I used to like TomTom stuff, but you can get a cheap 7inch tablet that'll do more for way less.
Buy the TomTom program for it if you like (sorry, hate the term "app").
Can't see them in the hardware business much longer.
During the launch of the revamped TomTom Go series of satnavs earlier this year, the company reeled off some interesting statistics that revealed a considerable chunk of motorists don’t bother with satnavs - 39 per cent, in fact. And of those 39 per cent, only 4 per cent were considering buying into the technology in the next 12 …
Same here. When I had my smartphone I was good with the freebie. I only picked up a satnav when I ditched the phone. My biggest gripe is that I still can't get the damn updates to load.
The fact of the matter is, 90%+ of the time I'm traveling on roads I know. I don't need something mapping for me during that time. If I'm headed somewhere I don't know the roads, chances are very high I have at least one other person with me who can act as navigator while I pay attention to traffic. Which makes it a real splurge to spend on a satnav.
Trouble is, if they aren't in the hardware business, then they are selling pure software. Which puts them directly in competition with Google Maps and Apple Maps, which may not be perfect, but which are free. Free (especially when coupled with "pretty good") is difficult to compete with.
googlemaps is terrible for navigating roads in a car though. TomTom will become niche. CoPilot is my choice of software on my phone and since I can put my phone into its grippy cradle in the car (and charge it at the same time) it is preferable to a physical "one purpose" tomtom.
Also for £300 this is horrifically expensive. Better off getting a dual core "old" smartphone and buying dedicated offline nav software. At least your smartphone can do much more. If you are that bothered about a "poor" GPS then a Bluetooth module will set you back £10 on ebay and these can sit in the car permanently.
Tom Tom's LIVE update (which costs about £60/year) is quite good at telling me about delays when I've already been stuck in them for a few minutes. I believe the raw data comes from other vehicles using Tom Tom kit that can dial out (so if they're moving at 5mph on a 60mph road, there is congestion) so it depends on Tom Tom market penetration and also on how many people have enabled the sharing feature.
There is also a spurious "no through road" in the database which tries to prevent me from getting to my house the most obvious way.
Personalty I like the hardware. I don't want the hassle of trying to use my Smart-phone as a SatNav, especially when my TomTom does such a good job (mine is the more expensive one which doesn't need a phone to get traffic updates).
I agree that you often end up in traffic jams, only then to see a warning appear but they're almost always traffic jams which have just happened and so there's no way for TomTom to know. It does now seem to have a reasonable idea of where common traffic jams appear and it directs me on a reasonable route.
I've also found fewer problems around tall buildings than in the past and it seems to do a better job of showing me which lane to use than the older versions.
I've travelled all over Europe with and nad it seems fairly good, not perfect but better than the Google alternative I tried.
I commute out from the middle of Birmingham to a satellite town every morning, and back into the city at night. The evening commute is normally the worse. There are a number of different overall routes that can reasonably be taken, with the most usual having 3 legs, with a couple of possible routes for each leg.
I used to use Google Nav purely for traffic information, until the last update cocked it up completely and removed the option to check alternative routes in real time.
What I really want is an Android app that can be programmed with the routes in advance, and using accurate real time traffic information tell me what the quickest way home is. Google used to be a fair approximation of this, but they've gone for UI bling instead of usability (who the hell wants to start navigating from somewhere other than 'here' anyway, why must it now ask every time?). I'd be prepared to pay at least £50 for such an app. Are you listening, TomTom?
If you hate the new Google Maps (as I do), you can remove it by going into the App store, selecting "My Apps", scroll down to "Maps", select it, and then uninstall it. Presto, you now have a usable Maps app instead of the new pile of garbage. Remember to always refuse to update it.
I agree speeding should be discouraged. But we all know that the cameras are not there for safety, right? If that were the case there would be no profit motive...
And here in the USA were it is policemen with guns that do that speeding check, one is particularly careful to "go with the flow"...
If you're the sort of person who rigidly obeys say a 40mph speed limit on an arrow straight dual-carriageway, in the middle of the night, with no other traffic and no obvious enforcement nearby; then I contend sir that you have no brain and no soul.
"Black stripe on white is where the fun begins."
