TomTom GO 300

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TomTom GO 300
  • TomTom GO 300
  • TomTom GO 300
  • TomTom GO 300

Pros

  • Touchscreen LCD, excellent mapping software, Bluetooth capabilities, extremely customisable

Cons

  • Address searching can be improved, no speed camera or safety warnings, no external volume control

Bottom Line

With an excellent map display, easy-to-use interface and clear audio instructions, the TomTom GO 300 has nearly all the features drivers need in a GPS system.

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Boasting a bright 3.5" touchscreen LCD, easy to use software and Bluetooth capabilities, the TomTom GO 300 is one of the most impressive GPS units we have seen so far.Weighing 310g and being quite bulky, the GO 300 is designed for in-car use and can't be easily slipped into a pocket and carried around. The screen is large enough to be managed using fingertip presses rather than a stylus.

The GO 300 impressed us with the usability and flexibility of its mapping software. As we were driving, the map on the Go 300 smoothly moved with us, and our current position and next turn were clearly displayed on the screen with a bright red arrow. The map also automatically zooms in and out to more clearly highlight directions for drivers. At the bottom of the screen, information such as the remaining time, distance, arrival time, street name and current speed can be displayed or hidden as you prefer.

We found the audio instructions were clear and precise, and in contrast to other units, the GO 300 informs drivers of the upcoming turn and the next turn after that, so that you are always prepared and can change lanes accordingly. One minor criticism of the GO 300 is that no quick-access volume control is provided. In addition, there are no audio alerts for speed cameras, red light cameras or driving over the speed limit. The unit's address search could be improved. When entering an address to navigate to, all the suburbs in Australia are listed and there is no mechanism to filter this list by state. We found that once a suburb is selected, the address search does not filter street names for particular suburbs, and all the streets in Australia are then listed. In the same way, street numbers for a selected street are not filtered and no postcode search is provided. It makes selecting destinations from a list rather painful.

The routing algorithm can be set to either avoid toll roads or include them. We especially like the setting called 'Ask me when it happens,' where the GO 300 calculates the route and then prompts users when the route includes a toll, allowing you to accept or reject that route at your discretion.

Once you have planned a route, the GO 300 displays a helpful confirmation screen, showing the route on the map, displaying the ETA and allowing users to recalculate the route if they wish. Drivers can also request the GO 300 to calculate an alternative route along the way if they experience heavy traffic, for example. If drivers do get off track, the GO 300 will automatically recalculate the route.

Although the feature will not be available in Australia until late next year, the GO 300 allows users to receive traffic and weather reports through any GPRS-enabled phone using a Bluetooth connection. Once a mobile and the GO 300 are paired, the unit can be used to send and received calls and any traffic congestion information can be factored into route calculation. Additionally, updates such as POIs, map colours, voices and maps can be downloaded through this connection. Using these services will cost extra, and pricing information is not yet available for Australia.

There are a multitude of customisation options on the GO 300. You can change settings such as voice, language, keyboard layout, map display, text size and 3D maps, and there's even a setting to optimise the display for left-handed use. We found battery life on the internal lithium battery to be short of the advertised 8 hours, but with the supplied in-car charger, this should not be much of an issue. While TomTom has provided a car charger, no AC adapter is shipped with the unit, limiting the GO 300 to in car use.

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