Pros Functions well, very easy to use, great value for price, firmware v5 will be huge improvement
Cons Menus a little quirky, keyboard small, screen glare, map software quirky too.
Summary Most people who have posted comments have summed up the good points already. The unit is small, stylish and looks good in your car. The screen is bright and very sensitive. The controls are intuitive and easy to master. The unit has a good number of options, such as: many different voices, day/night colors, different map colors, 2-D vs. 3-D map views. I like the ability to explore maps at will, and create routes without being in the car or using the GPS--this makes it like a mapquest.com and GPS navigator in one. The unit is very good about allowing you to avoid certain streets. It calculates routes quickly, and is quick to help you when you miss a turn.
Some people complain that the unit does not give you the BEST route. It is asking a lot for software to find the absolute BEST route available. This unit will get you from point A to B along a REASONABLE route, which is what it was designed to do. If you want the BEST route, you might be expecting too much.
I've used the Magellan units with Hertz and their voice prompts are annoying, especially with the bing-bongs. This unit has about 77 words it can use, which is enough to tell me clearly what I need to do. It warns me about the turn coming up and gives me the distance (in yards), then tells me to turn at the turn, and that is it. I find it just the right amount of info.
The built-in speaker is incredible. I read a review showing cut-aways and the unit is almost all speaker. Volume control that is speed-sensitive will be added in firmware v5.0.
The Secure Digital (SD) card came pre-loaded with a Major Roadways of America (MRA) map, and all the voices. This map is MUCH more complete than the MRA map on the included CDs. My impression is that the MRA map on the SD card is a compressed version of the entire US. I installed my local region to the card and can't see any difference between the two... I bought a larger SD card and instead of installing everything anew from the CDs, I copied the files from the old card to my hard-drive and then from the hard-drive to the new card. If you use *ix (Mac OS X, linux or unix) you can easily mount the unit as a USB drive and copy with cp, rsync, etc. My main point through is that the 256K card that came with the unit is big enough since the included MRA on the card seems incredibly complete.
The ASN feature (dead-reckoning, whatever you want to call it) works OK but not great. Going through a tunnel, it thought I kept accelerating and had me going 110 mph by the end of the tunnel. No big deal really since it then realized it was wrong, the map went grey and it sat idle until I reestablished GPS signal.
Many features are missing from this unit with firmware 4.*, but will be added shortly with version 5.0. I can't wait for that to come out!! It will make an already great machine that much better.
Now for some cons.
1. you have to navigate through a few levels of menus to get to some common features. That is why I say the menus are quirky. I think that changing volume or brightness are very important and should be in the first page of options under Preferences, but they are burried much deeper. So it means a few extra clicks to get to things you need more often.
2. The screen is a little small and as a result, the keyboard is small. I've had to correct spelling a few times since my finger hit the letter next to what I wanted. Solutions include being more careful, or using a sylus. On my wish list would be a stylus holder for the car mount.
3. Since the screen is small, so is some of the text that it gives you. I have good eyesight but I would have liked the info on the bottom right to be a few points larger
4. The screen is very shiney and suffers a lot from glare. A few companies market screen protectors especially for this unit (search google) but they all seem over-priced to me. However, as with any PDA, if you touch the screen much, you really need a protector. I bought a pack of protectors from Fellowes for my Palm Pilot, and just cut one to side for the TomTom. Voila!
5. The current map software (v 4.42) does not let me choose whether i want to take/avoid highways, use shortest time or distance, etc. This will be included on v5.0. As I noted above, it doesn't always give the fastest route, i.e. puts me on a street with a lot of lights when I know the next one down has fewer. As I said above, I don't expect the BEST route, just a reasonable one.
6. I don't like the map-installation software at all. You get 8 CDs with maps on it, and each CD has its own executable to install things. First, why not put it all on one DVD. Second, why not install a program on my computer that I can run, and it figures out which CD I want. Right now, you put in CD1 and navigate through 4-5 screens to say install <state>, and it says "put in CD 3", so you put in that CD and navigate through 5-6 screens, install the map, and then you start over for the next one. This is a minor annoyance.
7. The TomTom website is a little hard to navigate when you are looking for support. But there are a lot of great users groups out there who are very prompt on responding. There are links at tomtom.com, but 3 I like are mytomtom.com, pocketgpsworld.com, and expansys.com.
Executive Summary: This is a great machine, will get better with the newer firmware release. The cons are small compared to the pros, and at $550, this is a great value.
Pros Simple interface
Cons dim view, tough to travel between sections of country
Summary I wanted a GPS for a recent trip from California to New Mexico and settled on the Tom Tom Go Plus. I got a great price (599) from Harmony Computers and took it on my trip, learning as I traveled. I chose a famale voice for audio directions, and soon Tom Tom became "Doris" as we traveled through California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Doris gave nearly flawless advice. Several times when our common sense told us Doris was wrong, she wasn't. Only two times did she get confused and give us directions we simply could not follow, like continuing on a dead end road, 0r telling us to turn left down a street when we had already arrived at our destination. The Tom Tom system is pretty easy to use right out of the box.
1) The screen, set at maximum brightness is pretty darned hard to read sitting on my dash when I'm wearing sunglasses. I haven't tried or even seen any other GPS units, so I don't know how it compares with others, but it's a pain to have to remove my prescription sunglasses to see some fine point that Tom Tom is displaying.