Used to be. But the planet sized brains in local government have been progressively plastering every road they can with lower speed limits, even if 60 has been the limit for the previous fifty years, suddenly it's now 40. On a one mile dead straight rural road for example. Funnily enough it gets routinely ignored. Seems to be part of an unannounced and coordinated red flag policy.
"it's now 40. On a one mile dead straight rural road for example"
I think you live near me!
Problem is you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Do 40, and you have the a**e hole's up your a**e hole trying to drive through you - do 47 and there is a policeman with a zapper in the layby that day who's had a fall out with their missus. I have points & a speed awareness course (should have taken the points on reflection) under my belt already, so no I won't be going over the limit as I need to be able get to work, and a ban / excessive insurance would prevent that, but part of my can understand their frustration...
All that said... TomTom just need to make Bluetooth GPS receivers and the best route planning software like they did back in the day if they want to remain relevant. Screen size on phones is pretty huge now, so they can't win on that angle anymore. I usually use google maps now, which is pretty good for free (map caching is too fiddly)... But I do have an old-ish Garmin in the car for emergencies (e.g., no mobile signal / map not cached), and that's just fine, as chances are, if there is no mobile signal, the road won't have changed much in the past 5 years.
My TomTom is great except...
It takes it so long to connect to the traffic server that any time it might save me by avoiding traffic would be used up by my sitting in the car for 15 minutes waiting for it to connect.
I can save you time contacting the help desk; the answer will be to reformat the device. No matter what the problem is the first remedy will be "Go to this web page and follow the instructions to re-format the disk". I think that even if I told them that I'd scratched the screen the fix would be to re-format the disk,.
The device re-sets itself randomly - usually when I'm in the middle of a complicated one-way system.
The speed read-out freezes when I enter an average speed camera zone.
If the current location is not a road on its map (e.g .a car park in a new industrial area) then it cannot create a route.
BTW - when I said "great" above, I meant crap.
The Tom Tom help desk. Oh god!
[puts head in hands and starts wailing]
They are slow and fecking useless. My device bricked itself after an update earlier this year (a known issue), took me 3 days to get to a 2nd line support person who was knowledgable and helpful. The 1st line lot will sap every drop of strength from your will to live!
Actually worse than BT's fault reporting line.
Oh - I forgot to mention the fact that they stop supporting stuff after 4 years. When I tried to buy a spare lead for my Tomtom they no longer make them. If my dock or car mount breaks then I have to bin the device and buy a new one. It's a proprietary connector - not USB. They clearly hate customers.
"If my dock or car mount breaks then I have to bin the device and buy a new one. It's a proprietary connector - not USB. They clearly hate customers."
I have no idea what you are on about here. The charger connector on ANY TomTom over the last few years has been a standard USB mini B plug. Sure the plug is shaped a bit funny to recess into the housing a bit, but its still standard USB mini B.
Also, China is your friend. You can get a cradle or dock or charging cable for any of the old model TomToms for far cheaper than the original from ebay, banggood, DX.com, etc. The quality will be not all that great, but if it works, who cares.
You're right - you have no idea what I'm on about. There's no USB Mini B connector on my TomTom Go 540 Live. The connector is proprietary.
Whether you're correct or not about China being able to provide a screen mount, it's still the case that TomTom has effectively discontinued hardware support for my TomTom only 4 years after I bought it. My experience with their "support" staff is all the evidence I need that they don't give a toss about customers once they have spent their money. However, should I require more evidence then my 3 hour trip yesterday when the device was unable to access the traffic service for the whole journey would help.
I think that's the same 'mag latched' connector as the 1000 go Live!. This is not a very old product, although you could argue that it has now been made obsolescent by the newer 400/500/600/6000 series.
As far as I've been able to tell, you have never been able to get a lead for this connector from a physical store of any of the 'usual suspects' for sat nav sales (eg, Half-frauds, Currys, John Lewis). Maybe they have existed and I've missed it, but I've just never seen one.
This seems like poor support.
