- Its Cheap
- It's surprisingly lame
- • • •
The suction mount and easy to use clip in system works fantastically well and is a huge improvement over my previous tomtom. Unfortunately that is where the innovation stops and the lameness begins.
For $98 from most stores at the moment it is very affordable but after a recent interstate roadtrip of 3 days I was ready to take it back. The map (which is supposed to be the latest) was wrong so often I wonder if they have changed it at all since my old tomtom from 2006. It doesn't seem so. When I plug it in to my PC it asks If I would like to pay for an upgrade to the latest map?!? But I just bought the thing..
Don't get excited by the idea that it can speak street names, It really actually can't. It might handle the odd street with a familiar English name but for the most part mine speaks in tongues disturbingly whilst trying to say 90% of Australian names. At least I get a laugh when it calls Belconnen ... wait for it.. Belgianing..ing. Not even close TomTom. Fail.
Lane Guidance only works if maps are up to date, and in most circumstances It would be far better if the little voice of tomtom didn't pretend to know things and send you on a 12km detour off the wrong exit ramp. In these instances, faced with the decision of who to believe, a road sign or TomTom, go with the Road sign.
The TomTom start does give you the option of choosing an alternate route, however it does not give you the option of reviewing either your current route or the alternate one so presumably this feature is included for people who are entertained by the idea of a "mystery trip".
Overall I have to admit it is better than having nothing, if it is your first GPS system then it is cheap and semi functional, but if you are upgrading from anything else, think twice. This might not be an upgrade at all. 1 Star for the windscreen mount.
TomTom Start GPS unit
TomTom's Start is the company's cheapest GPS unit to be released in Australia
- Compact design, responsive touch screen, EasyPort mount, speed and red light camera alerts
- IQ Routes still prefers main roads, route recalculation is a little sluggish, no Australian text-to-speech voice, no lane guidance, no included AC adapter
TomTom's Start is the company's cheapest GPS ever, and the good news is that the overall navigation experience hasn't been sacrificed to achieve the low price. Though not perfect, the TomTom start combines a simple, easy-to-use interface and a compact design, making it ideal for first-time buyers.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Retailing at just $199, TomTom's latest Start GPS unit is the Dutch giant's cheapest portable navigation unit released in Australia. Designed for first-time GPS users, the TomTom Start has spoken street names, an EasyPort mount system, IQ Routes technology, and a fresh interface.
The Start GPS unit embodies TomTom's simple design philosophy. Like all of TomTom's GPS devices, it features just a single physical power button. All other functions are controlled via the 3.5in touch screen. Despite the unit's compact size, it feels solid and there are no loose or creaking parts.
Two new features on the Start are an updated EasyPort mount and what TomTom calls "StartSkins". The EasyPort mount retains the same simple lock mechanism seen on earlier units but is easier to remove. A StartSkin is a removable plastic case that lets you to change the colour of the Start. TomTom includes the standard black StartSkin in the sales package, but yellow, orange, red, green, blue and purple skins are available for $24.95.
The TomTom Start interface has been revamped, and the result is a simpler and more streamlined feel. Looking remarkably similar to Garmin's latest Nuvi range, the TomTom Start has just two main icons on its home screen: plan route and browse map. Below on a horizontal bar are options for sound, night, help and settings.
Searching for an address is a similar experience to the current range of TomTom GPS units. You can also navigate to a postcode, a recent destination, a point of interest (POI), or a point on the map. Despite the Start's small screen, the keyboard is responsive and you can choose between ABC, QWERTY and AZERTY layouts. Searching for an address is a three-step process: city, street and then house number.
Once you've selected a destination, the TomTom Start displays the fastest route available using IQ Routes and allows you to alter it if necessary. Here you can avoid a roadblock, calculate an alternative route or travel via a waypoint. The IQ Routes technology used by TomTom is based on real-life user data rather than the traditional maximum speed method. It determines a route by considering all possible routes and then selecting the one that supposedly takes the least time, with the technology aiming to avoid main roads where necessary.
In our experience the TomTom Start still preferred to calculate routes using main roads rather than backstreets that are often slightly quicker. We also noticed route calculation is slower compared to other TomTom units — the Start often takes up to 8-10 seconds to recalculate a route, which can be troublesome if there are multiple turn-offs on the current street you're driving on.
The TomTom Start has text-to-speech technology, which means that it speaks the names of streets as you approach them. The unit tends to struggle with longer street names such as Greystanes, which was pronounced "Greystaaaans". Spoken street names are only available with UK and US voices (there is an Australian voice but this doesn't announce street names). Puzzlingly, the TomTom Start announced a roundabout as a "rotary". In general, though, the voice is loud and clear and in most instances is detailed enough to ensure you keep your eyes on the road.
Being an entry-level GPS, the TomTom Start lacks some more advanced features like lane guidance, traffic notifications and Bluetooth, but it includes fixed speed and red light camera alerts and an over-speed alert. Lane guidance is a disappointing omission; we find this function extremely useful when driving on motorways and freeways.
The Start includes TomTom's Map Share and the 'Help Me!' safety portal. In addition to corrections and improvements to the maps being uploaded every month by other TomTom users, Map Share allows you to make adjustments to maps through the unit itself. Users can add their own POIs, update road changes, edit phone numbers and add new streets. You can then share this information with other TomTom users, uploading the changes via the included TomTom HOME software. The Help Me! safety function displays information and allows you to navigate (either by car or on foot) to a multitude of services including police stations, hospitals, mechanics, public transport and pharmacies. It also has first aid, traffic regulation, and repair and maintenance guides.
Battery life is rated at up to two hours. TomTom disappointingly doesn't include an AC charger in the sales package, so you'll have to charge the Start via the included USB cable or cigarette lighter adapter.
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