The Amsterdam-based TomTom, founded by Harold Goddijn, Peter-Frans Pauwels and Pieter Geelen in 1991 have grown exponentially from rather humble beginnings to become one of the world’s leading producers of portable navigation devices, seeing their own revenues grow from 8 million euros in 2002 to over 1.7 billion euros in 2007 while seeing company profits grow from roughly 1 million euros to 317 million euros over the same period. Such success in a volatile economic period is in part from TomTom’s continued commitment to excellence in the industry. TomTom hopes to continue their success and worldwide popularity with the release of their 910 GO, 920 G0, 930 GO and 940 GO GPS devices. And with each new model, TomTom manages to perfect and refine their popular GPS devices, creating an unmatched reputation in personal navigation devices. Even with minor issues, it’s much more likely to find glowing reviews of TomTom devices than any other manufacturer of personal navigation devices around.
TomTom Go 910
When the 910 GO GPS system was first released a couple of years ago, it was a revolutionary breakthrough in personal navigation as it was the first GPS with preloaded maps of the United States, Canada, Western Europe and Central Europe. Engineers redesigned the unit, creating the 4 wide inch wide screen and several software improvements from TomTom’s initial offerings. Other features include a 400 MHz CPU and a 20 GB hard drive which are perfect for saving maps for particular routes you might need to save, the ability to connect and then integrate your iPod, a Bluetooth enabled remote for hands free operation, and a 4″ touchscreen with over 64,000 colors. The 910 is also one of the first GPS systems which has a POI (Point of Interest) database which makes special note any and all points of interest such as hotels, hospitals, stadiums, parks and the like. And with 36 different languages either preinstalled or easily downloaded, this GPS system can be used in most major Westernised countries with little difficulty.
The user can program this little GPS to call out directions in your language – no matter where you are. However, some users have complained that the 910 GO has a rather outdated POI database – a database that has been known to make special notes for places of interest which no longer exist. Some reviewers have complained that for some routes, the estimated time of arrival can be off by a noticeable degree, especially if you’re somewhat familiar with the routes your 910 will suggest. A few other users have also complained that the 910 doesn’t have the updated traffic information they’d need. Some other reviews have complained that the dash mount was terribly flimsy and that the screen can be difficult to read in sunlight. Another user complained that changing menu functions took more tapping and scrolling than what they liked. Although the unit is has a priced competitively, it does have many of the basic features that novice GPS users will love – with some minor problems. Some of these problems were cleared up with the engineers at TomTom started work on the 920 GO GPS.
TomTom Go 920
The 920 GO GPS offered some refinements to its predecessor along with some new technological advances. And aesthetically, TomTom redesigned the device, giving it a sleeker exterior finish which makes it look like a super, futuristic device. Positioning technology has been enhanced, eliminating many of the frustrating positioning issues which frequently came up in the 910. Plus, users will be pleased to see several new goodies added – including a new and enhanced traffic information option that updates and recalculates routes every 5 minutes or so, a light sensor which optimizes the viewing screen, 4 GB of internal flash memory, an SD memory card slot, along with the features users loved in the 910. But most importantly, the 920 is the first of TomTom’s GPS units to offer voice recognition programming so that drivers could enter in their destinations by simply talking to the machine. Already, many users have praised this development. After all, it makes it much easier for driver’s to program the device without having to take their eyes off the road to program the unit much unlike other units in which drivers needed a companion to help program the GPS while the driver was actually driving. The 920 was also the first GPS system to offer the ability to pre-plan and save trips, as well as the first to offer a built-in FM transmitter.