I've plumped for the TomTom on Android program (yes - I hate 'App' as well) having previously used Copilot. The 'features' which irk the reviewer eg 'via' malarkey are also a feature of the Android program. I drive to-from south Manchester-Liverpool daily (just love Thelwall Viaduct..) - I know the route very well - been doing it for 17+yrs - and have to say TomTom is far better than the Copilot with respect to
: - alternative routes (Copilot deems the Runcorn bridge as non-existent and I DO NOT want to go to the M60 as a diversion!);
: - traffic delays/incidents - does tell me on MY routes well in advance (market penetration in the NW perhaps)
: - MUCH better at giving a reasonably accurate estimated arrival time and clearing them as they resolve - Copilot quite often wildly out even by my r'n'r reckoning.
What really falls down at TomTom is setting a route as a saved route (for recurring future use) - recalling it and letting it advise you as you start out on the defined route. Seems the reviewer found a similar 'feature' irksome (it's the only reason I keep the Copilot).
I also think that it won't be long before they move out of hardware altogether, although there must be a market for those people who cannot drive/don't want to drive a smartphone - e.g my father-in-law, (actually he can't drive a satnav either but that's another story)
most smartphones have GPS built in (slower than aGPS granted) but an external "proper" Bluetooth GPS module is peanuts. Copilot and tomtom are both "offline" capable too.
I use co-pilot on a galaxy S2 quite successfully in Belgium and France where I operated in "radio off" mode for my holiday so you can get away without the cell "assist".
Agreed. Where they help out is plotting on-the-fly alternative routes without pulling glovebox maps out. Or telling you about traffic issues. I used to be a service technician where time was money, a satnav certainly helped me. that being said they are tools and I would never rely totally on what the satnav told me.
A Satnav is a tool like any other. I have mine plugged in and turned on if I'm on any long distance journey because it will tell me what the traffic is doing ahead and I can punch up alternate routes if there is a jam. I don't have to blindly follow it and I usually check what route it's suggesting beforehand to see if I agree!
Sods law says the one time you don't have it running is when you run into a major jam.....
Back in 2006 I had my first Tom Tom which had a GPRS connection via my mobile phone to their original traffic service. I was travelling from Stockport to the South Coast and both the M6 and M1 were jammed up. Satnav took me cross country, avoiding all the jams (2 hour delays reported on the M6) and got me to my destination only half hour late. Didn't see one jam.
That day convinced me that a traffic service combined with a sat nav was a worthwhile thing to have,
Now when will Tom Tom, Garmin or whoever finally add a dongle to plug into the car's OBDII port to get real time speed information. That would be a huge plus in urban canyons. My current unit tries to extrapolate position based on its last guess of speed. That's great, unless I hit a red light during a patch of low GPS signal.
better still, simply have the "program" on your phone connect to the bluetooth OBDII dongle you bought down at Autozone or of Amazon... We could see some seriously useful maps then ;-)
I understand google uses android phone pings to feeds its traffic information. Anyone know what else is used?
"add a dongle to plug into the car's OBDII port"
Garmin do. It's not especially cheap. It does all sorts of stuff including keeping accurate track of fuel usage, and displaying ECU data/errors etc. I quite like the idea, but not the price.
My 1450 does a pretty good job of assessing fuel usages, MPG, average accelleration and braking and so on through its Eco functions. The OBDI port connection would improve that but the cost is too high to go from "good enough" to "very good"
Why do they even think of linking to your phone for data download?
When for £35 you can have TomTom on your phone or £27 you get (the better) Co-pilot both covering the whole of Europe?
App on your phone wins as it's
b) Not another box
c) Has data update built in with extra effort
d) It's with you anyway
I go hill walking quite a lot and find that a dedicated GPS is far better that phone app because it seems to be better at acquiring and retaining satellite signals or interpolating location when too little satellite data (canyon, forest). I assume that's down to better electronics software and aerials - so does the same apply to TomTom vs Phone? Does the fact that TomTom is normally running on power from the vehicle mean it can be less sparing of power consumption than a mobile phone where normal operation is reliant on battery - and so TomTom can run more demanding hardware/software?
My (aged) TomTom has a connector for an external antenna on the roof of the car. Given how weak the satellite signals are, I'm a little surprised that the signal can be picked up fairly well within the vehicle but at least the external antenna option is available - but not on a mobile phone.
I do prefer a dedicated SatNav however I am drawn to the view that TomTom's days are numbered because they aren't innovating enough to justify the cost differential between dedicated device and App. How about a model with integrated dash-cam for example? I've got a dashcam, front and rear camera and separate GPS antenna £60 from China so surely a TomTom could integrate that extra function for little extra cost - and given the rear camera surely that could be made to operate as a reversing cam too.
