There are pros and cons with this device, but there have been 2 software updates since I got it and some things have already improved. I'm greatly anticipating getting the fun voices such as Homer Simpson for the device - but the GO 2435 is so new, they're still working out the kinks with the software so that the voices will work on it. Previous versions of the TomTom used a desktop software for PC & Macs called HOME. This new model and future new models use a new software called MyTomTom - which relies heavily on your web browser. After buying the Homer Simpson voice on TomTom's site, I couldn't get it to work, so I called Tech Support. Everyone was so nice - awesome support! I was informed that this was a feature that was 'coming soon' and they sent me a free case because of the frustration I had with fiddling with my computer for hours trying to get the thing to work when it wasn't ready.
The default voice on the TomTom is Samantha - a very easy-to-understand voice that tells you when to turn right, stay in the left lane and when you've reached your destination. Clicking on Services in the settings area lets you listen to traffic updates if you want details, but you sometimes have to strain to understand Samantha, because she speaks the traffic too quickly.
I successfully paired my iPhone w/ the TomTom and made a call using it - but was underwhelmed by the process. The sound quality was great, but it is not a user-friendly interface for making calls unless you've only got a handful of phone numbers in your address book. Via bluetooth, it synched all my iPhone contacts (over 700 of them) to my TomTom, and the tiny scrolling area just made it pointless to try and find the right contact to dial. I used my iPhone to make the call, but spoke through the TomTom. After 2 days of playing with that feature, I unpaired the device and deleted my contacts from the TomTom... it was just too annoying.
Through exploring all the settings, I've set up my TomTom's car icon (an arrow by default) into a Beetle and can now see points of interest that I want to see on my display. At any time, I can see at a glance if there are restaurants or ATMs near my location, without fiddling with the device while driving.
I still use Google Maps on my iPhone to find the address of a location - if I'm looking for a Chili's, for example, near a friend's house 50 miles away, I can use Google Maps to type in "chili's" along with a zip code and I can see the address - but I use the TomTom to get me there, not my iPhone... and it's so much more accurate on turns!
I got the TomTom app for my iPhone about a year ago and have used it several times. I have a 3GS and perhaps I would get better performance out of an iPhone 4, but issues I had w/ the TomTom app for iPhone were battery life (iPhone battery drains even while plugged in if using the app) and when the iPhone is constantly checking for incoming messages and push notifications are coming in - things get slightly delayed. I found the app on the iPhone was accurate within several feet with a slight delay that made me miss turns now and then. With the dedicated GPS device, however, it appears accurate within inches and there is not any travel-interfering delay.
For those who have never had a GPS device, let me tell you - this is the thing you've always needed, but didn't know it until you've used it. If you get distracted and miss a turn/exit, or you decide to take a detour to go to the bathroom or grab a quick snack, you don't have to 'start over' with your mapping - the TomTom replans your route immediately once you've deviated from it, to get you back on track from wherever you are. While speed limits in the city aren't always known by the device, speed limits for major highways are - so you will see your speed on the display and if the posted limit is known to the TomTom, it will flash in red if you're exceeding it.
I have a number of criticisms for this device. Being an iPhone user for 4 years, I'm in love with simple, quick, intuitive interfaces. The menus in the TomTom can be a bit cumbersome. While the crew that programmed the iPhone app did a great job, there are some things with the menus on the TomTom that make me want to scream in frustration... which is why this is not a 5 star review. While any device has room for improvement, the interface in the settings needs to be cleaner. There needs to be a feature to delete a single favorite, not all or nothing. I should be able to speak my response when I'm asked if I want to take the toll road or use the HOV lane, instead of reaching over to touch the screen while driving. I live out in the country and sometimes the TomTom will tell me to take a road that I happen to know is not passable without a monster truck or a four wheeler if it has rained in the past 5 days - there is currently no way in this current model & software version to correct maps... although this is another 'coming soon' feature.
I have high hopes that these are features that will improve, as I've already seen software updates and when you call tech support, the staff seem extremely savvy with the devices and very knowledgable of the features available with each model... and their toll free support does not connect you to a foreign land where you cannot understand the techs or vice versa.
Despite my criticisms, I can't tell you how much this device has literally changed my life. I thought my iPhone was the only technology I "had to have" with me wherever I went - but the TomTom is now also part of my Swiss Army Knife of tech that I must have at the ready.
I cannot overstate how incredible the traffic reports are and how much time out of my life this gadget has saved me from sitting in traffic and burning diesel! While driving during rush hour, I will frequently get a white screen with text show up, along with Samantha announcing, "Traffic has changed. A new route has been found that is 32 minutes faster. Would you like to take this route?" You can then click "No" or "Yes" on the touch screen, OR the microphone will beep and let you say "yes" or "no" without touching the device and Samantha confirms, "taking faster route."
Before getting this TomTom, I wasted countless hours sitting in traffic... and that rarely happens now. The TomTom is not a crystal ball - accidents can happen just a mile ahead and like anything in life, this is not 'perfect,' but it is amazingly awesome.
It comes with an ingenious mounting kit. The suction cup has a circular grip around it that lets you turn it to attach it... and it's not going anywhere once you do that - no surprises with the mount falling off the windshield. The charge cable, which contains the dongle required to receive free traffic, has magnets on it - so the cable 'snaps' magnetically into the mounting cradle and your TomTom magnetically 'snaps' into place when you lay it on the cradle... no fiddling with cords or worrying that you haven't seated the device properly. The whole kit is so well executed. It's just a beautiful, classy device. I have a case for the TomTom, but it sadly doesn't come with a case - I highly recommend this as a supplementary purchase. GPS units are frequently stolen from vehicles - you should not leave yours in your car.
I initially mounted the cradle on the windshield, then moved it to the driver's window. Dissatisfied with both locations, I bought the weighed bean bag mount so I could have it closer to me (being short, I have short arms - and I have a very deep dashboard) instead of dislocating all of my parts while lurching forward to reach for the display when I needed to touch/click 'yes' or 'no.' Mounting options will vary by car and driver. I like having the device right in front of me, above the steering wheel, so I'm not turning my head to look at it while driving and so I can drive and keep the turn directions in my periphery without blocking my view. For me, the beanbag dash mount was the best solution. If I go to a mall, not only do I take my TomTom with me, I stick the beanbag mount under the seat so thieves do not 'assume' that I have a device to steal hiding in the car for them.
The generous 4.3" display really lets you see everything you need to see. Ingeniously, upon sunset, the display goes into night time view and upon sunrise, switches back to daylight view so that your eyes are not strained. The high resolution display and sharp graphics make everything easy to read - no guessing or squinting is necessary. I'd recommend getting familiar with the device BEFORE driving with it - even if you're sitting in your driveway at home for 30 minutes playing with it - it just helps to know where to look on the display for what information. It's also a learning process. After a few days, I need only glance at the screen and I immediately know that I've got a right turn in 10 miles, what road I'm on and how far up ahead there's a traffic delay.
There is no monthly fee for the traffic or maps with this model - just free map updates and traffic for the life of the device. What a Godsend! As a Mac user, I'm not used to having new devices have good software for the Mac side - but they've done a great job. My husband uses Windows 7 for his older TomTom and I use a Mac (running Snow Leopard) at work and at home - and the MyTomTom software is rock solid and continues to get updated.
Even though this is my first dedicated GPS, I already know that I am a TomTom customer for life. Yes, it's just that awesome.
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