TomTom XL 250 GPS unit
This TomTom GPS unit is equipped with an extra-large 4.3in touchscreen
- Good value, EasyPort mount, redesigned menu, lane guidance, text-to-speech, preloaded safety alerts
- Slightly slow route recalculation, no Australian text-to-speech voice, no AC adapter included, no live traffic
The TomTom XL 250 has a slightly redesigned interface that aims to make navigation even simpler. The XL 250 represents good value thanks to its lane guidance, safety camera alerts and a slim design.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
TomTom's XL 250 GPS unit is an entry-level navigation device with a large 4.3in touchscreen. Its asking price is the same as the smaller ONE 140 and only slightly higher than the cheapest GPS in TomTom's range — the Start — and represents good value for a 4.3in sat nav.
The TomTom XL 250 has an almost identical design to the XL 340. It features the same all-black casing, but loses the thin silver trim surrounding the display. Despite the 4.3in widescreen display, the TomTom XL 250 is compact enough to carry around when not in use.
TomTom's EasyPort mount, first introduced on the ONE (4th Edition) and XL, is used again to good effect. The mount has been designed to be left attached to the unit and folds flat after use. The circular lock means it's quick and easy to attach, and the well-crafted design allows titling of the XL 250 in multiple directions.
The TomTom XL 250 features the same interface seen on the entry-level Startl. Looking remarkably similar to Garmin's nuvi range of GPS units, the TomTom XL 250 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 previous TomTom GPS units. You can also navigate to a postcode, a recent destination, a point of interest (POI), or a point on the map. The XL 250's 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 XL 250 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 XL 250 still preferred to calculate routes using main roads rather than backstreets that are often faster. The XL 250 is moderately fast when recalculating a route, usually taking between five and eight seconds.
The TomTom XL 250 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, Australian street names and spoken street names are only available with UK and US voices (there is an Australian voice but this doesn't announce street names). The XL 250 comes with fixed speed and red-light camera warnings, but TomTom is no longer supporting the SUNA traffic service in its new devices.
Advanced lane guidance is also included. On 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.
The XL 250 supports TomTom's Map Share feature. 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.
TomTom's 'Help Me' safety feature is also included. This 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 includes first aid, traffic regulation, and repair and maintenance information.
Battery life is rated at up to three hours. TomTom disappointingly doesn't include an AC charger in the sales package, so you'll have to charge the XL 250 via the included USB cable or cigarette lighter adapter.
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