Monday, December 17, 2007

Getting with the times

So, after getting my first taste of GPS navigation in our rental car while I was in the UK back in September, I decided to treat myself to a GPS device for my car. I did a bit of research and settled on the TomTom Go 720. The price was right and I had heard great things about the user interface. Apparently, its biggest weakness is map accuracy - but I'm willing to assume that risk and put that to the test.

I was a little nervous about the mounting situation. I have never mounted a device to my windshield before and wasn't very confident that mounting the TomTom there was going to be secure (it might fall off), nor was I convinced it wouldn't interfere with my sight lines. Luckily, this TomTom comes with an adhesive disc for mounting on your dashboard. I just happened to have a perfect spot to locate the disc and the suction cup mount stuck to it like glue. The sight line to the device is perfect - not blocking my view at all - just below the windshield line and not too far over to the right. This made me very happy.

The first annoying thing I noticed about the device is that the moment you turn it on for the first time you're supposed to select a language. The problem is that the selection screen disappeared very quickly, leaving me to try and figure out the interface in Spanish. Not good. After looking at the manual I was finally able to switch to English, but I foresee this freaking some people out that aren't paying attention.

The next thing I did was try to set up the TomTom as a hands-free phone device. I had heard you could do it with my cell phone model. It works like a charm - the TomTom even captured my cell phone's phone book. So now, when both the cell phone and the TomTom are on, all phone controls are routed through the TomTom. Quality was decent too.

I decided to break in the TomTom with a journey to an address deep in a maze of streets in one of the most confusing neighbourhoods in our city - Huntington. It did a great job. The turn by turn voice directions were bang on, with plenty of warning about upcoming turns. Darlene was impressed. It also found a bizarre albeit quick way out of the area to our next destination. One of the things I like about this device is that once it has planned your trip and shown you the overall route on a large scale, you have the ability to reject the route and it will offer alternatives. Another feature I like is that if you decide to deviate from the planned route, it instantly plans a new route based on the deviation. In some cases I was curious about the route it chose, but I'll be damned if it didn't sometimes pick efficient ways to get to familiar destinations.

I'll post more on the TomTom in a few days or so.

1 comment:

Carla said...

I know at some point I may need one, but for now we have Mitch Mitch.