2) The Go Go Plus model, which I bought, has the advantage of having all the US maps on one SD card. However, a user still has to select regional maps to find anything but major highways in 'other' regions. For instance, in traveling from Kingman Arizona to Alburquerque New Mexico, I could not enter my hotel address in Alburquerque when I was traveling with my Western States map loaded... New Mexico, accoring to Tom Tom, is a Southern state and is mapped in another region. If I selected that Southern map when I was still physically in Arizona, Tom Tom had no idea how to map my present location. The way around this is to use the Major US Highway map and create a pseudo destination at a major highway intersection near your true destination... this allows you to see both where you are and where you are going.
3. Tom Tom sometimes has funny ways of getting you to your destination. I suspect all GPS units do this. I used it in my neighborhood and it concocted some truly creative ways to get me places. What is truly amazing is to see how quickly the unit recalculates routes when you don't make the turn that it tells you to... within seconds, it comes up with a new way to get you to your destination.
All in all, I'm pleased with the unit, despite the small gripes. It's small, easy to use and provides interesting feedback on your trip, including vehical speed, time and distance to the next turn, and points of interest along the way.
Pros Price, size, ease of use, great 3D view
Cons Doesn't always give one the best route.
Summary I purchased my Tomtom Go Plus in December and have been very satisfied with it.
When I first ordered my Tomtom (Tom for short), I received an Email that they were out of the Tomtom Go, but did have the Tomtom Go Plus. The Tomtom company gave me a free upgrade. The Plus has a major advantage in that the maps are all preloaded on a 1GB SD card. If you don't opt for the Plus version, you could purchase an SD card for under $100 and load the maps yourself.
SETUP: Very easy to use and set up out of the box (although I did have to call Tomtom before I figured out that one has to change the region when first using it (Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, etc.).
MOUNTING: I read one review which mentioned that the mounting base damaged the car's interior. I used the suction device which comes with Tom and allows one to stick it on the front window. This suction device is very secure and is removed very easily when one needs to. It is very easy to transfer from one car to another.
POWER: So far, I haven't needed to use the car adapter. I charge up Tom and it is good to go for several hours at a time. For longer trips, one would need to use the adapter.
ACCURACY OF DIRECTIONS: The one thing that I noticed is that Tom doesn't always give one the quickest route. If you are going on a long trip, you should have an idea of what the best route to take is. However, Tom WILL get you there. I have used it in New York, Washington DC and in Florida. I found the directions to be excellent, especially in Florida where I frequently had no idea where I was going!!
I did find that there were some streets missing in Florida. However, I was surprised to find some short dirt roads with only 3 houses in Maine.
DISPLAY: I love the 3 D display!! That is one of the features that many people who have seen my Tomtom admire the most. It gives one such a realistic view of the upcoming road with its curves, etc.
Pros Great interface, nice display, nice tracking usually. This is a nice unit that you can pack into whatever car you need to drive for that long trip.
Cons Lack of response from support is disturbing but that's nothing compared to the truly truly horrendous maps and the route calculation. I haven't even been able to use the "Point of Interest" features because I'm still busy trying to find my own street. The
Pros Bird's Eye View is great, and multiple voices is nice touch
Cons Screen info poorly laid out -- "yardage" turn prompts are always wrong.
Summary I had high hopes for this machine. I already had a Magellan 700 series. The Magellan technology looks and feels like it is rent-a-car quality (which it is), so I liked the look and feel of the Tom Tom.
Here's my opinion, good and bad:
First if you wear polorized sunglasses in your car, you will NOT be able to see the screen of the TOM Tom -- because of the coating. It is annyoing.
Second, unlike other GPS systems, the mounting bracket does not project far enough from the windshield -meaning- it is farther away from your eyes. I order the extended bracket, but just got email that it has been discontinued. Too Bad. You can mount it to your dash with a sticky glue, but if you care at all about your car interior you would never commit such a sin.
Third, the layout on the screen is poor. The maps are great, but the information such as the Name of the next street I'm turning on is in very small type -- approx. 8 point font. Try reading 8 point font 2 feet from your face when you don't know where you are going and are in heavy traffic doing 40 mph. On other GPS's, the name of the next street is printed clearly at the TOP, or at least in big letters. This is a major miss!
Fourth, it alerts you to turns by saying, for example, "Turn at 300 yards."(there is option for kilometers too). Maybe 2 or 3 times out of a hundred has the yardage been accurate. 300 yards is 3 football fields!--which is why it is shocking to think you have 3 football fields to plan your turn, when in fact you have maybe 50-75 yards. In other words, the location calculator is off. It is wierd because the map is accurate, but the voice prompts are way off. In my Magellan, it just s makes a loud beep and says "Turn Ahead". Very basic, but it worked - with plenty of realtime notice.
Fifth. I really, really want to keep this unit because the maps are great, and the different voices are neat -- I saw someone on Ebay actually selling an Austin Powers plug-in voice for the Tom Tom. However, despite how cool it is, it seems like the designers really missed the mark when it comes to useability under actual driving conditions. That being said, if you live in the country or a suburb, the unit would probably work out for you if you have a slower pace of life. However, if you are always on the go or live in a busy urban traffic area, this unit just doesn't cut it.
Sixth. The unit is nice and compact, and runs on rechargeable batteries (or plug), so it is ultra convenient to remove in a hurry.
Conclusion. Don't write off this unit -- but be warned of all of these issues. Maybe the next versions will fix with them. A week ago I got into my friend's Infiniti with built-in GPS, and it makes the Tom-Tom look like Chop-Chop. Hopefully GPS makers will come out with compact units with bigger screens soon.