TomTom Start 10 GPS unit

TomTom Start 10 review: The Start 10 adds advanced lane guidance to TomTom's cheapest sat nav in Australia

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TomTom Start 10
  • TomTom Start 10
  • TomTom Start 10
  • TomTom Start 10

Pros

  • Ease of use, EasyPort mount, speed and red light camera alerts, advanced lane guidance

Cons

  • IQ Routes still prefers main roads, route recalculation is a little sluggish, no Australian text-to-speech voice, no included AC adapter

Bottom Line

The TomTom Start 10 has spoken street names, an EasyPort mount system, IQ Routes technology and now includes advanced lane guidance. Its screen is a little small and entering text requires a firm press, but this GPS is easy to use and functional.

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TomTom's Start 10 is a slight refresh of the company's entry-level Start GPS unit. It's cheaper than the Start and advanced lane guidance has been added. The Start 10 sat nav is TomTom's cheapest portable navigation unit released in Australia and has been designed for first-time GPS users.

Read our guide to the Best TomTom GPS units.

The TomTom Start 10 looks identical to the original Start unit; the sat nav is a great example of TomTom's simple design philosophy, featuring just a single physical power button. All other functions are controlled entirely via the Start 10's 3.5in touchscreen. This display is smaller than most portable navigation units but it is responsive to finger presses and has a well-designed interface that is easy to use.

The Start 10 features TomTom's EasyPort mount system, which is designed to make it as simple as possible to stick the device to your car's windshield. The EasyPort mount retains the same simple lock mechanism seen on other TomTom products; it locks into place without any issues. The TomTom Start 10 also has StartSkins: the plastic case is removable, allowing you to change the colour of the Start 10. TomTom only includes the standard black StartSkin in the sales package, but yellow, orange, red, green, blue and purple skins are available for $24.95 each.

The TomTom Start 10 features the same simply interface as its predecessor. It looks remarkably similar to the UI on Garmin's latest Nuvi range, with 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. All menus and options are clearly labelled, so even novices should find the Start 10 simple to operate.

Searching for a location on the TomTom Start 10 is as simple as tapping the plan route icon. You can then choose to navigate to a specific address, a recent destination, a saved favourite, a point of interest (POI) or a point on the map. The Start 10's small screen makes the keyboard a little cramped, though you can choose between ABC, QWERTY and AZERTY layouts in the settings menu. The keyboard requires a rather firm press to select keys, so entering text is not as easy on as larger screened units. Searching for an address is a three-step process: city, street and then house number.

Once you've selected a destination, the TomTom Start 10 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 10 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 10 often takes up to 8-10 seconds to recalculate a route, which can be troublesome if there are multiple turn-offs on the street you're driving on.

The TomTom Start 10 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, and spoken street names are only available with UK male and female voices (there is an Australian voice on the unit but this doesn't announce street names). The voice is loud and clear in most instances, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

A new addition to the TomTom Start 10 GPS is advanced lane guidance. On assorted multilane roads, an icon in the bottom-left corner of the map screen highlights which lane you should be in, depending on your destination. At busy highway junctions this is enhanced by arrows indicating the lane direction combined with a static image of road signs. The signs are the same colour as the ones displayed on the road, in order to minimise confusion.

Being an entry-level GPS, the TomTom Start 10 lacks some more advanced features like traffic notifications and Bluetooth, but it includes fixed speed and red light camera alerts and an over-speed alert.

The Start 10 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 10 via the included USB cable or cigarette lighter adapter.

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Read more on these topics: tomtom, TomTom Start, GPS

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