of expansion. You may find you like that new "Live" functionality, too.

    Ah - one more thing, and it would be a dealbreaker for me. The GO550 allows for management of the 'autozoom' function (you can kill it if you like, and I like!) and manage zoom separately for 2D and 3D views. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but can become one in actual practice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
    canderson, Nov 29, 2010
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  11. twinbee

    twinbee

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    Haha, I 'm pretty close to buying the 550 again (the larger screen sounds tempting to be honest, and what you said about 2D/3D zooming), though I think the main kicker is that I'll probably buy a smartphone within a year or two, and get SatNav software with that, so this is more of a stopgap measure. Currently, they're not as reliable or full featured as a specialized TomTom (or Garmin come to that), but that could change by then.

    I hear also that the Start 2 can handle road name speech, so that helps.

    Finally, I hear the US gets to have free lifetime map upgrades. And free Live features! No fair! No doubt we'll follow suit soon in the UK, and knowing my luck, it'll be within a week of purchasing one without :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
    twinbee, Nov 29, 2010
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  12. twinbee

    canderson Moderator

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    Not free - the models that include it are priced higher than the same models without. That said, it's a good deal for us, I'll grant.
     
    canderson, Nov 29, 2010
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  13. twinbee

    mvl Moderator

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    We don't get free/lifetime LIVE features in the USA. We get lifetime RDS-TMC traffic (like you Europeans have gotten for years), and that is the "new" lifetime traffic for us.

    LIVE is monthly subscription only.
     
    mvl, Nov 29, 2010
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