Also, the 920 offers the TomTom Map Share feature in which TomTom users can update maps and routes for each other – in the event of new construction, a new building development or so on. Some users have complained that they wish they could shut off the bossy-sounding GPS voice which shouts out directions. Apparently, the voice is quite annoying while you’re sitting in bumper to bumper traffic as it tells you that your turn is half a mile ahead! There have been reports of users complaining about how the weather and traffic services don’t seem to work with some Verizon and Sprint cellular hand sets. And the most common complaint in the countless reports we’ve seen is that despite the usefulness of the voice recognition program, users frequently get frustrated when it doesn’t recognize certain sounds as well as it should, forcing users to go back to typing in their addresses for directions. Potential buyers will be feel their wallets lighten when they buy the 920 but they’ll be paying for one of the most accurate and simplest GPS systems on the market. TomTom Go 930
The 930 GPS system has many of the same features of TomTom’s previous models but thanks to a great redesign looks much like the iPhone and the iPod Touch and the remote control’s design has been changed to match. The power switch has been moved to the top, making it easier for users to turn the device off and on and the speaker and external antennae jack have been moved to the rear. Some new additions include a newly developed technology known as Active Lane Guidance which gives exacting detail for drivers who are driving on complex, multi-lane highways, Interstates and the like who need to know how many lanes they might need to cross over to get to their exit, which way their particular lane goes and so on. A simple series of icons show the lanes and points out which lanes drivers need to be in to make proper turns and the like.
This feature has worked very well on major highways and streets but unfortunately not on more rural, country roads which can be quite frustrating if you’re making trips in the country. Another new technology includes a program known as Static Intersection Images which is designed to show where highways and intersections intersect; assisting drivers in simplifying complicated driving directions. TomTom has made it easier for users to type in addresses as you can switch from a touch screen QWERTY-style keyboard, an ABC-style keyboard and an option for left handed users.
However, in a few reviews, users have complained that the imaging process involved in the program works intermittently at best. One reviewer complained that the imaging process generally seemed to work somewhere in the half mile to quarter mile range which simply isn’t acceptable if you’re driving at highway speeds. The IQ Routes programming has been greatly updated, so that it gives much more accurate estimations on arrival times. Users of the 910 and 920 frequently complained about how estimated driving times were usually off by at least 20%, IQ Routes now will also allow you to plan out routes several days in advance, figuring out traditional traffic flow history and giving you a fairly accurate estimate time based on traffic flow. Also, there’s the updated RDSTMC traffic receiver which works via cellular phone transmissions for much more accurate traffic readings.
The flimsy dash mount of the 910 and 920 have been replaced with a much sturdier dash mount. Some reviewers have complained that the 930’s voice recognition doesn’t work too well, and many have resorted to just typing in their destinations instead. Other reviews have complained about the amount of glare which comes from the shinier touchscreen. And we have even come across reviews in which users have complained about the number of screens and options one has to go through in order to change menu preferences. Certainly, that’s frustrating but for the most part users have loved the 930 and its accurate positioning capabilities, and any complaints such as screen glare are subjective to the individual user. TomTom Go 940
The 940 GO GPS system is will be among the most technologically advanced GPS units out in the market. TomTom’s engineers have further updated their IQ Route programming so that every route will be determined by historical time travel information for every road for every single day of the week while continuously adapting to changing road conditions to constantly give drivers the fastest, most economically sound routes possible. Setting itself apart from the other GPS units on the market, the 940 will have up to the minute weather and traffic updates – and those are useful for just about any driver out there. But what the new 940 GPS unit will have that no other unit will have yet is a local search connection through Google. Users can find local pizzerias, seafood restaurants or anything they’d wish and they could easily find it and get directions. Of course, there are the other programs which TomTom users love to use. The tech savvy user will love the new 940 GO!
All of TomToms devices despite their different technological developments come equipped with a car charger which you plug in through the built-in cigarette lighter, a desktop mount for home charging and uploads and the customary instruction manual. And they all proudly boast the fact that they’re incredibly easy to install and set up.
When it comes to making that decision on purchasing a GPS system from TomTom or any other manufacturer, we suggest that you do your research and consider what sort of programs and capabilities you need while weighing the pros and cons of each device and each manufacturer. Check out several store websites and review sites and see what previous users of potential devices have been saying as they’ve been quite useful for assisting with purchases of all sorts. No matter what your technical savvy, the device which has the most useful capabilities and is the easiest to use within your price range is usually the best option.