I spent two painful weeks with a Garmin Nuvi, and gradually watched my Mio C320's maps get more and more outdated, so I was overjoyed when I found this for $79 in Best Buy. There was a $200 version with a wider screen, but being a cheapskate I opted for the smaller model. And for once, I made a good technological decision!
Highlights, in order of excellence, are: - The unit starts up and locks satellites in seconds - it's really fast. I live in San Francisco where the fog is a natural enemy of GPS, but little TomTom seems unfazed. - The screen-mounting device is so elegantly simple that I'm amazed not all GPS systems work the same way. I can mount it in 3 seconds flat and it never falls off. - The screen layout is the most intuitive of any I've seen. The map is clear, it shows speed (and speed limits), current time and estimated time, and upcoming instructions. It's also easily configurable to add traffic cameras and anything else you choose. - Searching for points of interest is rapid and accurate. Enter SFO instead of "San Francisco Airport", or "Trader Joe's" and it finds matches in no time at all. And you can enter zip codes, city centers and intersections without getting frustrated. - The menu navigation couldn't be easier, and even though the configuration options are extremely detailed, they're easy to find and change. - Selecting alternative routes (if you hit traffic, etc) takes two clicks without having to reenter everything over again. It also confirms if toll roads and HOV lanes are acceptable. - The voice is clearer and louder than other systems I've tried. - It changes between day/nighttime colors automatically on schedule.
... and best of all...
The integration with TomTom's online features is absolutely flawless. You can add map updates from the user database of changes, meaning that the system is completely up to date whenever you plug it into a computer. There's also some free maps (such as traffic cameras) which you can download and install in seconds. This feature alone makes it worth $79, since there's no waiting for manufacturer updates or paying for new maps.
Overall, I don't see how this system could be any better, especially for the price. The user interface beats every other system hands down (reminiscent of when I started using Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer). I now understand why TomTom has such a loyal user base - buy one today!
PS - I'm not sure what the complaints are around multiple destinations since I entered several en-route to Los Angeles and had no issues here.
PPS - The integrated GPS in the Chevy Tahoe is a model example of how *not* to build a GPS system, in case you're interested.
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About the reviewer
James Beswick (jbeswick)
Lunch.com's "token Brit".
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