While the top end GPS units cost upwards of £400, a number of no name brands have been fighting it out at the bottom of the market offering entry-level options for drivers keen to stop having to refer to the map the chance to get in on the GPS euphoria sweeping Britain.
TomTom, perhaps realising that it is losing out on this entry-level offering with its top of the ranging solutions has launched the TomTom One a unit that comes in two varieties; a £199 UK version and £269 Europe version for drivers on a budget.
The TomTom One is one of the smallest GPS we've seen in the office in recent months (it measures 96 x 82 x 25mm and weighs 174 grams) and has been designed to be easily pocketable following the increase in crime for these desirable units. In practice, the small cradle fitted in our glove compartment easily and the unit in a bag or coat pocket without much notice.
With a large 3.5-inch touchscreen that dominates the front and only one power button, and a SD slot, TomTom really is expecting you to access the device via its touchscreen. Luckily it's both easy to use and sensitive enough that you won't get frustrated using it, although those with fat fingers might find some of the buttons a bit small.
While we were expecting the interface to be a considerably paired down offering of pervious models, we where hard pushed to notice much difference from previous outings from TomTom or its top of the range TomTom 910. The interface is easy to use and the maps clear and simple to understand when it came to following directions.
Of course delving deeper into the spec sheet will show the differences between this and the more impressive TomTom 910 and there is no handsfree Bluetooth connectivity for your phone, built in iPod controls or an MP3 player for example. Nor is there a 20GB internal hard drive or the text to speech option to have road names read out to you. Finally the lazy will have to reach to the unit to change things rather than have to rely on the 910's remote control, But then, you have to ask, do you really need all these over and above the mapping software?
After all, you still get traffic support via you mobile phone and still be able to find your way to your mate's house with little effort.
In use and the TomTom performed well in most situations although driving around the City of London with its high office blocks did cause the unit to get very confused, to the point that it even tried to get us to drive through a building to get back on to the road that we were of course still on. However in most situations the TomTom One found the correct way to go and recalculated very quickly when we opted to ignore instructions.
At £199, the TomTom One offers a fantastic entry-level solution that works and works well and the Europe version offers complete maps to Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City making this perfect for anyone wanting to go pretty much anywhere within the EU.
The main benefit and selling point, is that the software is easy to use and the build quality excellent, saving you having to use a GPS unit that might cut your fingers because it's come out of an Asian sweatshop made by someone who doesn't really care.