With GPS units becoming more advanced by the second, can TomTom's latest range of models route its way into your heart? We grabbed a TomTom Go 700 and took it out on the road.
We have to admit, we didn't like the original TomTom or TomTom Classic as the PR firm likes to refer to it. It was clunky, the software ropey at the best of times and to put it frankly not one for us. So it was with our surprise that the TomTom Go 700 is a gem. Oh, how we are going to eat our hat on this one.
Aside from a couple of mapping issues, we struggled to find fault with this GPS unit. It's easy to use, simple to set up and worked a treat with all the driving we could test it with.
What we especially liked about the TomTom 700 was the addition of Bluetooth, not found in the standard or 500 versions.
So where does the praise begin? With most important part; the software. For starters it's easy to use, there are more customisation options than we care to list and everything from changing the colours of the background to the accent and language the instructions are spoken to you. You could say that you would expect a pan-European product that comes complete with every road in Western Europe pre loaded onto the device to offer you French or German but Australian? The device doesn't even come with maps for that continent.
Get past the customisation and using the TeleAtlas software is a breeze. Addresses can be entered via the usual array of address details including postcode (only for UK and Netherlands) and once entered you can then chose to view the route in text format, picture format or as a demo of the route so you have a rough idea what lies ahead all before you get going. If you don't know the address you can check if it's a point of interest and fast food lovers will relish the idea of knowing that their nearest McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King etc is only x miles away.
On screen and everything is laid out clearly. Maps are clear to read either in 2D or 3D views and instructions just as simple. GPS stats like distance to go, distance covered, speed, direction, and satellite signal are customisable and you can even get rough (and we mean rough) ETA from the device. We say rough on one of our outings the software estimated it would take us 20 minutes to get from one side of London to the other at 6 o'clock on a Friday night, which even with the armies of city folk staying in the pub, is wildly optimistic at best.
Where the TomTom breaks away from being just another GPS however, is the inclusion of Bluetooth. Within a couple of button presses we had connected our V800 test phone to the unit and were able to use the device as a hands-free speakerphone. Not only that, but we could also sync our phone's contact book with it as well as send and receive emails via the large screen.
Additionally, you could also connect in to receive traffic updates, which of course the software then uses to route you around any trouble spots if you so wish.
In our tests the TomTom GO 700 proved formidable compared to not only the TomTom Classic, but also other units we have tested on Pocket-lint.
Of course there were the few gripes and bugbears to get past. One being that the on-screen keyboard is just a little too small for men to use without screaming out for a stylus, which hasn't been supplied or even touted as an optional extra which in our opinion, would sell as well as the unit deserves to.
Likewise, we came across quiet a few times where directions would insist on us turning when the road layout in front of us suggested otherwise or taking us to a house in a postcode that wasn't the one we wanted (the latter resulted in us driving up a driveway only for our car to be attacked and eaten by a three-legged dog out for blood).
We can highly recommend the TomTom Go 700. Even to be as bold to say that if it wasn't for the damage the dog did to our car we would struggle not to give this unit a 10/10.