Review: TomTom GPS

TomTom delivers GPS for everyday folk

By Charlie Brown

Make: TomTom
Model: XL 340 IQ Routes Edition

Being a bloke, I generally don’t need to be told where to go when it comes to finding my way around the place – all I need is a map book and my sense of direction is about as keen as a bloodhound on the trail of a wiley fox.

I have had a GPS unit for a while now, so I thought I better check out one of the more recent devices to come on the market. TomTom are a well-known brand within this industry, so gave their XL340 IQ Routes Edition a go, and it made for an interesting experience.

Programming is easy – you switch it on and a menu comes up. Hit “navigate to” , which takes you to another screen, where you hit “address” button and then “street and house number”. Fill in the city and street, hit “done” and you’re on your way. One of my offsiders has two sons aged 7 and 8. He borrowed the TomTom for a couple of days and told me that both boys could program the unit to a destination– that is how easy it is to do.

There were a couple of occasions where I missed my turn off and it starting redirecting me back on track. With some GPS units I’ve used in the past a voice berates you over and over again that you had missed the turn off – which can get pretty annoying after a while. Helping the ease-of-use aspect is its touchscreen technology that doesn’t smudge instantly like other portable devices of a similar ilk. Don’t get me wrong, it does eventually if you handle it enough times, or your hands are greasy or sweaty.

A cool aspect of this device is its IQ Routes. What it basically does is follow your routes and keeps information. For example, if you go the same way to work every day it will keep a tally of times and distance travelled. When you plug in the device to recharge via your laptop or desktop computer it will download the info and compare it to other users who have done the same. If a particular route is a lot slower, it will give you alternates that other TomTom owners have used.

Overall, I found the unit to do exactly what I wanted it to do. Other features include how to get somewhere without going through toll roads or motorways; points of interest; a “home” setting: and a ‘favourites’ function whereby you can put in the address of places you frequent most (although, you would hope you would know how to get there after a few trips!)

Pros: Very easy to use and navigate; good price; handy extras

Cons: Annoying English voice. I’m no xenophobe by any stretch, but a haughty English accent can tend to get on some peoples’ nerves after a while; battery life could be better

4.5 shacks out of 5