I first started using TomTom back in the days when it had to be installed on a PocketPC with a serially-connected GPS receiver. Postcodes required a third-party app which fed co-ordinates back to TomTom's app.
But they're a spent force now. I use Waze on my phone. It's free, I get realtime hold-up data and I can see live travelling speeds on the roads. If I ever get bored of it I can install another app. Why would anyone pay for a separate device that offers no more functionality than you get for free?
I agree, a dedicated device can be better: it's not convenient when telephone calls come and you want your passenger to answer the important call or to ring your destination for you while trying to follow some tricky part of the route, or you stop to get a cup of tea and have to pause the thing, if you can work out how, so that it stops telling you to turn around as you enter the lavatory.
I use Tomtom on my mobile: have done for about three years, it is excellent especially as, with all the maps in the 'phone, when in Serbia or France or UK (live elsewhere), it still works without running up an unspeakable data bill. The programme is not cheap; but updates are free and it works very well. As with a chrome book, why would one want any device for travelling that relies upon a data connection or wi-fi? Even within one's home region, I should hate to find that one is driving through a mobile signal dead spot just as one hits a tangle of interesting roads and lanes in some unknown area. Also data roaming charges could soon exceed the cost of good software or a Tomtom device.
An especially nice feature is to tell it the road ahead is blocked and have it work out a useful, alternative route. This saved hours on several occasions.
I've used it for driving, walking and cycling; to my surprise, the cycling instructions found even a grass/gravel track that cut off a nasty, major road junction in some obscure part of France.
Having said that, the old, free Nokia maps in my ancient S60 OS Nokia was rather good too and both are much better than Google. None replace a touch of healthy scepticism and attention to the actual road. After all, the programmers and DBAs who prime the devices are almost human with all the fallibility that that implies.
I just wish it provided more silly voices, as on the Tomtom hardware :).
One of the big issues with any of the "mainstream" (I've used Tomtom and CoPilot) is that, whilst the maps are on the device, they are often out of date! (Like missing the Runcorn bridge...)
Waze is community supported (users report traffic jams, stopped cars, police(!), accidents - and more importantly can report **and fix** mapping and navigation errors)
It is supported on Android and I-things.
Yes, it needs a data connection when planning a route, but it doesn't use much data even on quite a long trip (which is done by a central server setup)...
(Happy Chrimbo, all!)
"Whatever is wrong with maps and road signs?"
Paper maps still need updating, and wear out quickly if well used
Paper maps are too small a scale to show useful detail (unless you're planning on carrying with you and unfolding an OS 1 inch map to see where you are)
Unless you're Mad Eye himself, you can't look at a paper map and the road safely (noting risks of satnav distraction)
Road signs aren't much good for re-routing if there's a problem
Road signs indicate the route road planners would like you to take, not shortest, quickest, or easiest.
Road signs are very patchy when off the main roads.
OK, whatever is wrong with stopping for a few minutes to have a look at your map? Maybe even stretch your legs and get some fresh air? People have a weirdly iron resolve never ever to halt no matter how lost.
In reality, if going somewhere new and nontrivial, I plan. Using google maps, and sometimes streetview, virtually "walking" the fiddly bits in advance a couple of times so that when I get there in the car it's already fairly familiar. Being able to recognise a pub or shop or junction heading for eg. a hotel in central Northampton, is massively useful.
All these products seem to be for people who refuse to take any time in advance to make their own lives easier - or are too dumb or lazy to be able usefully to do so. It's all about saving 20 minutes the day before.
But I will concede that online live data is best if there's unexpected congestion; but then if it's really really bad you'll be stationary for long enough to look at that map - and maybe your phablet - anyway....
"All these products seem to be for people who refuse to take any time in advance to make their own lives easier"
Spending an hour or two planning out a locg and complicated route makes your life easier? Ok,whatever floats your boat.
As someone who drives 50K+ per year, often to areas I've not been to or not often enough to become familiar with, I can tell you from experience that paper maps are great but a good SatNav beats paper maps hands down. The only true drawback with a satnav is that you don't get such a good overview of where you are geographically speaking.
