October 13, 2005

GPS Review: TomTom GO 300

The TomTom GO 300 is a well regarded automotive GPS navigation device that has gotten accolades in the US and in Europe for its design and its functionality. Recently AOL's MapQuest selected TomTom and the TomTom GO 300 for a rebranding under the MapQuest name (see our article from September 28th), with Austin Klahn CTO of MapQuest saying, "We believe [TomTom] offers the latest technology and the best consumer experience in personal navigation devices in the marketplace today." Pretty big vote of confidence there.

The TomTom GO 300 GPS is a solid GPS for the car that offers a full array of vehicle-navigation features, including a 12-channel GPS receiver and integrated antenna, voice-guided driving directions, a huge points-of-interest (POI) database, an address book, and detailed maps of the entire United States, which come preloaded on a 1GB SD card; you can also upload Canadian maps from the included CD.

Voice Prompting - "Which way Mr. Cleese?"
All new TomTom GO products sold in 2005 model year are available to download TomTom Plus features. This Plus feature set includes the ability to download various voices to the TomTom GO 300, including one of John Cleese, or a NYC cabbie, or "The Don" which sounds a bit like Tony Soprano. These are all optional for a small fee.

Bluetooth Connectivity
If you are one of the few out there who have Bluetooth enabled GPRS mobile phone (compatibility listing at the TomTom site) , you should be able to do a lot with the TomTom GO 300. So what? Well the TomTom GO can access the rest of the TomTom Plus services through that phone - like real time traffic updates, and weather updates.

Like most car GPS devices, the TomTom GO 300 can calculate routing based on sets of criteria that you get to configure. Fastest, shortest, highway, back roads, etc. This is pretty straight forward, but the sophistication can come in handy when you are bringing addresses in from your address book or the POI list and setting up a route that covers several stops. The TomTom GO 300 will compute the best route, and give you an estimated time to run the whole route and to the next stop. These routes can be edited and saved for future use.

A couple of knocks on the device is that the POI database does not have banks or ATM's or phone numbers for POI's, another is that the map database and system does not always display the names of roads when needed.

Tech Specs include:
* 200 Mhz ARM920T processor
* 32 MB RAM
* SD Card for map storage
* 320 x 240 x 4096 colors 3.5" TFT screen
* Internal Li-Ion battery
* 4.5" x 3.6" x 2.3", 11 oz.
* 12 channel All-in-View integrated GPS receiver
* Internal antenna and support for (optional) active external antenna

The device comes with a 12-v power cord, an AC adapter, a USB cable, mounting hardware (windshield), a quick-start guide and an installation cd with a user manual.

Compare it vs.:
Garmin StreetPilot c330 or the

Magellan RoadMate 300


Read More in: Automotive GPS | GPS News | GPS Reviews | TomTom GPS News | TomTom GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at October 13, 2005 9:12 PM

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