October 20, 2005

GPS Review: Another Great Review for TomTom GO 300

TomTom doesn't have nearly the market force that Garmin and Magellan have here in the US, but that may not be for long, as the TomTom GO 300 and its sibling the TomTom GO 700, get great review after great review. Here at the GPS Lodge, we have a TomTom GO 300 coming for review in a couple of weeks, and are excited to get our hands on it to give it a try. In the meantime, PC Mag has taken a look at the TomTom GO 300 and has awarded it the Editor's Choice. The car gps segment is hot right now, and coming into the holiday season, I would imagine that the market for these will heat up even more.

Some background.....

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.

"The GO is extremely easy to use, and has one of the most intuitive address-entry and route-planning schemes of any product we've reviewed. (The Garmin 2720 excels in these areas too, but it is more expensive.) For instance, the "Navigate to. . . " button on the GO 300 gives you immediate access to sub menus that let you enter address, point-of-interest, or zip-code information to reach your target. The GO 300 has also added the "Center of Town" feature, which can get you where you want to go even if you have no specific street information. You can also select points of interest (POIs), such as restaurants, hotels, wineries, or others, as destinations in the city that you want to travel to.

Entering an address is equally simple when you use the touch screen. The GO lets you select from a list of city names that correspond to the entered letters, and automatically shrinks this list as you type more characters. We especially like that the GO does not require you to select a state first, but will list all matching cities with the appropriate state abbreviation (for example, Pleasantville, NY and Pleasantville, NJ). This lets you easily enter destinations that are across state borders without having to switch states in the interface. Such design improvements are a clear sign that GPS product developers are finally at a point where they can really begin to tweak ease-of-use issues.

Though we like this feature on the GO, the current crop of Garmins goes one better and automatically defaults to the state you are in. After all, these devices know your location, and it is more likely that you'll be headed to a city in your state or the state next door than to one of the same name across the country. "


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 20, 2005 6:16 AM

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