Back in the old days, I carried a big box of paper street maps and a road atlas. Then I supplemented that with printouts from MultiMap. Now I use a satnav exclusively.
For occasional drivers who do one or two trips per year and all the rest are "local" trips such as the commute to work, then fine, stick with your paper maps, planning time and stops to check (which usually end up being much more than just a few minutes, especially at motorway services) as that may be a good investment of your time. Those us who do a lot of "random" driving will stick with the tool which does the better job in our situation.
I'm low mileage with an antique TomTom. One place it comes into it's own is housing estates. I went visiting with a friend in the car, a SatNav cynic. The turn by turn directions through a complicated housing estate on that trip and then on the way back, the rerouting around two sections of motorways closed for repairs (late night at a weekend) made him a convert. He ordered one next day.
I've also found it good at finding shorter routes by using minor roads.
I have been in many situations where a combination of my Tom Tom and RDS connection has been a life saver.
Getting to Newquay Airport when EVERY major road in Cornwall was closed by floods ( A30/A38/A39/A390) and radio reports were at least an hour out of date.
Going from Cornwall to Stockholm with an hours notice and Tom Tom giving an estimated arrival time to within 30 mins on a 1600 KM drive to allow booking of 3 sea crossings en route.
Getting to Tilbury from M3 when M25 completely closed for several hours.
What is wrong with the abacus ?
What is wrong with walking ?
What is wrong with bows and arrows ?
What is wrong with 640K ?
I've had various TomTom devices, currently on the not so wonderful GO Live 1000, but I wouldn't be without it, like my automatic transmission in the car, it takes the effort out of a mundane task, something not difficult, but something we don't need to think about, and can just get on with it.
Kept my old TomTom going for years. I might work in IT but I'm of the "if it works, don't fix it", and would happily carry both TomTom and Android phone everywhere. Had tried Google Maps, etc., of course but fact was it just wasn't good enough. Hell, I was still using a RDS-TMC receiver, that's how old-school and perfectly working a setup I had.
When the TomTom started to wear out on the touchscreen, I looked into their current range.
Overpriced tat. Pretty much nothing that TomTom sold did all that my (8/9 year-) old TomTom did. Some didn't even have full postcode search, let alone all the little niggles that really bug me about satnavs (bugger off telling me what lane I should be in - I damn well know how to drive and half the time it's just plain wrong or doesn't have enough lanes to correspond to reality, just give me the damn map back so I can see where I'm supposed to be going!).
I honestly looked at all the models and if they had features, they were stupid prices (more than my car in some instances). If they were affordable, they were huge hulking widescreen tat that didn't do what I want or did far too much that I didn't want.
Decided to plump for a stop-gap solution until they sorted our their product range. Bought "Co-pilot Live" for Android for my ancient Gingerbread phone. Wow. Have not looked back. Fast lock times. Better routing (and for three routes all the time, so you can quickly choose an alternate), live Traffic that doesn't need its own data subscription and barely touches data at all (I'm on a 500Mb/month package and it doesn't even DENT that enough to show up on the statistics!) - I got a free year for buying at the right time but it's only £12 a year or something stupid anyway, super-quick re-routing, announcement of all road names, full European / worldwide maps if you wanna pay a few pounds extra (I did!), full postcode search, even search for OS grid and lat/lon, Wikipedia integration for PoI's, masses of PoI's, no limits on favourites and all settings configurable and backed up to the cloud.
The only downside is because of Google's store policy, you *can* buy it on Google Play but can't then buy extra maps. So just buy it from the Copilot website direct and install the APK yourself and you're sorted and can "add-on" traffic / maps as and when you see fit.
My "stop-gap solution" has seen my TomTom in the bin and nearly a year of wonderful driving and I don't think I'll buy a separate device again. Buying it for my dad at some point as it has Truck versions too.
I've used a TomTom for years and we were mostly happy with it. We've used it all over Europe and in hire cars in US and Australia. A few months ago I wanted to update its maps of Europe - but I wasn't allowed to do it, because TomTom said my hardware was "no longer supported". This is ridiculous, as it's still working well. I'm sure they thought that they would persuade me to buy a brand new device from them.
