"Software Adfequate Support Terrible -- Worst I have encountered"1.5 starson by phoggberg
Pros: Software is adequate, support sucks
Cons: MAJOR CON == Promises much -->delivers poorly
Summary: The TOMTOM Product has been around for a long time and I expected a polished product. I recently purchased a smart phone, and decided not to buy the built-in Navigation System in a new car I purchased, with the idea that for about $500 I not only could combine my cell/pda/pager, but also get a portable Nav device that went with me, vs a $1300 system that stayed in only one vehical. After picking the MDA from T-Mobile and a Sony SIRF Bluetooth GPS, I picked the TOMTOM as the software. I have been aware of the TOMTOM Product from other MINI Owners, and expected a qualty product. I am a Professional Software Developer, and have over 4 years experience with Nav Systems from Laptop through the built ins. experienced Navigation System user with over 4 years experience, having come most recently from a NAVTEQ based product.
Installation was adeqaute, and no major problems were encountered, except it wanted me to install the product code twice and when it asked if I wanted automatic install even though I was connected to a wireless system with full internet access, it couldn't connect to their servers, and I had to do manual authorization. Manual is a two step process where by you give a unique product code and go online to a sever which then give you an acces code to renter back into your device. The packaging of the software was very nice with credit card sized pastic card with the product code on it, very professional and cool. Its a great idea too since I had to go through the process twice, once in my kitchen and another in the car away from home -- it should only have to be performed once.
The TOMTOM Home software give you many choices for which maps to load,l voices, and even sat maps...Wow I think, these guys have the right idea...later to find out it's poorly executed. For example, I put a brand new 2GB SD card in the MDA, and tried to load the everything Map (at 1.3 GB) and the software told me I could as that wasn't supported. nut it alloowed me to load all US & Canada (900+ MB) to the card. I loaded both Sat maps, as I had the room, so it can load above 1GB, but just not the map, if it wasn't available, the choice should have been greyed out not letting me make the choice and then telling me it can't provide it. Download tyakes several hours via ActiveSync, its much faster to use a card reader. For about $150 they should get it right....
The maps compared to NAVTEC are really crude, and do not show much geosensitive information. I cross a major river valley very often and it just show a wide river, while the detail in the NAVTEQ Map shows islands and a lot of useful TOPOgraphic info, if you want to use the thing for hiking/biking. It also does not give you altitude in MSL even though its in the GPS message, again usefull for hiking. Zooming out to the Sattelite maps, by the time they engaged, the topo information was useless. I also write rallies for the local car clubs around here, and use the Nav system to find the "good roads." The lack of real topo info (as compared to the minimum of the NAVTEC system) just doesn't lend itself to that use. The screen graphics are very crude, and while usable, I expected better quality.
I had a couple of small issues, so I went to the web site, registered, and poured through the FAQ's. No help so I sent the a question via their web site. So far they havent even picked them up AFAIK, and its been a week. I called their support line and get a really long Voice Mail from hell intro a,d then when I select number 3 for Navigator 6 issues it send me to a phone company intercept saying the number is not in service. If you try any other choices, to talk to a real person -- you can't. I have been trying for a week and a half and no one answers the phone.
Overall conclusion, for a retail price at the top the software has great design ideas, but poor execution and abysimal customer support. Save your money and buy another brand like the Oddesy. Why pay for top doolar for an barely adequate product? If they offered great support it still would be worth it, but this non-existing service is worse that an offshore call center, where if its not in their book they can't help you. Its obvious they have been sitting on their old reputation, and not improvingthe product -- but they charge for it. I will use it since I paid for it, but when I need a map upgrade (yearly) I will choose another product.