TomTom GPS car navigation systems review (2009).

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First Draft 7 November 2009
Updated :  13 November 2011

TomTom updated all their models One version of its portable GPS navigation units earlier this year and finally I've been about to play around with all of them.

First impression is that its menu system hasn't changed so its still easy to use.  However they have updated the hardware in the unit because it is much more responsive than the older models. They have also added in 'gesture' navigation to the maps so just move the finger on the screen to move the map.

TomTom have added the new IQ routes and lane change guidance across all their models so you've got the latest software based features.  IQ routes technology uses information downloaded from other TomTom owners who use the same routes to calculate the best route for you to your destination.   It is apparently based on historical traffic patterns including speed.  So the route will change based on the the time of day and day of the week.  Unfortunately you have to install the software and connect it to your computer for it to work properly. TomTom IQ routes demo

The advanced lane guidance feature tells you which lane you should be in if any turns have to be made.  Useful if you are on a multi lane freeway or road. All current GPS units have a similar guidance right now but this is a more advanced version. Personally I think which lane you should be in is rather obvious in most instances.  Handy thing to have I suppose. TomTom Lane-guidance

At the bottom end of the range TomTom have introduced the TomTom Start model which has a slightly different menu system but less fucntionality.

On the top range models they have added TomTom LIVE functions which means they've added a mobile phone SIM card into the unit.  So for a monthly subscription you can get additional traffic and weather information sent to your GPS unit.  Since it costs extra so I don't think its worth the effort.  Traffic information from TMC Traffic Receiver is usually free so I would go for a GPS unit that has that rather than pay for a LIVE subscription.  Besides it doesn't operate in all areas or all countries.  Other things is petrol prices and advertising or the 'recommended restaurants' is not what I need while driving.  What would be better is route based on using the least petrol like that on the Garmin is more uesful to me.

Another feature that some TomToms had was voice activated navigation.  It definitely had problems with my voice just like models form the other manufacturers.

The construction of the 2009 series of TomToms are best described as excellent.  In fact they have used quality materials and put them together in a method that is probably the best out there.

The screen resolution on all the models have remained the same except for the standout model, the TomTom XXL which has a huge 5-inch screen.  When I checked it out the resolution seems just as good as the other models. Unfortunately the XXL does not have more the standard functionality, so it doesn't have bluetooth, or voice command of the higher range models.  If you want the biggest screen available today then this is the model to get.

The major flaws are:
- Their new mounting system does not give enough adjustment.
- Subscription costs for information that is publicly available.
- High costs for update maps.
- Must install TomTom PC software to download additional features.

Would I buy a new TomTom? Not quite sure since there are so many more options for GPS navigation these days.