I nearly did that, but the cost is rather high and they don't appear to be any better than the old ones, perhaps in some ways worse. Besides which I resented having to pay again for all the maps I've purchased for the old one.
So Messrs TomTom have lost a sale of a map upgrade, and I will rely on a smartphone app when next the old satnav doesn't seem adequate. If all their marketing decisions are as clever as this one, I don't expect them to stay in business long.
I still use my old TomTom, was looking at upgrading to latest version, but they do not support the MiniLog 3rd party add-on. TomTom appear to be going the same way as Apple, our way is the only way.
I have started using Waze on my Android phone, I like the way I can send a link to my girlfriend so that she can see my progress as I drive the 100+ miles on a Friday night to go see her.
As the other chaps said, Sat-Nav on the phone, 1 device, 1 charger - works. (PS. Free)
Will the Tom Tom import my addresses from my address book or will I need to type them all in?
I can't see the point of these devices (now) especially since tablets do so much for so little with a whole lot more on top.
Maybe a bespoke device that could withstand rain/wind for use by athletes, cyclers, motorbikers, scooters, ice mobiles, jet ski thingies and so forth?
Used to have an atlas stretching the rear seat pocket, GPS clip on for vector based nav on my palmV, stand alone Tom toms, copilot on my iPhone and now drive+ on my Lumia- none are perfect, but drive+ is excellent, offline maps, 3d landmarks, real time traffic, web search for places, road name announcements and all for free :)
For the cost of that TomTom you could buy a pay Nokia with NFC/wireless charge cradle (automatically optimise phone interface for driving) and still have change for a motorway coffee, but not necessarily a slice of cake to enjoy with it!
I've got 2 different TomTom devices (Start 60, and the Go Live Black Edition I bought a few years ago (brother borrowed it, which required I buy another one (had to drive to the other end of the country and didn't have a clue where I was going (was fine from the A1 > M1 > M25, but buggered from there)))), and do still use them, but;
1. Their latest ones (last 24 months) ALL require use of a crappy ActiveX based GUI, which frankly, sucks (the older TT devices had desktop based software that was far superior - but it seems TT don't give a damn)
2. Despite numerous manual corrections and emails to TT, their sat navs still seem to be under the silly illusion that roads marked as 40mph (they've got speed signs and everything!) are 60mph, single carriage ways are 60mph (nope, always been 50mph unless marked otherwise), and seem to think 20mph roads are 30mph (again, nope, there's damn speed signs saying 20mph!)
3. Despite both devices coming with "lifetime map updates", neither actually did - they want £70 for map updates! (wouldn't be so bad (though still way overpriced) if they were actually accurate - but they're not).
4. To make matters worse, done the map correction thing a few times to correct it as far as my own postcode is concerned (not exactly the middle of nowhere), and it still doesn't have a clue (seems to have taken no notice (advised TT and got a nonsense reply ignoring what I told them)).
5. As of 2012, NONE of their devices have a backup facility (was present in the older devices, courtesy of the desktop software). Advised TT when I first bought it last year, and was blown off with;
"I do understand how important it is for you to use the the features you were accessing on TomTom Home on MyTomTom software.
I would like to assure that you will definitely be able to use such features very soon in near future.
Our Development team is currently working to introduce more features on MyTomTom software for the latest generation of TomTom devices.
And once more features are added to 'MyTomTom' Software, you will be able to access those features efficiently.
You will get a notification via E-mail when more features in 'MyTomTom' Software is available."
.... that was July 2012 - and there's been bugger all since (and NONE of the facilities of the Home software are available in their crappy ActiveX web UI (which FYI, has gotten worse since last month))
My Garmin has a mobile phone circuit built in that provides a number of live features like tracking (I can invite people to follow me, useful to show how late to that meeting you are going to be), theoretically like TomTom it should link other users so show more accurate local traffic conditions. Google search on a satnav is very useful too. Basic but useful.
There are additionally some premium services like fuel prices, (very useful in France where price of unleaded can vary extremely in a local area).
Newer units now need to be paired with a smart phone to have these features. A real step backwards as I don't have (or want) one of those. I have a non-3G Nexus 7 so while I could in theory use this as a satnav it still wouldn't have that "live" link.
Now folk seem split between the TomTom and Garmin way of doing things but having just one unit is to my mind much better.
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