TomTom Start Classic 3.5" Sat Nav with UK and Western Europe Maps

 

Features

  • IQ RoutesTM - Only TomTom uses actual speed data collected from millions of users to accurately calculate the travel time of your route. No matter what time is you can rely on IQ Routes to tell you when you'll get there.
  • Advanced lane guidance - Helping to navigate complex junction views – providing peace of mind.
  • Spoken street names - helping you to keep your eyes on the road, spoken instructions now include street names to make turning even clearer.
  • Speed Camera alerts.
  • Map Share.

The Good

  • Perfectly sized for a small car, Junction display is brilliant.
  • Easy and straightforward to use.
  • Gives you very clear instructions and you feel confident in its
    abilities to get you to your destination the quickest route.
  • It has speed camera alerts.
  • The clear lane directions on major motorways and junctions works very well.
  • The new window attachment is improved.

The Bad

  • It doesn't feature hands free calling, bluetooth audio or an mp3 player.
  • The build quality which is plastic and a bit cheap looking but it is good value.
  • It does not automatically switch to night colours.
  • Designed for Europe in general - left hand drive cars. The power wire comes out
    the bottom right hand side of the unit and angled heading right towards the driver's door.

 

Customer Comments

What you get is a square box measuring 13cm across, containing TomTom with mounting unit attached, user guide, USB cable and in-car charger. Take out the TomTom and peel off the protective sticky films from front and back, and you are ready to start. Its battery has some power already, so you can switch it on and set it up.

Setup is very easy as the screen prompts you every step of the way. The user guide is surprisingly limited. It just explains a few of the objects on the screen, how to plug it in, how to fix it to your windscreen, and how to connect it to your computer. For everything else you must go to the TomTom website and download the full user guide. Given how much the device does (it does a lot!), and how essential the full user guide is, it's a bit cheap of TomTom not to include it in the box (especially as the box is half-empty).

This is my first satnav, but I found it very easy to use. Basically you get two main options: Plan Route, and Browse Map. When planning a route, you can setup and use a list of favourite destinations, choose a recent destination, choose a point on the map, a point of interest (you can download a huge variety of these for shops, sights, companies and so on), or enter an address. It's all quite logical and easy to do. Once you've created a route, it can start advising you immediately, or you can choose a time when you want it to start. Then just attach it to the vehicle windscreen and away you go.

It does not offer "live" information, such as news about queues or accidents. However, if you find yourself heading towards congestion, you can press the "Avoid Roadblock" button and then tell it roughly how far away the road block is, and it will give a route that avoids the roadblock (congestion, closed road, or whatever). If you ever find you don't like the route it has chosen, press the "Change Route" button to get an alternative route to your destination. Most actions of this kind are just one or two clicks away, but if you are doing anything more complicated (like browsing the map), it's probably best to stop somewhere first.

Its touch screen is responsive, and the targets and buttons to press are nice and big. Some reviewers have said the screen is a bit small, but for me it's just about the right size. The screen seems quite tough and has no scratches so far. The screen mount unclips, so you can leave it attached to the windscreen, or flip it around and use it as a desk stand, which is very handy when your TomTom is connected to a computer.

TomTom Home. You will need a computer to update and customize your TomTom. The software is free and available from their website. Details of how to get it are in the printed user guide. TomTom Home is essential, so don't skip it. Connect your TomTom to it and you can do all kinds of things, including updating the maps, downloading extra voices and graphics and so on. I found some of extra voices were a bit silly, or made the instructions harder to follow. I tried a few but have since deleted them and used the built-in ones instead. But, if you like your spoken instructions with added sarcasm (John Cleese) or movie lines (Darth Vader), or witty remarks from comedians, then it's all there to download. YOu can even make your own "voice" if you like. Many of the best downloads cost extra. If you never do anything else with TomTom Home, make sure you download the free map updates. The first time you do, you'll get a 1.6GB update to the European maps.

This brings me to TomTom support. The TomTom website, which offers support and extras for your TomTom, is nicely designed and easy to use. However, I am a bit dubious about its online shop. Alarm bells ring whenever I see "99" on the end of every price - a classic sign that prices are higher than they look. I checked quite a few of the prices on the TomTom website, and most genuine TomTom items are a lot cheaper on Amazon. You have been warned.

TomTom Start is a great little device. It is small, light, easy to use, and great value for money (especially at the Amazon Black Friday sale price!). It is aimed at casual drivers so, if you drive professionally, this may not be the one for you. For me though, it is perfect. It has saved my wife the bother of map-reading, and we won't get lost any more. Perfect!

 

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