A word of advice: if you’re ever in a car with me and hear me say, “let’s turn left, I’m sure that’s the right way,” turn right. Just turn right because my sense of direction is non-existent.
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Since she was little, my daughter has been providing turn directions. Perhaps her gift of a TomTom ONE 125 was a way of saying she was tired of playing navigator but whatever the reason, it is the perfect present.
It’s not that driving around suburbia is terribly complex every day but there are bad moments, especially those involving trips to distant schools for sports events.
Information on those fields’ locations is often minimal, at best; several schools have similar sounding names and New Yorkers will very confidently hand out information about things and directions they know nothing about, and, as I said, it doesn’t take much for me to get lost.
Worse, a trip to a camp in an upstate university town this summer was a nightmare of missed turns, misidentified streets and possibly the worst set of phone directions known to humankind.
So, now I can’t get lost unless I ignore the voice coming from the GPS.
Here’s what comes with this particular model, which isn’t the fanciest but more than suffices:
An EasyPort mount, making it simple to stick to the dashboard, or better, the windshield. The mount is a little wide, at about 3 inches, to add to some dashboards so it might be best to stick on the glass. Note that some law-enforcement people warn against this because it might block your vision and it also alerts thieves to the possible presence of the GPS unit.
Plug and go, meaning it’s very simple to charge up and use. It starts up with the slightest press on the screen.
A pre-loaded series of maps. To receive updated maps after a year, you have to pay $45; you can upload corrections from MapShare, though TomTom doesn't swear by their accuracy. Maps show street names and distance. This is an American model, so includes maps of all states plus Puerto Rico.
A colorful and high-contrast screen, easy to read in night or day conditions. The device asks you your trip preferences, such as fastest, shortest, or avoiding highways.
Home software, meaning several functions can be updated and uploaded from your computer
Spoken directions, if you want, in several accents and languages, male or female (and you can add your own if you want) and adjustable volume. Or you can just follow the text or maps
Weather and time information
Points of interest, such as gas stations (and fuel prices), schools, safety cameras and more
A variety of views, including one that shows you as you travel the road and makes you feel as if you’re flying an airplane
A help menu, which provides immediate access to emergency systems and quick first-aid tips
The maps have been right on the money so far, since we’ve been testing it with trips to places we’re already familiar with. We have noticed a couple of things: It seems to prefer certain roads, like a major county road near us, and doesn’t like to direct us down the side streets we sometimes like to avoid traffic. But it does adjust eventually and pick up with our right location.
It tends to give voice directions at about 800 yards—it will warn us that a turn is coming up at that distant, more than others, it seems. It also sometimes says thinks like, “after a quarter mile, turn right” so if you’re not familiar with an area, you still might need to keep an eye on the mileage because the warning that you’ve just about reached the turn sometimes doesn’t leave you much time.
TomTom says directions are available in these languages, though we haven’t explored the entire list yet.
U.S. English, Latin American Spanish, Spanish, French, Flemish, Bulgarian, Czech, Chinese Mandarin, Chinese Cantonese, Danish, German, Estonian, UK English, Australian English, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Serbian, Finnish, Swedish, Thai, Catalan, Croatian, Brazilian Portuguese and Turkish.
All in all, this is a wonderful device. We haven’t it so long that we can attest to its longevity but so far, we like it a lot.
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